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Polygamy In America Essay

1592 words - 6 pages

Polygamy is defined as “a marriage that includes more than two partners.” There are different types of polygamy, these include: polygyny, where a man has multiple wives, polyandry, in which a woman has multiple husbands, and group marriage, where a family consists of multiple husbands and wives. Of these different types of polygamy, polygyny is definitely the most popular of the three. In America, the practice of any form of polygamy is illegal and due to this law, many adherents of the lifestyle stay hidden ("What is Polygamy?"). Polygamy became an issue in the United States in the year 1852 when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the LDS Church, made it so that plural marriage became a part of its religious doctrine. However, due to the storm of controversy that followed this movement, in 1890 the Mormon Church officially abandoned the practice. The Mormon’s who disagreed with the movement broke away from the Mormon Church and became known as Fundamentalist Mormons. Although the practice was almost unheard of in regions such as the Midwest, Northeast and South, in the Western portion of the United States, polygyny marriage is still prevalent. Those who are found to be practicing the belief are fined and sometimes are forced to split up with the rest of their families. For this reason many remain in the dark about their lifestyle, considering the severity of the consequences ("History of Fundamentalist Mormons"). However, recently many families have come out of hiding and proclaimed to the world that they are a practicing polygamist family, raising the question: is it right for the government to tell people who they can and cannot marry?
Polygamy can be found throughout the world and is thought to be caused because of religious reasons. Of the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Christianity and Islam are the two largest religions throughout the world, with Judaism the ninth largest in the world. And within each of these three religions, each one condones polygamist relationships to a certain extent. Islam allows polygyny, but limits a man to having up to four wives, no more as stated in the Quran "You may marry two or three or four women whom you choose. But if you apprehend that you might not be able to do justice to them, then marry only one wife." (Quran Sura 4:3). In Christianity, no branch condones the practice except for the Fundamentalist Mormon branch. And Judaism does not condemn the practice; but many Jews live in European countries and America where the practice is outlawed. However, many Jews who reside in North Africa, Yemen, Kurdistan, and Iran continue to practice plural marriage ("Polygamy: Not as Rare as You May Think"). Many other religions do not condone or condemn plural marriage, or even monogamist marriage. Contrary to the Abrahamic belief, many other world religions do not consider marriage, of any kind, a sacrament. Polygamy is prevalent throughout the world, whether...

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