Polygamy is the practice of marrying multiple spouses. In the church this is technically polygyny when a man is married to more than one wife at the same time, however, the church refers to it as "plural marriage". The practice started with Joseph Smith and continued officially with Brigham Young, John Taylor, and Wilford Woodruff. In 1890 when threatened with losing possessions on being admitted into the United States, Wilford Woodruff issued an official declaration or manifesto stating that the church no longer practiced polygamy (though plural marriages continued to be performed for decades). Brigham Young famously boasted 56 wives, while Joseph Smith secretly married over 30. Many of these wives were young teenage girls marrying much older men.

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