More Truth Comes Out

Kody - Front and Center

Last week on Sister Wives, Valerie Darger stated that the Browns’ live in “blissful confusion.” On this weeks’ episode it’s apparent that they also live in “blissful misinformation and naiveté.”

In the opening scene Kody and Christine are talking to their oldest daughter, Aspyn, who along with Logan and Madison, are going to go and assist an organization called “Holding Out Help.” They will be working with a few teens that are leaving the Kingston group, and FLDS group. Kody and Christine ask their daughter if she feels comfortable defending her position, that polygamy is not abuse. Of course she gives the standard, misinformed and naiveté, response. She states that, “it’s not the fault of polygamy that they had a difficult life, it was like, the leaders.” We’re not even five minutes in and I recoil and shake my head in disbelief.

What does this say for those of us who grew up in independent polygamous groups? In my world, there was no leader, no church, no gathering. I lived mainstream, went to public schools, dressed normal, had “gentile” friends, and so on, and so on. My childhood, I must say, was probably better than many non-polyg kids’. However, as an adult female I can look back and see and feel just how abusive polygamy is to women.

 Polygamy by its very nature is a patriarchal religion. Patriarchal means that men are in charge of women. They are not considered equal, and in most polygamous situations their minds, needs and desires are not considered at all.

I would like to say that it’s just Aspyn’s age and lack of experience that prompts her comments, but after watching the rest of the show it’s apparent that her father and mothers are just as naive, indoctrinated, and quite misinformed.

What is Christine afraid of?

Christine made quite a few comments that really surprised me. Sometimes I forget, having been out of it for so long, just how that control of thought process is ingrained into polygamous children. I was shocked to hear that she feels threatened by getting outside help for emotional problems. It is o.k. for her to use a bunch of Prozac for her depression, but not o.k. to talk to a trained professional that might really be able to help her work through some issues and learn some coping skills. So much for this family being so “normal, so mainstream, so just like every other family in America.” Oh I understand, seeking help could be the catalyst for a woman leaving. “What if, God forbid, she helped me get out?” Christine states. How terrible would that be!?! What is it you’re truly afraid of Christine? That your life is dysfunctional and that you really need some help? Whether you stay or go…. you need some help. A catalyst such as a therapist or psychiatrist only shortens the time it takes before you leave. If you don’t physically leave with your body while honoring your soul’s sincere desire, your mind is gone and you will continually cave in, numb out, and feign bliss to keep from going completely mad.

How disappointing and sad it is that your daughters are being trained right back into the same patriarchal, dysfunctional bliss.

In Denial

Kody states that “It’s not plural marriage that’s bad for them… it’s um…. that women aren’t treated fairly in it.” How are women to be treated “fairly” in a system that is designed to put men in charge? As fair and equitable as a man thinks he is, it will just never be. “If there’s abuse, or if there is evil I don’t want them turning a blind eye to it, I want them to understand it so that they can oppose it,” Kody states as his children head off to Utah to work with Holding Out Help. Perhaps the first place he needs to start to uncover the abuse is within his own family. I think a big problem here is that the Browns’, and most polygamists, don’t view the culture as a whole. Each individual group is so quick to discount another group as soon as they realize that something bad is going on in that group. They all claim to be one “happy” culture until the abuses become public knowledge. They refuse to see the common thread of abuse that runs through all polygamous groups and all families.

I truly felt sorry for Madison. It was obvious that she felt deeply sad about the experiences the other teens had, and was very conflicted about defending a lifestyle that she does not plan to live. It’s a difficult place to be in. I understand. For many years, and to this day, I feel conflicted because my family is one of the more “normal” polygamous families. However, it doesn’t stop me from seeing the big dysfunctional picture.

I know when my sisters are unhappy, and when they’re stuffing, numbing, and checking out to survive it.


Overall I think the teens did a great job of working together and seeing life from others’ perspectives. I was touched when I saw Tonia from Holding Out Help with tears in her eyes. I can’t imagine the amount of abuse and dysfunction that she must see and hear about on a regular basis. Kollene, who left the Kingston group, was very outspoken and truthful. I loved her comments! For her young age, I she sees through all that bull. Although she softened some and enjoyed her time with the Browns, I think she will be able to continue to see the dysfunction in the lifestyle, no matter how great it appears on the surface.

I laughed when Kody stated that he is being judged by Warren Jeff’s deeds. I get where he was going with that, but laughed right out loud! Kody, you have your own reality show. People judge you based on YOU! Be a different person and you’ll be judged differently.

I’m not sure what Christine was trying to say at the end. I watched it three times to try and make heads or tails of it. I think she was trying so hard to defend the lifestyle, to convince people that it’s not the religion that’s the problem, but the people that live it. Overall, it sounded like a stuffy, numbed out, naive, misunderstood comment. I was pretty outraged that she cried and acted as if these terrible acts by other men surprised her. But she, like everyone else around her, plug their ears, close their eyes, and deny that horrible abuse goes on all around them. Robin commented on that very fact. Do the Browns care, that in a sense, they too may be encouraging their daughters to enter into one of those pathetic situations?

Well, all in all, it seemed the Browns’ were pretty happy and all was well, but next week some of the truth comes out when Christine tells Kody that they’re failing as a family! I guess last night’s episode was just a hoax to make everyone think they’re “a normal polygamous family.” Wink, wink!

by Janalee Royal

The Great Plig-cation and Threats of Damnation

My mother is on the far right 
holding one of her nieces.

What madness didn’t TLC reveal about the Brown and Darger trip with 50 people? It looked like the huge polygamous families seemed to have pulled the group excursion off pretty well.

I have to say that I was somewhat impressed with both household patriarchs. Though the Brown family is consistently in “a state of shear chaos” and “not as organized as the Dargers,” Kody is not quite as controlling as gestapo Joe. He’s  big, bald and intimidating,” and “knows the most in every situation,” just like his tough is polygamous father was. But Kody sticks to his guns. After too many abusive situations in the kitchen; that his family “may never heal from,” Kody allows his wives their “distinct personality differences. He won’t require them to “sacrifice their identities” for one large cooperative kitchen that won’t make them “better off as a family.”

The Darger/Brown “Plyg-cation,” (as Mary called it,) to Ocean Side made me think of the innumerable trips those two families have separately experienced over the past many years. I am happy for them, and for their children. Yet my heart felt heavy with envy for their relatives, friends, neighbors, and other polygamous families whom, in the past and today, can barely put bread on their tables without government assistance; let alone take their families on expensive vacations.

My mother is on the far right holding one of her nieces.

Last week on Sister Wives, Christine said her grandfather spent time in prison and “never did get his family back.” Not so. In 1945 Christine’s grandfather—my Uncle Rulon Allred, did spend time in the Utah State Penitentiary for living polygamy. To procure an early release, he and several polygamous men who’d been arrested, signed a legal contract swearing to never go back to their plural wives. Sanctioned by the fundamentalist proclamation that “God’s laws are higher than the laws of the land,” those men gathered their plural wives and children back together and started pro-creating once again.

My Uncle Rulon continued to take more wives and have more children. His first wife divorced him because he was too inundated with his religious/plural beliefs and duties. In the early 50s the men who spent time in prison together severed their religious brotherhood and started the AUB and the FLDS groups. It was during that time, that another wife left him to adhere to her FLDS father and prophet’s dogmas.

Joseph Darger and his wives grandfathers also spent time in prison for the same “cause.” The “government will separate us,” we were constantly threatened by our parents. Those relentless threats kept polygamists feeling “persecuted for righteousness sake,” and served a wondrous purpose–to keep a strong-hold on our beliefs. In at least 56 years, no one (that I know of,) has been arrested for living polygamy – only.

Mary, Christine and Robin Brown, Joe, Valerie, Vicki and Alena Darger, all grew up with the polygamous convictions of their parents and grandparents. All of them were taught, as I was, that Joseph Smith received a revelation from God, (Sect 132 LDS Church Doctrine and Covenants,) stating that polygamy must be lived.

4 For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then ye are damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.

“We don’t look at relationships like everyone else.” Joe Darger stated. “This is an eternal commitment—eternal. This isn’t just for a little while here on earth. This is like what we’re doing for ever…”

I’ve heard it said, “You are as free as your choices.” Is do it—abide the covenant or else—be damned really a choice?

Today, yesterday and forever more, I am more grateful than I have words to express, that “I no longer hold to any religion or ideology where belief systems require and assume that our highest aspirations – happiness, fulfillment and liberations lie in the future, and therefore justify present enslavement, dominance, suppression and suffering.”

Thanks to Eckhart Tolle, I have the words to express the truth. I pray for the day others will find it as well.

Thor Stonewall Interview

What an amazing young man! Not once did I feel threatened or exploited during this near-hour-long interview with Troy. He read my book and was prepared to ask questions that would enhance some of his audiences’ information about polygamy, and some of their perceived questions. It was an honor to have been invited to participate on Troy’s Webcast interview!

PLEASE check his web-site and LISTEN to my interview.

THANKS again Troy!