Having grown up in a polygamous community I've thought a lot about the decriminalization of polygamy. It's such a major topic today, that I wanted to talk about it a little bit.
We've got both sides of the spectrum: Principle Voices and Tapestry Against Polygamy. Principle Voices wants to decriminalize polygamy so they can live their lives in "religious freedom". Tapestry Against Polygamy wants it to be illegal forever, and also wants it to be prosecuted. I would put my self in the Tapestry Against Polygamy category, and here's why.
If we decriminalize polygamy, we would be decriminalizing all the other crimes that happen in polygamous communities. The government has already ignored so many crimes that have occurred due to polygamy, that if it was decriminalized they would have no motivation to prosecute ANYTHING. Mark Shurtleff ignored many pleas for help from a number of polygamous members. He was told about underage incestuous marriages, given names, locations, and so much more, and his only reply to all of it was, "We need more evidence." He had piles and piles of evidence sitting on his desk and did nothing. If polygamy were decriminalized, what other motivation would any government official have to prosecute....especially if they're being compensated not to? (I am not saying anybody is being paid off, I'm just implying it)
Principle Voices says that they're happy with their lives, how they always have a babysitter, and they don't have to make dinner every night. That sounds great...but that's not reality. I know this because I grew up in a polygamous community. In reality, it's kind of like walking into the bathroom when the door is shut and the fan is on. You're pretty sure it's going to smell like shit, but you're going in anyway and you WILL persevere. With polygamy, "Happiness" is taught. You are taught to have that perma-smile on your face when you are asked about your life. Look into the eyes of the women claiming happiness and you can see the sadness. Can you imagine having to share your husband with at least one other woman? Can you imagine hearing your husband having sex with another woman, and being forced to be okay with it? Can you imagine trying to seem happy when that is going on plus much more. These women watch their husbands beat their kids, sometimes til they lose consciousness. These happy women are beat as well. So yes, they have live in daycare and they don't have to make dinner every night, but at what cost?
Let's talk a little bit more about some of the child abuse that occurs. I was in the Kingston group and am still in touch with some members and ex-members. I have heard their stories and they are horrifying. I will never mention names, but I will tell you examples. We've all heard about the major stories of abuse involving Daniel and David Kingston. Those can be looked up online. We've got the story of MN Kingston, who was beat til she lost consciousness and walked to a gas station to call the police on Daniel. She was beat because she didn't want to marry her Uncle David. David and Daniel both got jail time, but guess how much jail time they got? Daniel was in jail for 11 months, he got to leave jail to work during the day and knock up his nieces/wives/cousins whatever you want to call them (He had a cot in his office, not even joking a little bit!), and slept in jail at night time. David got 4 or 5 years for incestuous statutory rape. That's the story I'm sharing because it's available to the public.
Let's sum it up now. The ONLY way I would be okay with decriminalizing polygamy would be if it were between consenting adults who were not raised fundamentalist Mormon or even mainstream Mormon, if there was not threat of eternal torture hanging over the heads of the adults, and if those adults didn't reproduce and bring kids into that mess (So I'll never be okay with it, because none of those things will ever happen!). I'm writing this because I can't sit back anymore and see the government turn their backs on this. If they don't stand up and show the Kingstons and other polygamists that they are not above the law then I'll humiliate and piss them off! :)
Thanks for reading!