In the last couple of years, there has been increased media attention to groups practicing polygamy, such as the Texas sect in 2008. This attention has again stirred confusion about whether Mormons practice polygamy.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has 14 million members worldwide and is what you think of when you hear the term “Mormon Church.” Common images include the 150 temples worldwide, the 50,000 Mormon missionaries in slacks, shirts and ties, and the thousands of meetinghouses throughout the world.
In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, polygamy is not permitted or practiced and has not been for more than 100 hundred years. President Gordon B. Hinckley clearly stated in a worldwide General Conference:
Then who are these ‘Mormon polygamist’ groups?
These sects that practice polygamy today are those that broke off from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at some point in its history. These sects are all very small, with the largest claiming only a few thousand members. Because their theological roots are similar to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, some reporters have mistakenly referred to these groups as “Mormons” or even the “Mormon Church.” It’s easy to see why this has caused confusion among the public when media outlets have often not made the clarification between these small break-off sects and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
As mistakes were repeatedly made in the coverage of the polygamist sect in Texas in 2008, Mormon leaders made a significant effort to correct these reports and encouraged journalists to provide responsible clarification and make it clear that there is no “Mormon polygamy” today.
How can you help with the confusion?
Since you now know and understand that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not practice polygamy, help correct others’ misconceptions! If you ever hear a comment about “Mormons” practicing polygamy, I’d encourage you to step up and share what you know.