If you're not sure what a Mormon is, let alone a Mormon Mention, allow me to explain: My name is Susan and I'm a Mormon (you've seen the commercials, right?). As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (commonly known as the Mormon or LDS Church), I'm naturally concerned with how my religion is portrayed in the media. Because this blog is about books, every time I see a reference to Mormonism in a book written by someone who is not a member of my church, I highlight it here. Then, I offer my opinion—my insider's view—of what the author is saying. It's my chance to correct misconceptions, expound on principles of the Gospel, and even to laugh at my (sometimes) crazy Mormon culture.
In The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santo, an 89-year-old woman is talking about her husband's family history. She says:
"His family had been Mormon—his mother married to a man with seventeen other wives until it had become illegal" (276).
Oh, polygamy! Somehow, despite all the amazing things the LDS Church has accomplished in its history, the millions of acts of service and love its God-fearing members perform every single day, it's still most widely-known for its polygamist past. Let me make this as clear as I possibly can: Polygamy was practiced by early members of the LDS Church, but the practice was officially stopped in 1890. Members of the modern, mainstream LDS Church do not practice polygamy and have not for over 100 years.
The best explanation of the history of plural marriage in the church can be found here, on LDS.org: http://www.lds.org/topics/polygamy-plural-marriage?lang=eng
Please understand that when you hear about modern "Mormons" practicing polygamy, they are generally members of "churches" that are offshoots of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but not affiliated with the main body of the LDS Church.
And, just in case you're wondering (because yes, I have been asked), my father has only one wife, as does my husband. In fact, although I do have ancestors who were polygamists, I've never met anyone who was married to more than one person at the same time. Too bad, because they probably would have been super interesting to talk to!
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