Doctrine & Covenants
Illinois State Law Prohibit Polygamy

Polygamy Was Against the Law

Polygamy was against the law in Illinois. An Illinois state law was enacted February 12, 1833:

    "Bigamy consists in the having of two wives or two husbands at one and the same time, knowing that the former husband or wife is still alive. If any person or persons within the State, being married, or who shall hereafter marry, do at any time marry any person or persons, the former husband or wife being alive, the person so offended shall, on conviction thereof, be punished by a fine, not exceeding one thousand dollars, and imprisoned in the penitentiary, not exceeding two years." (Revised Laws of Illinois, Vandalia: Greiner & Sherman, 1833, pg. 198-199).

Polygamy was against the Doctrine and Covenants

The first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants (1835) included a section on LDS Marriages:

    "Inasmuch as this Church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication and polygamy, we declare that we believe that one man should have one wife, and one woman but one husband, except in the case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again." (History of the Church, vol. 2, pg. 247, it is interesting to note that this section in the D&C was in every single edition until 1876 when the D&C first included D&C 132).

One of the best books on the subject of Mormon polygamy is "Mormon Polygamy; A History", by Richard S. Van Wagoner, Signature Books, Salt Lake City, 1989, 2nd edition.

Another source which may be helpful is Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, vol. 29, No. 2 "A Trajectory of Plurality: An Overview of Joseph Smith's Thirty-three Plural Wives".

Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, vol. 27, No.l, Spring 1994 "Nauvoo Roots of Mormon Polygamy, 1841-46: A Preliminary Demographic Report" by George D. Smith. pp.1-72.

Last Updated February 14, 1997
Copyright © 1997, All Rights Reserved.
Created by James David,