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Wednesday, December 14, 2005 

Polygamy in theory and practice

I tend to err on the side of civil liberties, that is, the personal freedom to do as you wish, as long as you aren't hurting others. From this perspective, on the issue of polygamy, I would think, "hey, if everyone was happy, fine." That's theory. Let's look at it in practice.

There is a huge backstory to the recent AP article Woman Sues Fugitive Polygamist Leader that maybe not obvious from that headline. The Mormons, aka the Latter Day Saints famously disassociated themselves with the practice of polygamy about a hundred years ago. The fundamentalist sect, however, practices polygamy like so:

  • make sure the women aren't educated.
  • "marry" them off when they are young. Make sure they have lots of kids.
  • prevent them from talking to non-Mormons and use other methods of mind control.
  • preach hate about the government (part of mind control again, "you can only trust us") while these child brides are put on welfare as single mothers.
  • since you only have a small pool to draw from, sons are competition for brides, so kill sons or drive them off.
  • make sure the local government is corrupt.

These points are quickly summarized from my memory of Jon Krakauer's excellent book Under the Banner of Heaven. According to Krakauer, Warren Jeffs, current leader of the Mormon fundies, is one pretty scary dude. I applaud the woman suing Jeffs, because I'm guessing she has travelled a long, hard road to get to this position.

Hi Freethought Mom,

I've just started blogging as athiest mum (we spell it slightly differently in the UK) and I thought it would be nice to touch base with you. I notice you haven't been blogging since March — hope you haven't given up. I think you (and everyone else out there willing to stick their head above the parapet) are very brave, especially living in America. From over here, the upsurge in fundamentalist religion looks pretty scary.
It was noticing your stuff on Under The Banner Of Heaven that prompted me to write. My mother passed on her copy to me a few months ago, and I was enthralled. It's truly terrifying to think that Mormonism the fastest growing religion in the world.
Please have a look at my blog if you get the chance. It's in its infancy at the moment — no links or anything yet, but I'd be interested to know what you think.

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  • I'm the freethoughtmom from New England. Welcome!
  • The word rational means having the ability to reason. Reasoning takes time. Giving yourself the space to think is practically a luxury in our society.

    My father is a logical engineer, my mother a caring nurturer. My handwriting with my dominate hand resembles that of my father, the other, my mother. I feel lucky to have both sides to draw from.
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