Polygamy is the practice of having marriages involving more than two people.
It is illegal in the United States, though estimates of the number of Americans who live in polygamy vary from 30,000 to 100,000. It is legal in some African, Asian and Middle Eastern Countries.
Polygamous societies are almost invariably Patriarchal and have a poor record on Women's rights - not least because the disequilibrium of polygamy in a society with even numbers of men and women tends to result in women and girls being married of at a relatively young age.
Middle East and AfricaEdit
Polygamy is legal and often practiced in many countries in Africa. Islamic law states that a man can have up to four wives, as long as he treats them all equally. However, the equally part of it is often ignored, as men in some countries tell their wives they're getting married again on the day of the wedding and many prefer one wife over the others. A lot of the time, the other wives are left alone, with little financial support, no emotional support, and a lot of children to take care of.
Polygamy's supporter say that it creates a lot of children and prevents divorce, both of which are good things in Islam. In Iraq they're talking about it as a way to to give husbands to women when a lot of men died in wars. However, this is the exact type of relationship that can lead to domestic violence; and the countries that allow it are also countries that don't have well-enforced laws on these issues. 
In America, polygamy is practiced mainly by Fundamentalist Mormons. It is also practiced by some immigrants.
Joseph Smith is estimated to have had as many as fifty wives . In typical religious deceit, he referred to polygamy as "celestial marriage." He denied having multiple wives to non-Mormons; and several people who were close to him, including his first wife, Emma Hale Smith.
Brigham Young also had many wives.
In 1890, the Federal Government passed the Edmunds-Tucker Act, which allowed the government to take the church's assets and disincorporate it (Which for the record was unconstitutional, but so was everything in 1890). The church was so afraid that they quit practicing polygamy. Fourteen years later, polygamy could get you excommunicated from the Mormon church. 
After the church banned polygamy, some people thought that banning it was a grave sin. These people broke away and founded fundamentalist churches. The most famous of these is the Fundamentalist Church of the Latter-Day Saints. The current leader, Warren Jeffs has seventy-eight wives, some as young as twelve. He is serving life plus twenty years for sexually assaulting two of them
All polygamist marriages are arranged, either by Warren Jeffs or another senior member of the church. Because they've been brainwashed into believing that he's the prophet, everybody does what he says.
- ↑ http://www.oprah.com/relationships/Polygamy-in-America
- ↑ http://www.polygamystop.org/history.html
- ↑ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12266986
- ↑ http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90857818
- ↑ http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-mormon-church-officially-renounces-polygamy
- ↑ http://www.pbs.org/mormons/peopleevents/e_polygamy.html
- ↑ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/05/warren-jeffs-polygamist-leader-records_n_919170.html
- ↑ http://www.cnn.com/2011/CRIME/08/09/texas.polygamist.jeffs/