Some women attempting to escape polygamy have complained that LDS bishops they consulted advised them to return to their husbands because “We are all going to have to live polygamy someday.” LDS theology distinguishes between “higher” laws—what god really wants us to do—and “lower” laws we settle for because the higher law cannot be practiced under current earthly circumstances. despite the church’s opposition to its contemporary practice, plural marriage continues to be viewed as the higher law that will be practiced in heaven. comparing old testament examples of polygamy (and my experience observing polygamy in Africa today) with new testament teachings about marriage raises the question: is plural marriage really a higher law after all?

Carrie A. Miles