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Was it against the law to practice polygamy when the Mormons began doing it? I’m wondering since we believe in the 12th A of F to honor and obey the law of the land.
Marion, from Thermopolis, Wyoming

Dear Marion,
Polygamy was not against the law when the revelation to practice polygamy was given. Nor was it against the law when the practice first began. However, an antagonistic congress passed the law against polygamy in 1862. The Mormon Church appealed to the courts that the law was a violation of freedom of religion. During the 1860s and 1870s, the United States government passed legislation outlawing plural marriage and denying statehood and other rights to the Utah Territory and its citizens. The matter was brought before the United States Supreme Court, and in1879 the Supreme Court upheld the law. In 1882 and again in 1887, the United States Congress passed additional laws that allowed the federal government to dis-incorporate the Church as a legal entity and confiscate all Church property in excess of $50,000 (which included four temples in various stages of completion, the Tabernacle, meetinghouses, and many other properties). So on September 24, 1890, President Wilford Woodruff issued the Manifesto, terminating the practice of plural marriage in the Church.

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