It is the duty of a first wife to regard her husband not with a selfish devotion… she must regard her husband with indifference, and with no other feeling than that of reverence, for love we regard as a false sentiment; a feeling which should have no existence in polygamy… we believe in the good old custom by which marriages should be arranged by the parents of the young people.
Zina Huntington, wife of Brigham Young, New York World, November 17, 1869. Cited by Stanley P. Hirshson, The Lion of the Lord, pp. 229-230, 1969. H/T Michelle
This was a problem with polygamy: no love was expected, just duty.
Polygamy was NEVER sanctioned by God, rather He tolerated it due to the sinfulness of man. I have previously written an article demonstrating from the Bible God’s view of polygamy. In the Book of Mormon we have Jacob 1:15 calling polygamy a “wicked practice”; Jacob 2:24 calls polygamy “abominable”; Jacob 2:27 says God commands no one to have more than one wife; Jacob 3:5 also states that no one should have more than one wife; Ether 10:5 tells us polygamy is not right in God's sight. All these passages contradict Doctrine & Covenants 132.
Smith’s need to satisfy his lust led him to disregard the Bible and forget what he wrote in the Book of Mormon. (Why no women used the BOM against Smith’s taking them as wives is curious.) The doctrine of polygamy was invented to justify Joseph Smith’s serial adultery, and it justified every other Mormon man satisfying their lusts as they followed Joseph Smith’s example.
I have read many testimonies of wives who were part of plural marriages in the LDS in the 19th century (as well as from current FLDS) and they all tell of the horrible lives they were forced into. One such testimony was by Ann Eliza Young in her autobiographical book, Wife Number 19. She spoke of the hardships of sharing a husband with so many other wives: “to show the pitiable condition of its women, held in a system of bondage that is more cruel than African slavery ever was, since it claims to hold body and soul alike.” All one has to do is read the Bible to see the stories of Abraham and Jacob and the troubles with their polygamous wives to understand that a polygamous family will not be stable.
Love is certainly lacking in polygamous marriages because the wives are all subservient to the husband’s desire for sex. Most LDS women entered such unions because they were threatened with the loss of salvation in the “celestial” heaven. The relationships became nothing but duty to serve the man’s sexual appetite.
Marriage was designed by God to be the union of two people, to bind them physically, emotionally, and spiritually. When more women are added to the union, all the binding of the couple is destroyed. So love becomes absent.