A Mormon and a Buddhist Debate Plural Marriage: The Letters of Elder Alma O. Taylor and the Reverend Nishijima Kakuryo, 1901 | BYU Studies

A Mormon and a Buddhist Debate Plural Marriage: The Letters of Elder Alma O. Taylor and the Reverend Nishijima Kakuryo, 1901

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A Mormon and a Buddhist Debate Plural Marriage: The Letters of Elder Alma O. Taylor and the Reverend Nishijima Kakuryo, 1901

Author Reid L. Neilson,

In 1901, the first Mormon missionaries went to Japan, including Alma O. Taylor, then eighteen years old. Before leaving Utah, he began a correspondence with Nishijima Kakuryo, a Buddhist missionary of the Jodo Shinshu faith in San Francisco. The content of their five letters was dominated by their discussion of the Mormon practice of polygamy. The letters document the defenses of polygamy circulating in Mormon society in 1901, including that plural marriage was a sacred religious principle, polygamy had benefits for society, and a man was to be commended for continuing to support plural wives even after the Manifesto rather than casting them off.