Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Polygamy is an adult choice?

Thanks to Rebecca Kimble, who is a survivor and a supporter of the efforts of the AAAP

Rebuttal to Polygamist Propaganda by Rebecca Kimbel MscD DTM

Polygamy is an adult choice?

We polygamist born children were taught from birth we had to live polygamy or lose our salvation. Only polygamists were accepted in our family, our society and by our God. To not live polygamy was to be damned. Our choice in marriage was confined to polygamy. Some had a choice between one of two older married men to be “spiritually” married to, but choosing any man outside of the polygamist culture was not a choice.

If we chose not to live polygamy, the basic doctrine of our “religion” said we would be “destroyed”and blood atonement to save our souls was sanctioned by God, even if the leaders chose not to carry it out. Some of us, like myself, had friends and family murdered in the name of “blood atonement”, the same blood atonement all fundamentalists’ polygamists include as the word of their “prophets”. To choose to not be obedient can be a dangerous choice in fundamentalist Mormon and Islamic polygamy.

There is no adult choice. Children are indoctrinated with fear to force them into polygamy.

Polygamy is voluntarily maintained?

Women stayed in polygamy because we had children when we were children. We were never allowed to think for ourselves or to learn to provide for ourselves, yet we had a houseful of children to provide for. Many women stay in bad marriages because they can’t support their children. Polygamist women have a double problem; few of them know how to support themselves. They stay because they don’t know any other way to survive and keep their children. Most of them are threatened if they try to leave and take their children. Fundamentalist polygamists teach that the children belong to the men.

Single mothers are often attracted to polygamy, believing it will be easier to provide for their children with the help of a sister wife. What they fail to realize is that the number of children to provide and care for will increase, not diminish. The emotional, financial and educational rescores will diminish. This attributes to the fact that polygamist women by percentage do not live as long as other women. Is this “voluntarily” maintained life style what they want to decriminalize as an adult choice?

There is no adult choice. The glue that binds them together is poverty and fear. They don’t believe they have a choice. The pathetic reality finds that those enslaved by fear soon perpetuate the same lack of choice onto their own children. Those who don’t understand this have not experienced the devastation and the life style most polygamist women experience. Polygamy is not an adult choice. When CHILDREN are indoctrinated with fear from birth to accept polygamy and have CHILDREN, to perpetuate polygamy. The fact that it involves the lives of CHILDREN makes it NOT AN ADULT CHOICE. The non coerced adult choices in polygamy are the male converts who have not been indoctrinated, but see an opportunity to expand their narcissistic behavior. If they are married, their wife has one choice; accept polygamy or be abandoned. For the wife, it is not an adult choice. It is a coercive threat.

The statement that men can choose another sex partner if one wife is unwilling, is a side show to distract attention away from what is going on in the main tent of polygamy’s “circus”. In the main tent, he always has all the sex he wants. Women are the ones who are lonely and unfulfilled. He is not a lover, he’s a breeder. He cares only about his own satisfaction. In his mind he’s a “cowboy” who thinks an eight second ride makes him a champion. Women are capable and entitled to sexual fulfillment but that’s against his religion. Fundamentalists teach women that sex is for propagation only. We were taught that it must be accomplished without lust. ( We were too uneducated to know that was a physical impossibility). His needs are “God’s commandments”, her needs are “weaknesses to over come”.

All humans find it stressful and emotionally painful to share their mate. Narcissistic men force women to share their mate, but they would never tolerate it for themselves. Women are not sexually inferior. If men had the sexual capacity of women, polygamist men would be prostitutes instead of polygamists. Polygamists justify their breeding practices by blaming the nature of bulls in cattle breeding. If they want to blame nature they should check out the life of a male sea horse. He is the one who carries the baby sea horses. Check out the black widow and the praying mantis. Some species have a built in responsibilities that go with breeding. Blaming animal behavior for human behavior is greed justified through ignorance. The right to breed carries a responsibility. Polygamy produces lots of people, but comparatively few responsible adults.

Polygamy offers career and a sister wife to help with the children?

The odds of a career for a polygamist woman are rare indeed unless you consider working as a cashier, house maid, or any other low paying job a career. I’ve seen many polygamist women work out of the home for long hours and little money and return to a home bulging with children where they try to fill in the gaps of motherhood which couldn’t be filled by the exhausted sister wife who tried to manage on the domestic front.

The economy of everyone living in the same house is not an asset of polygamy. Go down to a day care center and spend the day. Imagine four or five times more children in the room than were actually there. If you can imagine this, you get some idea of the joys of polygamy. My mother moved into a chicken coop with no heat, in Utah, because she had to be alone (with her six children). Massive numbers of people in the same quarters is difficult at best.

Polygamy does NOT help financially; on the contrary, it creates poverty. It is a financial disaster for the family and the nation. Polygamy creates an unusually high percentage of demands for Government funds, bankruptcies, and other means of assistance. Polygamy produces more children than it supports. In all countries where polygamy flourishes, poverty isn’t far behind.

Most polygamist women are poor. The big houses you see on TV don’t compute with the income levels. Follow the money trail and prepare your self for a shock.

Polygamy is a “pyramid” scheme. The one at the top is wealthy and the wealth spreads out and dwindles down, diminishing as it goes, until it reaches the wide base at the bottom which consists primarily of women and children who live below the national poverty level. Yet they are the base, the foundation upon which the pyramid stands. They are the means of its expansion. Women constantly produce more workers, tithe payers and believers into the system.

The one at the top (the prophet) receives 10% tithing from the wages of each person below him, plus the dedicated free labor they donate to ( him) God. Followers are encouraged to build their homes on church land ( held in title by the prophet, not the parishioners) and many also create businesses on church land, which puts them in a position of great lose if they question authority. Many men have lost their wives, children, homes and land when the “prophet” finds them “unworthy”.

Polygamy is a system that “fleeces its own sheep”, becomes a parasite to government coffers and violates the human rights America stands for. Polygamy is not a democracy. It is a dictatorship. When you are told you have freedom of choice and blind obedience, you can be sure your choices will be limited to what they tell you to do.

Polygamy and freedom don’t exist together. One inhibits the other and that fact remains true in every culture, every nation and in any century.

The concept that “traditional norms” of historical and modern polygamy, should vary across continents or centuries, is incorrect.

Polygamy carries the same percentage of dysfunction regardless of its place in geography or history. One fact of cause and effect remains constant; the degree of abuse is always in direct proportion to the degree of distance between the powerful and the powerless. Polygamy ALWAYS has a higher percentage of abuse than monogamy because it is a system based on inequality. In all human relationships, those who have no equality receive more abuse. This fact alone creates more abuse in polygamy.

Polygamy is notorious for propaganda. Propaganda and truth are not the same. Knowing the difference can determine your freedom or the loss of it. Our nation would be wise to educate itself about polygamy.

You can read more about Rebecca Kimbel and her personal story here.


  1. Wow, this article tells it like it is and it really opened my eyes as to why women can't just leave if they are not happy. Thank you for publishing it.

  2. I can't speak for the organization the author was part of. Many of her experiences bare no relation to my own or those of other polygamist families I am associated with. It is sad that faced such experiences, although they do not not seem to be typical to me of most Mormon Fundamentalists I am aware of.

    In most polygamous communities women can leave, and are free to do so. In the case of abuse many of the communities themselves will support those women, and in the case of leaving for other reasons there are charitable and governmental organizations that will help.

    In some other groups a large proportion of members are converts, including single female ones, and they choose to live this way as adults with no personal history of being brought up this way.

    Even in many communities where young women were brought up being taught that plural marriage was a divine relationship the majority still choose a different way of life.

    Some communities also pool their resources and finances too so that there is a relatively good standard of living and security amongst each of them (and most leaders receive no financial assistance).

    I have seen challenges in some plural families, but not typically more than I have seen in monogamous ones, and if anything I have seen lower incidents of abuse and seen it treated more seriously when its happened than I have usually seen it handled in other organizations.

    I hope the woman who wrote this finds the healing she is seeking, but hope too that in time she can see that one dysfunctional family or even a particular community does not represent a whole way of life amongst diverse groups of people.

  3. Nathan,

    You make a lot of claims about other communities but don't substantiate your claims with any facts. I know a lot of men and women who have lived in polygamous families and who not only report on the abuse but can also name names and provide documentation. Studies have been done, which can be cited, which support the claims that polygamy is by its nature an abusive institution. Do you have studies that show the opposite? Your claims are nothing more than anecdotal statements that are not very persuasive - at least not to the thoughtful reader.

  4. What are the names of these wonderful polygamist communities you describe? They bear no relationship to the ones with which I am familiar.

  5. The author of the original article related their personal experiences as I related mine. I did not dispute the validity of their experiences, although they are very different from my own. If I had her history I might also find it difficult to believe in positive polygamous experiences.

    Those interested in scholarly studies may wish to consider "Polygamous Families in Contemporary Society" by Irwin Altman and Joseph Ginat (a psychologist and anthropologist), or "Women of Principle" by Professor Janet Bennion. Their studies show that abuse is no more prevalent amongst polygamists generally (and specifically in the Apostolic United Brethren community).

    Sadly no community or organization is immune from child and spousal abuse, and whenever it does occur it should be dealt with to the full extent and involvement of the law, with the victims receiving whatever support they need.

  6. Their studies show that abuse is no more prevalent amongst polygamists generally (and specifically in the Apostolic United Brethren community).
    Response : Commenting as a published researcher - anyone with a scientific background who has read the documents which you cite would refute your conclusions based on these "studies."

    1) Sorry to disappoint you - Ginat and Altman did not perform a "scholarly study." They interviewed about 25 women from the AUB who served as VOLUNTEERS to be interviewed, and they interviewed these female patients IN THE PRESENCE of their husbands. This is an ethical violation of human subjects research protocols. Human research subjects are NEVER interviewed in the presence of their spouses when studying marital satisfaction. Additionally it should be noted that when solely volunteers are interviewed rather than a randomly chosen sample of subjects for a study, selection bias renders the "results" to be worthless in terms of scientific validity.

    2) As for Janet Bennion's study, she sent out a survey to sexual abuse case workers working in the penal system in Utah inquiring about the religious affiliation of fathers who had molested their daughters. Approximately 40% of those convicted for father daughter incest in Utah were Mormon fundamentalists, while only approximately 5% (or less) of the population of Utah is estimated to be members of Mormon fundamentalist groups which practice polygamy. That is statistically significant.

    1. This was an educated,factual, well written response!! Anyone can conduct a biased survey in order to get the results they are looking for!

  7. Nathan,

    There were plenty of slavers who defended their right to own slaves right up to their death. It is completely unsurprising that those who choose to participate in a crime would defend their participation in it by claiming there are no negative effects of their crimes. Of course, we know that's not true.

    You say "in most polygamous societies women are free to leave." Really? Have you had such broad exposure to all the polygamous societies in our country that you are truly qualified to make such a ridiculous assertion?

    Do you understand, Nathan that the largest polygamous society in America is now comprised of Muslims, and not fundamentalist Mormons? Exactly how broad is your exposure to the Islamic community in America? Why don't you explain for us how Muslim women in America who are trapped within polygamy are free to leave and report the crime their husband has perpetrated upon them. Why don't you tell us of your experience in that area.

    Most Muslim women, especially first wives, who are here in this country on their husband's visas, understand that if they report their husband's bigamous behavior and he is prosecuted, he will be deported. Practicing polygamy is a violation of any immigrant's terms of immigration. That means if the husband is prosecuted and deported, she will most likely be deported as well. Why don't you explain to us all how safe a situation that is for a Muslim woman, to be sent back to Pakistan or Iran etc., to her family of origin after she has "dishonored them."

    Polygamy is a crime, Nathan, a felony. But in Utah, when women do leave, they are repeatedly told by judges, who award custody or visitation rights to husbands and fathers who are still committing the felony crime, that "Polygamy has nothing to do with it." Perhaps you would like to tell us all exactly which other felony a man can commit anywhere in this country, on a daily basis, that a judge will completely ignore in a custody or visitation case.

    Don't bother. There are none. Your state is corrupt to the crime, just exactly like the American South was corrupt to the crime of slavery.

  8. Slavery was the enforced kidnap, restraint, sale, and arduous labor of other human being by force. If such a thing happens under any religious guise it should be dealt with swiftly and severely. I see no excuse in traditional Christianity or Mormonism in any of its forms for justifying such things.

    When it comes to the majority of women in plural marriage I am primarily speaking from my personal interaction with hundreds of fellow Mormon Fundamentalists, although this is also the informed opinion of the intelligent and articulate women who advocate for polygamist rights (and who have a wider exposure to different groups than most). I was not claiming anything else, although it seems to me that claims to the contrary are at best as anecdotal.

    As for polygamy amongst Muslims - it must be noted that Islam is not a cohesive religion any more than Christianity is - they vary greatly in levels of adherence and strictness. There are probably many Muslim immigrants, as well as American born converts, so it would be hard to make blanket statements that cover every situation.

    I am not going to try to represent all polygamists though, any more than I'd ask you to represent some of the extremes of monogamy. Where abuse occurs I can tell you honestly there is one man right here who is abhorred by it, and for whom it is against every sense of decency and concept of Godliness that he is aware of.

    I can only speak from my personal experience, and I would not wish to have the freedom of my family to practice our religion to be based on the actions of others.

    The laws against unlawful cohabitation would effect far more than polygamous Mormons if prosecuted, and would quickly be repealed as unconstitutional. You seem to have made a very articulate case for decriminalization - to end the fear of prosecution and its effects upon women, children, and their husbands. It seems it would be the best thing to serve those who find themselves in abusive situations as well as the innocent.

  9. Why don't you tell us all what happens to a fundamentalist Mormon woman in the hereafter, if she rejects the practice of polygamy, Nathan?

    I know you won't admit that your religion teaches she will be destroyed, because then you would have to admit that your women are coerced into the practice out of the fear of eternal damnation.

    That's not really a "choice" now is it? I watched the premier of Sister Wives on TLC last night and got to see how badly Robin freaked out over the thought that some of the Brown children might choose a religion other than the one she is trapped in. I have no doubt she was absolutely terrified they would be destroyed for eternity if they choose not to follow their parent's religion. That's called coercion, which is abuse.

    Abuse is not a protected religious right in this country. The comparison to slavery is perfectly valid, because slavers used biblical passages to defend their right to practice slavery, just exactly like polygamists use them to defend their human rights abuses.

    The answer is not to legalize your abuse of women and children. The answer is to prosecute it to the fullest extent of the law.

  10. The same thing will happen to a Mormon Fundamentalist woman who rejects fulfilling her covenants as what will happen to a Mormon Fundamentalist man who does the same - they will lose out on the blessings that would have come had they lived up to their religion. To Mormons heaven is graded in degrees of glory - even the lowest of these is as good as the typical Christian view of heaven.

    Almost every faith has principles to which a person must adhere to attain heaven (even if it is the act of accepting Christ itself), and things which if they reject will damn them (stunt their eternal progress). A man may feel just as obligated by his faith, and in fact most of the men I have met feel wary about the commitment (I would worry about a man's intentions if he was eager to rush into it).

    It sounds like the Brown families fears were not unlike many other Christians who worry for their children. Different parents handle their children's choices differently - some more liberally, some more conservatively. It varies amongst Fundamentalists as much the general public.

    Poor old Moses, Abraham, and Jacob. You'd put them in Jail. How did that prosecution thing work out from the 1860s to 1950s? You'd really be behind taking old widows aged husbands away? You'd be happy with thousands of children put in care? You feel that would be a productive and compassionate use of the law?

    I'd like to think I don't fit your mold, but I don't know how broad your brush strokes are. However, I think past this point I'd just be going around in circles if I carried on this conversation, but am grateful I had this chance to express myself. If you are truly committed to helping those abused then I commend you for that work, though I hope your views may become less narrow in the future.

  11. Whatever, Nathan. You can't win this debate. You're on the losing side.

  12. Nathan, you still keep speaking as if monogamy causes abuses. Yes, there is abuse in all societies, but no, monogamy doesn't cause abuses the way polygamy does.

    You can rail about abuses in monogamous families, but it isn't monogamy that causes the abusive situation. Not so with polygamy.

    Comparing apples and oranges won't do. Monogamy doesn't cause a shortage of available women and an excess of unmarried males. What's your excuse for that?

  13. Oh, and I'd be perfectly willing throw the Biblical patriarchs in jail for practicing polygamy. I don't cut them any slack in this.

  14. Nathan - perhaps you should read this article by Prof Janet Bennion - she reports that 38% of the sex offenders who committed incest in the state of Utah were Mormon fundamentalists while they represent 5% or less of the total population of Utah : http://www.scribd.com/doc/66458282/Abbas-Raptus-Incest-in-Mormon-Fundamentalist-Communities.This is highly statistically significant.

    The predominant form of polygamy in the US is Islamic polygamy. Unlike Mormon polygamy, Islamic polygamy is not mandatory nor is it required for salvation or exaltation, and whether polygamy is meritorious depends upon its effect on the participants in the marriage. The data is clear, published by physicians, social workers, and psychologists in multiple studies - first wives in polygamous marriages develop significant levels of depression, often requiring psychiatric treatment.

  15. @ Susan, the published researcher: THANKYOU. Studies are worthless unless done a certain way. It's all too easy to manipulate them into "proving" what one sets out to.

    @ all those standing against Nathan: THANKYOU.

    @ Nathan: Give it up.
    To pluralize women (or men either for that matter!) IS..TO..ABUSE..THEM!

    It is the pluralization itself that is the abuse. ANY social system of INEQUALITY is a form of abuse. STOP defending the degradation of women as something that is God's will that brings blessings. Abuse does not produce anything good. To abuse in ANY form is NOT a religious right that should be protected by law. I think it safe to say that the rest of us will fight to keep it that way.

    Are you a 'practicing' polygamist yourself? No wonder you defend your powerful position where you can get your dick wet whenever you want to. Are you a member of the mainstream LDS (Mormon) church? If so, SHAME on you. Read Jacob chapter 2 in the Book of Mormon, and list each and every point the Lord makes. It flys in the face of ANYthing PRO-polygamy, such as D&C 132. It's a test, dude. Choose one or the other. You can't walk both sides of the fence at the same time. Which scenario would be fair and loving to ALL parties involved? Your choice will determine the God you follow and the wage and destination it earns.

    The FLDS is obviously disgusting, but the LDS church needs to clarify their stance and beliefs too, for the sake of it's own people as well as the rest of the world's inquiry. The church's responses to it's own people and the public media, as to where they stand on polygamy, is chicken-shit.


  16. Nathan, Please read Sanjiv Bhattacharya's book, "Secrets and Wives: The Hidden World of Mormon Polygamy." As an ex independant and an ex AUB member, I can assure you that there are abuses and plenty of them. Don't deceive yourself. Read that book and get a better idea of how all of these polygamists groups make the whole.