PAGES IN THIS ENTRY:
- Which groups practice polygamy?
- Polygamy : What the Bible Says
- Polygamy in Mormonism
- Polygamy : Polygamous Sects of the Mormon Church
- Informal list of polygamous sects
- Video: Lifting the Veil of Polygamy
- Polygamy - Research Resources
Next page: Which groups practice polygamy?
Information about polygamy is included in Apologetics Index because many people who practise polygamy do so for religious reaons.
Polygamy is a form of marriage:
Polygny is the condition or practice of having more than one wife at one time.
Polyandry is the condition or practice of having more than one husband at one time.
Polygamy is a “marriage in which a spouse of either sex may have more than one mate at the same time .”
The term plural marriage is used as a synonym for any of the above.
The term polyamory refers to an intimate, romantic relationship that involves more than two people – with the full knowledge and consent of all partners involved.
Bigamy is “the act of entering into a marriage with one person while still legally married to another.”
This entry addresses polygamy. It is included in Apologetics Index because some people practice polygamy for religious reasons.
In most countries, bigamy is illegal. However, in some countries – including America and Canada – the practice of polygamy is tolerated largely because
© Photographer: Herminutomo
- it is done as a religious practice (and thus involves issues of religious freedom), and
- the people involved do not actually marry before the law. Rather, a man will legally marry one woman, and ‘marry’ additional wives in what they consider to be a ‘spiritual’ sense
Members of the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) – theologically, a cult of Mormonism (which itself is, theologically, a cult of Christianity) – use the latter approach to then obtain social security benefits, in a practice they refer to as “bleeding the beast.”
[T]he American taxpayer pays for much of this lifestyle. Recent records show in one year residents here collected more than $8-million from social services — including food stamps, welfare, health care — but the entire town paid less than $100,000 in income taxes.
“They are told to go on welfare,” Jessop said. “It’s called, “bleeding the beast.” They find it amusing that Satan is supporting God’s work.”
– Source: One Woman’s Crusade, ABC News, Mar. 4, 2004
This is one reason the practice is now under scrutiny in America – particularly in Colorado and Utah, states with significant polygamist communities.
Other reasons why polygamy has come under fire:
- Some polygamists ‘marry’ underage girls, often (though not always) against their will
- In some religious polygamist sects, women are treated as property, and are subject to arranged marriages
While their polygamous lifestyle was long tolerated, in recent years the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), has come under scrutiny.
In January, 2004, FLDS leader Warren Jeffs excommunicated a number of men. In the process, these men not only lost their homes, but their wives and children who – as is customary in this religious cult – were re-assigned to other men.
The resulting media coverage put long-tolerated issues with the sect on the front burner. See, for example, The Polygamy Files/> – a blog published by The Salt Lake Tribune. (Older posts are availabel at the Internet Archive).
See here how and why Warren Jeffs ended up being jailed for life.
Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
How polygamy went from being a “most holy and important doctrine” to being rejected – sort of – by the Mormon Church
Related topic(s): Polygamy
First published (or major update) on Monday, January 9, 2006.
Last updated on November 02, 2016. Original content is © Copyright Apologetics Index. All Rights Reserved. For usage guidelines see link at the bottom.
THERE IS NO POLYGAMOUS SECTS IN THE MORMON CHURCH!!!!
Technically you are right, Roxanne (though you don’t have to SHOUT).
That said, there are polygamous sects ‘of’ the Mormon Church.
These groups came out of — and have split off from — the Mormon Church. Most, if not all, did so because the Mormon Church abandoned (for political convenience) plural marriage, a doctrine of which Mormon Church founder Joseph Smith said was “the most holy and important doctrine ever revealed to man on earth.”
As John Krakauer states, Smith taught that a man needed at least three wives to attain the “fullness of exaltation” in the afterlife. He warned that God had explicitly commanded that “all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same … and if ye abide not that covenenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.”
Those who have separated themselves from the official Mormon Church are called Mormon fundamentalists. In most cases, their doctrines and practices are in fact closer to those of the original Mormon Church than are the doctrines and practices of today’s Mormon Church.
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The Old Testament regulated, not forbade, polygamy. This led to the Catholic charge that the Jewish views on marriage allowed divorce and polygamy as opposed to monogamy without divorce which is Christ’s ideal. The New Testament only requires church officers to be husbands of one wife, disqualifying polygamists and serial monogamists(divorced and remarried)The Jewish ban on polygamy is actually unbiblical,having no scriptual command to do so. I can find no commandment in either Testament which forbids polygamy. The Bible does,however, speak of the hassles, headaches and heartaches associated with the practice.We need to look into Leverite marriage which was commanded.
If the kinsmen of the deceased were married, polygamy may have been a factor.
In missionary fields, polygamists have benn converted, there is difference of opinion in whether the convert remains polygamous, disqualifying him from Church office, or he needs to put his additional wives away, violating New Testament teaching on divorce and remarriage.
I for one prefer polygamy over involuntary celibacy.As a Protestant and Evangelical, I am extremely wary and suspicious of celibacy which is more associated with Catholicism.
Islam instituted polygamy as a means to look after widows and orphans.
The Mormon Church instituted it, in part, because the early LDS had far more women than men giving rise to concerns that prostitution might become a problem which LDS leadership would not tolerate.
Given the recent tiff over same sex marriage,and efforts to define marriage as between ONE man and ONE woman,this contraversy could lead to the legalization of polygamy in this country if it goes the wrong way.
Polygamy part two:
The fact of the polygamous sects in the American Southwest being reprehensable is due as much to older men marrying underage girls (which is statutory rape) and banishing underage boys so they can marry the underage girls (which is child abandonment) The whole process is altogether criminal.They would do better by recruiting prostitutes into their cult, that would be more in keeping with nineteenth century Mormon doctrine than raping little girls. Besides, polygamy is illegal in these United States in all fifty states. As I have before written, a suit filed by a Mormon or Moslem could overturn the ban on polygamy in these United States.
It is interesting to note that Polygamy is now a legality in Canada. The State of Saskatchewany now allows the legal recognition of multiple same time spouses. They use Section 51 of their Family Property Act which states that a person can have numerous spouses for the purposes of the act. The act, interestingly, defines “Spouse” in all that state’s over-all legislation. As such, Polygamy is legal north of the border.
Their Criminal Code, which is a Federal law, can be ignored apparently by each state at the whim of their Family court judges. In the USA, any judge who ignores Federal Law, eg. murder or such a Federal Law, would themselves be charged.
What happened to: “Forsaking all others, cleaving only unto her, until death do you part” Polygamy is debauchery masquerading as religion! It is destructive to both women and children! Females are coerced/brainwashed into going along with it, but I read of the anguish women suffer anyway. Boys are kicked out on the street, to make more “wives” available to the old men leaders. Welfare fraud is rampant! Whas man can support that many people on one job?
People need to keep in mind here that polygamy is not all about marrying underage girls, having 20 kids and abusing the social services system and raking in hundreds of thousands in welfare. There are Triads, like mine (there ARE A LOT of us) that pool resources, are financially responsible and practice fidelity within our “family”. We work, volunteer, pay taxes, go to church, and our kids go to school. We’re otherwise law abiding citizens made into criminals by those that don’t understand our lifestyle choice. We aren’t harming anyone, and not taking advantage of society’s resources. All we ask for is the basic recognition and the ability to not have to hide in order to preserve our jobs (my male significant other has a federal job that he could lose if the wrong someone found out and made it an issue), and not to be ostracized by society. We’re not asking that you love us, but just that you let us love each other.