Its Origin, Practice, and Demise
Edited by B. Carmon Hardy
Kingdom in the West: The Mormons and the American Frontier Series
Here for the first time are the basic documents supporting and
challenging Mormon polygamy, supported by the concise commentary and
documentation of the editor.
Celestial Marriage—the "doctrine of the plurality of wives"—polygamy.
No issue in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints (popularly known as the Mormon Church) has attracted more
attention. From its contentious and secretive beginnings in the 1830s
to its public proclamation in 1852, and through almost four decades of
bitter conflict with the federal government to Church renunciation of
the practice in 1890, this belief helped define a new religious
identity and unify the Mormon people, just as it scandalized their
neighbors and handed their enemies the most effective weapon they
wielded in their battle against Mormon theocracy.
This newest addition to the Kingdom in the West Series provides the
basic documents supporting and challenging Mormon polygamy, supported
by the concise commentary and documentation of editor B. Carmon Hardy.
Plural marriage is everywhere at hand in Mormon history. However,
despite its omnipresence, including a broad and continuing stream of
publications devoted to it, few attempts have been made to assemble a
documentary history of the topic. Hardy has drawn on years of research
and writing on the controversial and complex subject to make this
narrative collection of documents illuminating and myth-shattering.
The second "relic of barbarism," as the Republican Party platform of
1856 characterized polygamy, was believed by the Saints to be God's
law, trumping the laws of a mere republic. The long struggle for what
was, and for some fundamentalists remains, religious freedom still
resonates in American religious law. Throughout the West, thousands of
families continue the practice, even In the face of LDS Church
The book includes a bibliography and an index. It is bound in rich
blue linen cloth, two-color foil stamped spine and front cover.
About the Author Carmon Hardy is an Emeritus Professor of History at
California State University, Fullerton, where he still teaches. He is
the author of Solemn Covenant: The Mormon Polygamous Passage (1992),
which was awarded the best book award by the Mormon Historical
Association. In addition to his extensive published writings on
Mormonism, he has also published in the fields of American
Constitutional History and the History of Religion.