Going Forward

In 1899 a Boston Magazine issued an apologetic portrayal of the Mormons as a people who had unjustly suffered discrimination. Despite the fact that their negative portrayal is unwarranted as “they are among the most industrious, moral, and law-abiding communities within the confines of the Republic…Their doctrinal tenants even are more progressive and rationalistic than the creeds of many other Christian sects. And no church organization could possibly be more democratic, and at the same time biblical.”[1] 

            Without the shadow of polygamy looming over their doctrines, the Church of Latter-Day Saints could continue to capitalize on such democratic rhetoric.

            Today 1.7% of the American population is Mormon, as church membership rates continue to grow.[2] However, a century following Woodruff’s Manifesto, much of American media and society continues to associate the Church with polygamy. In fact, every Church president since Woodruff has had to make an official statement declaring that the church does not condone polygamy.[3] Looking at this, clearly the Church’s historical ties to polygamy has tainted the LDS’s ability to integrate into American society, as it has put the Church on defense to claim that it’s members no longer practice polygamy.

            Given the historical background of the Mormon Church it is clear that polygamy was incompatible with 19th century American societal values. Once the Mormons detached themselves from this practice, they were more readily accepted into American society, although they are still bearing from the consequences from their former doctrines.  



[1] John Corrigan and Lynn S. Neal, Religious Intolerance in America (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2010), 96.

[2] U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life, June 2008. http://religions.pewforum.org/reports.

[3] http://lds.org/?lang=eng