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How many wives can mormons have?

Mormon men can lawfully have one wife. The practice of polygamy (polygyny or plural marriage), the marriage of more than one woman to the same man, was practiced by Church members from the 1830s to the early 1900s. The Church, properly referred to as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, issued a manifesto in 1890, which led to the eventual end of their practice of polygamy after the Church's fourth president Wilford Woodruff received a revelation from God. Between 1890 and 1904, a small number of plural marriages continued to be performed, mostly outside of the United States. In 1904, the Church, led at the time by Joseph F. Smith, issued a second manifesto. It proclaimed that anyone taking additional wives would be excommunicated from the Church. Existing plural marriages and families were not automatically dissolved, but remained into the 1950s.

Today, the practice of polygamy is strictly prohibited in the Church. No one can practice it and remain a member. In 1998, Church President Gordon B. Hinckley announced: "I wish to state categorically that this Church has nothing whatever to do with those practicing polygamy. They are not members of this Church. Most of them have never been members. They are in violation of the civil law… If any of our members are found to be practicing plural marriage, they are excommunicated, the most serious penalty the Church can impose."

The Book of Mormon teaches: "Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife. … For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things" (Jacob 2:27,30). In other words, the Lord's standard for marriage is monogamy unless He reveals otherwise. Latter-day Saints believe the period in which the Church practiced polygamy was one of these exceptions.

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