By ADAM BASCOM
In light of the amount of national attention which polygamy has received, Elder Lance B. Wickman, Second Quorum of the Seventy said, “there really is no basis for there to be confusion about the position of the Church on this.”
“So if there is confusion out there, it’s not because the church has failed to make it abundantly clear what its position is on the matter,” he said.
First, the fact that polygamists are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In a recent interview of President Gordon B. Hinckley on “Larry King Live”, the issue of polygamy was addressed by the prophet. President Hinckley also reiterated the position in a speech a few days later
President Hinckley said that people who practiced polygamy had nothing to do with the church.
“Any man or woman who becomes involved in it is excommunicated,” President Hinckley said.
During a recent debate between Utah Democratic Party Chairwoman Meghan Holbrook and Republican Party Chairman Rob Bishop, the issue of polygamy was addressed to the attending audience.
Holbrook said she was concerned about the “polygamy abuse” that is sometimes associated with the practice of polygamy and suggested setting up programs to investigate and regulate polygamy.
“(Polygamy) is against the (Utah) Constitution. It’s illegal,” Bishop said.
The LDS Church has not practiced polygamy since 1890. Six years later is when Utah became a state and under the state constitution polygamy was outlawed.
Recent news stories concerning suspected polygamist John Daniel Kingston have caused a large amount of national attention to be drawn to Utah.
The center of the controversy is Hilldale, Washington County, a small town on the Utah-Arizona border. Hilldale was originally founded by polygamists and still remains a home to many polygamists.
Despite a statement released by the church on its website titled, “If you think that `Mormons’ still practice polygamy, you’re 100 years out of date,” some people argue that the statement is misleading.
An Internet site sponsored by the organization Trust The Truth Association, uses quotes from LDS material, then compares the information to quotes from the New International version Bible.
The quotes are meant to prove that the doctrine of polygamy, which is supposedly still supported by the church, is evil and then conclude the story with a plea to its believers: “We remind our readers that we do NOT seek to spread hatred or intolerance. We continue to encourage our readers to SHOW COMPASSION, and to PRAY FOR THOSE WHO ARE MEMBERS OF THE LDS `CHURCH’.”
The Polygamy Page is another website that has a place for people to advertise for polygamy. Whether it be a plea for more wives, a yearning to enter into an existing relationship or a simple desire to learn more about the practice of polygamy in general.
On this page we find people who proclaim to be `fundamentalist Mormon’, but according to a President Hinckley,”polygamous groups…are not `fundamentalist Mormons,’ any more than America is still a British colony.”
The LDS Church, “Defends the sanctity of marriage between one man and one wife,” President Hinckley said.
The issue of polygamy was also addressed at a meeting for the Utah Chapter of the National Organization for Women last year.
Elizabeth Joseph, an attorney, a journalist, and a Big Water, Kane County resident was the keynote speaker. Joseph, wife number 5 out of 8 in a plural marriage, stated her convictions on “Polygamy – the Ultimate Feminist Lifestyle” and said that this type of lifestyle allowed women to “have it all”.
“Polygamy is an empowering lifestyle for women,” Joseph said.
However, the Utah chapter of NOW, stated in a later news release that “NOW currently has no policy which addresses polygamy. No efforts were made at either the Utah State Conference or the National Conference last month to introduce such a resolution.”
Max Bertola, a BYU graduate and Utah resident, published an Internet article titled, “The Polygamy Story: The really challenging way to have a marriage.” The article addresses some of the hardships that accompanied the practice of polygamy.
“Polygamy, or plural marriage, was practiced by a small percentage of the Mormon pioneers and is perhaps the most misunderstood practice of all Mormondom,” Bertola said.
Bertola said that supporting plural wives, financially and emotionally, was never an easy thing to do, as many men now could attest from being married to only one.