The series follows the Mormon faith through the lens of “The Principle of Plural Marriage” from its genesis in 1831 with its originator Joseph Smith, through the hidden history and governmental pressure, to today and contemporary practicing Fundamentalist Mormons.
For the first time polygamy is dissected through a feminist viewpoint, with attention given to the experiences of the women, women who sacrificed everything and suffered long and are never mentioned in museums or landmark tours. Their experiences, along with interviews with experts, sc20140302_130747holars, historians, and those still affected directly by the practice, paint a new portrait of how the west was shaped, by the hard work and toil of these invisible women, hidden away through controversy.
Through Hansen’s careful work, we see how the practice of polygamy affected every aspect of the LDS church’s formation and is still a shadow hanging over the church, visible in it’s approach to marriage, the role of women, and the temple ceremonies. Instead of the historical footnote polygamy is often treated as, Hansen shows how this practice, started in secret and a direct cause of Joseph Smith’s death, responsible for driving the saints to Utah, and then outward again to Mexico and Canada, the root of power struggles both in the church and out, the cause of suspicion and eventually violence including the Mountain Meadows Massacre, was an instigator to most of the history of American West. For the first time, The Year of Polygamy shows how the west was settled not only to claim land and mineral rights, but in a very real way to control the bodies and sexuality of women in a way that reverberates today. Find our more at YearofPolygamy.com