Meet The Polygamists Next Door

MikeInWeHo is an old friend of BCC, and currently serves as our Special Media Correspondent, providing commentary on TV shows we can’t watch because we’re too cheap to pay for cable. His past work can be seen here, here, here, and here.

Sunday night brought the premier of the new series Sister Wives on The Learning Channel. The affable Kody Brown and his three wives have opened their home to the world, and we get a new take on contemporary polygamy. This is billed as a reality series, but are these people for real or is this TV with an agenda?

Polygamy has gotten a lot of media attention in recent years, from FLDS compounds in the news to HBO’s hit drama Big Love. These portrayals mostly range from bizarre to fictional. Who can relate to the swoop-haired wives of the FLDS compound? They are a curiosity at best, creepy cult at worst. Meanwhile, Big Love has devolved into an over-the-top dramatic mess like some Mormon Melrose Place. Entertaining, sure, but not reality.

This time the message is different and much closer to your Utah home. Sister Wives makes two major impressions on the viewer. First, this family sure as heck seems Mormon, gosh darn it. Kody attempts to set the record straight by explaining “We’re a fundamentalist Mormon family, not a (sic) LDS or Mormon family.” He continues by saying “They quit practicing polygamy a hundred and twenty years ago. Big difference from us and them, similar to Catholics and Protestants.” The average non-Mormon viewer might be forgiven for finding this denominational distinction a bit difficult to navigate. “Fundamentalist Mormon” is the label that sticks to these people.

The second major impression is that this family is healthy, loving, and strong. They’re exuberant, likeable, and not weird at all. First wife Meri speaks into the camera “I hope that our kids do what they want to do in their life, whether it’s live our lifestyle or have no religion at all. As long as they are strong and firm in what they want to do, and what they want to believe and that they’re not following somebody else.” Second wife Janelle chimes in “The biggest thing is that if we raise productive, contributing members of society who are moral and ethical, that’s our final goal whatever their path is.” Where do I sign up?

The Brown family is so over-the-top nice, they’re like a latter-day Brady Bunch. Any serious problems have been edited away. Third wife Christine refuses to use a toaster because “more people die from toasters than sharks every year.” When she incinerates bread by leaving it under the broiler too long, the family rallies in the smoke-filled kitchen to provide cheerful moral support. Add a bad laugh track and it could have been a scene from an old TV sitcom.

Dramatic tension is provided by Kody’s announcement that he is courting a potential fourth wife. How will the kids react? Will intra-wife jealousies finally emerge with the arrival of the younger, sexier Robyn? The premier leaves us hanging, but based on the tone of this episode we can predict that the Brown family will do just fine.

Comments

  1. This looks like an interesting show, Mike. I don’t get to see too much American TV, but I’ll keep my eyes open for it if it becomes available here in the Middle East where polygamy is really, um, next door…?

    From the trailer, I like these people. They really do seem so normal and sweet, and they’re definitely more “Mormony” than I am in their appearance and cute way of expressing themselves. What will this mean for the mainstream LDS population at large? I don’t know, but I’m guessing people will continue to think we’re polygamists, in spite of their clarification.

  2. I’ve recorded this and am interested to see it. Thanks for the review.

  3. They must not be technically married? Otherwise they’re breaking the law on national TV, which does not seem very smart.

    Why don’t I have a reality tv show?

  4. Watched it. I like the wives. Kody just seems awkward! In polygamy, the men are taken for granted — what I mean is, no one needs a polygamous man to explain what’s in it for him, but EVERYONE wants to hear the wives’ perspective…? Hence the show title, “Sister Wives, ” I guess! So, in a matter of a few years, all three marriages had taken place before any children came along. I wonder if they planned that. I look forward to hearing more about their beliefs.

    The first wife could bear only one child, and so it was the other wives who helped grow the family. My question is: has anyone looked at MALE infertility in polygamy — human (Mormon or not) or non-human?

  5. Did any one notice the freaky spelling of the kids names? Was I the only one that thought Ysebel was weird?

  6. It seemed to me that the only real control Kody had was in bringing in more wives. Although the women expressed misgivings, once they agree to polygamy as a “principal” they philosophically give up a right to say stop so that is where they are vulnerable. Meanwhile, Kody was rarely able to finish a sentence and seemed to only orbit the family’s universe. When tearfully speaking of her polygamist biological sister’s death, the first wife expressed her joy that her sister wives would also raise her kids if anything happened to her. There was no mention of either of the fathers. The 3rd wife matter of factly expressed her desire for female companionship and distaste of being alone in a relationship with a man. There are so many Mormon men who think it is just a matter of waiting to die before they begin collecting women that this series may provide some needed adjustment to their romanticized “polygamy on the praire” where they preside like Brigham Young over an obedient household of silent women.

  7. Jeremy Jensen says:

    “There are so many Mormon men who think it is just a matter of waiting to die before they begin collecting women”

    1. Who would say this? We don’t get married after this life.

    2. I’ve never met a Mormon man who thought polygamy sounded like a good idea. Ever.

  8. There are so many Mormon men who think it is just a matter of waiting to die before they begin collecting women that this series may provide some needed adjustment to their romanticized “polygamy on the praire” where they preside like Brigham Young over an obedient household of silent women.

    The Mormon men you are hanging out with are not the Mormon men I hang out with.

  9. Former UK resident says:

    There are so many Mormon men who think it is just a matter of waiting to die before they begin collecting women that this series may provide some needed adjustment to their romanticized “polygamy on the praire” where they preside like Brigham Young over an obedient household of silent women.

    Can’t phrase it better than B. Russ already has.

  10. I didn’t mean to imply anyone here thought that polygamy is “doctrine”, i.e., eternal. I am always glad to hear of those who reject that, for logistics if nothing else. But there are a significant number of men (and women) who think (or fear) that there is going to be polygamy in the hereafter, including a couple of apostles. The practice of multiple live sealings for men and women being more righteous, thus more plentiful, is usually invoked. You can’t go far on the internet and not see this, it comes up quite often on women’s blogs. Whether one hangs out with those who promote this idea or not there are a significant number of members who think it.

  11. Former UK resident says:

    The practice of multiple live sealings for men and women being more righteous, thus more plentiful, is usually invoked. You can’t go far on the internet and not see this, it comes up quite often on women’s blogs. Whether one hangs out with those who promote this idea or not there are a significant number of members who think it.

    Juliann,

    What are your thoughts on the following?
    http://squaretwo.org/Sq2ArticleCasslerPolygamy.html

  12. Julie M. Smith says:

    My husband and I watched the trailer. I glared at him. He said, “You are so difficult there is no way in hell I’d take another wife. Now do you feel better?”

  13. Pedro A. Olavarria says:

    Did anyone else notice the “A Proclamation to the World” hanging on there wall?

  14. Thanks for the write-up Mike. I was going to skip this from the commercials, but maybe I’ll watch it now and then after all.

  15. Julie M. Smith — ;)

  16. Pedro #13, In the trailer? Can you give the time for when it shows up?

  17. “Why don’t I have a reality tv show?”

    Susan, you’re absolutely right. Someone call the network.

  18. It’s definitely worth watching, Tracy. There are only to be seven episodes I think. Can’t imagine they have the Church’s family proclamation on their wall, Pedro. I hope that as the series progresses they provide more detail about their church life. Would love to see where they go on Sunday.

    Is it true that there are some polygamists who secretly practice polygamy while maintaining maintaining LDS church membership and even going to the temple, or is that just legend?

  19. Kevin Barney says:

    No, not legend, Mike, it happens. In particular some polygamists “pass” as LDS to get access to the temple ceremonies.

  20. I didn’t mean to imply anyone here thought that polygamy is “doctrine”, i.e., eternal. I am always glad to hear of those who reject that, for logistics if nothing else. But there are a significant number of men (and women) who think (or fear) that there is going to be polygamy in the hereafter, including a couple of apostles.

    Plural marriage is a doctrine of the LDS church. It is not a practice in the way it was in the 19th century. That’s a rather important distinction. Also, there will be plurally-married families in the hereafter, since there were plenty of such families sealed during the time that plural marriage was practiced.

    Also, there are members now who are sealed to more than one spouse. To say that they will not be sealed in the next life seems to defeat the purpose of the sealing.

    Did anyone else notice the “A Proclamation to the World” hanging on there wall?

    I watched the trailer a couple of times, and saw no proclamation. Was it shown during the actual episode?

  21. My wife and i noticed the proclamation as well. Don’t know if it was in the trailer. If I recall it was in the part of the house that belonged to the third wife.

  22. Mike, what Kevin said. Years ago, our stake sunday school pres. was sporting with a couple of extra wives on the sly and was teaching released time seminary in Utah too (CES employee I mean). By the way, he was a very popular seminary teacher.

  23. I’m excited to watch it — thanks for the write-up.

  24. There’s a note in the Provo paper this morning that the Lehi police have been investigating the family for possible violation of the Utah bigamy statute.

  25. Both the Deseret News and the Tribune have stories as well.

  26. OK–now I’ve watched it. My big question is this: how is it that you can have THREE wives and none of them (let alone all of them) object to your atrocious hair? More importantly, how is the fourth wife, the only one courted during the era of atrocious hair, attracted to this?

    Having lived in a different polygamous society, I have known that polygamous men are, essentially, powerless in their families. What I have always wondered is how a polygamous tradition could survive more than one generation, because surely many sons decide this life is not for them.

    Apparently, the Brown family is now being investigated by the police: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/home/50366251-76/bigamy-brown-wives-paul.html.csp

    I too thought I saw a Proclamation on the Family hanging on the wall, but my TV isn’t good enough to confirm.

  27. Pedro A. Olavarria says:

    Mike #18
    Cynthia #16
    I can’t believe I’m having a conversation about the nic-nacs on another person’s wall. Haha. I saw the “Proclamation” as I watched the full episode. It’s on the 2nd half near around the part where one of the wives burns toast in the oven.

    The fact that they have the Proclamation on the wall shouldn’t be surprising to anyone familiar with that culture, particularly the AUB. They actually believe the Church is God’s one true Church and see themselves as members of it, at least Rulon Allred did. According to a Dialogue article I once read, they even cancel their own meetings during our General Conference.

  28. Pedro A. Olavarria says:

    esodhiambo #26
    Although I disagree with what these people are doing on theological grounds(D&C 132:7-8), the government should leave them alone and go after real criminals.

  29. I loved the first episode and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the series. Polygamy would be my worst nightmare, but it seems to work pretty well for them. Maybe it’s all about expectations.

  30. Pedro A. Olavarria says:

    Just a thought…….
    Given that Thomas S. Monson is the Lord’s Prophet, and since we can’t live plural marriage or the united order today, that means we have alot of “free time” to become experts living the teachings Christ delivered in the Sermon on the Mount, becoming good member missionaries and doing temple work.

  31. I was also fascinated that all three of the wives talked about how great their life is because of all the “free time” they had.

    Sarah–the rest of us think of that as Utah spelling.

  32. re: 27 Fascinating. I don’t know anything about the AUB. Would love to learn more.

    It would be horrible if the family got persecuted by the Utah authorities because of this show. Oh the irony there. What is up with that state???!

  33. “No, not legend, Mike, it happens. In particular some polygamists “pass” as LDS to get access to the temple ceremonies.”

    Yup. That is right. There was actually another documentary about polygamy last year, where they did not show the face of the husband (they blurred it), but they did show the wives. They were all interviewed and back then due to some of their answers I understood they attended regular LDS meetings (they didn’t belong to a separate polygamous branch). The wives went to different wards, and they took their kids to their respective ward.

    I know this sounds so unplausible given that the LDS community is rather involved in the lives of the members through home-teaching and visiting teaching. Nevertheless, the interviews showed the skill this women had in concealing their polygamous status and living normal lives and blending in with society just fine. They must of course know what to do to keep their lives from being known to the LDS members of their wards and their bishoprics.

    I remember liking this because it gave me the idea that there are indeed polygamists among us! That attend church with us, etc.

  34. methinks they doth protest too much

    polygamy always reminds me of the year myhusband and i shared a house with my sister and her husband at BYU. built in babysitting, always someone to talk to during the monotonous chores, division of labor, shopping without little people…but our husbands didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as we did. We always said we had all the benefits of polygamy without that one teensy drawback of sharing the husband.

  35. Kody Brown and his wives are just an hour away from my hometown. And he was a Schwan’s man who frequently delivered food to my grandmother. We always joked that he was looking to add her to his harem. . .

    And for the record, the Brown family is from a tiny town in Northern Wyoming, with an extremely large LDS population. It is, the scariest town I have ever been to, and is my definition of hell. . . just sayin’.

  36. Sorry, I meant to say that Kody Brown was originally from Northern Wyoming, a tiny town which was an hour from my hometown.

  37. When I thought about this broadcast more, it struck me as odd that Kody rides around in a tiny little Lexus CS (well over 50k) that can really only carry two passengers. His wives, meanwhile, all have to work. Hmmmm. There seems to be an ample dose of narcissism in his personality, maybe even grandiosity. Did anybody else sense that besides me?

  38. re: 33
    Do you think that in some polygamy-sympathetic areas, the Ward or even Stake leadership turns a blind eye to it?

  39. Pedro A. Olavarria says:

    re. 38
    Thomas S. Monson is the only man on the earth at the present time who holds the keys of the sealing ordinances. If he refuses to sanction polygamous marriages today then any attempt to enter into such unions is invalid, here and in the here after(D&C 132:7). I don’t care how sincere those people are or how beautiful there families. No Latter-Day Saint can be a polygamist today and be right with God.

  40. Mommie Dearest says:

    @#38: I would be very surprised if a bishop or stake president didn’t call [whoever answers the phone in SLC] when they discover a polygamist family attending their ward. I can’t imagine them turing a blind eye to it.

  41. These women are fools to put up with such nonsense and I agree with Pedro.

  42. Re: Pedro (#39)
    Mormon Fundamentalists ceased accepting modern LDS Church Presidents since the days of Heber J. Grant. Many of them believe wholeheartedly that one man presides over the sealing ordinance, but they do not consider Thomas S. Monson to be qualified to hold that role (based D&C 64:5, John Taylor’s 1882 revelation, and other statements which indicate that authority to preside over the Priesthood is based upon certain criteria – like living plural marriage).

  43. Finally saw it. I really enjoyed it. They’re a pretty sympathetic, complex family, clearly doing what they think is right and making it work for them.

    They’re very Mormon, even if they aren’t LDS.

    I think Pedro’s complaints reflect a very narrow LDS perspective; it goes without saying that it’s highly presumptive to speak for God in that way.

  44. re: 39
    It doesn’t seem that clear to me, Pedro. Dallin Oaks, for example, intends to spend eternity with two women:

    http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=684

    Here’s the takeaway quote:

    “When I was 66, my wife June died of cancer. Two years later–a year and a half ago–I married Kristen McMain, the eternal companion who now stands at my side. How fundamentally different my life is than I had sought to plan!”

    Isn’t polygamy on a layaway plan still polygamy?

  45. You know it Mike.

  46. Mike from Atlanta says:

    #42 Lorenzo says: “Mormon Fundamentalists ceased accepting modern LDS Church Presidents since the days of Heber J. Grant. ” This is true.

    Why only since Heber’s time? (Prophet from 1918-45). Why not Joseph F. Smith? or Lorenzo Snow? Like, that is about 30-50 years after the 1890 Manifesto?

    The answer to this question is the key to understanding contemporary polygamy. It is because polygamy was quietly tolerated and even promoted by the LDS church at the highest levels for decades after the Manifesto. President Grant is especially hated by polygamist stalwarts because he married both before and after the Manifesto and he both encouraged and then later combated plural marriage. His predecesors were “double dealing” with the evil government but not within the church, from their prespective.

    The case of Elder Richard R. Lyman is instructive on this subject. He was a third generation apostle from 1918-1943. He was a brilliant college professor and engineer with degrees from U Mich. Cornell, U Chicago. He married Amy Brown in 1898 & they had a couple of children. She was elected to the Utah House of Representatives and she was the Church General Relief Society President from1940-45. (not 1943)

    Elder Lyman married a plural wife (Anna Jacobson Hegsted) in 1925. Today the party line is that this was a secret marriage between them. She had been a plural wife of someone else and had to get GA approval (from Elder Lyman) to dissolve it But the tradition is that President Heber J. Grant married them in the Logan temple. Many people in Cache Valley of my grandparent’s generation knew about it and a few witnessed it.

    Yes, from 1925 to 1943 one of the most influential apostles lived polygamy quietly in Salt Lake, although it was an open secret. SLC was a small tight-knit community then and it would have been impossible to keep such a secret, especially over the course of a political campaign.

    Elder Lyman was excommunicated in 1943, rebaptised and served as a deacon from 1954 until his death in 1963. (His baptism was right after the last Short Creek raid that marked the end of the LDS church’s active battle and a new era of ignoring the polygamists, wishing they might dry up and blow away.) Neither of Elder Lyman’s wives were openly disciplined. The party line is that his two wives were innocently clueless and he was a morally weak and deceptive man who violated the Law of Chastity and paid the price. The truth is more complicated.

    The likely possibility that Elder Lyman would go over to one of the polygamist groups gave them hope for additional credibility and incomparable leadership. (I personally think President McKay made a brilliant deal; we take back into the church my good friend Elder Lyman, keeping him out of a unifying polygamist leadership role and the polygamists keep out of jail. It makes sense- but is pure speculation.)

    Elder Lyman was also an influential, reliable progressive ally of David O. McKay. Rival J. Reuben Clark had new conservative apostles Joseph Fielding Smith and Harold B. Lee investigate Elder Lyman and work with police to orchestrate his public embarassment and arrest in order to balance soon-to-be President McKay’s influence within the Quorum of the 12 Apostles. (I think this is from Quinn’s book: Extension of Power, but it might be directly from my mother who was a young secretary in SLC in the middle of most of this. )

    So what?
    I predict that homosexual marriages will soon become legal, and along with them polygamist marriages. (As long as they keep their mitts off the teenagers and decrease the welfare fraud).

    Read the Manifesto:
    Third paragraph: “Inasmuch as laws have been enacted by Congress……pronounced constitutional by the court of last resort….declare my intention to submit to those laws…”

    Change the laws and nothing in the 1890 Manifesto hinders the reinstitution of polygamy. If the church leaders of 1890 would have known that polygamy would only be illegal for about 120 years, do you think they might have pursued a different course? What if they did know or guess this? We will never know.

    Also, note the second paragraph of the Manifesto that makes the outrageous declaration: “…deny 40 or any other number of marriages… solemnized in our temples or in any other place in the territory… ” and this is easily contradicted by the so-called 1907 Second Manifesto and dozens of other documentations of Post-Manifesto polygamy.

    Many questions remain:
    1. Will the manistream LDS church reinstitute polygamy when (or if) it becomes legal? (I somehow doubt it.)
    2. What about the next life? Does God have plural wives? Also Jesus, as claimed by Mormon pioneer theologians? Do the righteous pioneer polygamists keep their wives, assuming they all want to stay together? What about all the gray area post-manifesto plural marriages like President Grant’s and Elder Lyman’s?
    3. What about polygamy Nauvoo style where a few women married multiple men? Or any other cultural derivation practiced across the many cultures of the earth?
    4. What if an LDS husband secretly desires more wives in the next life and his first wife does not? Shouldn’t they work this out now?
    5. What about my past 80 year old father who keeps playfully teasing the devote widows his age that their dearly departed husbands have probably already collected several new wives. Should he be muzzled or medicated for this?

  47. re:38

    Yeah, I would think it would be an extreme rarity if a bishop or stake president turned a blind eye to that, since that is a specific question for a temple recommend.

    “Do you affiliate with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or do you sympathize with the precepts of any such group or individual?”

    Then again every brain is a universe, and people may excuse themselves with one and a million excuses. Maybe these people believe in their hearts they sustain the actual LDS leaders and they “follow their teachings” and they do not affiliate with another group. Thus they may think it is OK to live polygamous lives.

    On the other hand, there seems to be evidence bishops and stake presidents do turn a blind eye to other things, such as the ultra-conservative tent city Mormons that follow President Benson’s teachings to the extreme and they carry food supplies, guns and tents in the trunks of their cars to be ready for the armageddon that will force them into tent cities. They believe the whole church is in denial of the eminent approaching end, that Obama is a sign Satan is winning the war and the second coming of Jesus is at the turn of the corner, and that the church will be “cleansed and purged” from those apathic to these events, and that very few (those prepared) will survive. There are well known leaders of one of this Mormon extremist sub-group serving in a Bishopric as we speak. Leaders (including some General Authorities) seem to be turning a blind eye to this group. Although Boyd K. Packer has spoken boldly against them in the past.

    Other people have also brought up in the very controversial illegal immigration debate that bishops and stake presidents do turn a blind eye to the members of their wards and stakes that are in the country illegally.

    Although these examples are very different to the one in question in this post, we have to remember that at the end of the day, these bishops and stake presidents are humans and they often have to use their own criteria to the best of their ability for their decision making process. So, I would not completely dismiss the possibility, but I would think it would be a rare case.

  48. So was that tee under cody’s shirt a real G? I was looking for the mormon smiles or lace. After the show airs will they be able to buy Gs from Beehive Clothing? I thought you needed to show a recommend or member record number to do that.

    Did anyone catch their frequent references to personal revelation- and revelation that they all felt indepenedent of each other letting them know ‘it was time’? (Adding the 4th wife, having kids, being friends, life paths, etc.) that was the part that creeped me out. Why, what and how?

    Are they all from fundamentalist families or were some of them raised LDS and ‘converted’ to fundamentalism?

    If the cops are chsing them now, it would probably be a legal ‘oopsie’ (dunno-not a lawyer) to describe the wedding ceremonies on camera, but I’m very curious to know the details- where they occured, who participated, what they did, etc.

  49. Mostimportantly says:

    Back to Kody’s hair. Clearly he visits the same stylist as Brigham Young. I live in Lehi and I will now be watching for other men sporting this look at Costco where I usually spot the polygamists.

  50. J.AT.,

    Most fundamentalist wear the original long garment, which hasn’t been manufactured by the LDS church for some time.

    The sealing ceremony that fundamentalist use is just like the one in the temple, and is performed in the same way, by those who have received the fullness of priesthood.

  51. Mike from Atlanta, I can answer those for you:

    1. No
    2. No. No. No. No. No.
    3. No. No.
    4. Tough luck. Yeah, the answer is no.
    5. Probably both.

  52. Stephanie…you don’t think righteous pioneer polygamists keep their sealings for eternity? I dont’ think men “keep” wives, so maybe that’s what you were saying.

    Interesting stuff Mike…yet frightening.

    The tent city stuff…I’ve heard some homeschoolers talk about it, but they aren’t as out there about it as you are saying(the Obama part-they don’t like him, but don’t think he’s the anti christ, they don’t carry their stuff around with them-thought they are prepared).

  53. Mike from Atlanta says:

    Thanks Stephanie- I feel better already.

  54. It’s clear that some bishops and stake presidents turn a blind eye toward non-celibate homosexuals in the Church. I have personally met a few gay members who report that to be the case. So if the leadership in some areas can do that, it seems plausible that in other areas a blind eye could be turned toward polygamy. There are part of the inter-mountain West where sympathy for polygamy runs very deep indeed.

    re: 51
    Your confident answers are nice, Stephanie, but you certainly don’t speak for most Mormons there. Or were you being facetious?

  55. britt k, yes, that’s what I meant – I don’t think men “keep” wives either.

    MikeInWeHo, a little of both. I don’t think that “most Mormons” are right about polygamy. There’s just too much we don’t know.

  56. It’s clear that some bishops and stake presidents turn a blind eye toward non-celibate homosexuals in the Church. I have personally met a few gay members who report that to be the case. So if the leadership in some areas can do that, it seems plausible that in other areas a blind eye could be turned toward polygamy. There are part of the inter-mountain West where sympathy for polygamy runs very deep indeed.

    Mike, while it is plausible, I don’t think its as likely as you assume in this statement. I don’t have any more expertise than just having lived in the intermountain west for most of my life (4 wards and 1 branch), but what you refer to here seems very unlikely to me in comparison to what I have experienced.

    I think it is much more likely that a bishop turn a blind eye to homosexual activity than to polygamy. A bishop might have sympathies that lean liberal in this aspect and not have the heart to enforce any discipline.

    Polygamy on the other hand, while there are still people for whom sympathy runs “very deep”, I think they are very very few. And if they are as scarce as I assume, I think the likelyhood of them ending up in the same ward as a bishop with the same sympathies would prove very unprobable. I’m sure its happened once or twice in 12 million, but I think it would be a statistical anomoly. I think most polygamists that attend services and act as normal LDS do a REALLY good job of concealing their beliefs and lifestyle.

    Of course these are just my assumptions, I’ve assumed wrong before, but I just don’t see many bishopric with polygamist sympathies. Polygamy is almost a swear word in any ward I’ve attended.

  57. I have friends who took in a divorced woman and her four children…They all live together. They are not polygamous, but the whoel thing would absolutely look that way. I would give them the stink eye if I didn’t know them…even though I know them I think it’s weird. This whole conversation makes me wonder anew about that situation and about if there are similar situations

  58. re: 57
    Of course, how do you really know they’re not polygamous, britt? It’s not as if they would tell you. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck….

    This is a fascinating conversation. Since polygamy and (in the Church) homosexuality are theologically forbidden and culturally taboo, there’s really no way to know how many people practice either, or how many quietly sympathize with them. I tend to agree that in both cases the numbers are very small.

    Kody Brown and his family are doing something akin to a gay person “coming out.”

  59. They aren’t…unless they are EXTREMELY good at acting. I’ve had the children in my home countless times. I’ve been at their home at all hours (calling at midnight for a babysitter when I had my baby)-saw various permutaitons of adults and never one even mildly hinting or innappropriate moment…so unless they are extremely good at acting…and the young children are also incredibly well versed at what to say and not say starting at a very talkative 2yo…

    so no I don’t really think so. but they do make quacking like sounds to the random passer byer.

  60. #44 Isn’t polygamy on a layaway plan still polygamy?

    That is why I don’t think Mormons will ever be able to lose the polygamist label.

  61. re:52

    Well, if you don’t think they are that “out there” you are probably not familiar with the extent of their teachings and interpretations or you are in tune with what they say.

    They are a group of people that started having “dreams and visions” and they use ETB’s radical speaches as their creed.

    They believe most of the church members are going to perish “soon” when Armageddon comes (within the next couple of years) because they are not prepared. And that this event will be a “cleansing of the sloughful members” alluding to ETB’s 1965 speech:

    “Should the Lord decide at this time to cleanse the Church … a famine in this land of one year’s duration could wipe out a large percentage of sloughful members, including some ward and stake officers. Yet we cannot say we have not been warned.”

    They also believe there is a great conspiracy by the communists and by the united nations to destroy “America,” and that Obama is the chosen one by these organizations.

    If that is not “out there” then I don’t know what is.

    Of course, this is in tune with the political views of many ignorant Mormons that listen to Glen Beck, I guess. But the GAs do turn a blind eye to this, and some other things. Who knows.

  62. manual…I’m just saying I have heard tent city quotes in a wondering what it will be like way from homeschoolers I know who (see they’re already homeschooler, I have admitted countless times that we are weird ;) ) IMO aren’t what HE is talking about as out there. They don’t like Obama, but aren’t talking about him like the antichrist (which I have heard in other places), they don’t carry their stuff with them, but they are serious food storage people and think beyond just wheat and powdered milk. Sorry if my post wasn’t clear.

    I thought I said in the post too, that they’re calmer version appeared strange to me….so I can’t imagine what people driving around in their cars with all their camping stuff are like.

  63. I’d love to learn more about the tent-city survivalist Mormons. Somebody with some familiarity should do a little write-up and put it up as a separate post here on BCC.

  64. Pedro A. Olavarria says:

    Re 43
    “it goes without saying that it’s highly presumptive to speak for God in that way.”

    You’re right. Only God knows where we stand with Him or where any of us are going, or with whome.

  65. “sloughful”?

  66. You’re right. Only God knows where we stand with Him or where any of us are going, or with whome.

    I hear that Whome is on first. (and Waat is on second)

  67. Pedro A. Olavarria says:

    re 66
    Haha. I guess.

    re 46
    Call for references!!
    On what basis do you claim that President Grant actually took a wife after the Manifesto?

    On what basis do you claim he sealed the polygamous “marriage” of Elder Lyman and his second wife?

  68. RE:65

    Yes MCQ, “sloughful” copied and pasted right from their creepy website. This is of course one of those extremist speaches from Elder Benson that are not to be found at LDS.org, so I do not know where the spelling comes from.

    That is the spelling that Robert K. Young uses in his book I believe.

    :)

    I didn’t want to post the site because I fear it would be a good promotion tool for them, since I consider many of the commenters in this blog a little “out there” when it comes to their “conservative values,” that they may join and strengthen this group of weirdos, but what the heck. Go and check it out yourself. And let true agency be exercised.

    http://www.ldsavow.com/brethren_quotes.html

  69. a random John says:

    Mike in Atlanta,

    I think you have confused OD 1 for the Manifesto. The Manifesto is not in the Pearl of Great Price.

    Also, OD 1 is the strangest bit of scripture that we have. No wonder there is confusion, it hardly makes sense.

  70. Mike from Atlanta says:

    #69 John:

    I learn something every day. I have used OD 1 and Manifesto interchangeably, assuming they were the same.

    I looked at OD 1 on LDS.org and compared it to what wikipedia claims is the 1890 Manifesto. The LDS.org version is longer and has the insertion of two partial sentences, one each in the first and second paragraphs and also the insertion of two words “and” and “any” in the third and fourth paragraphs in comparison to the wiki Manifesto. The inserted sentences include “the forty or any other number” phrase. I do not understand how these insertions substantially change the meaning or the significance of the Manifesto although it clarifies what is said a little bit.

    Since not a single word in the wiki Manifesto is not in the LDS.org Manifesto, then technically the Manifesto is in the PGP, with minor additions. Even more perplexing is that the wiki Manifesto references OD 1 as its source. So I am not alone in my confusion.

    Aside from niggling little details, I would be interested in when and why the insertions (or deletions) were made.

  71. Mike from Atlanta says:

    #67 Pedro:

    Call for References?

    What is that supposed to mean? It seems like a church ball foul at a ward house pick-up game with no referee. This is a blog, not a professional paper and references are not required or even expected. In fairness, I might as well ask you for references to prove it did not happen. Who hid all the references anyway? Not me.

    I think what you mean is that you do not believe me. You are crying “foul.” That was more than a friendly little bump of the shooting arm, that was a punch in the nose. If I do not respond, then you can justify your disbelief. If I do respond then you can attack my references as anti-Mormon, by definition. I can’t really make you believe anything. If you believe that President Grant was somehow above post-manifesto polygamy then no source will convince you. I have punched you. My only excuse is “You got in the road.” A poor one at that.

    Since this is not a professional paper, I go by memory not references. I have not checked this out. (You win, doubt is allowed.) But I am not just making this up for giggles, I read it somewhere a long time ago. I have not read that much on polygamy, so my choices are limited. It was most likely Quinn’s book Mormon Hierarchy: Extension of Power or possibly Wan Waggoner’s book Mormon Polygamy. But I can’t be certain.

    Now, each of those books reference most of their claims to original sources so that is not the end of the search. I vaguely recall that Heber J. Grant was taken to court and plead no contest to unlawful cohabitation after the Manifesto when he had amnesty for marriages contracted before 1890.

    Here is a delightfully horrible reference :) I stumbled upon while looking for a reference. Sometimes you can find kernels of truth in the lies of the liars, especially their footnotes. The Fundies hated President Grant. They would not credit him with post-manifesto polygamy if he had not done it since it would run counter to their contention that President Grant was misguided in trying to stamp it out. They claim that he did go to court for post manifesto polygamy and that probably is recorded at the Salt Lake courthouse. http://mormonfundamentalism.org/critics/heber-j-grant-prophet-of-god/

    Did that well-referenced article convince you of anything new? Me neither. My other claim about the 1925 marriage performed in the Logan temple. Whether it happened or not, no documentation would ever see the light of day after the treacherous events of 1943 and the active persecution of polygamists after that. Joseph Fielding Smith was the church historian for decades and had access to that source if it existed and he would have destroyed it. Any reference I might give you would be suspect.

    My grandparents and great-grandparents and many of their siblings, neighbors and friends were temple workers in Logan. Various secret marriages were not-so-secret among the temple workers who attended them and told their family members. It wasn’t the sort of thing many wrote down, but a young teenager like myself might hear about it 40 years later from a cranky old uncle on the back porch while peeling apples.

    Polygamy was an issue for my grandfather. He served as a ward clerk for a Bishopric in Nibley (near Logan) in the 1920’s that practiced secret polygamy and they attempted to get him to take a second wife if he wanted to advance in the church. When he went to the leaders in SLC about it, they told him to keep quite about it or he would find himself in trouble.

    They were right. He went to the FBI and the Bishopric was warned before they could be arrested. They had to flee to Short Creek but his relatives and friends ran my grandparents out of town for this betrayal. Insted of keeping the dirty laundry from the next generation, certain members of my family were inclined to talk about it after that treatment.

    Another similarly confirming source is the grandmother of a girl I dated briefly. I visited this elderly but still coherent lady and she claimed to have been married to one of the 12 apostles as a “pretty young woman” in the Logan temple in 1912, the year the titanic went down. When the family turned in their 4 generation sheet it was sent back as obviously incorrect. They complained and eventually had a meeting with Mark E. Peterson who acknowledged the validity of their ancestry, but asked them to not create negative publicity for the church and leave the apostle ancestor out of the official records.

    Think about the unfairness of calling for references when discussing a subject that was secret and purposely not documented by a persecuted organization that would hide or destroy negative information.

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