Polygamy has deep roots in Utah’s history and in the history of the Church of the Latter-day Saints. Many mainstream Mormons once believed, and many fundamentalists still believe, that only men in plural marriages will get to heaven. But, to ensure Utah would get statehood, the Mormon Church swore off polygamy in the 1890s.
Even so, polygamous communities continued to exist through the American West and in Canada and Mexico. And in recent years, authorities in the state adopted a “don’t ask, don’t tell” stance, Shurtleff said.
One reason was that the politically powerful Mormon Church, while officially opposing polygamy, did not want the bad press strict enforcement might bring. Another reason was that law enforcement was worried that isolated polygamist communities would erupt in violence if raided. An internal memo at the Arizona attorney general’s office in 2002 spoke of a “Waco-level problem” among the polygamous communities along the Utah state line.
Shurtleff said he decided to confront polygamy’s darker side and leave the more mainstream communities alone…
The piece doesn’t mention the presidential elephant in the room. Instead it references Big Love as helpful in practicioners’ “quest to decriminalize bigamy” (Is the HBO show really helpful to polygamists?)
Anyway, the Romney camp ought to be happy about it. Get this stuff out in the open early. Then jump to the increasingly famous Irish Catholic view:
The First Wives’ Club [Kate O’Beirne]
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Governor Mitt Romney’s great-grandfather had multiple wives and two great-great grandfathers had 10 wives each. The article allows that Romney “is a confirmed monogamist of nearly four decades and polygamy has been absent from his family going back two generations.” While some might note the upside of generously sharing those handsome Romney genes in the past, current history is noteworthy. Should Mitt Romney join a 2008 race that included John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich and George Allen, the only guy in the GOP field with only one wife would be the Mormon.