Polygamy, or the principle of plural marriage, had its genesis in a revelation received by founder Joseph Smith and subsequently practiced by Brigham Young and a host of church leaders.
After five decades of practice, it was officially abolished by church manifesto in 1890 under the weight of pressure from the federal government and the desire of Mormons to secure statehood for what is now Utah.
But polygamy has never ceased being practiced among Mormon fundamentalists, and many believe it is growing and flourishing despite being illegal under both state law and church canons.– Brave Author Details Living in Polygamy, Tulsa World, USA, Jan. 16,2005
When the LDS renounced the practice of polygamy, or plural marriage, many conservative believers held firmly to what they called “the principle” and blamed the United States government for pressuring the church.
The government had, in fact, enacted a series of anti-polygamy laws before the Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1887 was passed, disincorporating the LDS church and forfeiting to the federal government all church property worth more than $50,000.00. The action proved to be more than the LDS leadership could withstand. In 1890 President Wilford Woodruff issued an edict, known today as the Woodruff Manifesto, denouncing the practice of polygamy and forbidding it among the LDS followers.
So it was that many ardent polygamy supporters withdrew to remote sections of the American West in order to continue the practice of the principle, while at the same time harboring a deep resentment against the U.S. government. They also shunned any dealings with the new state government in Utah, which most fundamentalists viewed as a lackey of Washington, D.C.– Bleeding the Beast, The Eldorado Success, USA, Oct. 14, 2004
See also: Polygamy in Mormonism and in sects of Mormonism
Polygamy Leadership Tree, produced by The Salt Lake Tribune
See this article for brief reviews some of the better known polygamous sects – most of them offshoots of the mainstream Mormon church and/or its sects.
Informal survey: Growth lacking among Mormon splinter groups, The Salt Lake Tribune, USA, Aug. 12, 2007
37,000 ‘Fundamentalists’ Counted in and Near Utah, Deseret Morning News, USA, Aug. 11, 2007