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Mormons & Polygamy

Reader comment on item: Westerners Welcome Harems
in response to reader comment: Mormons aren't polygamists

Submitted by Jason Alder (United States), Nov 28, 2008 at 10:10

Pigpen -

I know that Mormons WERE polygamists.... over 100 years ago. That's really no secret. It was outlawed by their church in 1890, to be exact. In my book, that's not very recent American history. Look at the landscape in 1890: the Civil War had only been over for 20 years and its mess was still being cleaned up. AZ, UT, ID, AK, and HI were still years from being states, the Civil Rights act was still 70-something years from being passed... a lot has happened since then.

But we don't still call the South "segregationist", we commonly refer to the aforementioned territories as "states" (rather than territories). The fact that African-Americans are allowed to vote is common knowledge. Etc, etc, etc. Although we seemed to have accepted these changes and incorporated them into our vernacular and ideation, much of the media refuse stop calling Mormons polygamists. This doesn't happen with more churches; there are a growing number of churches who have only recently begun ordaining women as ministers, yet the media (and the public) don't seem to have a problem picking up on these religions' change in policy and filing it away into their collective memory banks, so that they don't continue to refer to all of their preachers as "he".

The issue isn't whether or not the Mormons ever practiced Polygamy, which they clearly did. The issue is that it has been denounced in their church for over a century, giving journalists (and Americans in general) sufficient time to pick up on this fact, report it correctly, and stop referring to the Mormons as something they are not.


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