Van Wagoner's book indicates that "[t]he total number of church- approved plural marriages between 1890-1904 numbered at least two hundred and fifty" with the greatest increase after Utah was granted statehood in 1896 (page 156).
This is not the first time I discovered the LDS Church leaders privately practicing polygamy while publicly denying it's existence. Even Joseph F. Smith, who became the sixth president of the LDS Church, plead guilty to violating the Utah state anti-polygamy law in 1906.
The Manifesto made by Wilford Woodruff and accepted unanimously by the LDS Church clearly indicated that "... the Latter-day Saints is to refrain from contracting any marriage forbidden by the law of the land."
Another example of where the LDS Church leaders publicly denied the practice of polygamy yet practiced it privately occurrs earlier in LDS history. In 1835, the first Doctrine and Covenants stated that "Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy; we declare that we beleive, 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." This article was unanimously accepted by the LDS Church body, and placed in every printed Doctrine and Covenants up until 1876 when D&C 132 (polygamy doctrine) took it's place.
So it is shown that the LDS Church clearly does not practice
privately what it teaches publicly (IMO). For more examples
of the denials of early LDS polygamy visit this link: