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.

Lobbying for SB102 at the Utah State Capitol

Wasn’t it only 3 years ago that rabid lawmakers passed HB99, making life even worse for polygamists in Utah?

HB99 was so strict, it made it a felony to cohabitate OR purport to be married to someone you didn’t even live with. I figured with Utah getting even stricter, the law was here to stay, and the only way to get it to change would be to get the Supreme Court involved, which process would be helped along if someone was actually arrested.

Cuff me: I’m a polygamist.

Then, last year, adultery was decriminalized, and the world felt like it was upside-down. Why is it okay to be married and to sleep around with people who are already married (against the wishes of the respective spouses), but actually marrying, committing, providing for, and otherwise taking care of multiple consenting spouses is a crime?

Then an amazing thing happened! Earlier this year, a bill was introduced in the Utah State Senate which would lower the criminality from a felony to an infraction (which means no jail time).

I thought changing the law would require a polygamist actually getting prosecuted, and then challenging the law (which kind of, sort of, almost happened with Kody Brown — long story). I’ve been pleasantly surprised to watch the progress of SB102 and realize it was probably going to pass. It feels so easy compared to what I was expecting.

A few weeks ago, I hung out with some other polygamists at the Utah State Capitol building while we lobbied the State Legislature to pass SB102.

Among others, Enoch Foster (of Three Wives, One Husband) was there with two of his wives, and Joe Darger (a famous polygamist who’s been on TV and in the news many times) was there with one of his wives. Colton Winder (of Seeking Sister Wife) was there with one of his wives, and he wrote a blog post about it. (Check out those awesome photos of Tami and Colton in the State Capitol building! I took those photos, tee-hee!)

My sisterwife’s schedule and mine conflicted so she ended up going on Tuesday and I was there on the Wednesday before the Utah State Senate unanimously passed the bill, which is really amazing!

The Utah House of Representatives also passed it, and yesterday the governor signed it into law! Read the news reports here and here.

Is this really when and how the law is changing?

How have things changed so much in such a short time?