I am fascinated by the FLDS Mormons. If I ever think I had it hard in life (every day. Self-pity-party is observed midnight, regularly) I think about what it would be like to be the third wife to a forty-year old man. I’d be the greenest, angriest, loneliest and most outraged wife in the world. Heck, I’d probably get so infuriated by this lunacy I’d make peace among the wives by cutting Mr. Forty Year Old into three equal slices for each of us. Two slices, actually. I’d generously give away the butt and leg that should rightfully be mine.
Maybe not. It’s hard to imagine what you’d do in a situation in which you are conditioned to act a certain way, and in a social environment in which a hundred emotional-manipulation cards are played to keep you dancing the polygamy waltz, along with the other evil sister-wives. I know first-hand that when your sense of self is broken and you are made dependent enough, you have no capacity to rebel. Sometimes not even the will.
But recently, I’ve been rethinking what I know about the FDLS Mormons. I’ve read all their memoirs, news headlines and I watched several videos, but I haven’t read any scholarly work, and that makes me wonder. As a history student, I’ve learned to look at memoirs with very different eyes. I don’t take it at face value anymore. I also know that in today’s worlds the competitive book-selling business encourages people to sensationalize. So I wonder, are polygamous marriages with older men really the norm? Do most girls indeed share their husband with a few other women? What is the real situation in there? I am fascinated and I must know.