Friday, July 27, 2012

Polygamy - a Mormon family with 3 wives

Time Magazine  Polygamy is one of the few practices that still evoke genuine disgust in people. It’s a watchword for ignorance, sexual depredation, oppression of women and weird, culty outfits. But spurred on by the same-sex marriage debate and more-sympathetic portrayals of polygamists and polyamorists in our larger culture, some plural families are coming out of the shadows and beginning to advocate for their way of life.

One of these families, the Dargers, independent fundamentalist Mormons, invited me into their home to check out how they live. I report about it in the Aug. 6 issue of TIME, which subscribers can read here. The Dargers are a model non-monogamous family. They’re attractive, they dress well, and they labor mightily to provide for their 23 kids.

This helps because their setup is pretty weird: Joe, the patriarch, is married to three women, two of whom are identical twin sisters. He married one of those sisters (Vicki) and another woman (Alina) at the same time, after dating them at the same time, all at the women’s consent. It gets weirder. Val, the other twin, was married to another polygamous guy and had five kids with him before she fled. Vicki and Alina told Joe that he should marry her too, they say. So he did.

But for a deeply unconventional family, they look pretty normal. (Watch a video about their life here.) They live together in a cheerfully messy house outside Salt Lake City, with three master bedrooms, boatloads of items bought in bulk and eye-watering amounts of laundry.

12 comments :

  1. Well this is the Achilles' heel of the gay marriage argument.
    If "one man, one woman" is not an untouchable definition and can be changed to "two consenting adults" then why can't it be further changed to "three or more consenting adults"?

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    1. I am not sure if you mean the Achilles heal of the pro- or anti- gay marriage argument.

      If anything, this supports those who argue that there is nothing historically sacred about "one man, one woman".

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    2. The homos demanding homo marriage happen to oppose polygamous marriage.

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  2. why have you failed to put up the article as to why the MO "rabbis" should not speak at the siyum hashas?

    don't tell me there were personal attacks when in fact no names were mentioned and article was watered down.

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  3. what is the url for that article of the siyum hashas?

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    1. It was an article that emes wrote explaining why the Modern Orthodox rabbis don't deserve receiving kavod

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    2. From what I have read the Vishnitz Rebbe is upset that Rav Yisrael Meir Lau and Rav Shalom Yaakov Hillel were attending. I don't know that they could be called "Modern."

      Though I would be interested in hearing why some Rabbanim deserve kavod and some do not.

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  4. just passin' throughJuly 28, 2012 at 1:18 AM

    Time Magazine et. al. don't mind reporting all the hand wringing over a few fringe Mormon polygamists. But here in Canada (and probably everywhere else in the Western World) polygamy among Muslims is very widespread and virtually no one says a word.
    The difference? Mormons aren't scary.
    The result? Polygamy already has some de facto acceptance in Canadian law and it's only going to grow.

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  5. Recipients and PublicityJuly 30, 2012 at 8:10 AM

    The Mormon PR campaign to help Mitt Romney, 1

    In all probability, the reason these Mormon folks are coming out with their story now of all times, and wading into a full-blow PR campaign to "sell" and "justify" polygamy to modern day TV audiences, is the connection to the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney, the first practicing Mormon to win a presidential nomination from any American political party.

    Romney is actually a top member of the modern Mormon ("LDS") clergy and hierarchy (he served in this capacity when he was a business executive in Boston, Massachusetts). This is akin to when JFK was running and breaking barriers as the first Roman Catholic to run for president of the US and had to face a lot of prejudices, many based on fact others on negative impressions.

    Romney has to overcome his Mormonism and what Americans perceive about it. Mormonism is a new religion less than 200 years old established by by Joseph p. Smith (1805-1844) who claimed new "visions" and "revelations" and preached new doctrines, such as marrying unlimited numbers of wives, including the the wives of other men who were not required to divorce their husbands when married to Mormons, in what the Mormons called "sealed" marriages (see Sealing (Mormonism)). Joseph P. Smith (sometimes involving sex and sometimes not) reportedly some sources say that Smith had about 80 or more (yes, that's EIGHTY) wives of all sorts, very young underage girls, single women, and women married to other men. This is not far removed from the views and practices of Shabtai Tzvi and the Sabbateans. (And shades of Leib Tropper, unfortunately.) Smith was often in trouble with the federal US authorities over this as well as over other financial shenanigans (he invented and minted the notorious "$3 dollar" note) and had his own private army bigger than the Ohio national guard. Smith eventually died in a shoot-out with enraged citizens in Illinois after being chased out of Ohio.

    The Mormons tried to flee to Utah under Brigham Young and carried on over there, until the US federal government caught up with them and started to crack down on polygamy. Eventually the Mormons decided to give up polygamy "officially" although a number of splinter groups rejected that.

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  6. Recipients and PublicityJuly 30, 2012 at 8:13 AM

    The Mormon PR campaign to help Mitt Romney, 2

    In the 20th century the Mormons decided to become "mainstream" and join American culture (Mitt Romney is part of that thrust) and to dress "normal" and go to college and "be like everyone else" to make headway (they are very adaptable and successful that way) AND to proselytize all over the world and thereby also build up their vast holdings worldwide. But the perception and even reality exists that Mormons are not Christians and that they adhere to an alternative belief system and have alternate views about marriage in that they accept polygamy, that a man can be married to multiple wives (for their own reasons that outsiders would find strange to believe) remains firmly implanted in the US public's perceptions of them.

    So now comes Mitt Romney the "modern" Mormon, who is not know to have more than one wife, but he has this albatross around his neck that Americans suspect he is part of a cult that accepts polygamy, when every other American would go to jail for doing so, and here he is running for president.

    Mormons are proud of their man Mitt, and no doubt the reason these type of PR campaigns to whitewash Mormon polygamy (as being no different to "gay marriage" or "mixed race marriages" or even being "discriminated for being a Jew" as the interviewer says) are coming out NOW of all times, because somehow or other, while Mitt Romney himself tries to stay clear of the hot button anti-Mormon prejudices, yet they still need to be confronted, and for that he has the resources of plenty true-believing foot soldiers who will go and are going out their to make Momonism seem so pretty" and "normal" as if any Joe should be allowed to have three beautiful women as his wives (and by the way, two of these women are identical twins) that would justify marrying even two sisters or any women you like, in the "true spirit" of Mormonism's founder Joseph P. Smith, that you will never hear mentioned by modern Mormon Mitt Romney, even though he follows Mormon founder Jospeh Smith's teachings, via the fantastical Book of Mormom, the Mormon's "holiest" "bible".

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  7. The Torah is much more in synch with polygamy than homosexualism. Our forefathers were polygamous and if not for cherem Rabeinu Gershom, we would be allowed up to 6 wives (but no sisters).

    Any non religious argument against polygamy that endorses the gay life style is fakery and will ultimately fade away. The entire prohibition for the lgbt crowd is the fiction of true love between only 1 man and 1 woman.

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    1. The Teimanim (Yemenite Yidden) and Sefardim STILL have no formal ban on polygamy. And indeed they have had polygamous wives until recent years. The only reason they don't do so now, is because the countries they live in have civil laws preventing them from having multiple wives. They have no halachic objections. And they would marry a second wife if not for the goyish laws.

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