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LDS Church publishes two new essays on past history of plural marriage

The LDS Church posted two new essays online Wednesday.
The LDS Church posted two new essays online Wednesday. screenshot

SALT LAKE CITY — The LDS Church posted two lengthy new essays on its website Wednesday about plural marriage in the faith's early history.

The polygamy essays continue the church's new practice, begun last November, of publishing academically rich essays at about its history and doctrine.

One essay is titled "Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo" and includes 55 footnotes. The other is "The Manifesto and the End of Plural Marriage," which has 53 footnotes.

Links to the two new essays can be found by clicking on a general page on plural marriage, "Plural Marriage in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." That page also includes a link to a third essay, "Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah," released earlier this year.

The church now has released a dozen new essays on history and doctrine since November, each addressing popular online LDS topics. Some of those topics have had a tendency to become "sensationalized" attacks on the church's history or doctrine, church historian Steven E. Snow said last year. He said church leaders are providing the essays to help members study the topics with the best information available.

"I think in this day and age it's become apparent that we really do need to provide a series of answers that will help our members better understand these chapters of our history," Snow said.

The essays are published in the Gospel Topics section of, which is found by going to the website's home page and clicking on the "Teachings" link.

Church leaders want the Gospel Topics section of to become a focus of gospel study for church members. The church's relatively new curriculum for teens is online only, and much of it is drawn from links to content on Gospel Topics pages. The church is preparing a new adult curriculum that similarly will be online-oriented and draw on Gospel Topics content.

Online curriculum can be updated quickly and cost-effectively to reflect new research and new talks by church leaders.

Some of the essays released in the past year are listed on the Gospel Topics page under the tab "topics of current interest," like "Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham," "First Vision Accounts" and "Book of Mormon Translation."

Other essays include "Race and the Priesthood," "Book of Mormon and DNA Studies" and "Are Mormons Christians?"