Mormon Marriage: From Mitt Romney To Polygamy, What's The Norm?

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Mitt Romney and wife Ann Romney on the campaign trail
A look at modern Mormon marriage (read: the kind without sister wives).

When you hear "Mormon"—what do you think of first? Polygamy? Utah? Mitt Romney?

Misinformation and confusion about the Mormon faith are not in short supply. This is due, in part, to Mitt Romney's campaign for the presidency, in which his faith has surfaced as an issue and raised Mormonism's profile in the media, leading to such incendiary stories as "Did Mitt Romney Convert His Dead Atheist Father-in-Law to Mormonism?" While political critics may highlight his flip-flopping stances on abortion and gay marriage, and supporters tout his business acumen, an underlying question of his campaign remains: is America ready to elect a Mormon president? Inside Mitt And Ann Romney's Marriage

Meanwhile, TV shows like Big Love and Sister Wives portray Mormons as polygamists, though the LDS church outlawed plural marriages in 1890. Almost all of the stereotypes floating around in regard to Mormonism serve to portray its church members as Other. In a recent Pew Research Center survey of Mormons, 62 percent responded that most Americans know "not too much/nothing" about Mormonism and 54 percent thought that portrayal of Mormons in TV/movies hurt the group's image. In other words, there's a disconnect.

So what does Mormon marriage really look like?

Brandon and Brittany Garrett are newlywed Mormons, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It's been about five months since Brandon, 25, and Brittany, 23, tied the knot at the Bountiful Utah Temple—an expansive white building made of white granite that contains eight "sealing rooms," sacred rooms in which Mormon brides and grooms are married. It was in one of these rooms that Brandon and Brittany, accompanied by their families (those who had reached a certain level within the Mormon faith, that is; non-Mormons and those who've not yet been "endowed" are not allowed), knelt at an altar and pledged fidelity to each other—not only in this life, but for all eternity. 

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