Prisoner for Polygamy: The Memoirs and Letters of Rudger Clawson at the Utah Territorial Penitentiary, 1884-87
by Stan Larson,
Rudger Clawson (1857–1943) was the first Mormon convicted of being in violation of the Edmund–Tucker Act, which outlawed polygamy. Born into a polygamous family, Clawson married Florence Dinwoodey in August 1882, Lydia Spencer is March 1883, and eventually entered into a “post-Manifesto union” with Pearl Udall in 1904.
Clawson, a prominent member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, served in the LDS Church as missionary, stake president, apostle, president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and counselor in the First Presidency.
This book delves into Clawson’s time as a “cohab” in the Utah Territorial Penitentiary, as well as a unique look at this time in Utah’s history. These prison memoirs and letters reflect the pride felt by Mormon polygamists imprisoned “for conscience sake” and include Mormon doctrinal discussions, details of their prison life, personal accounts of prison escape attempts, and the sense of frustration felt by the men as a result of being separated from their families. In addition, these memoirs show Clawson’s talent for storytelling and include select love letters written by Clawson to his plural wife, Lydia.
- Greg Kofford Books, November 2015
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