1868 August 27 Letter to S. A. Baker


1868 August 27 Letter to S. A. Baker


Plural marriage is a law from God. When carried out righteously it brings health and happiness. Children raised in polygamy thrive. The number of children born and the sex of the children is consistent with monogamic relationships.




Brigham Young


S. A. Baker


1868 August 27


Salt Lake City
New York City


Plural Marriage

Salt Lake City, Utah Ter.
27 August 1868

S.A. Baker Esq.
357 West 48 Street
New York City.

Dear Sir,

Your favor of the 7th inst is before me. With you I deeply deplore the prevalency of crime and licenciousness which is sapping the foundations of the social structure of the nations, sufficient to cause every thinking man to enquire "is society as now organized based upon the law of God, the natural law of propogation and development"

With us the doctrine of plurality of wives is not a mere experiment, by which we simply hope to introduce a system that will lessen the social sins now so prevalent amongst mankind. It is not a lesser evil instituted in the place of a greater one; but it is based upon the law of God, revealed from heaven both in ancient and modern days, and like all the laws of the Gospel it is a law of life, of health and of happiness, adapted in all respects to me the necessities of man's nature, not to pander to his passions, nor give licence to his lusts. Consequently when carried out as it should be, in accordence with the law of the Lord it brings health, strength and happiness to both parents and children.

Observant travelers, passing through our territory have always noticed the remarkable intelligence, theaptitude to learn and  smartness manifested by our children, as well as their size and bodily vigor when compared with children of like age in other parts. The comparison in all respects, mental and physical is decidedly in favor of the children of polygamic families. As far as longevity is concerned this order will have to be practised a generation, before the question can be properly answered, but the appearances are certainly in favor of our children being a long lived generation, as we endeavor to teach them by precept and example all the laws we are acquainted with, that help to prolong life, and give strength and beauty to the human family.

The order of plurality does not seem to affect the sex of the child, so far as we have statistics the proportion of boys and girls born, appear to be much the same as in other countries. Had this principle been practised by the Latter-day Saints for two or three generations I might be able to give you some statistics, showing the average number of children in each family, and the average number born to each woman; but at present I simply feel to say that our families number from ten to fifty children, and so far as I am acquainted the women in plurality bear as many children as those do in monogamic lands where no means are used to destroy the unborn child, and where maternity is not regarded as a misfortune and a misery; perhaps, the average might prove to be a little less, if closely enquired into.

In answer to your question regarding secret vices, such things are very rare, in fact are almost entirely unknown amongst this people. We strive to teach the young correct principle with regard to the beauty of holiness and virtue, and the value of their existance in this life; while we encourage early marriages, we frown down every approach to sin or immorality; thus the percentage of the married is very large, and as a general thing the people marry young.

Yours respectfully.
Brigham Young