Skip to comments.How Many Wives Is Too Many? (Polygamy Is Biblical, Gays! Now Sit Down And Shut Up!)
Posted on 07/29/2008 10:06:01 PM PDT by goldstategop
"Texas authorities on Tuesday indicted the leader of a polygamous sect ... on charges of felony sexual assault on a minor, the first criminal charges to stem from a massive raid on the group's West Texas compound," The Los Angeles Times reported last week (http://tinyurl.com/6oenlz).
The Associated Press and other media used similar words: "indicted polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs ... charges of felony sexual assault of a child."
Straightforward reporting? In my "20/20" special "Sex in America", polygamy activist Mark Henkel said no, it's an ignorant distortion.
"The media kept saying, 'Polygamist leader, polygamist leader,'" Henkel told me. "But the case actually involved incest and arranged marriage of a girl with her 19-year-old cousin. There wasn't anything [that] had to do with polygamy. [Jeffs] wasn't called an incest leader. He wasn't called an underage-marriage leader. He was called a polygamist leader."
Henkel and his website, TruthBearer, (www.truthbearer.org), campaign against the media and others who lump criminals like Jeffs with all polygamy.
Henkel won't reveal his own family situation. In Maine, where he lives, even purporting to have more than one wife is against the law. Henkel complains that American laws are hypocritical.
"Someone like a Hugh Hefner will have a successful television show with three live-in girlfriends! And that's all OK, and he's making great money, and that's all fine and great entertainment. But suddenly, if that man was to marry them, then suddenly he's a criminal. That's insane!"
Many people, when they hear the word "polygamy," think of fundamentalist Mormons living in cults, but the truth is that there's lots of polygamy in America that has nothing to do with that. First of all, polygamy was banned by the mainstream Mormon Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1890 and is grounds for excommunication. For my "20/20" special, we interviewed Jewish and evangelical Christian polygamists. Henkel's website is subtitled "Organization for Christian Polygamy." He estimates that there are 100,000 polygamists in America.
Ten years ago, University of Georgia Professor Patricia Dixon thought polygamy exploited women. Then she embarked on a study of it.
"I was transformed by the experience."
She spent years living with different polygamous communities. She was surprised to find that polygamy was not about men exploiting women.
"It's female-centered. The women are the ones who are benefiting. ..."
Wouldn't most people say it's about the men getting more sex with more women?
"It's not about another notch on your belt or anything like that. It really is the women who really promote this idea."
Plural marriage is common around the world. In the United States most get married in religious ceremonies but keep quiet about it because what they do is illegal.
The families we met wonder why what they do is illegal. Clearly it's wrong if an older man arranges marriages of young kids, but when adults choose to live this kind of life, why is that evil?
"Because we need marriage for the good of society. I think if we were to see this across the range of society the effect would be negative," Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council (www.frc.org) told me. He added, "Slavery and polygamy were the twin relics of barbarism. Those are barbaric societies that we've tried to move beyond."
Plenty of religious leaders agree with Sprigg, but Mark Henkel isn't buying it. "If they're saying that's immoral, they're calling the greatest heroes in the Bible ... immoral! ... Saying that Abraham, with his three wives, was immoral. Jacob had four wives. David had seven known named wives before Bathsheba."
Prince Ben-Israel, who has four wives, calls plural marriage a civil-rights issue. "Who is this government that's in somebody's bedroom? ... It was illegal for me to marry a white woman at one time. ... It was illegal for me to vote at one time. And if I had accepted somebody else's definition of what was right and wrong, I would still be riding in the back of the bus.
"We're not saying this is for everybody. Everybody don't like football and basketball or tennis. But those who do oughta be free to do this."
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus
Of course, not all of the couples in the YFZ community were polygamous, either.
I have no problem with the FLDS men having multiple wives and long as the wives are of age.
Serial monogamy is OK. Once you break up with them, there is no more nagging and nonsense....
But multiple wives? Imagine 6 women nagging you for the rest of your life.
These guys deserve a Purple Heart.
Of course you can flip it around ladies and say that a woman having to deal with 2 guys giving my wife as much grief as I do should be made a Saint.
Hey gays! If you are not having a good time, stand up, kick yourself in the rear and sit back down.
“I have no problem with the FLDS men having multiple wives and long as the wives are of age.”
When people are adults, they can do as they darn well please. It’s a free country, even though I personally do not condone it nor would I practice it. But it’s still a free country last time I checked. Having sex with underage girls is totally another matter. I agree with you about that.
I have been very “vocal” in my opposition to the raid and roundup of innocent children and the attempt to annihilate the entire FLDS community. That stinks!
Well let’s see, a blond, a brunette, a redhead, another brunette....
I think these women are meek and submissive. I doubt very much that would dare nag. I could be almost a muslimesque situation for them.
“Hey gays, if you insist on redefining marriage, then ALL forms of sexual union are valid. Especially the ones mentioned in the Bible!”
You’re under the impression that gay people are somehow standing in the way of you having 30 or 40 wives?
That meek and submissive stuff is probably just brilliant acting on their part.
Can I enter into a domestic partnership with my dog? She would qualify for my health benefits under my company plan.
Than I wouldn’t have to pay out of pocket for the bitch’s vet visits.
Having more than one wife should fit the Supreme Court definition of cruel and unusual punishment.
I can’t imagine why a man would knowingly walk into such a hellish fate.
This is Annette, Warren Jeffs' 1st wife. She was the home economics instructor at Alta Academy.
Once, in front of boys and girls gathered in the meeting hall, Warren grabbed Annette's long braided hair, twisting it slowly around his hand, tightening his grip until she dropped to the floor, her face turning crimson and contorting in pain.
She didn't make a sound or movement of protest.
He told the boys that this was how obedient their wives had to be to them. He let go and left the room with no apology to his wife, who stood up, straightened her hair, and went back to teaching.
Annette grasps well the concept of 'Keeping Sweet.'"
When Warren was captured, he was with Naomi Jeffs, a beautiful 32-year-old blond with hair to her knees who was both Warrens former stepmother and the wife he reportedly called "91".
I thought the CPS case was all about the alleged child abuse, and everything since then has involved abuse of the children.
I thought polygamy (and it’s polygyny, technically) was just a factor in the investigations of the CPS.
The recent Senate committee hearing involved testimony by witnesses about all the factors that contributed to sex with minors.
The politicians , as usual, contributed nonsense and excuses and promises to the hearing.
Polygamy was talked about, and I’m pretty sure the main concern of the whole committee wasn’t polygamy, but it’s use to conceal crimes.
That is all above and beyond the YFZ Ranch case in Texas, though.
The FLDS doesn’t have to defend against polygamy, or polygyny (dang, that’s hard to spell), because so far, no one has indicted anyone for it.
Alimony, palimony, child support, and why don’t you make more money.
Let gay people have civil unions. Let each of them have 873 civil unions at one time. Why do I care?
As long as it stays in California or MA.
Instead of calling it marriage there we can call it something else. I now pronounce you....
This way everyone will be happy. It won’t be “marriage”.
There is an old saying in the Middle East: one key in your pocket is silent while two or more make a jangle.
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