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Manifesto Definition

Manfiesto. A declaration signed by fourth LDS President Wilford Woodruff in 1890, officially promising the abolition of the practice of polygamy. This was in response to allegations that Mormon leaders were still teaching and encouraging the practice of plural marriage even though it was illegal. Woodruff claimed these charges were false and that the leaders were not “teaching polygamy or plural marriage, nor permitting any person to enter into its practice.” Long after this promise was made, future presidents Joseph F. Smith and Heber J. Grant were arrested, tried, and convicted of unlawful co-habitation (polygamy). Early Mormon leaders taught the doctrine of polygamy could not be overturned since this was an essential step to godhood. Interestingly, Wilford Woodruff, who signed the Manifesto in 1890, made this statement in 1869: “If we were to do away with polygamy, it would only be one feather in the bird, one ordinance in the Church and kingdom. Do away with that, then we must do away with prophets and Apostles, with revelation and the gifts and graces of the Gospel, and finally give up our religion altogether and turn sectarians …” (Journal of Discourses 13:166).

For an article on polygamy, click here. For a blog article on this topic, click here.

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