The Persistence of Polygamy: Fundamentalist Mormon Polygamy from 1890 to the Present

By Dutton, Edward | Mankind Quarterly, Summer 2016 | Go to article overview

The Persistence of Polygamy: Fundamentalist Mormon Polygamy from 1890 to the Present


Dutton, Edward, Mankind Quarterly


The Persistence of Polygamy: Fundamentalist Mormon Polygamy from 1890 to the Present Newell G. Bringhurst and Craig L. Foster (Eds). Independence, Missouri. John Whitmer Books 2015, 629 pages.

Polygamy is a fascinating topic for evolutionary anthropologists and psychologists alike because it is practiced by most primitive societies, meaning it was practiced in our own history. In these societies, females sexually select for the status of the males and thus the qualities that determine high status in such societies: physical health and, perhaps to a lesser extent, intelligence and certain personality traits. They do this because such a male provides them with healthier and more successful offspring and because the high status male will be able to invest in them and their offspring. In such societies, the headman might have 5 wives and many illegitimate children while around 40% of males will father no children at all. Indeed, Lynn (2011) has noted the persistence of polygyny among the British upper class right into Early Modern times, as it was effectively acceptable for them to father bastard children by mistresses.

This volume is, therefore, significant because it explores, in painstaking detail, the only European-origin group which continues to practice polygamy in modern, Western society: the polygamous sects that have broken away from the mainline Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) in the USA. It is the third in a series of Persistence of Polygamy essay collections, with the same editors. The first looked at Joseph Smith and the origins of the practice (Bringhurst & Foster, 2010), while the second explored the practice in the early history of the church (Bringhurst & Foster, 2013).

In the Introduction, the editors provide a readable history of the practice from 1890 onwards, when the official Mormon church banned it. It is appreciated that this is the third volume in a broader history of polygamy in the Mormon church, but it might have been useful to provide a little more background for the non-specialist on Mormon polygamy and the church in general. Joseph Smith, the first Mormon prophet, declared that all Mormons should be polygamous and himself had around 40 wives. The subject of intense persecution, the Mormons fled to Utah and established it as a state, but the persecution continued and the Mormon prophet in 1890 (a new prophet succeeds on the death of the last one, as with popes) banned polygamy. This led, eventually, to more fundamentalist Mormons deciding that the mainline church was disingenuous and establishing their own sects. One schism is known as the Apostolic United Brethren and is based in Utah. This split from the even more conservative, Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) in the 1980s. This has established itself in Hildale-Colorado City on the Utah-Arizona border. It was in the news in 2008 as its dictatorial and puritanical prophet, Warren Jeffs, was jailed in Texas for child abuse. He remains in prison and is still regarded as the sect's prophet.

Other chapters give various enlightening insights into the history of Mormon polygamy. Barbara Jones Brown explores how, in the 1880s, various Mormons fled to Mexico in order to avoid persecution by the US government and set up colonies there. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Persistence of Polygamy: Fundamentalist Mormon Polygamy from 1890 to the Present
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.