Friday, November 18, 2011

Three Wives And Twenty-four Kids

It is Friday night, and I am home alone. So I am watching 20/20 and waiting for the clothes to dry.

I know, I know. You are insanely jealous of my chic, adventurous lifestyle. I just can't help myself.

So anyway, 20/20 is doing this story - quite seriously - about a man in Utah (duh) who has three wives and 24 children. He courted and married two of them simultaneously Ten years later, another woman caught his eye. She was the twin sister of one of the first two wives. Made perfect sense for him to marry her, too.

So now he has three wives and all these kids and they're going public, fully aware that they could be investigated and/or arrested. Because - well, you know - having more than one wife is sort of weird. Not to mention illegal.

A huge part of the story (at least according to Soledad O'Brien's questions) is how the man manages his lifestyle; he rotates to a different bedroom every night. Questions about his stamina and jokes about one wife finding his underwear in another wife's sheets are asked in all seriousness, and with a wholesome, gentle, holy look, everybody talks about the necessity of dealing with jealousy and trusting that this is all good for their family.

And then they interview one of the oldest kids - a young woman who has recently married. She is beaming, obviously ecstatic - beautiful in her wedding dress. She talks about how much she loves her husband, and how the thought of sharing him in the future is almost unbearable.

"But", she says, "God changes our hearts sometimes. And when he does, we have to trust that he knows best. And that we'll change, too."

And my first thought was this: When a man begins to lust for another woman and justifies taking her by claiming polygamy as God's command, what sort of mental gymnastics does a woman have to do to be okay with that?

Maybe it's the ultimate in submission. Maybe it's a sacrifice you make for a unique sisterhood and a large family. Maybe it's a relief to share all those marital and household duties.

But I just can't help but think that it really, really sucks to be that girl. And that having sex with three (or more) different women and calling it God's will is not quite right.


Brandee Shafer said...

Jim and I have been watching _Sister Wives_ for some time, now. When we watched the _20/20_ show, we thought it more of the same. We don't pass judgment on either their faith or their convictions. It's not for us, but it seems to work well for them, and God will have His say.

I do think it's important to note that both families I mention have said they believe in neither arranged/forced marriages nor in child brides. Additionally, both families have stated that their children will be loved and accepted even if they grow up and live outside the lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

It was ok way back, around Noah's time. to populate the earth. Mark 10:8 "And they twain shall be one flesh." Not three, not four, twain.(that's two.) Now, there's no excuse, the world is overpopulated, anyhow. Seems to me that these people just want to make more Mormons, because no one else will join their church.

patti said...

I am addicted to Sister Wives. I just can't look away!