What emerges is a portrait that neither discounts nor exaggerates the historical evidence. He presents polygamy in context, neither condemning nor defending, while relevant contemporary accounts are treated sympathetically but interpreted critically. No period of Mormon history is emphasized over another. The result is a systematic view that is unavailable in studies of isolated periods or in the repetitions of folklore that only disguise the reality of what polygamy was.
Scattered throughout the western United States today are an estimated 30,000 fundamentalist Mormons who still live âthe principle.â They, too, are a part of Joseph Smithâs legacy and are included in this study.
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