Mormon Issues -- Sightings (Martin Marty)
I would venture to guess that a great many people know that back in the day polygamy was practiced by members of the Mormon faith. If you go to Salt Lake City and visit the Beehive House and the Lion House next door you will learn about Brigham Young's multiple wives. Although polygamy was officially set aside in 1890 in the United Sates by Latter Day Saints President Willard Woodruff. There have been a few TV shows that explore modern plural marriage, but all my LDS friends over the years, while they highly valued marriage and family, showed no interest in reviving this old practice. One area of debate has been over whether polygamy went back to Joseph Smith and whether he had multiple wives. His original wife, Emma Smith, always denied it and the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now Community of Christ) always denied it. Recently, as Martin Marty notes, the church in the desire to be transparent is admitting that he had up to forty wives. Now this isn't new news. I read Fawn Brodie's No Man Knows My History years ago and she documents as many as fifty-two wives. In any case, it is interesting that one of the few growing religious movements in America is wrestling with its own past. Take a read.