10 August 2012

Woodruff Replaces Taylor – Polygamy Goes Underground

Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, 2003, Excerpts

The whole of Mormondom was wobbling in the brink. With the death of Taylor in 1887, an eighty-two-year-old apostle Wilford Woodruff had been installed as the fourth Mormon prophet. And he recognized, with great pain, that the Kingdom of God had no choice by to surrender to Washington’s demands.

On October 6, 1890, Woodruff’s momentous revelation was formalized in a brief document that became known as “the Woodruff Manifesto,” or simply “the Manifesto,” but it did not end polygamy – it merely drove it underground. For the next two decades members of the Mormon First Presidency privately advised Saints that polygamy should be continued, albeit discretely, and top leaders of the church secretly performed numerous plural marriages.

These hard-core polygamists argued that the Manifesto had not revoked Section 132 of The Doctrine and Covenants, Joseph Smiths revelation about plural marriage, but that it merely suspended the practice under extenuating circumstances. They pointed out that D&C 132 was still an accepted part of Mormon scripture, as indeed, it remains today. They remained dedicated to the doctrines of Joseph Smith – to his doctrine of plural marriage, in particular.

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