Question: Why did Joseph keep the doctrine of plural marriage private?

Table of Contents

Question: Why did Joseph keep the doctrine of plural marriage private?

The Saints would have suffered negative consequences

Keeping the doctrine private was also necessary because the enemies of the Church would have used it as another justification for their assault on the Saints. Orson Hyde looked back on the Nauvoo days and indicated what the consequences of disclosure would have been:

In olden times they might have passed through the same circumstances as some of the Latter-day Saints had to in Illinois. What would it have done for us, if they had known that many of us had more than one wife when we lived in Illinois? They would have broken us up, doubtless, worse than they did.[1]

It is thus important to realize that the public preaching of polygamy—or announcing it to the general Church membership, thereby informing the public by proxy—was simply not a feasible plan.

Notes

  1. Orson Hyde, "The Marriage Relations," (6 October 1854) Journal of Discourses 2:75-75.