If you can be in Las Vegas for this, please join the audience to glean from a pro and con polygamy discussion.
ST. GEORGE – Members of the Sound Choice Coalition, a grassroots organization dedicated to retaining the state’s bigamy/polygamy laws and educating and enlightening the community about the dangers of polygamy, will visit the Utah Capitol the morning of February 13th.
The purpose of this visit to elected officials is to ask them to resist any loosening of Utah’s existing polygamy laws—to not decriminalize polygamy in the face of a lawsuit filed against the state by an active polygamist. Newly elected Utah Attorney General, John Swallow, has said he will continue his predecessor Mark Shurtleff’s policy of not prosecuting polygamy.
“If Utah decriminalizes polygamy then Utah will become even more of a haven for polygamy and the abuses inherent within that practice,” Kristyn Decker, founder of Sound Choices Coalition and a former plural wife, said. “When you are brought up in fundamentalism you are blinded from truth and reality.” Sound Choices Coalition hopes Utah will make a sound choice to protect women and children from the abuses of patriarchal polygamy, such as unequal distribution of power within marriage, being manipulated to live polygamy under religious duress, and the practice of having more children than parents can provide and nurture and so on. She underscored the mission statement of the Sound Choices Coalition.
“We stand for freedom from generational and patriarchal abuses that coerce and rob free-will choice,” she said. “Our goal is to educate and encourage everyone to claim this freedom, and request others to do the same.”
“The Browns and a few others in the Principle Rights Coalition are asking that polygamy be decriminalized. Therefore we are asking that ‘polygamy,’ as is it known, lived, and professed, is studied and defined in depth before decriminalization is even considered. Polygamy does not compare to the sexual liberty of consenting adults. It is not about adult consensual ‘choice.’ It is the aftermath of arduous programming.”
“For a large percentage of polygamous children, their only choice is do or die… a girl will kindly and sweetly give her husbands other ‘wives,’ will have as many babies as her body will produce, (whether or not her health suffers or she is capable of nurturing them, and whether her husband will, won’t, or can’t provide for them), because if she does not, she knows she has failed to demonstrate her ‘worthiness’ and will be ‘destroyed’. Under such extreme coercion, this can hardly be considered a choice.”
Members of the Sound Choices Coalition will distribute personal stories from previous polygamists, a brochure detailing scholarly research and legal findings concerning the inherent abuses of polygamy of any kind, and a letter expressing the need for continuation of the existing polygamy laws. The coalition hopes to persuade Utah representatives to act in the best interests of society, and to protect the women, children, and men suffering from the abuses of the polygamous lifestyle.
This is a brief, right-to-the-point, excellent interview with Troy Williams.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m pro-choice. If the choices are more than do it or else! Though thousands of polygamists claim; “it’s my choice to be a polygamist,” those statements are completely inaccurate according to the most recent and numerous research based books written about brainwashing. I was a seventh generation victim of the demands of “principle of plural marriage.”
Dr. Kathleen Taylor, in her book, Brainwashing – The Science of Thought Control, states that neuroscience “shows that brainwashed individuals have more rigid pathways in their deep convictions, and that rigidity can make it unlikely that the individual will rethink situations or be able to later reorganize these pathways. The neuronal behaviors of brainwashed people behave so differently, critical thinking is nearly impossible.”
My 45 siblings and I, as well as 95 percent of those who practice polygamy in the western United States, were born or converted into families that sustain, preach Joseph Smith’s doctrines on plural marriage. Polygamists see Joseph Smith’s doctrines as laws, not choices, as are dictated in LDS Doctrine and Covenants, Section 132, where it is said that women are damned for sleeping with other men, and destroyed for rebelling against their husbands’ sleeping with other woman for HIS exaltation.
Not only that, but these polygamous women believe their prophets commanded them to have
as many children as their bodies will produce.
If and when Kody Brown’s, Joe Darger’s, and other polygamous “programmed” adults are ever able to break away from years and years of arduous indoctrination, (near impossible rigidity,) they will realize, like those of us who have been able to escape, that they too, never did have authentic choice. Aside from the many studies that prove polygamy is harmful to women and children, Patriarchal, traditional, polygamy which IS probably 95% of polygamy in the U.S., violates HUMAN RIGHTS, since it is not based on “Sound Choices.” Polygamy in these instances is synonymous with slavery.
Though I felt sick and violated, when my father asked me, “Are you Sophia, willing to stand as Sarah and give Sister Diane to your husband as his wife for time and all eternity?,” I had two choices: With all my heart, I wanted to be with my children and my family in Heaven. If I didn’t comply and keep sweet about it, I believed I’d be destroyed and damned to hell. So I forced some smiles and whispered, “yes.”
There are and have been more than enough reasons that polygamy is and has been illegal. Something must be done about re-defining laws that can and will be enforced to end abuses that are rampant in too many of these families.
Please check out our new and ever progressing Webpage for Sound Choices Coalition. I hear many people say polygamy should be decriminalized or legalized, with a few good reasons, such as pro-choice etc.
I agree with real choice, however! Please read this research about CHOICE and CONSENT.
Then you may want to SIGN THE PETITION to Stand Against Legalizing the Subjugation of Women Through Polygamy
Selective Amnesia Regarding Adult Consent in Polygamy What We Must Forget in Order To Justify Legalization or Decriminalization of Patriarchal Polygamy
My dream is reflective of The Reality of Polygamy–the show that should really be produced. I’m sure that’s why there were real actresses and actors in this real-to-life scenario. Mine part was “the knowing” roll.
The main difference in my dream, is that when I could no longer bear the sharing, I could leave without the desperate fear of breaking God’s laws and of being sent to hell. Still, loving Sam was killing me.
Weather one is in and or out of patriarchal/religious polygamy, where sacrifice and an abundance of children are required, this dream IS The Reality of Polygamy.
Demi and Sam flirted with one-another on the couch while I was busy in the kitchen nearby. They’d look at me now and then, as if talking about me, making fun of me—or maybe it was just plain, “what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.” My stomach knotted and I held strong until I was sure I’d cry; still I forced myself not to.
When I got over to the couch, Demi decided to open the birthday gifts she’d received from rich friends across the country. For 20 minutes, she opened one beautiful outfit after another –all the time fussing about and holding them up to her shapely body and squirming in delight. Her eyes flashed at Sam and his stared back in delight. Each piece was gorgeous and would look more so when displayed on Demi’s perfect body.
I was truly happy for her to have another array of elegant clothing, yet as envious as hell. My heart throbbed with pain—feeling the physical, social and economic comparisons she, Meryl, and I aroused from others everywhere we went together.
My tears held fast. I wouldn’t and couldn’t let either of them–especially Demi know how much pain I felt. I smiled my usual great big lie, and kept it pointedly in her direction. “You are gorgeous, and you will look even more beautiful in those cloths,” I told her.
Demi stood up and gave me a hug. “Thank you” she said audibly, so Sam would hear her. Then she stood back, patted my abdomen, and whispered, “I guess you’d have fit into them when you were younger and thinner.”
Demi was adept at knowing how to “look good,” to Sam, while trying to push Meryl and me out. She hoped we’d give up and leave, so she could have him to herself.
I was still attractive for being 20 years her senior. As Sam’s first wife, I knew he loved me since I’d given him the liberty of young wives’ bodies to satiate his libido, keep him younger and glorify his ego. Meryl and I were used up—still young enough; but we’d been traded in for another.
“I’m not doing this anymore,” I yelled at Sam. “Everyday, we suffocate while you become alive and younger with Demi. It just plain hurts too much!”
The next thing I was (shamefully) doing in my dream, was lying on a bench outside of our house, tied to the comfort and familiarity of Sam’s body next to mine, wondering, “how much longer will I sacrifice and suffer for this man?
When I was a teen, I asked my mother why it was okay for dad to take more young wives to sleep with, while she hardly ever got to spend any time with him. She told me that it was part of the “plan of salvation.” It was a wife’s duty to support her husband propagating with young women to help keep their husband young. “And if a wife really loves him, she’ll be happy for him, and keep sweet about it.”
This “religious” guilt training literally demands that women feel selfish, inferior and evil if they oppose their soul’s inner knowing. That is why it is religiously accepted by fundamentalists like Kody Brown to promise Mari, “I will be having more children… even without you…” and why his wives have no saintly “rights” to complain when it comes to Kody “keeping young,” with Robyn.
Brigham Young – is one of Fundamentalist’s honored prophets. Of Young’s 55 wives, 21 had never been married before; 16 were widows; six were divorced; six had living husbands; and the marital status of six others are unknown.
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.
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
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.