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The revelation on marriage stated general principles; it did not explain how to implement plural marriage in all its particulars.
Between 18, Latter-day Saints openly practiced plural marriage. Women and men who lived within plural marriage attested to challenges and difficulties but also to the love and joy they found within their families.
They believed it was a commandment of God at that time and that obedience would bring great blessings to them and their posterity.
In accordance with a revelation to Joseph Smith, the practice of plural marriage—the marriage of one man to two or more women—was instituted among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the early 1840s.
Thereafter, for more than half a century, plural marriage was practiced by some Latter-day Saints.
Church leaders recognized that plural marriages could be particularly difficult for women.
Divorce was therefore available to women who were unhappy in their marriages; remarriage was also readily available.
Church leaders taught that participants in plural marriages should seek to develop a generous spirit of unselfishness and the pure love of Christ for everyone involved.
Although some leaders had large polygamous families, two-thirds of polygamist men had only two wives at a time.
Women sometimes married at young ages in the first decade of Utah settlement, which was typical of women living in frontier areas at the time.
At its peak in 1857, perhaps one half of all Utah Latter-day Saints experienced plural marriage as a husband, wife, or child.
On an exceptional basis, some new plural marriages were performed between 18, especially in Mexico and Canada, outside the jurisdiction of U. law; a small number of plural marriages were performed within the United States during those years.