Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Bradley, Martha Sonntag ; Roberts, Allen Dale
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Dialogue: Vol 26 No 2
How Common the Principle? Women as Plural Wives in 1860
How Common the Principle? Women as Plural Wives in 1860 Marie Cornwall, Camela Courtright, and Laga Van Beek THIS ESSAY EXAMINES HOW COMMON the practice of polygamy was in the Salt Lake Valley in 1860. We use census data, Ancestral File information, and data from family histories and biographies to estimate the number of women who were plural wives and the typical living arrangements for these women. We also ask if any differences existed based on ward characteristics. Three LDS wards are examined, the Thirteenth Ward (a well-to-do ward whose members formed the elite of Mormonism), the Twentieth Ward (a moderate income ward whose members were almost all immigrants), and the Mill Creek Ward (which covered the rural area of the valley and where members lived in farming households). Estimates of the number of women and men who actually practiced polygamy in nineteenth-century Utah are plentiful. But most available research is based on non-random samples or data from the 1880s, a period of great turmoil for Latter-day Saints and at least three decades after polygamy was openly practiced in the west. Our interest in estimating the number of women in plural marriages in 1860 is primarily sociological. Contemporary scholars have wondered why women participated in a practice so apparently contrary to their own best interests. Certainly religious doctrine and devotion to "building the Kingdom" encouraged devout Mormon women to enter into "the principle." But 1. Mill Creek Ward was the appropriate name and spelling for many years. However, by the time the history of the ward was published in pamphlet form, the spelling had changed to Millcreek Ward. 2. See Stanley S. Ivins, "Notes on Mormon Polygamy," Western Humanities Review 10 (1956): 229-39; Jessie L. Embry, Mormon Polygamous Families: Life in the Principle (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1987); and Lowell Bennion, "The Incident of Mormon Polygamy in 1880: 'Dixie' versus Davis Stake," Journal of Mormon History 11 (1984). 3. See Embry.
Cornwall, Marie ; Courtright, Camela ; Van Beek, Laga