If you can be in Las Vegas for this, please join the audience to glean from a pro and con polygamy discussion.
It seems like the more things there are to do, the more the list gets longer rather than shorter. So please forgive me for not up-dating more often.
We’re still working on getting my uncensored version of my book published. Today, I’m asking friends and acquaintances to help with an intriguing title. Hopefully it will be ready by the end of this month. Meanwhile I thought I’d add this update and great information.
AS most of you know, I was born into polygamy, lived it and spent 50 years in that dire condition before I finally fled to freedom. During the last 8 years of that marriage, I became involved in several state advocacy programs and humanitarian activities. Through those services and therapy sessions, I learned more about the violations within my own polygamous life–one I believed I had chosen for myself and my children. I was learning how to become a stronger person; how to wake up and abandon those harmful and cohesive beliefs of 7 generations. Today my passion is to advocate for those who have left polygamy, as well as help educate society in general about the Human Rights violations within generational, patriarchal polygamy that is destructive to children, is NOT about free will choice, nor is it the same as same sex partnerships.
The Sound Choices Coalition advocates that states keep their anti-polygamy laws that are already in tack, to establish laws that will allow law enforcement to protect the thousands of innocent children who are still being abused under that guise of religious freedom.
We hope to help others find their way out of that demeaning, spiritually fraudulent belief and into productive, genuinely happy lives, as we have discovered.
I have attached some researched information so you may better understand why the following studies reflect the concerns, feelings and beliefs of the Sound Choices Coalition. This will also be updated in the near future with sites you can instantly refer to for more information as you read.
The SOUND CHOICES COALITION is a partnership of organizations and individuals who are uniting in an effort to end human rights violations due to polygamy and other forms of patriarchal abuse.
If you have any questions or concerns and/or feel it in your heart to join this honorable cause, please email firstname.lastname@example.org Please donate @ sound-choices.com – every dollar helps promote Human Rights and Education.
Selective Amnesia Regarding Adult Consent in Polygamy:
What We Must Forget in Order to Justify Legalization or Decriminalization of Patriarchal Polygamy and why there is no such thing as “consenting adults” in patriarchal polygamy. C.M. Katas
Below is a list of facts which must be forgotten or ignored in order to believe that patriarchal polygamy should be legalized as a free choice for adult females, that it takes place among consenting adults, and that it is a victim-less crime.
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget that women in many Mormon offshoot polygamous sects believe that “living the principle” is a requirement for godhood, and that refusing to live it will cause severe consequences to their eternal welfare. For true believers, fear of this consequence is so terrifying, they have no viable alternative.
Victims of Undue Influence
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget that women believe that their prophet receives revelation from God concerning them, granting him a staggering ecclesiastical and the fiduciary power over them. When he imposes his will while disregarding the desires of the women, it is undue inﬂuence.
Consequences for Dissenting
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget that “dissent against leadership or the institution of polygamy may land some women in psychiatric institutions.”
Disobedience Means Loss of Everything
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget that exhibiting independence or refusing to comply with marriage assignments can result in banishment, losing one’s family, friends, community, home, dreams, ability to survive ﬁnancially, faith, reputation, and fear you will forever be subject to the buffetings of Satan.
Coercion Nulliﬁes Consent
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget that “coercion nulliﬁes the morally transformative power of consent,” and that coercion can be situational, psychological, non-violent, and non-physical. Coercion serves to “invalidate any consent that may have been given and to render impermissible any actions derived from the consent.” Loyola Law Professor, Kathleen Kim, “The Coercion of Trafﬁcked Workers”
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget the gender inequality and imbalance of power between the man and his plural wives. We must forget that women believe their husbands can determine their eternal outcomes, and if they displease their husbands in mortality, husbands have the power to damn them for all eternity.
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must not know that women are compelled to covenant to obey (or hearken unto) their husbands – as he obeys God “in righteousness,” and that righteousness is subject to interpretation by the males in the community.
Broken into Submissiveness
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget that the women are required to repent of their sins, and that the repentance process can be publicly humiliating, psychologically devastating and even physically violent if necessary to achieve the desired humility and obedience.
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget that women are manipulated through a series of rewards and punishments in an authoritarian structure that permits no feedback, inhibits the woman’s natural personality and behavior, makes her feel powerless and teaches her to deny her natural feelings.
Consecrate Their Whole Lives
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget that righteous women must covenant to “live the law of consecration” or consent to be enslaved – giving their time, talent, possessions, resources to the building of the kingdom on this earth.
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget that in several large polygamous communities, abuse and incest are rampant, and women immersed in this culture often have a damaged psychological foundation and sense of self.
Uneducated About Choices
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget that in many sects, children and young women are not properly educated about their choices or provided information pertaining to the outside world. “Even for adult women, there can be no true choice where the opportunity to examine alternative lifestyles/beliefs is denied in their youth.”
Independent Thinking Shunned
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget that independent thinking and outside information are often shunned. “The fathers in the polygamous group are ﬁgures to respect but the mothers are only to be obeyed if they are in “perfect harmony” with the father. A child should never seek information other than what is offered by the leader, and this is to be accepted implicitly. In fact, children are not given conditions that require them to think. They fulﬁll their responsibilities to the cult or family, or they answer to someone over them.
Programmed People Do Not Have Free Will
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget that a body of scientiﬁc work shows that the neuronal behaviors of brainwashed people behave so differently, critical thinking is nearly impossible.
Choice in Marriage
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget that in some sects marriages are arranged by the leaders, and young women are prohibited from dating, falling in love, or choosing their own marriage partner. Often, they are required to marry men they have never met.
Changing Conditions in Marriages
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget that even when women do choose their partners, conditions can change. In some polygamous cultures men take other wives without the knowledge or approval of the ﬁrst wives. The circumstances of marriage have altered as economic, emotional and physical resources must now be shared with a stranger, but the wives are already bound.
Group Think – Do Not Self-Identify as Victims
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget that women are pressured to suffer in silence while portraying an outward happiness, and that exploited people commonly do not realize they have been manipulated, or realize how deeply they have been victimized until they have had time away from their situation, learned to develop critical thinking skills, become educated on their rights and have had time to heal. “The most disconcerting thing about some victims of brainwashing is the vehemence with which they claim to have free will, to have chosen their destiny rather that to have been coerced into it.”
Women Are Dis-empowered
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget the “patriarchal, antidemocratic nature of polygamous communities that dis-empower women, individually and collectively, from being educated and making informed choices about their lives.”
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget that when women must share their husbands with other women, personal desires for affection must be restrained and scheduled. Women must subdue their natural desires and spend countless lonely nights without a partner.
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget that in some polygamous sects women can be assigned new husbands without notice or input, and they are required to become intimate with these men regardless of their personal feelings. Where is the choice in this?
Cult Mind Control
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must ignore the power of religious fundamentalism and the ability of cult mind-control and spiritual blackmail to impair proper decision-making. “When one has committed to a belief, renouncing it is unpleasant in any situation; on is renouncing part of one’s own identity.”
Objectiﬁcation of Women
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget it objectiﬁes women, and that polygamous leaders have frequently used the granting of wives and daughters, or the trading of wives and daughters, as currency or reward for favored males.
Loss of Reproductive Choice
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget that ‘choosing’ polygamy often includes loss of reproductive choice, and that women are commanded to continually bear children, that their bodies are vessels to be worn out in childbirth.
Sex with Religious Counselor is Non-Consensual
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, particularly if a woman is called to be a ‘wife’ of a religious leader we must forget the description of non-consensual sex. Example: Utah Code § 76-5-406 – Sexual offenses against the victim without consent of victim.
Clergy Abuse – Violation of Fiduciary Trust
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must agree that protecting freedom of religion trumps crimes committed by those in ecclesiastical/ﬁduciary positions of trust, even when they issue terroristic threats to the woman’s eternal well-being if they do not subjugate themselves to the desires of the ﬁduciary spiritual adviser. This includes the requirement to consent to a felony being committed against them.
Abnormal Seems Normal
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must ignore the fact that women immersed in a culture with patriarchal practices, gender mistreatment or deviant behaviors are more likely to find female subjugation and other mistreatment to be normal and acceptable.
Polygamy Sometimes Work Well?
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget that the benign media portrayal of the ‘normal’ polygamous Browns on the TV show ‘Sister Wives’ is entertaining propaganda, and does not represent the true realities and choices of most of the women in polygamy.
“But can’t it work for some families?”
“In all my years living polygamy, I never knew a happy family. I knew many who would put on a happy family show for the media, but behind closed doors, the women were always suffering.” Vicky Prunty, co-founder, Tapestry Against Polygamy
There is no such thing as so-called ‘good polygamy’.”
Supreme Court of British Columbia: Decision November 23, 2011 -Religion Cannot Be Used as a Defense To justify legalizing polygamy as a free religious choice for women, we must forget that it is a felony, that religion cannot be used as a defense, and that the Utah Supreme Court ruled that “the protections enshrined in the federal constitution, as well as our state constitution, guaranteeing the free exercise of religion and conscience … do not shield polygamous practices from state prosecution.”
Cannot Consent to a Felony Against Yourself
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must disregard the law, superseding it with a personal opinion that “because a woman was over 18,” she must have been able to consent to the felony committed against her, therefore she could not be a victim and no crime was committed.
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget that women often live in poverty and if they work, it is frequently under slave-like conditions, working for little or no pay but giving it to the “building of the kingdom” which is run by men. This is also known as human trafﬁcking. “One of the most common misconceptions about human trafficking is that it is primarily a crime of movement. It is not. In fact, the law does not require any movement or crossing of jurisdictional boundaries for a trafficking crime to occur. Human trafficking is primarily a crime of exploitation. Human trafficking occurs when an individual’s freedom is curtailed and labor or other services are extracted through force, fraud, or coercion by another individual.”
Consent Impossible for Enslaved, or Trafﬁcked, Women
In order to view polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget that legally, there is no such thing as ‘consent’ to being trafﬁcked, and in the law, consent is irrelevant. http://www.polarisproject.org/human-trafﬁcking/overview/myths-and-misconceptions
ABUSE OF POWER – Often Traumatized
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget that many consider polygamy a form of slavery, or human trafﬁcking, and we must forget that women who escape almost always have post-traumatic stress disorder at levels akin to torture.
Rampant Psychological Abuse
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget that they do not choose the inter-family politics and rivalries, sister-wife cruelty, psychological manipulations, and unmet needs for intimacy.
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget that if these choices were truly what women desired, depression and suicide attempts among the women in these communities would not be so elevated; nor, would there be so many wives and teens ﬂeeing from this divine “lifestyle.” No one chooses. “It has been important to the author that in this ﬁeld of “the psychological impact of polygamy on its victims,” there is a great deal of convergence of data, too much in fact, to ignore.”
Negative Harms of Polygamy
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, as if it is a victimless crime between consenting adults, we must forget the plethora of studies documenting the harmful effects of polygamy. Some of these harms are listed in an afﬁdavit by Susan Stickevers, M.D., but this is the tip of the ice berg.
• Higher rates of depression
• Higher rates of anxiety
• Higher rates of psychiatric hospitalization and outpatient psychiatric treatment
• Higher rates of marital dissatisfaction in wives of polygamous marriages
• Lower levels of self- esteem in wives of polygamous marriages
• Higher levels of solemnization, phobia and other psychological problems in wives of polygamous marriages
• Lower levels of academic achievement in wives of polygamous marriages
• Lower levels of academic achievement and more difﬁculty with mental health and social adjustment in the children of polygamous marriages
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget that Canada, a country so liberal that they legalized same-sex marriage in 2004, and prostitution in 2012; then sought to overturn the ban on polygamy. But after “the most comprehensive judicial record on the subject ever produced,” Chief Justice Bauman wrote the following.
“I have concluded that the Attorneys General and their allied Interested Persons have demonstrated a very strong basis for a reasoned apprehension of harm to many in our society inherent in the practice of polygamy as I have deﬁned it in these reasons…
• Women in polygamous relationships are at an elevated risk of physical and psychological harm.
•They face higher rates of domestic violence and abuse, including sexual abuse.
•Competition for material and emotional access to a shared husband can lead to fractious co-wife relationships.
•These factors contribute to the higher rates of depressive disorders and other mental health issues women in polygamous relationships face.
•They have more children, are more likely to die in childbirth and live shorter lives than their monogamous counterparts.
•They tend to have less autonomy, and report higher rates of marital dissatisfaction and lower levels of self-esteem.
•They also fare worse economically, as resources may be inequitably divided or simply insufficient.
Regarding Harms to Children
•Children in polygamous families face higher infant mortality, even controlling for economic status and other relevant variables.
•They tend to suffer more emotional, behavioral and physical problems, as well as lower educational achievement than children in monogamous families.
•These outcomes are likely the result of higher levels of conﬂict, emotional stress and tension in polygamous families.
• In particular, rivalry and jealousy among co-wives can cause signiﬁcant emotional problems for their children.
•The inability of fathers to give sufﬁcient affection and disciplinary attention to all of their children can further reduce children’s emotional security.
•Children are also at enhanced risk of psychological and physical abuse and neglect.
Women Deserve Equality
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget that polygamy suffers the opprobrium of international human rights condemnation, that it contravenes a woman’s right to equality with men, can have serious emotional and ﬁnancial consequences, and that it undermines the rights of women in relation to family life, security and citizenship.
Violation of Human Rights
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget that polygamy is replete with violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes the “inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family.”
Harms Are Endemic
To justify legalizing polygamy as a free choice for women, we must forget that Canadian Chief Justice Bauman wrote in his decision that “the harms associated with the practice are endemic; they are inherent,” and that the harms “are not simply the product of individual misconduct; they arise inevitably out of the practice.” In other words, he was not talking about the harms that come from speciﬁc crimes or abuses committed by individuals living in polygamy, but the harms of polygamy even when there is no religion or abuse involved.
“Polygamy’s harm to society includes the critical fact that a great many of its individual harms are not speciﬁc to any particular religious, cultural or regional context. They can be generalized and expected to occur wherever polygamy exists.” ~Justice Bauman
PATRIARCHAL POLYGAMY IS NOT ABOUT CONSENTING ADULTS.
POLYGAMY IS NOT A VICTIMLESS CRIME.
For references more details and details read the whole article: http://voicesfordignity.com/what-we-must-forget-in-order-to-justify-the-legalization-or-decriminalization-of-patriarchal-polygamy/
Please come meet me at this authors event at Barns and Noble event this coming Saturday from 1:00 until 4:00.
The details are below.
Hope to see you there!
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