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A common question regarding the men and women who entered into plural marriages during Joseph Smith’s lifetime is “Why did they do it?” Many authors have suggested that the Latter-day Saints were merely duped by a charismatic, self-proclaimed prophet. It might be argued, however, that this simplistic answer is insufficient, if not completely inaccurate. It portrays the participants as caricatures rather than real people with genuine feelings. In addition, it fails to take into account the records left by the participants that describe their experiences and their reasons for embracing the practice. Many related their own divine manifestations validating in their hearts that the practice was correct. Others shared their convictions that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, so his teachings should be heeded.

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