A look at Polygamy, and the nature of God



An early doctrine of the church, polygamy, or having more than one wife, is no longer practiced by Mormons, and would result in excommunication for anyone who participated in it. There are churches that broke away from the LDS church that currently practice polygamy, but they are not affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

 Polygamy was introduced shortly after the church began. It started quietly and was only practiced by a relatively few members. Both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young had multiple wives. Young had 55 wives. Some of them were sealed to him to fulfill spiritual requirements, while remaining married to non-member men. Although Joseph Smith had more than one wife, the number of wives is unknown. It may be as high as 33.

 The doctrine of polygamy in the church officially ended in 1890 under the leadership of Wilford Woodruff, president of the church at the time. A few years later, it was officially condemned. Woodruff said God told him that the church would no longer practice polygamy.

 Polygamy became illegal in the United States, and its practice created a lot of problems for the church. The Morrill Act made bigamy illegal in U.S. territories (Utah was a territory at the time). Later the Edmunds-Tucker Act allowed the Federal Government to seize church properties. It was under this pressure that Woodruff revealed that the church would no longer perform polygamous marriages. The move paved the way for Utah to become a state in 1896.

 Although the church has not practiced polygamy in over a hundred years, people still associate the practice with the Mormon church. The confusion is compounded by having breakaway churches with names similar to the LDS church that currently practice polygamy.


Nature of God and the Godhead

When Joseph Smith saw God and Christ in his First Vision, he introduced a new definition of the Godhead to the world. Rather than a God with no body, The Mormon Church teaches that both God and Christ have perfected, tangible bodies. They are separate and distinct individuals.

The LDS Church teaches that man might become like God, and God was once a man.

The Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit, is part of the Godhead, but does not have a body. The church teaches that he will get one, but does not say when. The purpose of the Holy Ghost is to give us guidance and inspiration when we obey the commandments and pray for help. He guides those who seek a testimony of Christ.

From the LDS Church:

The Holy Ghost works in perfect unity with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, fulfilling several roles to help us live righteously and receive the blessings of the gospel.

He “witnesses of the Father and the Son” (2 Nephi 31:18) and reveals and teaches “the truth of all things” (Moroni 10:5). We can receive a sure testimony of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ only by the power of the Holy Ghost. His communication to our spirit carries far more certainty than any communication we can receive through our natural senses.

As we strive to stay on the path that leads to eternal life, the Holy Ghost can guide us in our decisions and protect us from physical and spiritual danger.


Other Subjects:

‘Magic’ Underwear (Garments)
Ordinance Work for the Dead
Joseph Smith
Missionary Work
Heaven and the Afterlife
Nature of God and the Godhead
Modern Day Prophets
Local Church Leadership
Other Beliefs