What About Polygamy?
Mormons believe, as the Book of Mormon teaches, that the commandment of God regarding marriage is that a man shall have one wife—unless God expressly commands otherwise. Mormons believe, for purposes and reasons they do not presume to know, that at certain times God has commanded the practice of plural marriage, the term Mormons use for polygamy. This was the case with the biblical patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Joseph Smith, the church’s founding prophet, had multiple wives. In the early days of the LDS church, perhaps 20 to 25 percent of Latter-day Saints practiced polygamy. In 1890, Mormons believe God authorized the end of the practice. Today, some breakaway sects continue to practice polygamy, but they are not affiliated with the LDS church, and individuals who practice plural marriage are excommunicated by the Church today.