More Wives Than One: Transformation of the Mormon Marriage System, 1840-1910

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ISBN-13: 978-0252075605
ISBN-10: 0252075609
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More Wives Than One: Transformation of the Mormon Marriage System, 1840-1910 + The Mormon Question: Polygamy and Constitutional Conflict in Nineteenth-Century America
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The most important study to date of plural marriage in nineteenth-century Utah." American Historical Review "The scope of Kathryn Daynes's book is truly breathtaking ... Absolutely essential for anyone who wants to understand Mormonism's nineteenth-century marriage relationships." Journal of Mormon History "An important contribution to our understanding of Mormonism... Subtle and informative, Daynes's book is social history at its best." Religious Studies Review "A clear and cogent explanation for the rules and regulations of the nineteenth-century Mormon marriage system...All subsequent study of this system must now begin with her work." Western Historical Quarterly

Book Description

More Wives Than One offers an in-depth look at the long-term interaction between belief and the practice of polygamy, or plural marriage, among the Latter-day Saints. Focusing on the small community of Manti, Utah, Kathryn M. Daynes provides an intimate view of how Mormon doctrine and Utah laws on marriage and divorce were applied in people's lives.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press (June 9, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252075609
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252075605
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #955,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Incorrect Item Reviewed on April 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Here is the review of MORE WIVES THAN ONE that I presented orally at the annual conference of the Mormon History Association in Tucson, Arizona, in May 2002:

As a non-Mormon historian and long-time member of the Mormon History Association who has devoted much of his scholarly life to trying to understand the development of 19th-century Mormon polygamy, I am very pleased to provide an assessment of Kathryn M. Daynes's remarkable new book, MORE WIVES THAN ONE: TRANSFORMATION OF THE MORMON MARRIAGE SYSTEM, 1840-1910. This extraordinary study clearly deserves the "best book of the year" award it has just received from this 1,000 member historical association.

For several decades now, first-rate scholarship has proliferated about Mormonism's most controversial 19th century social practice, plural marriage. Virtually every aspect of Mormon polygamy has been analyzed, discussed, and dissected from a variety of perspectives. Historians have explored the intellectual and social origins of the practice; how it worked in Utah during the second half of the 19th century; the crusade against Mormon polygamy that led to Wilford Woodruff's 1890 Manifesto ending public Latter-day Saint support for the practice; the post-Manifesto expressions of polygamy in splinter off-shoots from the Latter-day Saint movement; while comparative studies have analyzed Mormon polygamy within its larger American and world context.

These books have added immeasurably to our understanding of the remarkable complexity of Mormon plural marriage. No other study, however, can match Kathy Daynes's achievement in MORE WIVES THAN ONE.

Every time a new book about Mormon polygamy appears, I can't help wondering whether it will actually add anything new to what we already know.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Roger D. Launius VINE VOICE on May 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Plural marriage was by far Joseph Smith's most controversial doctrine. The Mormon founder began the practice in the 1830s and established it as a central part of the Mormon religion in the 1840s. It defined the religion's distinctiveness until the beginning of the twentieth century. Accordingly, and appropriately, it has received considerable historical attention. Kathryn Daynes' "More Wives than One" offers an in-depth look at the long-term interaction between belief and the practice of polygamy among the Mormons in the central Utah town of Manti.
Following the obligatory, and rather unsatisfactory, opening chapter on the origins of Mormon plural marriage in Kirtland, Ohio, and Nauvoo, Illinois, Daynes begins a sustained analysis of polygamy in Manti. She shows that plural marriage followed no monolithic pattern there, but that each approach had its own rights and responsibilities. Using biographical and demographic data she also demonstrates the factors shaping the practice, analyses the ingredients of plural marriage, and explores how it evolved over time. She discusses how Mormon marriage practices solidified a patriarchal model of society, one that diverged sharply from the "companionate" model of marriage and egalitarian social ideas then taking hold in mainstream America. This divergence prompted resistance from elsewhere in the United States, eventually forcing ending of the practice by the church. This is a well down work that provides important insights into the Mormon's "peculiar institution."
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