Church Posts Two Academic Essays on History of Plural Marriage

Contributed By Tad Walch, Deseret News

  • 28 October 2014

The Church has posted two academically rich essays on the topic of plural marriage and its role in early Church history in the Gospel Topics section of LDS.org.

Article Highlights

  • Twelve essays on history and doctrine are available on LDS.org.
  • Church leaders want to provide resources to members with the best available information.
  • Essays can be found on the Gospel Topics page.

“I think in this day and age it’s become apparent that we really do need to provide a series of answers that will help our members better understand these chapters of our history.” —Elder Steven E. Snow of the Seventy and Church Historian and Recorder

The Church posted two lengthy new essays on its website October 22 about plural marriage in early Church history.

The polygamy essays continue the Church’s new practice, begun last November, of publishing academically rich essays at LDS.org about its history and doctrine.

One essay is titled “Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo.” The other is “The Manifesto and the End of Plural Marriage.”

Links to the two new essays can be found by clicking on a general LDS.org page on plural marriage, “Plural Marriage in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” That page also includes a link to a third essay, “Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah,” released earlier this year.

The Church now has released a dozen new essays on history and doctrine since November 2013, each addressing popular online LDS topics. Some of those topics have had a tendency to become “sensationalized” attacks on the Church’s history or doctrine, Elder Steven E. Snow of the Seventy and Church Historian and Recorder, said last year.

He said Church leaders are providing the essays to help members study the topics with the best information available.

“I think in this day and age it’s become apparent that we really do need to provide a series of answers that will help our members better understand these chapters of our history,” Elder Snow said.

The essays are published in the Gospel Topics section of LDS.org, which is found by going to the LDS.org home page and clicking on the “Teachings” link.

Church leaders want the Gospel Topics section of LDS.org to become a focus of gospel study for Church members. The Church’s relatively new curriculum for teens is online only, and much of it is drawn from links to content on Gospel Topics pages. The Church is preparing a new adult curriculum that similarly will be online oriented and draw on Gospel Topics content.

Online curriculum can be updated quickly and cost effectively to reflect new research and new talks by Church leaders.

Some of the essays released in the past year, like “Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham,” “First Vision Accounts,” and “Book of Mormon Translation,” are listed on the Gospel Topics page under the tab “Topics of Current Interest.”

Other essays include “Race and the Priesthood,” “Book of Mormon and DNA Studies,” and “Are Mormons Christians?