• Reason #1 – Restitution

    The Apostle Peter spoke of the “restitution of all things” that would occur in the last days (Acts 3:21). Joseph Smith explained that this “restitution” would include a restoration of “the ancient order of plural marriage.” He taught that polygamy as practiced “anciently with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, so it would be again.” Acting through His latter-day prophet Joseph Smith, God would “restore all things” including plural marriage.

    Reason #1 – Restitution
  • Reason #2 – Sacrifice

    Throughout religious history, God has issued commandments specifically adapted to the circumstances of His followers and according to divine purposes.  For example, the children of Israel were given the Law of Moses. Similarly, plural marriage was required of the Latter-day Saints between the 1840s and 1890, in part  to test their faith that they might gain valuable experience.

    Reason #2 – Sacrifice
  • Reason #3 – Posterity

    The Book of Mormon prophet Jacob declared that God could command plural marriage in order to “raise up seed” unto Him. Similarly, Joseph Smith taught that before we were born we existed as spirits in a premortal world.  In that realm, many “noble and great” spirits were waiting to join devout families.  This likelihood was increased as polygamous husbands and wives “multiplied and replenished the earth.”

    Reason #3 – Posterity
  • Reason #4 – Exaltation

    The most important reason for polygamy accompanies Joseph Smith’s teaching that no unmarried person can receive exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom. Through valid temple ordinances and living worthily, a husband and wife can be exalted and bound together in eternal matrimony.  Plural marriage allows all worthy women to be sealed to a husband for eternity. It is “for their exaltation in the eternal worlds.”

    Reason #4 – Exaltation
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Joseph Smith identified four reasons for the institution of plural marriage among his followers in Nauvoo, Illinois, in the early 1840s. Although it was initially repugnant to the morally conservative Latter-day Saints (the “Mormons”), dozens of men and women entered into polygamous unions before Joseph’s June 27, 1844, death.

Frequently Asked Questions

Understandably, observers often ask questions regarding Joseph Smith’s practice of polygamy. The most common inquiries concern young wives, polyandry, physical relations, Emma’s reaction, denials, Fanny Alger, and whether plural marriage is needed for exaltation. This website provides explanations based upon all available documentation regarding these controversial topics.


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Stories of Faith

Plural marriage was fraught with challenges that tested the faith of the Saints. Observers today may doubt its validity and wonder why Church members accepted the practice at all. Accounts from the early polygamists provide insight helping readers understand that their participation was a manifestation of their faith in God. Perhaps the only way to comprehend their actions is to view Joseph Smith and his marriage teachings through their eyes.