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Joseph Smith's Practice of Plural Marriage

Author: Brian C. Hales

In the revelation on eternal marriage, section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants, several doctrinal reasons are given for the sometimes authorized practice of polygamy.

The Prophet Joseph Smith reported an angel appeared to him in 1834, directing him to practice plural marriage and introduce it among the Saints. However, the monogamous traditions of Church members and nonmembers created a huge obstacle to the open practice of that commandment.

Further challenges came as Joseph implemented the principle in Nauvoo. The thin historical record complicates reconstructing a true picture of those first plural marriages. A review of of the Prophet's decisions as he introduced and practiced polygamy reveals some strange dynamics at times, but nothing that was morally sinful in light of Joseph's teachings regarding eternal marriage. 

Learn more about this topic in A Reason for Faith: Navigating LDS Doctrine and Church History