Why have Mormons stopped practicing polygamy?

Why did Mormons stop practicing polygamy?

Initially, the manifesto was only implemented to a limited extent. It was a declaration by the Church that the Church would no longer practice plural marriage. However, plural marriages were initially outside the jurisdiction of the Church. It was not until 1852 that this practice became popular with Church members when Brigham Young and Orson Pratt introduced it at a special general conference. This was because all things in the church are to be done with common consent. (D&C 26: 2) It was unanimously accepted as a valid principle at this conference. Just as early priesthood leaders did not need to be accepted by the Church before 1852, they did not have to continue in the Church after 1890.

You could say it was a ploy to appease the government without actually parting with it completely. Many priesthood leaders continued to use the priesthood organization and power to continue to live according to the fulness of the new and eternal marriage covenant, which necessarily includes the multitude of women.

This had to be maintained because the priesthood's ability to continue to qualify to receive the higher level of oracle ministry "thus saith the Lord" from the Father and the Son was at stake. The level of service a priesthood or ecclesiastical institution can receive depends on the laws by which they live. (D&C 88: 21-22; 76: 77, 86-88) If you fail to keep the fulness of the Father's heavenly law, you will be unworthy of His presence and will not receive His service.

For this reason, a separate priesthood body with a president and six councilors was established in advance of the manifesto. This is based on the organization called the School of Prophets, which was called to order as such at D&C 88: 127-141 and D&C 90: 7-15. This priesthood body was presided over by the person who was the Lord's anointed and received the oracles, which are the stage of revelation, "thus saith the Lord."

It is this organization of the priesthood, separate from the Church, that underpins the claims of Mormon fundamentalists to have authority to continue to have multiple marriages, among other things. Some called this organization the Council of Friends because those who enter school do so through the covenant of friendship and brotherhood as fellow sons of God. (D&C 88: 133)

This organization, founded by John Taylor, had a president and 6 councilors, just like the earlier School of Prophets. It seems likely that the same organization was also called the Church of the Firstborn, but that needs further evidence that I am not currently ready to present it. It is important to understand that there were bodies of authority that were separate from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and were not subject to the authority of the Church.

One of the most important factors that led to the Manifesto was evidence that the vast majority of Mormons were personally against plural marriage. This became evident as various versions of the Utah constitutional proposals were drafted and voted on. It was found that plural marriage was a significantly negative trait, with an approximate ratio of 13,000 versus 500 for it. I'll dig up the quote for that later. I think it was mentioned in one of Lynn Bishop's books or Allred's book "A Leaf in Review". It's been many years since I've read this so my memory is a bit blurry.

Now, to answer your question regarding the warning that those who do not keep the covenant cannot enter into the glory of the Father, the evidence is clear. Even when plural marriage was still practiced in the mid-19th century, there were other laws of the father that were also not fully implemented. The Saints struggled and tried to practice heavenly economic laws, but kept failing. It has been recognized that the Saints must be patient and wait for the Lord's right time to attain what Scripture calls the salvation of Zion. (D&C 105: 9-13)

So the unfortunate reality is that we as a church are still being judged. (D&C 85: 54-58) This was not confirmed until 1986-88 by Ezra Taft Benson, then President of the Church.

Benson, Ezra T Oct Conf. 1988, Nov ENSIGN, p. 6 para. 10:

Moses never entered the promised land. Joseph Smith never saw Zion redeemed. Some of us may not live long enough to see the day the Book of Mormon flooded the earth and the Lord lifts his condemnation . (See D&C 84: 54–58.) But, God willing, I intend to spend all of my remaining days in this glorious effort. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

So the truth is, we are still waiting for the time when Zion will be redeemed. We are in a state of condemnation just as this passage warns. The heavenly ministry, "Thus says the Lord," has ceased and will not be received until the Saints finally realize that the Father meant every single word he said. We are judged because we took what we were given lightly. (D&C 90: 3-5)

We must come to a point where we are implementing the entire economic, social, and educational system that the Father directed us to under the "previous commandments". When the Lord reveals light and truth and a people reject it and turn away from him and take it lightly, then they will actually be condemned and ultimately all light and truth will be taken from them. (D&C 93:39; 60: 2-3)

This is because they have one of two options. They can preserve and maintain the integrity of the given and press for conversion to this standard, or they can turn to their pride and self-righteousness and turn everything into chaos to rationalize avoidance of this standard. For example, they believe that breaking part of the New and Eternal Covenant does not actually mean breaking the New and Eternal Covenant.

Unfortunately, this means that instead of looking forward to a time of great redemption and triumph when the calamities come, the Saints will actually be unprepared and fully subject to the scourge and judgment that will come if they do not repent in time. And if we listen slowly to the Father's words to heed these and other warnings, he will be slow to listen to our cries when we are driven into circumstances to humiliate our pride and self-righteous drunkenness, at least some of we can partake of Zion's salvation. (D&C 133: 63-70)