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More Wives Than One Transformation of the Mormon Marriage System, 1840-1910 cover
  • ISBN: 9780252026812
  • ISBN10: 0252026810

More Wives Than One Transformation of the Mormon Marriage System, 1840-1910

by Kathryn M. Daynes

  • List Price: $34.95
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Illinois Pr
  • Publish date: 10/01/2001
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When Joseph Smith announced his revelation that plural marriage was essential to attaining the highest level of eternal salvation, he introduced what became the most notorious aspect of Mormon culture. More Wives Than One offers the first in-depth look at the long-term interaction between belief and the practice of polygamy, or plural marriage, among the Latter-day Saints.Focusing on the small community of Manti, Utah, Kathryn M. Daynes shows that plural marriage encompassed several forms of marriage endorsed by the church, each with its own rights and responsibilities. She gives a clear picture of the factors shaping the practice, who was likely to enter into a plural marriage, and how the practice dovetailed with Mormon convictions about the crucial role of families in solving social problems. She also explicates the web of beliefs about God-centered marriages and familial responsibility that underlay how plural marriage was experienced.During the frontier period, territorial laws in Utahallowed the Saints sufficient autonomy to develop their distinctive marriage patterns. As settlement progressed, however, the federal government -- prodded by late nineteenth-century family reformers -- took an increasingly aggressive role in squelching anomalous practices of both marriage and divorce, eroding the ability of plural wives and children to inherit and ultimately disfranchising women and polygamists.Cogent and impeccably documented, More Wives Than One will enlighten both scholars and general readers on an intriguing and much-misunderstood chapter of Mormon history.
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