I am shamelessly addicted to Sister Wives and Polygamy USA. I am also a regular visitor to the Darger’s family blog. Why? Morbid Curiosity.
I grew up in the deep South with traditional- monogamous- Southern values. While I don’t openly, or even privately practice Christian beliefs, the idea of “celestial unions” and “plural marriages” has always been somewhat abhorrent to me. Not so much because I believe what the New Testament preaches, but because I simply cannot wrap my head around a teaching that states in order to gain favor with God, you must have multiple wives. Now, I know there is more to it than that, but when you take out all the fluff, the pomp and circumstance, that’s pretty much what those teachings boil down to.
Last night, I was catching up on my recordings of Polygamy USA. The father of one family was reading scripture to his children, most of which were female. In one particular passage he read (and this is the abridged version) that women who do not follow these tenants-plural marriage- can expect their daughters to walk the streets as common harlots. Seriously! Watch the video!
Up until this particular episode, I found Polygamy USA to be a more palatable look at plural marriage than that freak show they call Sister Wives. There is a clear divide between the residents of CP and the disgusting pedophile that is Warren Jeffs and his band of diluted followers. The community is run by a group of people instead of a “divine prophet”. Another difference is the marriage process. In Centennial Park, it is the women who choose their husband. They are believed to receive some divine inspiration that reveals to them the name of the man God intends for them. They are also forbidden to marry until they are 18. When the woman reveals her inspiration, she and the man are given two weeks to get to know each other before they are married. Existing wives don’t have a say in it.
So what really pissed me off about this episode? Aside from the whole harlots business, there was another scene where that same man took one of his wives out for dinner to celebrate her birthday. Earlier, they held a table discussion about their finances- or lack thereof, in which the husband informed the two none working wives that one of them would need to go back to work. It is during this rare one-on-one date that the husband, who is supposed to be the sole provider for his family according to the tenants of his faith, says “Its your party, you can cry if you want to. But you can’t have whatever you want because your going to have to go back to work to help pay the bills.”
Everybody say it with me now- Ass. Hole. Not only is it her birthday, but it is one of only two nights a year she actually gets to get out of the house and away from their horde of children for a little one-on-one time with her husband. My heart breaks for her. She should feel special and loved on this day. Instead, she has even more responsibility heaped on her and in the most callous way possible.
So here is what it boils down to. These women are taught from as early as they can understand the spoken word that their place is to serve a husband divined to them by God. Their sole responsibility is to have as many children as their body can produce, provide nurturing care for not just her children, but those of her sister wives, and to remain chaste and virtuous. In exchange, the husband God has chosen for her will provide for all her worldly needs and she is guaranteed a place in Heaven (watch the first video again). This belief system just screams failure to me, a fact highlighted by this very episode.
These women are not encouraged to further their educations or to become productive members of society. They are taught to be wives and breeders with the hopes that they will be taken care of by their husband. I have three children myself. My husband has ONE wife (that aint gonna change either.) We have two incomes. Though we don’t struggle to make ends meet, one bad month could change all of that. This man has three wives and something like 18 children. Only him and one other wife work full time jobs. Most of their children are still in diapers. Thankfully, mine have all grown out of that costly phase, but you can just imagine the expense involved with providing for that many children. 32 loads of laundry A WEEK. I haven’t done 32 loads of laundry in a month.
To realistically be able to support a family of that size, all three of the wives would need to have some form of gainful employment, which totally blows the whole “husband provides” tenant right out of the water. I am all for live and let live. What I do not agree with is using a religious belief or some book written by a man to justify choices or to encourage decision making. Reality dictates that the more mouths there are to feed, the more money is required to feed said mouths. What bothers me the most is that these children don’t know any different. They are sheltered away in these little communities and are rarely, if ever, shown a different way of life. It isn’t until they become adults and experience the reality that they start to realize this might not have been the best idea.
I don’t think polygamy should be illegal anymore than I think gay marriage should be. People have a right to live how they want to live. But I don’t think I should have to pay for their decisions. If you want to have multiple wives (or husbands for that matter-which is a topic for another day) then so be it….consenting adults and all that… But put some laws in place that protect children AND tax payers. Children from polygamist relationships should have to have the same education as monogamous children. They should be taught all aspects of society from an economical (not religious) standpoint and be afforded choices and options. Laws should be put into place preventing plural unions from gaining access to welfare. If you make your bed, you have to lay in it. Translation– If your religious beliefs dictate that you should have as many children as humanly possible, you should support those children without burdening tax payers. If common sense can’t prevail, you are not entitled to aide.
To date, the only public polygamist family I have seen that seems to be “doing it right” is the Darger family. Their appearances have been minimal so my opinion is subject to change. But from what I’ve read on their family blog and seen on t.v., they seem to be fully living by their tenants while allowing their children to experience different view points without the “benefit” of brainwashing. As far as Kody Brown and his “Kodettes”- some SWB love for ya there– they are little more than ironic comedy to me. They have abandoned their beliefs in exchange for fame and fortune. I won’t even bother quoting anything that’s come out of their mouths and don’t waste a minute reading their blogs, posts and tweets. I do however find a great deal of enjoyment visiting Sister Wives Blog. Their commentary on all things Kody Brown provides for hours of entertainment. There is also some interesting info and links on the blog about polygamy in general and some of the high profile polygamists and communities, so check them out.
Feel free to leave your comments. I wont moderate, unless your just being a douche bag.