Religion: Polygamy in the Desert

Utah's Founding Father Brigham Young had 27 wives, but his Mormon Church banned polygamy in 1890 by "revelation"—after losing several U.S. Supreme Court cases. Just last year Mormon President Spencer Kimball warned that "the Lord brought an end to this program many decades ago." That divine word has not reached everyone. There are some 35,000 heretical Mormons in the U.S. and Mexico who still practice polygamy.

This underground activity burst into public notice this spring when pistol-packing ex-Marine Alexander Joseph, 39, led 12 of his wives and 15 other families—all members of Joseph's Church of Jesus Christ of Solemn Assembly—to establish a...

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