Isn’t One Wife Enough?

Isn’t One Wife Enough?: the Story of Mormon Polygamy

Submitter: Well, ISN’T IT?!

Holly: I’m not sure if this book promotes polygamy, is averse to it, or simply tells its history neutrally, but the author was a Mormon church member and missionary.  Kimball Young was the grandson of Brigham Young.  There’s a good biography of him here.  There are a lot of books out there about the history of Mormonism and/or polygamy that were published in the last decade.  There’s nothing wrong with this book, for what it is, but it doesn’t tell the complete history of polygamy.  If this is all you have on the topic, your patrons aren’t getting enough information.

What a horrible picture, too!  Polygamists don’t (didn’t?) sleep all in the same bed!  (Did they??)  Is this author poking fun at the idea by using this picture?


  1. That’s one of the old political/satire cartoons Eastern newspapers would publish about Mormons. Yep, it’s a joke from the author.

    LDS polygamist families either had separate houses for each wife (close together, like on a farm) or separate rooms in one very large house. There weren’t actually that many of them–the practice was never THAT common. You can still visit Brigham Young’s house today if you go to Salt Lake, but I don’t think more than a few of his wives ever lived there. I don’t think he actually lived with every single one of his wives; some were widows that had to get across the plains and needed help.

  2. …I kind of want to read this book.

    But I bet the reality is less entertaining than my imagination.

  3. I used to give tours of Brigham Young’s home in Salt Lake City. Only one wife lived with B. Young in his home, the Beehive House. She was his third wife. His first wife died and his second wife was too ill to manage the house. The others lived in a house next door that was set up like an apartment building. Most of the wives were widows due to the persecution members faced in Missouri and Illinois and needed help getting across the plains.

  4. dangermom & jmedlock,

    “Most of the wives were widows due to the persecution members faced in Missouri and Illinois and needed help getting across the plains.”

    This is a common idea that we Mormons have repeated to ourselves for generations in an attempt to explain/rationalize plural marriage practices to (understandably) confused/bewildered people both inside and outside of the LDS Church. Unfortunately, it’s not accurate in any meaningful way. See here, for example:

  5. @ScottM
    perhaps that is true for B. Young, but that doesn’t show that the majority of plural wives weren’t widows. This is only part of the reason. The main reason is that it was a commandment from God at the time.

  6. Plural marriage was a reality that can’t be denied. However, I would take the information found on Wikipedia with a grain of salt (on any subject, really) — I have seen a number of inaccuracies there.

  7. My mom and I wonder, why are all the women’s faces covered? Mom: “I don’t think they’re crying.” Me: “Maybe they’re sneezing!” Mom: “Too much marijuana…”

  8. Well, there’ll be one less set of footsteps on your floor (one less man to walk in). One less pair of jeans upon your door (one less voice a-talkin’)!

  9. In Memoriam Brigham Young! Seriously? I’m sure Brigham Young felt the deep honor of being ridiculed by his grandson.

  10. I think the illustration is from a political cartoon showing all of Young’s wives mourning his death . . . problem is, I only vaguely remember the cartoon and wouldn’t be able to find it for the life of me.

  11. If you asked my husband the title question, his likely response would be: “With my wife? MORE than enough!”

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