Doing the “Unthinkable”

ann-eliza-young-blogThat was Ann Eliza Webb, the 19th wife of Brigham Young. She did the unthinkable and divorcing the head of the Mormon Church—a “living prophet” who supposedly spoke directly to God. She wrote an astonishing book exposing the horrors of polygamy, and it became a rallying cry across the nation. She lectured around the country and fought off efforts by Brigham Young to discredit her as a loose woman. But what did undo her was Young’s brilliant plan to blunt cries against polygamy by giving Mormon women the right to vote. The nation’s suffragists turned against Ann Eliza Webb, believing—erroneously–that with the vote, Mormon women would repudiate polygamy. Utah was forced to officially give up polygamy as the price of statehood in 1890.

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