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(from a mainline LDS perspective)

Why do you portray the fundamentalists as "Mormons" when we are nothing alike?

Historically, the mainstream Mormon church closely resembled modern-day Mormon Fundamentalism. This began to change around the turn of the 20th Century, when polygamy was disallowed by the mainstream church, and eventually became cause for excommunication. This caused many mainstream Mormons to either practice polygamy secretly, or join breakaway movements that still allowed it.

The principle doctrines of fundamentalists and mainline Mormons are very similar, even though the lifestyles are different. We do not try and promote the idea that mainline Mormons are polygamists, but it would not be accurate to say that there is no connection between the mainline LDS church and the fundamentalist sects.

After all, mainline Mormonism has not withdrawn the doctrine that polygamy is required for exaltation (see Doctrine & Covenants section 132). Most Mormons recognize that polygamy will be practiced in the afterlife.

The Fundamentalists also refer to themselves as "Mormons" because they uphold the Book of Mormon as scripture, and Joseph Smith as a prophet. They call themselves "Fundamentalists" because they desire to make their lifestyle conform to the fundamental doctrines of Mormonism, in a way that the mainline LDS Church does not. Therefore the term "Fundamentalist Mormon" is perfectly accurate and legitimate.

Why do you even bother trying to drag the whole polygamy thing out into the open at all? That's not who we are anymore, and you are misrepresenting that.

We are often accused of misrepresenting polygamy as it relates to Mormonism. Nevertheless, if you look at the historical records, it becomes clear that mainline Mormonism, as late, has misrepresented polygamy.

In modern media, LDS representatives have suggested that polygamy was simply an antiquated social practice, practiced by only a handful of leaders, and then only as a means of caring for women who had no one to care for them. Sometimes the myth gets circulated that there were more women than men in the early days of the Utah territory. And younger or "newer" Mormons, in many cases, have never even heard that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy, and taught it as a doctrine. So we find that even among Latter-day Saints, there is a significant amount of misunderstanding and misinformation that they, themselves, have been subjected to.

Our motivation in bringing these matters to the forefront is not to be mean-spirited or to draw unwanted attention to Mormon polygamy; our goal is to present factual history as just that, and encourage people to examine the facts for themselves, and to see if what we are saying is incorrect.


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A Shield and Refuge is a ministry of 
Main Street Church of Brigham City

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