Tag Archives: Polygamy

Utah’s Past Lives On: The Wheels on the Bus go Round ‘n Round & I Got Off!

This is a rough draft for an English assignment I wrote 17 (!!) years ago, entitled Utah’s Past Lives On.  No wonder I need this website.  It’s time to post this junk in my trunk!

Although it is only a rough draft, it relates very much to the editorial I submitted this week to the Salt Lake Tribune (minus the current events). It is definitely a must read for anyone interested in early Mormon teachings about polygamy, and who isn’t turned off by all my MisStakes.  If you know where to find any of the missing references, please let me know.  I’d like to finish it one of these days.

A reply for NankerPhelge7, who commented on the op-ed that went to my e-mail:

I am not “throwing millions” of you who reside in Utah “under the bus.” There are wonderful people who live in Utah, yet, as a state — rampant abuses continue in polygamy, only certain individuals are sitting in the front of the bus, and only male drivers are driving the bus. I never said “everyone” in Utah is guilty of this scenerio — just those who are supporting it.  Oh, and that I get the willies going back to Utah.

Here are a few of the quotes from “Utah’s Past Lives On”  from my past life in Mormonism.  Wait! I can’t choose which quotes, they are all good!  Read more here Utah’s Past Lives On .

Letter to Utah Attorney General Supporting Appeal of Decriminalization of Polygamy

In 2014, I wrote a letter to Utah Attorney Sean Reyes in support of appealing the Brown polygamy case which decriminalized the crime of polygamy.  I gave factual examples of the pervasive abuse and sent books with terrifying true accounts as well. These stories were not the exception – they were the norm.

Editorial – Salt Lake Tribune

HERE IS AN EDITORIAL I WROTE THAT WAS RECENTLY PUBLISHED IN THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE:

I moved away from Utah several years ago, partly to get away from a culture that supported polygamy. Since that time, I have tried to keep a healthy distance from my past, except when it follows me.

Yesterday I saw a city bus in my hometown advertising Moab: “Utah Life Elevated.” Life elevated for whom? The beautiful scenic arch on the banner didn’t portray my non-elevated status as a woman living in a manmade cave outside of Moab reading early Mormon history and preparing for plural marriage. Nor did it represent my experiences within mainstream Mormonism.

(On a side note: I was one of those Mormon teenagers who learned in seminary that polygamy would come back and be lived on the earth.)

According to “The Primer,” a polygamy guidebook for Utah state service-providers, approximately 40 percent of the Mormon polygamy population consists of independent fundamentalist Mormons. Independent fundamentalists generally come out of the mainstream LDS Church after learning about doctrinal changes, such as abandoning plural marriage to keep church property. The other 60 percent of Mormon fundamentalists belong to polygamous groups whose original founder came out of the mainstream Mormon church. Basically, all of contemporary Mormon polygamy comes directly from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. How ironic is it that the LDS Church continues to believe in the doctrine of plural marriage, not campaign against it (like they do gay marriage) and then excommunicate their members for practicing it. In fact, Utah has decriminalized polygamy without so much as a peep from the LDS Church. So, if this is “Utah Life Elevated,” it is only for preferential men living there.

A monogamous couple within the LDS religion makes typical day-to-day decisions together, such as where to live and who plays what role in the marriage. For some, male priesthood is nothing more than a status symbol. For example, I have heard it said, “Oh, priesthood is only because the man needs to feel special. We know who really makes the decisions.”

In polygamy, there is no pretending because priesthood power is in full force. Plural wives have different personalities, wants and needs, and as the ultimate decision maker, the polygamist husband must flex his almighty priesthood muscle. In order not to seem like he is favoring one wife over another, he uses God/prayer/casting out demons/rallying the priesthood to make the final family decisions. This same inequality may happen in Mormon monogamy, yet it is not built into the marriage like it is in polygamy.

Whereas intimacy (more than the act of sex) is achievable in a monogamous relationship, polygamy can only function through the use of power and control. The reason women stay in polygamy is because they are taught that they must follow the priesthood in order to merit exaltation. All Mormons know the threat of being “destroyed” that Emma Smith received in D&C 132. This is coercion at its very finest. After more information was made available from the LDS Church about early Mormon polygamy, Mormon leaders have had to do damage control. Last Saturday LDS leaders announced at their biannual conference support for marriage “between a man and a woman.” To say the least, the message from LDS Church leaders about marriage has been conflicting, and it never tackles the important issues of gender inequality in Mormonism, abusive dynamics of power and control that are built into priesthood/polygamy, and how the history of polygamy rolls over into contemporary times.

People are up in arms about the discrimination laws in Indiana, yet Indiana doesn’t have squat over Utah when it comes to protecting religious freedom. One of the main proponents initiating the Religious Freedom Restoration Act is Sen. Orrin Hatch. So, when the “Sister Wives” lawsuit went to a federal Utah court and a (Mormon) judge decriminalized polygamy using the First Amendment clause, saying the Browns should have the right to privacy and cohabitation (not that the Brown family live together or seem overly concerned about privacy on their reality show), it was a reminder of why I left Utah. Not even a scenic billboard would entice me back!

Victoria Prunty was a co-founder and director of Tapestry Against Polygamy in Salt Lake City. She lives in Sacramento, Calif.

————-

The link is HERE if you would like to comment on the actual article.