Introducing the Mormon Renegade’s Wife

Hello, everyone. I am new at this so please bear with me. 

I would like to introduce myself a little for those of you that do not know me. My name is Amber Sanders. My husband, myself, and my sisterwife live in Utah. David and I have been married now for 27½ years. We have 6 children: 2 are married and have their own families, 2 young adult children live at home, and our 2 youngest just turned 17 years old. David was just sealed to Tonya, my sisterwife, in February. 

I was raised in the LDS Church, but was never very active. David was a convert to the LDS Church in June of 1995. We raised our kids in the Church but to this day none of them attend the LDS Church. This is mostly due to the way they were treated by the kids in our ward when they were young. But we did raise our kids to be their own thinkers and not to lean on others for opinions and such. So I am grateful that they are all on the paths that they want to be on for themselves. 

We have lived in many places including Idaho, Maryland, North Dakota, and now Utah. Our journey in Fundamentalism started about 13 or 14 years ago. We have been mostly independent until a couple years ago we joined The Branch.

I work full-time from home for an advocate company helping disabled people with their disability claims. In my spare time I like to make quilts and watch TV crime shows like NCIS, Criminal Minds, and FBI. I also like to spend as much time with my grandkids and kids as possible. Some of my favorite things besides my grandkids would be sitting on the beach and watching the waves and smelling the ocean air; being on a quiet mountainside enjoying the view and the sounds of nature; fall is my favorite season, and yes I do love pumpkins; snowmen (my kids say I have a slight obsession with these); butterflies; and sunflowers. 

My sisterwife Tonya just recently joined our family, and is having neck surgery so she does not work. She and I have been friends for several years. It has been a blessing having her as part of our family finally. And I will go more into this later on. 

My husband, David, is a land surveyor by day and by night most people would know him as the Mormon Renegade.  He has been a Surveyor for 25+ years now. He started his podcast around a year ago I guess, and it just keeps getting bigger all the time. He is working on some new stuff so if you follow him stay tuned for a new look coming soon. He talks about anything from religion, politics, to even one on weightlifting I believe. But mostly religious topics and secondly politics. 

I would like to talk about plural marriage in today’s society and a little on how we live it and our experience with it.

With my husband’s podcast we hear things from listeners and get questions such as:

  • How can you live this life?
  • How does your household work?
  • How do your wives deal with jealousy issues?
  • What are some benefits (outside of your religious beliefs) to living plural marriage?

I will answer a few of the more family-oriented questions and ones that can be a bit more personal.

To start out, I am not a huge scripture person: I am not one that can spout off a scripture or tell you who said a certain comment.  But I do know the things that are taught are the true gospel and I do have a strong testimony of Celestial or Plural Marriage.

David and I were in a plural marriage years ago for a few years that did not work out. We were not part of any group; we were independents at the time. I do not and will not talk about that relationship.  But that is when we were first introduced to the thought of plural marriage. 

Just a brief explanation on how it first came about. It was actually myself that had brought this up to David. I was reading Doctrine & Covenants 132 and then the Manifesto, and as I went over these I had a question for David. This ended up turning into David doing more of a deep dive into the Principle of plural marriage and more studying. We talked about it and prayed about it and both came to the conclusion that we were to be living plural marriage. Out of our control, that marriage did not last. 

For the next several years David and I talked to many different fundamentalists and groups, and in the meantime we continued attending the LDS Church. We always felt like something was missing within our family and with the gospel. 

After joining The Branch about a year and a half ago, the missing gospel piece has seemed to be filled. In October we were reunited with Tonya, whom we have known for around ten years.

When I first met Tonya several years ago, she and I connected in a very spiritual way. This is the best way I can describe it, but unfortunately the timing of things was not right. I knew back then that someday she would join my family. I didn’t know when or how but I knew someday she would. 

Over the years we have kept in touch. She would keep us updated on events in her life, or would just reach out to say thanks for being there when she needed a friend. She had let David know she went through the LDS temple not too long ago and again thanked us for all we had done and taught her about the gospel. 

Then she heard David’s podcast and she reached out in October to let him know she had heard it and really liked it and just wanted to catch up. Well, the rest is history: she is now part of our family and I couldn’t be happier.

Now, living plural marriage isn’t for everyone, and not all will be called to live it. But I know and have testimony that we have been called to live this principle.

For every family, how their family lives is all different. In some families, the wives will each have their own homes within the same areas, and in some, they will live in the same house. This all depends on the couples and also the resources they have.

For myself, I have always felt a strong sense of wanting my family to all be together under one roof. We are lucky enough to have a home at this time that accommodates that. We each have our own bedrooms and share the rest of the house.

I feel it is important to be able to be friends with your sisterwife. And I am again lucky to have that with Tonya. We were able to bond all those years ago and have been able to strengthen that bond over the last several months.

I feel it is important that we can learn from each other. Where Tonya has not been in a family situation like ours before, there are things that I have been able to teach her and work on together with her for our home. These moments are not only important teaching moments but precious moments to cherish.

People ask about jealousy issues.  This is a hard one because if you say there is never any jealousy you are not only lying to yourself but to your loved ones. But I will say that when you know that you are living in a plural marriage because you have been called to do so by God, the sting is less hurtful. I think one of the best things that has helped us thus far is to always let each other know how we are feeling. Or if we have an issue with something, to not hold it in and fester on it, but to talk to one another about it so the issue can be worked out. And most of the time it ends up being a simple fix or misunderstanding of some sort. So I would have to say just like that line of communication is important with your Heavenly Father, It is also important with your spouse and sisterwife.

What are some benefits (outside of your religious beliefs) to plural marriage? On this, I would have to say, the friendship that you build with your sisterwife is one of the biggest for me. Not all that live it are able to have this. I am so grateful that I have a strong friendship with my sisterwife.

Others are things like strengthening the family. I do believe that plural marriage should only be lived for religious beliefs. Anything outside of that is not of God and if it is not being lived for the correct purposes then it is not right.

The last question and the most important one: How can you live this lifestyle? I have touched on this some already. But to sum it up, we have been commanded to live in plural marriage. In Doctrine & Covenants 132 God gives us this commandment and explains the law to us. Although some people believe that we are no longer to live it, I stand to believe that we have a never-changing God. He will not command us one day to do one thing then turn around the next and tell us something different. He is a steady and never-changing Being. 

I bear testimony that if we follow these commandments and are called to live this law, that we can be happy in our choices and that we can all learn to love our sisterwives and each other. I bear testimony that I know the Law of Celestial Marriage is correct and I am glad I have the opportunity to live it.

The Couch – Sister Wives S17E1 reaction

Everything I write is based on the show. I have no inside information as to how it went down otherwise.
I’m going to establish my reality on plural marriage first.

Our family has 2 wives. Joshua sets his own schedule. This is usually every other night barring other events. (Those events include, but are not limited to childbirth, illness, vacation, work trips, and other trips.) He works very hard to be fair with his time. Yes, that’s usually a 50/50 split. My husband makes time for me wherever he is.

On a regular week on my off nights, he either calls me on his way home from work (he has a very long commute), or spends at least 15 minutes in a face-to-face to check in.

We also have a nightly family gathering time that we call “Shofar and Tell”. This is a time that each family member tells a bit about their day. It can be something they learned that they want to share or an interesting experience, or a performance of some kind. I love this time of connection each evening. I don’t like scheduling things in the evenings because even the idea of missing Shofar and Tell makes me sad.

That is my framework. A very connected husband managing 2 households in the same house, with equal time given to his wives, and trying to bring the entire family together nightly.

Ok. Now to episode 1.

In the 5th minute, Kody says he doesn’t want to spend the nights on Christine’s couch.

I’m assuming that if Kody didn’t go to Christine’s, he stayed with Robyn and she welcomed him into her bed.  

He complained about it being a game. I don’t think that not wanting to sleep in the same bed or “throwing him out” is a game. This is a husband-wife relationship and for that relationship to break down to that degree is a very serious thing.  It’s not a game and should not be treated as such. It’s frightening to me that his belief of it being a game makes him not “play” instead of evaluating why the relationship is in the state that it’s in and taking immediate corrective action.

What Robyn told him had no teeth.

Robyn claimed having no power, but she could have had power and supported her sisterwife in refusing to have him in her bed if he was not going to spend equal time with her sisterwife.

My response for Kody not wanting to spend the nights on Christine’s couch would have been “You can spend your nights at Christine’s house on her couch. If you stay here, either you will be on the couch or I will. I will not sleep in the same bed with you on nights you should be at her home. Period.”

My husband was genuinely surprised when I told him of my stance. He didn’t believe that I would actually tell him he could not favor me with his time or that I would push to the degree thr I would plan to.

I’m pretty convicted about this issue and here is why: The only way to protect my own interests is to protect my sisterwife’s interests.

I have to be unequivocally fair in my dealings to expect fairness in return.

I never want to be blamed that I had part in the dissolution of a marriage because I enabled my husband to not have to deal with his other wife when things were hard.

Monogamy has its own difficulties. I don’t want plural marriage to have those difficulties plus the option to strengthen one marriage and sacrifice another if I can at all help it.

My vested interest is in having our family be successful. That means that each marriage is successful on its own and our family is unbreakable. This means I love my sisterwife as myself. There is no room for being a favorite over another (I have to be the best version of myself so I can be a favorite Melissa) or any desire for my husband to be monogamous. That idea is repulsive to me because it does mean failure and there would be a lot of pain and suffering, most of it avoidable.