Mormon Polygamy

On July 12., 1843, apparently as a way of quieting opposition, including that of his first wife Emma, Joseph dictated to William Clayton the revelation on celestial marriage, but he had been taking plural wives well before, as had others of the hierarchy. In the last three or four years of his life, if Mrs. Brodie’s count is accurate, Joseph had taken forty-eight wives besides Emma. And though the doctrine of celestial marriage stressed responsibility and duty and greater glory in Heaven and even a sort of eugenics as its justifications, and though many of the priesthood, including Brigham Young, entered into it in anguish of spirit and only because it was God’s commandment, there is little evidence that to the full-blooded prophet polygamy was especially puritan.