Polygamy In The United States Essay

1211 words - 5 pages

Introduction to Sociology May 27, 2008 Baggett 1The practice of polygamy has played a vital role in the cultural development of many countries, including the United States. Although it has been outlawed in the United States for quite some time, it is still practiced in some areas of the west, primarily by followers of a splinter Mormon faith, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The communities formed by these polygamous sects can have negative effects on the women and children involved.According to The World Book Encyclopedia, polygamy can either refer to a system in which a woman is married to more than one man at the same time, known as polyandry, or more commonly, polygyny, a system in which a man is married to more than one woman at the same time (650). The formation of a polygamist sect is most often based on religious beliers. In other areas around the world, the Hindu religion does not set a limit to the number of women a man can be married to at the same time while the Muslim religion allows a man to have as many as four wives (650). The practice of polygamy in the United States is largely based on the religious beliefs of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, FLDS, a splinter faith of the Mormon church ("Church", Columbia Encyclopedia).The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was formed in 1830 in Fayette, NY by Joseph Smith. Followers of the church, more commonly called Mormons, base their beliefs on the Book of Mormon, the Bible and revelations made to Smith. Smith claimed that golden tablets containing the Book of Mormon had been revealed to him. A headquarters for the organization was established in Kirtland, Ohio in 1831 while other Mormon settlements, called Stakes of Zion, were started in western Missouri. In 1838,Baggett 2the governor ordered the Mormon expulsion due to hostility with neighbors over theMormon's communal economy and unconventional belief system.. The Mormons then sought a new Zion in Nauvoo, Illinois. There, the church multiplied in numbers and in 1842, it was the largest and most powerful town in Illinois. Violence erupted in 1844 between envious neighbors and the church followers, resulting in the death of Joseph Smith by an angry mob. The church leaders then chose Brigham Young as the successor to Smith's leadership. Under Young's guidance, the Mormon's chose a new home in a remote spot in the valley of the Great Salt Lake. In 1847, the fist settlers began an agricultural community in what is now Salt Lake City. The area later became Utah Territory and Brigham Young was appointed territorial governor. In 1852, Young formally announced the doctrine of pleural marriage, which was based on a vision of Joseph Smith ("Church", Columbia Encyclopedia).The concept of polygamy was an important aspect when Utah applied for statehood. After Brigham Young's death, the successor Mormon president, Wilford Woodruff, formally denounced the practice of polygamy in...

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