This is an understandable consequence given the Church's reluctance to discuss unflattering issues like polygamy and denying blacks the priesthood in any sort of detail in Church lessons.It is also disingenuous of apologists to act as if there's no reason for members to believe these things when they were clearly taught them in church.
Many of the topics on this page therefore are an attempt to point out information that was not available from Church-published information. Circumstances of Joseph's death Joseph said polygamy was a mistake? Mitt Romney and Polygamy Polygamy stories Interpreting polygamy - essay Responses by the LDS church Ending summary by critics Editor Comments Links The majority of Latter-day Saints know the LDS Church practiced polygamy in the 1800s.
(After the release of the essays, some people blamed the members themselves for not knowing more about Joseph Smith's polygamy. Although it's not mentioned in missionary discussions, most North American nonmembers are also aware of it since it's taught in American History classes throughout the USA. Until recently, for some reason, perhaps half of the LDS membership believed that polygamy started with Brigham Young and not Joseph Smith.
In 2012, during the Romney campaign, my ward had a combined Priesthood/Relief Society session where stake leaders went over how the Church was perceived by the media and how we could combat the negative perceptions.
A regional "media expert" handed out a pamphlet that described ways to address a handful of sensitive topics.
For over 180 years the Church did not explicitly teach its members the full truth about many aspects of polygamy.
In fact, it seems at times that they purposely obfuscated the truth.
Note: Beginning in 2013 the Church started releasing essays addressing seldom talked about issues in the church.
Three of those essays concern polygamy: Mormon Think provides a link to each essay and a response to them.
Polygamy as a doctrine was introduced into the LDS Church by Joseph Smith.