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. 

How Melissa and I met

Melissa and I have been sisterwives for 9 years.  This is the story of how we met. 

Melissa married for the first time in the 1990s and had 3 children with that husband.  (She’s had more children with our husband Joshua.)  Two of her births were unassisted, which means she gave birth without any professional help whatsoever. 

My history of childbirth is quite different.  My first baby was born in the hospital with an ob-gyn attending.  I didn’t know any different at the time. 

One of my naïve beliefs back then was that when you choose a birth attendant, you will be supported thruout the labor and delivery by that person.  Ha ha!  My mistake!  I didn’t see my doctor or even talk to him on the phone until I’d already been in labor for 80 hours, made multiple trips back-and-forth from my home to the hospital, been admitted into the hospital for 10 hours, been hooked up to both an epidural and an IV of pitocin, and even had been pushing for over an hour! 

All that time, I had only Joshua, my mother, and the hospital nurses.  Now, I don’t have a problem with nurses, but it was very frustrating to me that they were the only professionals taking care of me, rather than the doctor I’d carefully researched and put my trust in.  I hadn’t chosen those nurses; I hadn’t been getting to know them for months leading up to the birth; I hadn’t discussed my birth preferences with them; they didn’t have the education and experience that my old ob-gyn had.  What exactly was the point in all that I had done with him, my ob-gyn?  Why were these nurses actually the ones attending me? 

Some of the nurses were quite inconsiderate and unhelpful, but even the kind ones were only on duty for 12-hour shifts and had to care for multiple women simultaneously.  (The twice-a-day turnover and the care of multiple patients are two of the things that make homebirths safer than hospital births.  Another reason is that midwives are more educated than nurses.)  

I will spare you the details of that birth story.  Suffice it to say that I wanted a different experience the second time around.  When I became pregnant again, I started looking into other options, such as a midwife-attended hospital birth. 

I even went so far as to consider having an unassisted birth, and I found an online forum of LDS women who were interested in unassisted childbirth (UC).  This was the LDS-UC Yahoo group, which was pretty active back in the pre-Facebook heyday of Yahoo groups (which don’t even exist anymore). 

As an experienced UCer and postpartum nurse, Melissa was pretty much the LDS-UC group’s resident expert on all things pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding.  She and I and the rest of the group had many in-depth, often personal, conversations about a variety of topics, and one effect was that we got to know each other fairly well (as far as online friendships go). 

By the way, I’ve never had the guts to have an unassisted birth.  But my subsequent births have all been with midwives (some in the hospital and some at home), and they’ve all been better experiences than my ob-gyn attended birth. 

Melissa and I were online friends via the LDS-UC Yahoo group from the middle of my second pregnancy until that baby was a toddler, when we finally met in real life.

The Yahoo group was worldwide, but Melissa and I happened to live only 20 minutes from each other (in the Tooele, Utah area).  We didn’t have any reason to meet in real life until one fateful day in May of 2010.  

The catalyst for our meeting was raw milk. Melissa owned a cow she milked twice a day, and I knew how valuable (and hard-to-come-by) raw milk is.

She mentioned on the group that she had run out of mason jars and had to throw away 3 gallons of fresh raw milk.  I was understandably horrified, and I immediately offered to bring over some jars.  She accepted my offer, and not long after that, we finally met face-to-face. 

That was the beginning of our in-person friendship.