How can we explain polygamy when someone asks about it?
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“How can we explain polygamy when someone asks about it?” New Era, November 2016

How can we explain polygamy when someone asks about it?

We believe that the marriage of one man and one woman is God’s standing law of marriage. But at various times throughout history, God has commanded certain people to practice plural marriage. In the Bible, for instance, we read about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and others who were told to take multiple wives. Though we don’t know all of the reasons God might command people to practice plural marriage, one reason mentioned in the Book of Mormon is to “raise up seed unto [the Lord]” (Jacob 2:30)—or to increase the number of children born in the covenant.

It’s important to understand that plural marriage in the Church in the 19th century was revealed through the Lord’s prophets (see D&C 132), that it was regulated (people entered into it only by invitation or approval of Church leaders), and that women could choose freely whether to be in a plural marriage or not. Also, it’s worth mentioning that Church members’ acceptance of this practice was a great trial of their faith. It was never easy. It went against cultural norms, laws, and, often, their own personal desires.

Through revelation, the Church ended plural marriage around the turn of the 20th century (see Official Declaration 1). Nobody is authorized to practice it today.