Jason tells his story

I grew up in Los Angeles, California during the seventies and eighties. It was a wonderful time to be there. I could not have asked for a better childhood, even with the trials, struggles, triumphs, and successes. At 16 years of age, my father taught me about Isaiah 4:1. That was my first thought of plural marriage.

I served an LDS mission at age 19 in Cleveland, Ohio. I left the West for the first time in my life and went to the Midwest to teach about Jesus Christ and the restored Gospel.

My parents moved the family to Salt Lake County in Utah in the early nineties, and I left behind my first life, starting the second life. I was ready for a new adventure but missed the world I once knew. I was always excited for grass, dirt, trees, and nature. Utah provided that for me when we first moved.

I was ready to start a life and went to school and worked. By the age of twenty-one, I was dating a girl, ready to marry her. In 1993, we were married in the Jordan River LDS Temple for time and all eternity. I was excited for that part of my life. I knew there would be speed bumps and trials that I would face, but we would face them together and succeed.

(I will not go into the struggles that we faced; that is between her and I.)

In 2011, we were living in West Jordan, Utah and a woman called me. I was a deputy with the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office. She called me because of a law enforcement issue, which turned into a life changing incident the next day. After talking with my wife, we decided to offer her a place to stay while she went through her divorce and found safety. My wife and I both had known her for over a decade, and we felt strongly about providing for her, even for a brief time.

After a few months, I helped a friend move to Northwest Missouri. He had forty acres of land and offered to sell me ten acres for a small price. I thought it was an amazing deal and when I got home, I looked at the prices of land. Shortly after, we, as a family decided to go out to Missouri to look at land and see if we could make a purchase. Prices of homes were going up in Utah and we had lost two homes already due to the low income of law enforcement.

The first property we looked at, we bought. After a quick turnaround, we moved to Missouri and the woman living with us, Melanie, decided to move with us to Missouri. This was the end of my second life and the start of my third. Utah life taught me good things, but also showed me that I could not progress anymore if I stayed.

By this time, we were looking into plural marriage and what it entailed. My first wife was good with having Melanie live with us and do things with us, if there were no relations between her and I. Then the LDS Church came after us for living polygamy. We were questioned, to the point of harassment. We had to give up our temple recommends unless I made Melanie leave our home.

I chose Melanie over the LDS Church, my wife did not. She chose to stay with the church and its beliefs. We divorced in 2014 and I married Melanie. I desired to continue living plural marriage. Melanie was unsure as she was hurt by the previous relationship and saw the pains I went through.

In 2016, we met new friends, and one of them was Tracy, a single mother with older children. Tracy and Melanie became friends and Tracy was impressed by the way that I treated Melanie, especially while they watched Melanie’s pregnancy with our daughter. Soon Tracy decided to join our family after I talked to her about plural marriage. Tracy had concerns from previous relationships and issues from her personal life.

In 2020, I had been looking for a third wife, someone who I felt was missing in our home. I had a mental picture of her, but it was blurry in my mind. I was going through Facebook profiles, searching for someone, not knowing who she was. One day, I found a woman, whose last name was familiar, but she did not look familiar. I sent her a DM and she responded. After talking, I decided to get off Facebook permanently. I offered her to contact me via cell phone texting but thought it would not happen. When I received a message from Stephanie, I was elated and there started our relationship. Stephanie joined our family that year and moved from Utah to our farm in Missouri.

We have had tough times and many wonderful, exciting experiences. I am currently a deputy with the local sheriff’s office. I have been in law enforcement for 26 years: 15 years in Utah and 11 years in Missouri. In 2022, I was contacted by a Missouri Highway Patrol detective who said they were notified about an officer living bigamy. After interviewing Stephanie, then me, then Melanie, they took their information and wrote a report.

The Prosecutor decided that the charges did not apply, and nothing was filed through the courts. (I may speak more about this incident another time.)

I have found that the story I share is much like others who are trying to live plural marriage. There are trials, but that is the fire that bonds us together. If there are no trials, I dare say there is no bonding. We learn to live with others and their habits that are not familiar, or that bother us, or confuse us. We learn to be patient when others talk loudly, or quietly. We learn to eat differently, shop differently, and celebrate life differently.

I do not recommend living plural marriage to anyone unless they are willing and ready to go through the fire. It is hard to bond with someone and have them leave. It is hard to share intimate thoughts, feelings, and touches, only to have them turn negative when there is a split. I do not hate my ex-wife. I just wish we could get along, especially since a child is still involved. I cherish my emotionally tough experiences; I just wish it would be understood that I love despite the pains felt. Sometimes I must pay a price for what another man has done to my women. But I get to pay the price to heal, whereas that man is not able to see growth and progress. To see my women take such a new view on life, a freedom from sin and sorrow, brings me joy and happiness and makes it all worth it. I love each woman differently and I love them no less than the other.

God did not call me to live plural marriage, I was given a choice. I saw what I wanted and where I wanted to go. I saw that in order to get there, I would have to choose this path. So, I did.

“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.