The Polygamist's Daughter

Stories, Reflections and Conclusions of Life on the Inside


Memories of my Father

My father and I had a very tumultuous relationship from as far back as I can remember. I was a strong-willed and precocious child who asked too many questions and had my own mind. While my parents and religious leaders attempted to mold me into their version of the perfect child, I was not easily bent to their will. I craved learning, I craved a deeper understanding of why things were the way they were, and often my parents and those around me were unwilling or unable to answer my barrage of questioning. My mother always resorted to “Go ask your father,” and my father’s all too often answer was “Because I said so,” or “Because God said so.” Their inability to set my mind at ease left me to my own introspection.

My religion taught parents to bring their children to salvation by whatever means necessary. My father’s weapon of choice was his hand on my body. Whenever I failed him, or his religion, in any way, it resulted in a full assault on my bare behind.  I was terrified of my father and wanted nothing to do with him, yet in the same token I wanted desperately for him to love me.  I went out of my way to do things I hoped would make him proud of me, anything that would bring some kind of recognition or even a hint that he cared at all for my existence in his life.

As I grew older my hate for father grew, as did my hate for his religion. God for me was an angry and vengeful man just like my father.  I despised any God that would force me to feel so much pain, and force me to endure shame and guilt, simply for being human.

I was twenty-one years old before my father told me he loved me.  I had been away from home for nearly five years by that time. It was on a telephone call he made to me in an attempt to apologize for the kind of father he had been.  But I was unable to accept his apology.  It took all he had to say “I love you” and as he did I simply replied, “like Hell you do”, slamming down the phone, furious that he had taken so many years to give me what I had desperately craved as a child. I had never known love and as a result I did not know how to receive it or give it, not only to anyone else, but to myself.

It was several years before I had enough respect for myself, to be able to forgive my father.  It took a tremendous amount of courage on my part to face him and offer my forgiveness.  I did this not for him, but because I had finally found enough self-respect to know that I deserved to be free of the resentment I held toward him.  My father and I repaired the relationship, and over the years it evolved to be one of mutual respect and understanding. And while we would never agree about religion, or his concept of God, we agreed to disagree.  Today would have been my father’s birthday.  He passed away a few years ago, free of animosity or resentment between us.

As I came to understand myself, and my own brand of spirituality, I came to see my father with new eyes.  I came discover that deep beneath his tough and unrelenting exterior was a kind, gentle and sensitive man that only gentiles in the outside world were ever allowed to see.  It was a side of him that I never knew existed until a few years before his death, when I saw him for who he really was, and not who his religion expected him to be.


Equality for Women

The Polygamist lifestyle began at a time when women were owned and collected as little more than livestock. Women were used for bartering between men who were building their kingdoms with some kings owning hundreds of women. The marriage contract existed as a business document showing legal trade of stock ownership and for union between families and estates. Women were simply pawns in this process. The marriage contract only recently became associated with so-called morality with the ownership of people being justified by religion for centuries.

Polygamy is a classic case of spiritual abuse. We must stop the allowing atrocities against humanity being justified by religion. During the Civil War we fought to eliminate the twin relics of slavery and polygamy, both of which were justified by religion. Both were recognized as barbaric and inhumane and as a result of the fight toward freedom, both became illegal. America evolved into a new era that gave rise to greater equality for all. Sadly many of us have forgotten that the move away from polygamy was a move toward equality for women.

Over the centuries women have fought and died in numerous attempts to establish respect and equality with the male members of society. It has been a long and painful road as we become closer to achieving the equality that all people deserve. After hundreds of years battling to have our voices heard there is still the underlying belief that women are less valuable than men. That belief still permeates society as a whole. We see this in the way some men treat women and it the way some women treat themselves. We see this in women who are afraid to ask for a raise at work, or afraid to ask for time off. We see it in the girls that intentionally get pregnant hoping that someone will take care of them. We see this in women who are afraid to ask for money or help from their husbands. We still unconsciously believe that women do not deserve equal pay, equal respect and equal treatment.  

Many people have bought into the belief that polygamy is necessary. Some are sold on the fundamentalist belief that women cannot go to heaven without a man to take them there, and that women cannot survive this life or the next without servitude to a man. There are some men who still believe that women need to be taken care of because they are incapable of taking care of themselves. And there are women who choose to give up their equality and subject themselves to sharing their husband. Rather than asking their husband and partner for the help they deserve they bring other women into their marriage.  They choose to give up their equality and a balanced partnership for a relationship that requires submission and surrender.

Most polygamist relationships set the man up as the leader of the family with all women as subservient. I have seen this firsthand as the daughter of a polygamist and my personal experience with other polygamist households. Women’s opinions hold little value, even collectively, because the husband’s desires always supersede. In essence a polygamist family is not unlike a dictatorship which in itself is fundamentalist. With men at the head of the household polygamy further propagates the belief that women are not of equal worth and value.

The legalization of polygamy defeats any accomplishment that centuries of women have worked so hard to establish. If a woman chooses to enter a self-deprecating relationship, that is her choice, but we cannot legally reward this choice.  We cannot legally reward any man’s barbaric insistence that he is superior to the women.  We cannot legally award anyone who furthers the belief that women do not deserve a relationship based on balance, mutual respect and equality.


Facing My Demons

For much of my life I lived in fear. I allowed my mind to be consumed by the irrational fear of the Devil and Hell, a belief that was ingrained in me as a child and maintained tremendous hold over me for many years. Now that I have found my truth and my own power I am no longer afraid of the devil, his demons or going to Hell. They no longer have any control over me. For me, the Devil is that voice in my head that tells me I’m not good enough, that I don’t have what it takes, that I don’t deserve what I want. I choose not to listen to that voice. The demons are those things I have been afraid of; my fear of looking bad, fear of confrontation, fear of being different and fear of failure. I have faced my demons and discovered they were not nearly as frightening as I made them out to be. And Hell for me is not some place out there after I die, it is right here in the blame, anger, guilt and shame I carried with me in my life. I choose to no longer go there. I choose to live a life free of fear. I choose to live a life filled with hope, peace and love. I choose heaven.