"Big Love"
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No. Although "Big Love" depicts the Utah common man situation in many ways, LDS Mormons have not practiced polygamy since 1890. Any new case of polygamy has led to excommunication from the Church since then. It's true that there are many so-called fundamentalist groups in Utah who call themselves "Mormons", most of them still practicing polygamy, but those groups are not part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Given this, polygamous families' depiction in the LDS Chapels or Temples, as well as some other Mormon situations, such as baptisms, civil marriages or even Temple ordinances, should be treated as free literacy by the writers of the drama argument itself, but not as the reality of most Mormon's beliefs and practices.

The official posicion of the LDS Church on "Big Love" can be found in the following links: http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/commentary/church-responds-to-questions-on-hbo-s-big-love http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/commentary/the-publicity-dilemma

They have 13 basic beliefs, which are listed here: http://scriptures.lds.org/a_of_f/1 [ url]www.mormon.org[/url]

The Church's main website includes the latest news, on-line version of the books of scripture: King James version of the Bible (both Old and New Testaments), the Book of Mormon (Another Testament of Jesus Christ), the Doctrine & Covenants (modern-day revelation concerning the re-establishment of Christ's Church in our day) and The Pearl of Great Price (a collection of scripture from various periods).

www.lds.org

Joseph Smith was born into a religious family. Although they were religious in nature, many of his siblings and even parents attending different churches, which led him to question, which, if any of these churches was true. He read James 1:5 in the Bible, which says: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." Following the counsel offered by James, Joseph Smith went to a grove of trees near his home in Palmyra, New York, where he knelt and offered a prayer to God, desiring to know which of the churches, if any, he join. He gives his account, which can be found in The Pearl of Great Price 1:15-18, saying:

"I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.

"It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other--'This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!'

"I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.

It was at that time when Joseph Smith was instructed by God to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth, which had been lost shortly after the death of Christ. After suffering great persecution from people in the Northeast, where the restoration of the church originated, Joseph Smith received revelation to move West to Nauvoo, Illinois, where he was imprisoned under false pretenses and murdered by a mob determined to put a stop to the work. Brigham Young was called to be the succeeding prophet. Brigham Young received instruction from God to go West to find a place where Christ's restored church could prosper and grow unmolested by those who opposed it. As pertains to Big Love, on the way West (possibly due to the high number of widowed wives and fatherless children wrought by the casualties of the perilous journey West), Brigham Young received yet another revelation, that some men take extra wives. Contrary to popular belief, the amount of men who took more than one wife was extremely low, with the overwhelming majority of men being in monogamous marriages. However, some members left the church after this announcement. After arriving in Utah, where the church began to flourish, Brigham Young was told by God that the practice of plural marriage was no longer required of men, and that any who should marry more than one wife from that point on would be removed from the church.

Yes. Under Utah law:

(1) A person is guilty of bigamy when, knowing he has a husband or wife or knowing the other person has a husband or wife, the person purports to marry another person or cohabits with another person. (2) Bigamy is a felony of the third degree. (3) It shall be a defense to bigamy that the accused reasonably believed he and the other person were legally eligible to remarry.

{OP explaining question:} If Bill is only married to Barb by the state's status, unless adultery is illegal in Utah-what he is doing would not be considered illegal-wrong and morally bad for the children, however he legally maintains all 3 homes, supports all his children and the mothers of the children. This answer is not in support of polygamy, but rather to point out that unless he was a Bigamist-married with marriage licenses, the only risks Bill has are being considered a jerk. Please add more if you know more.

{Official answer:} I had this question too until I did a little research. The concept of what constitutes a marriage is the question here. And from this point on, I will be proposing the legal answers as if all characters on the show exist in reality instead of as fictional characters we follow via a television show. While legally, according to the state of Utah, the only marriage license filed with the state is between Bill and Barb some 20 years ago, the issue of polygamy comes into play because of the state's stance on what is known as "common law marriages".

By definition, a common law marriage is one in which there has been no legal ceremony or license on record given out to the couple involved, but is then recognized by the courts and legally declared a marriage because the parties involved functioned as husband and wife and applied themselves to the community at large as such. It's a sticky situation even when you're not talking about multiple spouses, but it's something you will find happens for a variety of reasons like child custody, property division, death benefits, etc. Some states (not Utah) have an established rule set in place in regards to quantity of time a couple must be together and the state simply recognizes that couple as a legitimate married couple -- providing that both parties have cohabited for a set period of time, have functioned in the established roles of husband and wife, and are eligible for matrimony to the other person (in other words, of legal age and not already married to someone else during those years of cohabitation). I believe Massachusetts has a term of 10 years with those guidelines before common law marriage can be ascribed to a couple.

Now, if common law marriages were not recognized by the state of Utah, I could see where there would be no legal grounds for the charges of polygamy against Bil, Barb, Nicky, and Margene. But as Bill and Nicky and Bill and Margene (and for that matter, even Barb and Nicky and Margene) call each other husband and wives and function as such knowing full well that there are other spouses involved, it is therefore outright polygamy and thus a felony.

I would also think that if that were the case that common law marriages were not recognized, their situation as somewhat obvious adultery would still be an issue in overtly conservative Mormon country. As it is already a precarious issue and also a longstanding one with that particular religion, it is almost more of an accepted lifestyle than a lifestyle of adultery would be in that part of the country where some see it as a matter of religious doctrine (polygamy) versus outright sin (adultery).

{Further question:} So really they can only be 'caught' if they keep telling people that they are all married? I'm assuming that is what you meant by "and applied themselves to the community at large as such".

IOW: If they just kept the whole multi-marriage thing to themselves, told everyone that Margie/Nicky are just really close friends and let everyone assume what they want to.. would they be in any legal danger?

Also, since Bill isn't eligible for marriage (married to Barb) would the common-law marriage even be applicable?

"IOW: If they just kept the whole multi-marriage thing to themselves, told everyone that Margie/Nicky are just really close friends and let everyone assume what they want to.. would they be in any legal danger?"

*****SPOILER ALERT!!*****

Until the end of season four, when Bill was elected state senator, they did just keep the whole thing secret. And they stayed out of trouble. They "came out" and admitted to polygamy, because they wanted to legitimize their lifestyle; that's where their real trouble began. None of the common law stuff even mattered any more, because they admitted to being polygamists.

The "Y" is Brigham Young University. Located in Provo, Utah about 45 min south of SLC. Frequently the University of Utah is called the "U" and BYU is the "Y".

Nicky came to help Barb and Bill when Barb discovered she had cancer and thought she was going to die. During that period Bill either rediscoverd his roots and married Nicky, or cynically used his marriage to Nicky for a loan from Roman to start Home Plus. After Nicky had her children they decided they needed a babysitter. Enter Margene and take your imagination from there. We are introduced to the series after Bill has been married to Margene long enough for her to have had two babies.

Fundamentalist Mormons believe that Joseph Smith taught that a man had to have at least three wives to get to the Celestial Kingdom.

A small percentage of the leaders of the sect have between five and nine wives, adhering to the sects code of building up a quorum. Three are needed for a rudimentary quorum, five wives are adequate for a medium quorum, but seven and sometimes twelve wives are required for the highest quorum of all. Bennion, Desert Patriarchy, 135. - http://www.mormonfundamentalism.com/NEWFILES/FLDSvsLDS.htm

Where is Teeny?

Tancy "Teeny" Henrickson, Bill and Barb's younger daughter, was played by Jolean Wejbe in the show's first three seasons, but her appearances in the third season were rather sporadic because Miss Wejbe had grown into young womanhood while her character was still a child under ten.

In the fourth season, Teeny was played by Bella Thorne, who now has a series of her own.

In the first episode of the fifth season, it was mentioned that Teeny had gone to stay with her elder sister Sarah in another state. She received another, very brief, mention in the very last scene of the final episode.

Page last updated by alexnielson90, 2 years ago
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