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“I used to walk the floor and shed tears of sorrow. If anything will make a woman’s heart ache, it is for her husband to take another wife.”

February 26, 2007

The AP reports on Mitt Romney’s polygamous ancestry:

Polygamy was not just a historical footnote but a prominent element in the family tree of the former Massachusetts governor now seeking to become the first LDS president. Romney’s great-grandfather, Miles Park Romney, married his fifth wife in 1897. That was more than six years after LDS church leaders banned polygamy and more than three decades after a federal law barred the practice. Romney’s great-grandmother, Hannah Hood Hill, was the daughter of polygamists. She wrote vividly in her autobiography about how she “used to walk the floor and shed tears of sorrow” over her own husband’s multiple marriages. Romney’s great-great-grandfather Parley P. Pratt, an apostle in the church, had 12 wives. In an 1852 sermon, Parley P. Pratt’s brother and fellow apostle, Orson Pratt, became the first church official to publicly proclaim and defend polygamy as a direct revelation from God. Romney’s father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, where church members fled in the 1800s to escape religious persecution and U.S. laws forbidding polygamy. He and his family did not return to the United States until 1912, more than two decades after the church issued “The Manifesto” banning polygamy. “When you read the family’s history, you realize how important polygamy was to them,” said Todd Compton, a Mormon and independent historian who wrote a book about the polygamous life of the church’s founder, Joseph Smith. “They left America and started again as pioneers, after they had done it over and over again previously.” B. Carmon Hardy, a polygamy expert and retired history professor at California State University-Fullerton, said polygamy was “a very important part of Miles Park Romney’s family.”

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