The following is an anonymous plural wife’s account of life among the dissident Mormons who still practice polygamy (oh how the word “dissident” applied to these folks must send shivers up progressive spine!), taken from the book “Voices in Harmony“:
“10% of a 100% Man Rather Than 100% of a 10% Man”
I was raised in the LDS Church, being from a very long line of good Latter-day Saints – but not raised to know much about plural marriage and certainly not taught that it should be lived in this life.
My husband always knew he would live it some day, but neither of us was looking or thinking much about it since we had been taught “to follow the living prophet”. But when it came to the Canaanite receiving the Priesthood, that did it!
We still do not know what to do or where to go, so we were going to stay in the Church and remain faithful to what we knew. Then Father in Heaven stepped in and brought us to those we considered to have true Priesthood.
I feel that we may have done some things wrong while learning by talking too much to our nine married children. They have never accepted what we tried to teach them and still feel, after almost 20 years, that we have left Heavenly Father and them for the eternities. We are blessed that they still love us and care for us and pray for us – as we continue to do for them.
We have 65 grandchildren and 33 great-grandchildren whom we pray will some day know the truth and join with their parents and us in the fullness of the Gospel.
Since we were so “old” by the time we discovered the flunks of the Gospel, we did not have the blessings of plural marriage for very long. My husband did receive three other wives about ten years later. One wife lived only one year after she joined us. It was about two more years before another wife came into our family, and another year or so before the third sisterwife joined us.
My husband passed away six years ago, so that did not give us much time to enjoy the blessings of celestial plural marriage. But I know it is a true principle and have seen many beautiful examples of it through the years.
I remember one dear young man talking in a religious meeting a few years ago about how right and good it is. He mentioned there was always a mother at home to be with the children. That made me realize the blessings to children who do not have to come home and be alone until mother or father comes home from work, as happens in most of the world these days.
I have seen the beauty of this lifestyle when a loved one dies. Members of the family still have one another and are not alone in their grief as they would be in a monogamous marriage. If a mother dies, the little children have other mothers to take care of them and to love and teach them. If a husband dies, there are other righteous men who can take the families and be good priesthood heads for them.
One sister expressed herself this way – and I know there are many more women who feel the same – “I would rather have 10% of a 100% man than 100% of a 10% man!”. This is so true!
If the communal-centric spirit of what she writes is adorable, I suspect the patriarchal assumptions are not. It’s nice to have a house full of loving figures, but what’s all this about “other righteous men who can take the families” in lieu of a deceased husband? I’m going to presume that this is a practical matter because the women are primarily housewives who will need the income of a working man. Hm.
However, the point of this post is to show that people, in this case women, will volunteer for a lifestyle that many of us may deem to be oppressive. On the left (the liberatory, expressive left, and not necessarily the narrowly “collectivist” sort), you will see some pretty sophisticated apologies for what appear to be dangerous and domineering sexual relationships (BDSM). On the right, of course, you have the defense of polygamy. And just as “submissives” in a dominating sexual relationship will tell you their situation is consensual, Mary Batchelor, Marianne Watson and Anne Wilde – the authors of Voices In Harmony – will tell you plural marriage is something they’ve chosen. (I don’t mean to seriously compare BDSM to Polygamy in all respects, but I do seek to legitimize the decisions of those that have accepted these lifestlyes.)
One may call my defense (though not necessarily advocacy) of all of the above as “pluralism on crack”. I think it’s catchy.
And check out more support for the “marriage that dare not speak its name” from its actual offspring: http://www.sltrib.com/search/ci_4210347