Eleven members of the controversial sect the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS), whose former spiritual leader was Warren Jeffs, currently face charges of food stamp fraud, but there’s no word yet on their most blatant offense – polygamy.
The sect members were arrested Wednesday. Interestingly enough, there’s solid evidence that the FLDS was involved in money laundering, discrimination, fraud, sex abuse, but the feds seem oblivious about rampant polygamy among its members.
In the U.S., polygamists seem to roam free as long as they are law-abiding citizens and pay all their taxes. Nevertheless, the effects of polygamy on family members’ psyche and well-being remain fuzzy.
While some polygamists try to convince society that ‘polygamy has two sides,’ the recounts of plural wives and children born to these families show another side of the story.
A woman, who has been the wife of a polygamist for more than three decades, explained that women who engage in such relationships think that they are happy simply because they were brainwashed. From her story we learned that she oftentimes experienced loneliness, confusion and heartache.
On the other hand, another plural wife said she took great pride in being a “mother to many.”
But polygamy seems to gain grounds in America, as popular TV shows depict the relationship as a relatable scenario. Take for instance, “Sister Wives” and HBO’s “Big Love,” which are trying to show the life of a polygamist family as a normal one.
In recent years, a growing tolerance towards polygamy was noticed across the U.S. For instance, last year 16 percent of participants in a survey deemed polygamy a ‘morally acceptable’ practice. More than a decade ago, only 6 percent said a similar thing. Experts noticed that Americans became more tolerant after 2011, when “Sister Wives” had its debut.
But the TV show’s adult ‘wives’ have nothing to do with the FLDS’ underage wives and incest victims. In Utah, polygamy is banned by the state law and the Constitution, while in other states it is only illegal.
Currently, Utah is engaged in a legal battle against “Sister Wives” stars, who are now trying to overturn the state’s bigamy law because it criminalizes any polygamist who tries to make his relationship official.
A lower court has already decided that the TV show’s stars are right because the state’s bigamy law attached prison time to any offender. The judge argued that that would be against a person’s belief. Utah filed appeal, and the case is now being discussed at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
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