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Following the death of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young would use Celestial marriage to bind his people together and provide for vulnerable women by making them plural wives. But Joseph’s contemporaries would put an end to plural marriage less than 50 years following Joseph’s covenant with Louisa Beaman.
Chapter 26, Collecting the Sorrowful, looks at how Brigham Young first secured the support of the Mormon majority, then used plural marriage to provide for vulnerable women, including the secret widows of Joseph Smith.
Chapter 27, For Eternity and Time, discusses how Brigham Young used temple sealing to bind his people together, providing living partners for widows and widowers who desired to be sealed to their deceased spouses.
Chapter 28, Eradicating Spiritual Wifery, looks at how Brigham Young continued to fear an emergence of the illicit intercourse heresy. Brigham would use excommunication and his control of marriage to consolidate control and protect the faithful.
Chapter 29, Fifty Years in the Wilderness, reviews the way plural marriage interacted with the pioneer period of Mormon history. We see Brigham Young’s defiant confidence that plural marriage was constitutional give way to John Taylor’s pleading with God to end the New and Everlasting Covenant. Finally, with Wilford Woodruff, we see how the New and Everlasting Covenant was retained while terminating the practice of mortal plural marriage.
Chapter 30, Days of Defiance, looks at the rebellion of three young apostles as they fought against the end of plural marriage. These rebellious apostles were silenced, but others would take up the banner of polygamy.
Chapter 31, God’s Strange Act: A Legacy, looks at the modern Church, marriage, and how Celestial marriage is used to bind families together across all generations. If you only have time to read one chapter, this is the chapter I recommend you read.
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