Mormon Renegade

My polygamous family has had a few opportunities to be on reality TV shows. Kody Brown even tried persuading us to have our own show, and listening to his reasons got me excited, but when we considered the drama and divisiveness that TV producers require (or create), we ultimately decided against it. 

Because of this blog I’ve also received invitations to be on various shows and podcasts, but I’ve declined all of them. I don’t agree with or know the agendas of the creators and I don’t want to give up the power to tell my own story. 

But there’s a relatively new podcast that Melissa and I (and some others) were recently invited to be on and we actually agreed to do it. The episode was released today, and in it we spent over 3 hours discussing plural marriage, our religious journeys, and other topics. 

If you’d like to hear the interview, you can find it here. You can find The Mormon Renegade Podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Castbox, etc. Today’s episode is #60 and it’s called “Dave Goes to Relief Society”. 😄

Joshua has several full-length interviews on the podcast as well.  Those episodes are #15, #27, #28, #30, #40, and #56, totalling over 12 hours of audio, and a couple more episodes will be released soon.  In those episodes Joshua tells some of our story, why we find it extremely important to keep the Biblical holidays, and what each of the holidays is about.  If you’re curious why Mormons are sometimes interested in Jewish stuff (a few of my readers have recently wondered that), then this is the series for you. 

“You’re not a Mormon, are you?”

Hi, I’m Zoe, Joshua & Charlotte’s oldest daughter. Who would have guessed that this would be my maiden blog post? (No pressure, right?) I’ve toyed with the idea of contributing to this blog for a while now, and am finally pulling the trigger, so to speak.

We were in Missouri several weeks ago – my father, my younger brother, and I – to celebrate the Biblical Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles, in the English) as commanded in Leviticus 23:34-43. Most of the time we camped on the property of a lovely family we know out there who are also polygamous. (They have two wives currently.)

Also camping on their property were several other people, all of which knew the family well (including the fact that they are polygamous) except for one man.

We had all sat down to dinner one of the first nights we were there and I was lost in my own thoughts when I suddenly heard that one man say to the father of the host family, “I don’t mind you having two wives, but I’ve never met someone who has before.”

My mind snapped back to the conversation at present – obviously the man had just found out that our friends were polygamous, and his response was revealing.

“Ah,” I thought to myself, “You’re not a Mormon, are you?” (This is most notable because everyone else there was.)

You see, there are two kinds of Mormons – those who think polygamy is acceptable (these are generally Rocky Mountain Saints – those who came West with Brigham Young to Utah – with the notable exception being, of course, the LDS) and those who think polygamy is un-acceptable (generally the Prairie Saints – those who followed leaders other than Brigham Young after the martyrdom of Joseph Smith and stayed in a more easterly location – and also the LDS).

So how could I tell the man was not a Mormon?

He started off by saying that he doesn’t mind polygamy – in other words, he was not LDS or a Prairie Saint – and then he said that he’d never met someone who was polygamous before – in other words, not a non-LDS Rocky Mountain Saint. If he was a part of a branch of Mormonism which did not allow polygamy, he would have most likely had strong feelings against the practice, and if he was in a branch of Mormonism which allowed polygamy, he would have met someone who was polygamous before, I guarantee it. Where polygamy is allowed in Mormonism, it is almost always practiced by at least a small percentage of the population.

It was an interesting moment, and my deduction was confirmed – the man was raised Baptist and later became a Torah-observant Christian, but was not Mormon in the least.

It’s rather funny to me, to be honest, to see how much some Mormons hate polygamy. Any LDS people who have significant (5-6 generations back) Mormon heritage are almost certainly descended from at least some polygamists, and the LDS church never codified scripture which condemned polygamy (yes, of course there is Official Declaration 1 – also known as “the Manifesto” – however, its message is more along the lines of ‘we do not sanction polygamy if the law is against it’ than what most LDS people think it is), yet most of them hate the practice with a passion.

And here was this man, his religion having no recent ties to polygamy, and yet he had no issue taken to the practice.

Perhaps, on second thought, that’s not so strange after all. We humans have a tendency to condemn most, and most vehemently, those faults which we have just recently overcome ourselves. So, if you are are seeing the world through a LDS paradigm, one in which polygamy is considered evil, then being cognizant of the ‘tainted’ past of your church and ancestors could have the effect of galvanizing your rejection of, indeed even repugnance toward, those who are so backward as to be still committing the sins of your own yesteryear.