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Widtsoe, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, debunked the more-women-than-men myth, but many members continue to use it. Plural marriage has been a subject of wide and frequent comment.
Members of the Church unfamiliar with its history, and many non-members, have set up fallacious reasons for the origin of this system of marriage among the Latter-day Saints.
The most common of these conjectures is that the Church, through plural marriage, sought to provide husbands for its large surplus of female members. The implied assumption in this theory, that there have been more female than male members in the Church, is not supported by existing evidence.
On the contrary, there seem always to have been more males than females in the Church. Families—father, mother, and children—have most commonly joined the Church. Of course, many single women have become converts, but also many single men. The United States census records from toand all available Church records, uniformly show a preponderance of males in Utah, and in the Church.
Indeed, the excess in Utah has usually been larger than for the whole United States, as would be expected in a pioneer state.
The births within the Church obey the usual population law—a slight excess of males. Orson Pratt, writing in from direct knowledge of Utah conditions, when the excess of females was supposedly the highest, declares against the opinion that females outnumbered the males in Utah. The theory that plural marriage was a consequence of a surplus of female Church members fails from lack of evidence… Another conjecture is that the people were few in number and that the Church, desiring greater numbers, permitted the practice so that a phenomenal increase in population could be attained.
This is not defensible, since there was no surplus of women… Evidences and Reconciliations, John A. Widtsoe Bookcraft, pp. An example from the U. Census recordswhich Elder Widtsoe referred to, indicates that in there were 5, males and 4, females in Hancock County, Illinois Nauvoo being the primary population center.
Counting just those persons between the ages of 15 and 40, there were 2, men and 1, women. To Increase the membership of the Church rapidly?
A related justification for polygamy is that polygamy was an effective way to rapidly increase the membership of the Church. However, a group of women can have far more children if they each have their own husband instead of sharing one man.
For example, Brigham Young reportedly had only 57 children by some 29 child-bearing wives out of the 55 total women he married. If each of those women had their own husbands they may have had or more children in total. The essay focuses on polygamy between and after Joseph Smith. Footnote 6 in that essay states in part: Studies have shown that monogamous women bore more children per wife than did polygamous wives except the first.
This admission is interesting as it seems to counter what the Church said in their other essay on: Years later in Utah, participants in Nauvoo plural marriage discussed their motives for entering into the practice. God declared in the Book of Mormon that monogamy was the standard; at times, however, He commanded plural marriage so His people could "raise up seed unto [Him].
So what is it: Year of Polygamy Podcasts LDS scriptures condemn polygamy…sort of The first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants called the Book of Commandments, included a section denying any practice of polygamy: Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: It would have been contradictory to have one section condemning polygamy and another approving of it in the same book so the section condemning polygamy was removed from the Doctrine and Covenants.Teen Ink, a national teen magazine, book series, and website devoted entirely to teenage writing, art, photos and forums.
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