Utah Polygamists: A Look at Their Belief System, Practices, and History

    Utah polygamists
    Utah polygamists

    A Glimpse of Polygamy in Utah

    Plural marriage is illegal in Utah, and it’s a felony to have more than one spouse at once. Even if you are married to only one person, it can still be polygamous. If you have a wife who has been granted or is being granted a divorce from her husband, she will no longer be your “spouse,” and you will not be able to marry another woman until that divorce is finalized.

    Suppose you are already married to someone else. In that case, you cannot legally marry another person until the first marriage ends—the legal definition of polygamy: The act of having more than one spouse at the same time. In 2013, Utah passed Senate Bill 347, making it illegal to live together as plural families unless legally married. In 2014, Governor Gary Herbert signed House Bill 53 into law, criminalizing bigamy.

    Utah outlawed polygamy after the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS renounced polygamy. This happened in 1890 when church president Wilford Woodruff issued an official statement saying, “We denounce all so-called plural marriages.” Today, three laws prohibit polygamy in Utah:

    1) Bigamy – A second marriage license may not issue to anyone other than the applicant’s spouse.

    2) Incest – Consensual sex between family members is prohibited.

    3) Marriage Fraud – A man must obtain permission before marrying his stepdaughter.
    Under Utah law, any spouse who marries without their partner’s consent is guilty of a class B misdemeanor. People convicted of this crime face up to 6 months in jail and fines of $1,000.

    Why Do People Marry More Than One Person?

    People marry more than one person because they fall in love with more than one person. Some people find themselves matching several different people simultaneously, and others choose to marry several people at once. Sometimes, people marry several people at once because they feel like they can’t commit fully to any single partner.

    Can a woman have multiple husbands in Utah?

    A woman in Utah has the right to choose which man she wants to marry. However, her choice does not affect her rights under the law. Any marriage performed for tax benefits and social security benefits is invalid. Furthermore, if a woman chooses to marry more than one man, she loses her right to claim any benefits associated with the previous spouses.

    However, if a woman wants to marry two different men, she can do so. If both spouses are divorced, then they can remarry to each other.

    How bad is polygamy in Utah?

    While polygamy is illegal in Utah, it is still practiced by many people. Some estimates say that as many as 20,000 polygamist families live in the state. This is thought to be only a tiny portion of the total number of polygamous marriages performed annually. Many of these marriages take place in secret and often involve underage girls. Because of the secrecy involved, the exact numbers remain unknown.

    What are the Notable polyamorous organizations in Utah?

    Alliance of Polyamory Activists is a nonprofit organization founded in 2001. APA
    helps educate the public about polyamory. They also offer support groups,
    conferences, workshops, and classes. Polyamory Awareness Week is a yearly event held during the third week of May, and the Polyamory Leadership Network organizes it.
    Polyamory Anonymous is a 12-step program for those interested in practicing
    polyamory. PAAN began in 1999 and had over 400 active members worldwide.
    Polyamory USA is a nonprofit group dedicated to providing education and resources
    regarding polyamory.

    Polyamory Weekly is a biweekly online magazine published by the National
    Organization for Attraction and Relationship Education, a 501 educational resource
    center based in New York City.

    Polyamory Workshop is a website created by Dr. Phil Zuckerman. He offers advice
    on relationships, sexuality, and polyamory.

    Utah Polyamory Association is a national nonprofit organization headquartered in
    Salt Lake City, Utah. They host events and provide information about polyamory
    through their website, newsletter, and radio show.

    Utah’s First Poly Family Resource Center was established in 2009 by a coalition of
    individuals committed to creating positive outcomes for children and youth affected
    by polygamous households. The PFRC provides comprehensive services, including
    legal advocacy, foster care placement assistance, counseling, case management,
    parent training, and community outreach.

    Polyamory Online is a free newsletter written by Dr. Phil Zukerberg. He shares
    articles and stories about polyamory from around the world.

    Polygamy is about to be decriminalized in Utah. Is it good news for women?

    The proposed new legislation would make it easier for polygamous couples to get married and have multiple partners at once. While this may seem like a good idea, critics argue that such laws create an unsafe environment for women who want to leave or escape a relationship. Critics fear that polygamy will lead to the abuse and exploitation of young girls.

    What kind of culture encourages polygamy?

    Polygamy is encouraged by fundamentalist Mormon religions. These religious groups believe that God commanded them to practice plural marriage, and members of fundamentalist sects believe that polygamy is a commandment from God.

    How Polyamorists and Polygamists Are Challenging Family Norms?

    Many people think that polygamy is a relic of history, and however, polygamy has been practiced by various cultures and faiths throughout history. Today, we see it practiced in places like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Sudan, and even within certain Fundamentalist sects like Mormonism.


    The polygamist movement has existed as long as polygamy itself. Some believe it began with Joseph Smith, the Latter-day Saints church founder, while others argue that it goes back hundreds of years earlier. Some sources suggest that the earliest recorded cases of polygamy were among the ancient Aztecs.


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