Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mormons: More Equal than the Rest of Us?

I don’t write often about non-mainstream religions and cults. I’ll do it when they make news, like when they kill themselves in a religious frenzy as is their want; or when they withhold medical assistance from their dying child. But since they have less of an impact on how science is taught in the schools, or how our freedoms are interpreted, and our government runs... I tend to not worry as much about them as I do mainstream religious denominations. However, something has come to my attention that makes me say: “What the fuck??”

TLC / The Learning Channel (as of late a rather ironic misnomer) airs a show called “Sister Wives.” This fundamentalist Mormon family living in Utah is comprised of three (possibly now four) women married to one man. They have in the neighborhood of thirteen kids. Being married to more than one woman in this country is called Bigamy. It’s illegal. Always has been.

Now personally, I don’t have real strong feelings about polygamy / bigamy. I’m not positive exactly why it is illegal, not sure who the victim is, and not entirely sure it should be illegal. It’s entirely possible that the Western marriage concept of one wife to one husband at a time is simply a religiously inspired convention. But let’s put that aside. The issue here is that polygamy is against the law and that this family is openly breaking the law of the land. They are doing so presumably to make money, and if you ask them, also to make some statement / point. I don’t give a damn what their point is.

Utah is infested with Mormons, many of whom belong to ultra-conservative offshoot sects of Mormonism that never gave up the practice of polygamy. These groups deem Brigham Young’s “Revelation from God” to stop the practice of multiple marriages a “false revelation.” Indeed, they are correct, but not for reasons they think. God didn’t hand down any instructions to old Brigham, God doesn’t exist. But the Federal government exists and it was THEIR revelation that Utah would never become a state until polygamy was abandoned by the Mormons. Miraculously, Brigham Young promptly received his instructions from God that polygamy was no longer sanctioned. Quite a coincidence.

In any state other state in the union this blatant demonstration of illegal activity would result in investigation, arrest and prosecution. But not in Utah. Oh, it’s illegal in Utah as well, but according to authorities there, there are so many polygamous families that they lack the resources to pursue them. Thus, they are ignored unless another crime, like child abuse or endangerment, raises the authorities’ antennae.

So while I would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law should my wife agree to allow me to take Jennifer Anniston as a second wife (not a likely circumstance and the mention of which will likely cause me to be on the receiving end of significant spousal ire) Mormons get special treatment. They are ostensibly exempt from prosecution, because so many of them do it, or so the authorities say. But, if the excessive number of people breaking any given law negated the possibility of prosecution, no one would ever be arrested for smoking pot.

No, what’s happening in Utah, the adopted state of a cult whose founder was a convicted conman; the land of magic underwear, and the home of millions of future god’s of their own planets - is special treatment. A blind eye to illegality because the authorities are largely Mormon. It’s like having the inmates supervising the asylum.

No law enforcement agency, mayor, chief of police, state’s attorney, judge, or state legislator ... no one who holds elected office is about to start arresting and imprisoning the thousands of illegal Mormon bigamists whose votes put them into office, and whose tax money pays their salaries.

And so, Mormon’s get a pass as they thumb their nose at the law, breed kids like promiscuous possums, and teach their brood that this is right and good, guaranteeing another generation of religious nut polygamists.

I wonder how Jen and Mrs. Hump #1 would feel about living in Provo.


Carl said...

I was brought up in Moronville and rebelled as a kid told my dad I wasn't going to church any more and when old enough left the state. I have never looked back at these loons and have laughed at their stupidity and all religion ever since. Keep up the good reporting Hump!

NewEnglandBob said...

Trust me, you don't want to live in Utah. Every day there is so boring that it feels like 10 years.

Joyce said...

You know, until I saw this show once or twice and have seen the family on TV, I really became baffled as to why these people have now drawn the attention of the lawmakers and law enforcement and could be facing arrest.

They all admit that there is only one legal marriage to his first wife. She is the one and only legal wife he has and they all recognize that and speak freely and openly about that.

These women aren't even swingers and even if they were, swinging between consenting adults, while pretty creepy and gross, isn't illegal.

So ... if these consenting adults want to have what comes down being long-term mistresses with the wife giving her blessing to it, so be it. I think adultery (which is what it comes down to) is wrong but it's not against the law. These are adults. They can make up their own minds to do what they want. The government has no business in my bedroom and it should stay out of theirs, too.

Dromedary Hump said...

Carl...congrats on your escape!

NEBob..indeed. I spent a month in Salt lake City one weekend.

Joyce... I do not necessarily disagree. as I said, I'm ambivelent about the bigamy law. IS the law. Till it changes, which it won't if mainstream Xtians have anything to say about it...and they seem to... either enforce it for EVERYONE or for no one. Mormons shouldnt get a pass because they are Mormons, and represent a majority of polygamists in one particular state.

Joyce said...

But no one is married except for the first wife. The others call themselves wives. I can call myself single. It doesn't mean I am.

How many teenage girls call themselves Beiber, or write Mrs. so-and-so all over their notebooks.

One legal marriage, 3 mistresses. There's no law against that. The only time that I think the spiritual wife thing is criminal is when underaged girls are "married" to older men. Then it's no longer consenting adults. It's rape.

itsmecrazydad said...

"The gov't should stay out of our bedroom" is a canard. If our bedroom has an easy bake meth lab, slavery or child abuse then the bedroom is not much more sacrosanct than the front yard of the county courthouse.

That being said, what bothers me most about plural marriages is that they are typically on public assistance. If you can't feed em, don't breed em!

Dromedary Hump said...

Joyce. You are mistaken. There is a law about claiming to be married to multiple wives. There is a distinction between polyamory (which is what you are describing) and polygamy.

Utah Code 76-7-101, "A person is guilty of bigamy when, knowing he has a husband or wife or knowing the other person has a husband or wife, the person purports to marry another person or cohabits with another person."

Again, this isn't a question of morality or ethics, or anything other than The Law, and it's equal application and enforcement.

Steve: when one speaks in terms of "keeping govt out of the bedroom" it is understood to mean "out of the lives of mutually conscenting adult's sexual lives" and that is all.

Anonymous said...

Many religions in this country get a free ride when it comes to illegal activity - that is, unless they start stealing money; ie: tax evasion. Only then do the agents come-a-swarmin' in.

To reason that they're not going to enforce a particular law because there's so many people disobeying this particular law, is absurd. It's not about not having the resources, it's about politics, as you said. The Mormons have a lot of power in Utah. They probably have government officials in their pockets.

If this were some rinky-dink cult compound, like Waco, they'd be in there slapping cuffs on everyone.

Margaret said...

The Mormons would say that Utah is infested with Gentiles. The state of Utah was discovered and settled by Mormon pioneers and initially intended it to be a separate country within the US that would allow them to live their beliefs without the regulation of the government and without the influx of non-believers. It is simply a matter of perspective.

Anonymous said...

I believe polygamists are not Mormons, nor are they affiliated with the LDS church. They are two different groups and Mormon is used to refer to the LDS church, not the FLDS.

Anonymous said...

Margaret, I don't believe Mormons would say the state is infested with Gentiles. Most Mormons are Gentiles, which means you're not Jews. I know a lot of Mormons and the majority get along fine with non-Mormons, and many Mormons have family who are non-Mormons and get along fine with them. We should stay away from stereotypes.

Dromedary Hump said...

wow. old posting. you must have been doing one heck of a google search.

Your saying the fundie mormon polygamists are not mormons, is tantamount to the xtians saying so and so isn't "a true Xtian." I don't accept that you or any of them are qualified to discount/ disqualify the beliefs of others, irrespective of their behavior.

A xtian is one who believes jesus is god. period.

A moromon is one who accepts the doctrine of that charlatan prophet of theirs.period.

That the fudie mormons are unwilling to break from their founder's original "revelation" permitting/encouraging polygamy and accept a successors "revelation" which was based on the political necessity in order to get accepted into the Union by congress, hardly disqualifes them as mormons.

If anything, it makes them the "true" mormons.