Study shows Mormon women fear eternal polygamy

The Indianapolis Indiana Temple of the LDS.(Facebook/LDS)

The idea of polygamy being practiced in eternity by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) is still hurting women and men even though the practice has already been banned, according to author Carol Lynn Pearson who recently conducted a survey among 8,000 LDS members on the subject.

In the study, 85 percent of the LDS members opposed the doctrine of plural marriage, with some of them revealing personal stories of extreme pain and difficulty in dealing with the subject, according to Religion News Service.

The survey showed only 15 percent approved of polygamy, with those who approve it saying that they trust God and believe that the issue would all be worked out in heaven.

Pearson is the author of the book "The Ghost of Eternal Polygamy: Haunting the Hearts and Heaven of Mormon Women and Men," which delves on the issue of polygamy in the LDS.

While polygamy has been banned by LDS, the author says "it has only been postponed, a fact confirmed by thousands of 'eternal sealings' giving a man an assurance that he will claim as wives in heaven the two, three, or even more women he has sequentially married during his lifetime," according to Amazon.com.

According to Religion News Service, Pearson's book shows "that the idea of plural marriage being practiced in eternity is hurting women and men in the here and now."

About the survey, Pearson says, "This may be the most egregious 'women's issue' that is still floating out there with no one addressing it. This can't continue, because it's just too damaging."

She says the issue of polygamy is still "alive and unwell."

"Everyone sort of knows that D&C 132 is still there, and that Emma Smith was told she would be destroyed if she wouldn't go along with it. But the very specific ways that polygamy damages people in the Mormon community came out in the responses," she says.

One woman told her about her constant fear that if she dies young, her husband will remarry.

"And this will be her lot in eternity, an eternity that she now fears with all her heart," she said.

One woman wrote that "knowing that you may have to watch your beloved also love another someday—even by commandment!—makes you hold back, just a little, so that something of you can be left when the blow comes."

According to the LDS website, the practice of plural marriage was instituted by Joseph Smith among church members in the 1840s. For more than half a century, polygamy was practiced by LDS.

In 1890, LDS president Wilford Woodruff issued a statement ending the practice of plural marriage in the church.

When asked if she sees any recent change in the church's position on polygamy, Pearson said, "Some few years ago, there was a little bit of a shift in that a deceased woman could be sealed to all of the men she had been married to in this life, so long as all of them were now dead. The idea is that she will choose which one she wants to be with after death."

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