““The Principle”” or plural marriage, as practiced by the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) during the nineteenth century, evolved to encompass a culture of life practices, ideas and meanings for the fundamentalist Mormon polygamists who continue in the practice to the present day. For the modern-day polygamists, the culture that surrounds this doctrine includes a set of learned behaviors and strategies, symbols, and a compelling vision of an ideal community. This highly effective culture has helped plurality persist and grow in the intermountain western part of the United States, perpetuating a belief system but also a distinctive lifestyle wrapped around the doctrine of a plurality of wives. This article sketches out the parameters of the culture of polygamy, describes the key groups that continue in the practice, and discusses the connection between the fundamentalist polygamist groups and individuals and the LDS Church.
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