Which Is the Wisest Course?: The Transformation in Mormon Temple Consciousness, 1870–1898
From the 1870s to 1890, the first Latter-day Saint temples in Utah were completed and temple work was fully underway, and at the same time the Church was being legally compelled to abandon polygamy. In 1890, Wilford Woodruff faced disenfranchisement of the Church and the loss of the temples. He was prepared to defend polygamy, but upon revelation from God changed his course and issued the manifesto ending plural marriage. Richard E. Bennett argues that a growing temple consciousness among Church leaders was a more significant cause of the manifesto than political ends, including the Saints' desire for statehood. The sunset of plural marriage heralded a new sunrise of Mormon temple work and worship.