- The historical context of polygamy in the 1800s
- Why some Mormon girls were forced into polygamy
- The psychological impact of being forced into polygamy
- The physical impact of being forced into polygamy
- The social impact of being forced into polygamy
- The economic impact of being forced into polygamy
- The legal impact of being forced into polygamy
- The religious impact of being forced into polygamy
- The political impact of being forced into polygamy
- The current debate over polygamy in the Mormon Church
Many people are unaware that in the 1800s, Mormon girls were often forced to marry older men. This was done in order to keep the girls “pure” and to ensure that they would be able to have children. While this practice has long since been abandoned, it’s still an interesting part of Mormon history.
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The historical context of polygamy in the 1800s
In the early 1800s, polygamy was practiced by a small minority of Americans, mostly in the western states. In 1887, the U.S. Congress passed the Edmunds-Tucker Act, which made polygamy a felony. This law was primarily aimed at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), whose members were practicing polygamy. The LDS Church discontinued the practice of polygamy in 1890, and it has not been practiced since then.
There is no evidence that Mormon girls were forced to marry in the 1800s. In fact, LDS Church leaders taught that polygamy should only be practiced with the consent of all parties involved. In some cases, girls did marry older men who already had wives, but this was generally done with the consent of both the girl and her parents. Some girls also married men who were much older than they were, but again, this was done with the consent of both parties.
Polygamy was often difficult for Mormon women in the 1800s because it meant living in a household with multiple wives and sometimes sharing a husband with other wives. It was not an easy lifestyle, but it was one that Mormon women chose voluntarily.
Why some Mormon girls were forced into polygamy
In the early days of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, polygamy—or “plural marriage,” as it was called—was practiced by a small number of church members. The practice began during Joseph Smith’s lifetime but became publicly and formally acknowledged in 1852 when Brigham Young, Smith’s successor as church president, introduced the doctrine of polygamy to Mormon families gathered in Salt Lake City.
For more than half a century, Latter-day Saints practiced polygamy as a religious principle. The church formally abandoned the practice in 1890 as part of its effort to gain statehood for Utah. Although no longer sanctioned by the church, polygamy is still practiced by some Mormon splinter groups in Utah and elsewhere.
During the 19th century, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often called Mormons) were forced to move from place to place because of religious persecution. In Utah, they found relief from this persecution. However, once they arrived in Utah, they faced new challenges. One challenge was that there was a shortage of women compared to men. In order to marry and have families, some men took more than one wife. This practice is called polygamy.
Some women were forced into polygamy against their will. They were told that if they did not agree to enter into a polygamous marriage, they would be excommunicated from the church and would not be able to go to heaven and be with their families forever. These women had no choice but to agree to enter into a polygamous marriage even though they did not want to do so.
Polygamy was a controversial practice in the 1800s and continues to be today. Some people feel that it is unfair to the women who were forced into these marriages while others believe that it was a way for men to provide for their families given the shortage of women at that time.
The psychological impact of being forced into polygamy
In the 1800s, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) — more commonly known as the Mormon church — practiced polygamy. This meant that men could have more than one wife, and some men had dozens. While polygamy is no longer practiced by the Mormon church, it has had a long-lasting impact on the mental health of women who were forced into these marriages.
Polygamy was first introduced to the Mormon church in 1843 by church founder Joseph Smith. At first, it was only practiced by a small number of Church members, but after Smith’s death in 1844, Brigham Young, who took over as Church leader, began to advocate for it more openly. In 1852, he publicly announced that polygamy was a doctrine of the Church.
This caused a split in the Church, with many members leaving to form their own denominations. The practice of polygamy also resulted in hostility from the US government, who saw it as a violation of women’s rights. In 1862, Congress passed a law prohibiting polygamy, and in 1890, the Mormon church officially abandoned the practice.
However, even though polygamy is no longer practiced by the Mormon church, there are still many women who were forced into these marriages in the 1800s who are alive today. And for many of them, the psychological effects of being forced into polygamy are still very real.
Some women who were forced into polygamy have spoken about feeling like they were nothing more than property or chattel. They were often treated like commodities by their husbands and other members of the community, and their worth was based solely on their ability to bear children. This can lead to feelings of insecurity and low self-worth.
Other effects of being forced into polygamy include anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Some women report feeling like they are constantly living in fear — both of their husbands and of being discovered by authorities. This can lead to difficulty trusting people and problems with forming intimate relationships.
If you are a woman who was forced into polygamy in the 1800s, or if you know someone who was, there is help available. There are counselors who specialize in helping people deal with the psychological effects of being forced into polygamy, and there are support groups where you can share your experiences with others who understand what you’re going through.
The physical impact of being forced into polygamy
In the 1800s, Mormon girls as young as 14 were often forced into polygamy by their church leaders. This practice continued until the early 1900s, when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) officially banned polygamy. While polygamy is no longer practiced by the LDSchurch, some breakaway Mormon groups still engage in it.
The physical impact of being forced into polygamy can be significant. Women in polygamous relationships are often treated as property and have little say in when or how often they have sex. They may also be required to share their husband with other wives, which can lead to feelings of jealousy and competition. Additionally, polygamous relationships are not recognized by the government, which means that women in these relationships do not have the same legal protections as monogamous couples.
In the 1800s, some Mormon girls were forced into polygamy by their parents or Church leaders. This meant that they had to marry more than one husband at a time. The most famous case is that of Ann Eliza Webb, who was forced to marry her first husband, Brigham Young, when she was just 16 years old. She later divorced him and wrote a book about her experiences.
Some girls were able to escape from their polygamous marriages. Others were not so lucky. Some were forced to live in secluded compounds, where they were not allowed to leave or to contact the outside world.
The practice of polygamy had a significant social impact on these girls and women. Many of them were unable to get an education or to have careers. They were also often mistreated by their husbands and families.
The economic impact of being forced into polygamy
In the 1800s, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormon church, practiced polygamy. This allowed men to have multiple wives and created a shortage of marriageable women in Utah Territory, where the majority of Mormons lived. As a result, many girls as young as 14 were forced into polygamy by being married off to older men.
This practice not only had a profound impact on the girls involved, but also on the Utah economy. According to estimates, if these marriages had not been forced, the state would have had an additional $1.6 billion in income and 37,000 more jobs in 2005 alone.
The practice of polygamy was officially ended by the Mormon church in 1890. However, the impact of being forced into polygamy is still felt by many women and their families today.
The legal impact of being forced into polygamy
In the early 1800s, polygamy was practiced by some members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, though it was not generally publicized nor accepted by non-Mormon Americans. In 1852, Church leaders taught that polygamy was a divine commandment. From then on, Mormon leaders continued to practice polygamy and encouraged other Church members to do so as well.
At the time, the United States government was opposed to the practice of polygamy and began passing laws to make it illegal. In 1862, Congress passed the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act, which prohibited polygamy in US territories. In 1882, Congress enacted the Edmunds Act, which strengthened anti-polygamy laws by making it a felony to practice polygamy or cohabitate with multiple wives.
The enforcement of these laws led to the arrests and imprisonment of Mormon men who practiced polygamy. Some of these men were forced to give up their wives and children in order to avoid jail time. The wives and children often ended up living in poverty without any means of support.
In 1890, Church leaders issued a manifesto that officially discontinued the practice of polygamy. However, some Mormon splinter groups continue to practice polygamy today.
The religious impact of being forced into polygamy
While it is true that some girls in the 1800s were married to much older men, it is important to understand the religious context of these marriages. In many cases, these marriages were considered a religious duty and the girls were not forced into them against their will. In fact, many of these girls viewed polygamy as a way to serve God and help their families.
The political impact of being forced into polygamy
In the 1800s, some Mormon girls were forced to marry older men who already had wives. This practice, called polygamy, was made illegal in the United States in 1862. But it wasn’t outlawed in Utah Territory until 1887.
Forced marriage was a controversial political issue in the late 1800s. Some people argued that polygamy was a form of slavery and that the Mormon Church was violating the Constitution by forcing women into polygamy. Others claimed that polygamy was a religious practice that should be protected by the First Amendment.
The issue came to a head in 1890 when Congress passed a law that would have made it illegal for the Mormon Church to exist. In response, the Church issued a “manifesto” that officially banned polygamy.
The current debate over polygamy in the Mormon Church
In recent years, there has been a great deal of debate over polygamy in the Mormon Church. Some members of the Church believe that polygamy was a practiced forced upon Mormon girls in the 1800s, while others claim that it was a choice that girls were free to make.
There is no doubt that polygamy was practiced by some members of the Mormon Church in the 1800s. However, there is no evidence to suggest that it was practiced universally or that it was forced upon Mormon girls against their will. In fact, many girls who were married polygamously later spoke out in favor of the practice, claiming that it allowed them to be sealed to more than one husband and that it gave them greater opportunities for spiritual growth.