The Polygamist's Daughter

Stories, Reflections and Conclusions of Life on the Inside


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In a Quandary

I began this blog for the purpose of enlightening readers on the subject of polygamy, its relationship with religion and my own experiences of growing up in a polygamist commune. It has been my intent from the beginning to express my viewpoints and share my memories from a place of acceptance and compassion while remaining free from judgment.

Over the past month I have connected with many other people who were brought up with the polygamist lifestyle. I have heard their opinions, research and findings with regard to polygamy and its impact in their lives and upon society as a whole. Most of them are adamantly against polygamy because of the pain it has caused in their lives and the lives of those they love. They have all been abused in some form as a result of this lifestyle, some as children and some as wives. They come from all over the world and from various religions with the intent of bringing into the light the truth behind the practice of polygamy; the truth of what goes on behind closed doors.  This group is made up of both men and women who wish to see progress toward equality and better treatment of humanity.  

As a result of being part of this group I began to feel againstness in my heart. I have become so spiritually in tune with myself that I can feel when I am not in perfect alignment with my own internal truth.  The feeling of againstness does not resonate with my soul and asks that I take a deeper look into how I really feel about polygamy.  This feeling of againstness has pulled the energy away from my original intent with this blog. In my feelings of againstness I lost sight of the compassion and acceptance that are the foundation of my life and who I have become.

And so I return again to how I really feel about polygamy as a lifestyle choice. Let us not forget that polygamy is a lifestyle choice. Unlike homosexuality and pedophilia which are physical and mental conditions respectively, polygamy is purely a choice. It is not a choice that I consider attractive in any way personally, but it is a choice that others find desirable. For some it is about real and genuine love, for some it is nothing more than sexual gratification or desperation, and for some it is based in fear and coercion with justification by religion.

I find myself in a quandary because I support love. When love is genuinely expressed between mutually consenting, loving and respectful adults I wholeheartedly support it. If men and women choose to invite other loving relationships into their marriage without coercion or control that should be their choice. And in actuality it always has been, but without the label of marriage. So why must that change? An open relationship allows the freedom of partners to make love with whomever they choose. The issue as I see it is with marriage itself. Leave morality out of marriage and allow it to simply be about love and all of the issues about who gets to marry simply goes away. But many people insist that marriage must be sanctified by their God and in order to make polygamy politically and morally correct it must be made legal.

How do we create an environment that allows people to openly express love with whomever they choose? (within legal age of course) How do we place limitations on the genuine expression of love? Do we sacrifice the good of the whole for the desires of the few who wish to be in a relationship with more than one person at a time?  The lifestyle of polygamy has overwhelmingly been proven to be harmful to the families who live it. How can we justify legalizing a lifestyle that has been proven harmful to society? If polygamy is legalized how do we protect those women and children who are and will continue to be abused by it?  Is it time for a complete restructuring and redefinition of marriage as a whole?  Do we even need marriage or is it an age old custom that has run its course?  These are the questions that plague my mind when I consider the ramifications of polygamy on an ever evolving society.  Humanity is evolving into a new way of being based in love and compassion for the whole human family. How does this play out on the subject of polygamy?  How can we support love while penalizing those who use the guise of love to harm and control others?

I am not a legal expert and this is a battle I am not qualified to fight. I will leave the legalities to those who are better equipped, to those who carry the evidence to support their arguments, and to those who are working toward the betterment of humanity.  The best that I can do is to continue to hold those who have been traumatized by this lifestyle in love and compassion and continue to hold myself in the truth that I support love.


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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.

http://www.youtube.com/user/victoriamreynolds#p/a/u/0/v8rJt67EHK0


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Legalizing Polygamy

The logistics of legalizing polygamy are far more complicated and far reaching than same-sex marriage. A marriage contract is written into between two partners as a binding business contract, although many fail to recognize the validity of the contract until they are faced with divorce. In a marriage contract in the United States the assets and liabilities of the partnership are shared equally unless amended with prenuptial or postnuptial agreements. One partnership must be settled and the division of assets agreed upon before each party is available to enter into a new contract with a new partner.  In the case of polygamy the marriage contract becomes much more convoluted and difficult to maintain the equality among all members. The contract will need to be redefined and amended each time a member joins the marriage or leaves the marriage with each partner willing to submit a portion of the assets and liabilities to the other members of the corporation so to speak. Does the husband maintain 50% for himself while his wives divvy up the remaining portion amongst themselves? Where is the equality and balance in that? Polygamy is more than just love and sex; it is a contract that affects the quality of life for every member involved. Before we jump on legalizing it we must consider the short term and long term effects on not only the families and society but the redefinition of the marriage contract.