Is Polygamy Wrong?


Earlier this week, I was sitting in front of my computer, glancing over the MSN homepage, when something caught my eye. In the lower right-hand corner of the screen I see a link titled: Polygamy TV. Just the title sends shocks of curiosity through me and of course, I have to click. What I find amazes me. The TLC had launched a show Sister Wives, which follows a polygamous family in Utah. For some reason, I spend the next three hours, yes three, researching, reading, and watching the Sister Wives clips on TLC. I am fascinated, intrigued, and yet, dumb-founded that this type of show is on TV. As it turns out, Polygamy has quite a history in the United States.

A Little History...

Polygamy is translated from Old Greek to mean, “often married”. It is the practice of having more than one spouse at a time. Polygyny is the practice of a husband having more than one wife at the same time. Polyandry is the practice of a wife having more than one husband at the same time. Polyandry is far less common than polygyny in the United States.

Many religious sects used to practice polygamy in historical times, however as the world has entered a more modern era, many of those religions have abandoned the practice and it is widely considered illegal. One religion that still practices that tradition of polygyny is the Mormon Fundamentalists. This group should not be confused with the Mormon Church of Jesus Christ of Latter -Day Saints. At one time these two groups were considered the same, however since 1890 that has not been the case.

Two of the largest Mormon Fundamentalist sects in the United States are the Apostolic United Brethren and the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- Day Saints. They are spread out all of the Western part of the United States including Utah and Wyoming. There is an estimated 15,000 polygamy households in the United States, with almost all of them practicing polygyny.

An All American Family?  The Wives of Sister Wives
An All American Family? The Wives of Sister Wives | Source

Sister Wives On TLC

Sister Wives

In September 2010, The Learning Channel debuted a reality TV show following a polygamous household in Utah. Sister Wives documents the life of the Brown Family, living in Utah. The show follows Kody Brown , his three wives, and his thirteen children. During the show, his courting, engagement, and marriage to a fourth wife, are recorded. His fourth wife has three children of her own. If you are like me and do not get TLC, they you had no idea that this show existed. I was amazed by the normalcy of the family because all you hear is bad this about these types of households.

Even before the show aired, the Brown family was warned that doing this show could possibly cause them to face criminal charges, because after all, Polygamy in the United States is ILLEGAL. Sure enough, the day after the show aired on TLC for the first time, it was announced that the police in the city where they lived had opened an official investigation. Kody Brown and his family responded that they were disappointed about the investigation, however they felt that it was a risk worth taking.

According to the Utah police, usually resources are not wasted on exposing polygamous households unless there are allegations of child abuse and child trafficking. Neither of those factors seem to be the case in the Brown family, however they are still being investigated. Probably most likely due to the fact that they are being so open about their lifestyle.

Unsure What To Think

So, after reading the history of this practice, watching the videos on TLC, and debating the issue in my own mind, I am still unsure what to think. Part of me wants to treat it like I treat gay marriage. I have no right to say how people choose to live their lives or who they marry. However, there is a part of me that just feels like this is wrong. As a married women, the thought of having to share my husband with another wife, does not sit very well with me. I am not sure if these feelings are due to society's influence or just my own biased opinion. If it is wrong, I can't justify a reason why and saying “that is just the way things are” is not a valid reason. If no one is being harmed, what harm is it doing? So, what do you think? Is polygamy wrong?

Leave me a comment below with your thoughts and opinions.

Is Polygamy Wrong?

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Comments 3 comments

Sunny Robinson profile image

Sunny Robinson 6 years ago from Tennessee

If it feels wrong to you, then most likely it would be wrong *for you*. Perhaps, it would be wrong for your family.

As far as polygamy being wrong in general, I don't believe it is. I don't think it's always about faith or anything. I think it's about choices. When more partners love each other or just want to be part of each other's lives, it can happen and it can work if all partners are diligent about paying attention to needs.

Stan Fletcher profile image

Stan Fletcher 6 years ago from Nashville, TN

Good job on tackling a tough subject. I haven't watched the show, but I've heard of it. To me, polygamy seems to be about a man who wants to have a lot of sex with a lot of different woman, and make it 'legitimate' in his own mind. I believe that was the case with Joseph Smith when he founded the Mormon Church. His first wife was not cool with the idea at all. Many Old Testament characters had multiple wives as well, although the practice is discouraged in the New Testament.

To me, there are no reasons to put religious implications on it for modern day polygamists. It just seems like a convenient way for a horny dude to get it on with as many woman as possible and then feel good about himself in the morning. Joseph Smith's character and personal practices are the main reasons I could never seriously consider becoming a Mormon, although I must add, all of the ones I've ever known are very nice people.

I'm torn between the idea of true freedom, where everyone can do whatever they want with whoever they want (and as many as they want) and the idea of some constraint in our public policy.

Good mind fodder. Thank you! Rated up and useful.

deblipp profile image

deblipp 5 years ago

I feel that, when polygamous families commit crimes (like child abuse), they should be prosecuted for those crimes and polygamy should not be blamed. After all, monogamous families also commit crimes.

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