Modern history of polygamy

Arizona Republic/May 30, 2008

1820s: Joseph Smith experiences visions and revelations.

1830: Joseph Smith founds the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in New York; the Book of Mormon is published.

1831: Smith has revelation on polygamy; church moves base to Ohio and Missouri.

1839: LDS church flees persecution to Illinois.

1843: Smith's disclosure of a "celestial plural marriage" doctrine increases persecution.

1844: Smith is killed by a mob in an Illinois jail.

1845: Mormons migrate to territories of Utah and Arizona.

1852: Polygamy becomes an official tenet of the LDS religion.

1862: Congress passes the Morrill Act to criminalize polygamy in U.S. territories.

1879: Supreme Court rules in Reynolds v. United States that a Mormon was properly convicted of bigamy, rejecting arguments that anti-polygamy statutes violate religious freedom.

1882: Congress passes the Edmunds Act, making plural marriage in U.S. territories a felony; more than 1,300 Mormons are jailed in Utah.

1887: Congress adopts the Edmunds-Tucker Act requiring plural wives to testify against husbands and abolishing women's suffrage in Utah territory.

1890: LDS church renounces plural marriages.

1896: Utah becomes a state after adopting a constitution that says "polygamous or plural marriages are forever prohibited."

1904: LDS church imposes excommunication for polygamy.

1912: Arizona attains statehood with a constitutional ban on polygamy.

1913: A splinter group, eventually known as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, settles in Short Creek (now Colorado City).

1935: Six polygamists are arrested at Short Creek for unlawful cohabitation.

1944: Federal agents conduct another anti-polygamy sweep in Short Creek.

1953: The most famous Short Creek raid breaks up families and incarcerates husbands.

1984: A conflict within the FLDS sect leads to schism, with The Work of Jesus Christ group moving to Centennial Park.

2003-08: Attorneys general in Arizona and Utah launch a joint campaign against child marriages and other crimes in Colorado City and Hildale. The effort leads to convictions of key FLDS figures.

2003: FLDS begin migration to Eldorado, Texas.

2004: FLDS church leader Warren Jeffs excommunicates 21 men, stripping them of wives, children and homes.

2007: Jeffs, known as the prophet, is convicted of rape as an accomplice for marrying a minor girl to an adult man.

2008: Texas authorities raid the FLDS compound in Texas, taking custody of 416 children. State Supreme Court orders children returned to parents.

Sources: Brigham Young University online timeline of Mormon history; Arizona Republic archives; Salt Lake Tribune chronology; "The Constitutionality of Polygamy Prohibitions" by Joseph Bozzuti.

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