We have been studying the Doctrine and Covenants, as we do on a continuing basis. The Manifesto clearly states that entering into plural marriage was to be discontinued as of October 1890. Does this mean that those who had been married already to several wives could continue this practice or were they to chose one wife (family) and only support the others without intimate relationships? We understand that there were many children born to plural marriages after the Manifesto. Would that have been considered adultery in the eyes of the church? The Doctrine and Covenant Student Manual, Religion 324-325, does not clarify the question. Thank you.
I think that we had better read the Official Declaration 1 again. It does not state that plural marriages were to be discontinued as of October 1890. What President Woodruff did state was
“Press dispatches having been sent for political purposes, from Salt Lake City, which have been widely published, to the effect that the Utah Commission, in their recent report to the Secretary of the Interior, allege that plural marriages are still being solemnized and that forty or more such marriages have been contracted in Utah since last June or during the past year, also that in public discourses the leaders of the Church have taught, encouraged and urged the continuance of the practice of polygamy– I, therefore, as President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, do hereby, in the most solemn manner, declare that these charges are false. We are not teaching polygamy or plural marriage, nor permitting any person to enter into its practice, and I deny that either forty or any other number of plural marriages have during that period been solemnized in our Temples or in any other place in the Territory.”
When a test case on the law against polygamy was submitted to the appellate court for ajudication it is my understanding that the contracting of further plural marriages was curtailed. However, those plural marriages previously contracted, before any law was enacted against them, were defended by the Church as being legal and valid, and were continued without any restriction by the Church.