Implementing the Manifesto

Loyalty Oath

Despite Woodruff’s manifesto in 1890, polygamy did not completely vanish from the Mormon landscape, as the years 1890-1911 were a “period of ambiguity” as some members continued to practice polygamy.[1] However, this transition phase marked a clear split as fundamental members, or those who continued to practice polygamy, split from the Church of Latter-Day Saints who upheld Woodruff’s stance.

            However eventually, church leaders, such as Herber J. Grant, took active steps to sever the Church's association with polygamy. In the 1930s, Church required suspected fundamentalist Mormons to sign a “loyalty oath” in which the individual had to pledge that they did not practice or advocate polygamy; any violation of this agreement would result in excommunication.[2]

            Although Woodruff’s manifesto clearly severed the Church from polygamy, the years following the reform resulted in a transition period as family structures were redefined. However, as the new Church leaders emerged, they continued to uphold the doctrine, and sought to disassociate the church from polygamy.

[1] Ken Driggs. “Twentieth-Century Polygamy and Fundamentalist Mormons in Southern Utah,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 24 (1991): 44-58. Accessed Tuesday October 18, 2011, doi:, 44.

[2] Driggs "Twentieth-Century Polygamy and Fundamentalist Mormons in Southern Utah," 45.

The Mormon Problem Solved

Titled "The Mormon Problem Solved," this cartoon depicts how the the Mormons were viewed unfavorably in American Society, as well as how their plural marriages created familiy structures which were viewed to be incompatible with American society. There was much confusion following the abandonment of polygamy, and the nation was not quite sure what to do with all of the established Mormon families.