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January 13, 2004

Two wives to drive me crazy!

I thought that it was only a matter of time before it happened: Utah's anti-polygamy laws being challenged on constitutional grounds as a violation of a persons ability to practive their religion. For those of you wondering why this is revelant, let's hop into the Way-Back machine to the late 1800s in Utah.

At that time, Utah had been settled by the Mormon pioneers and was a territory of the United States. At that time also, the Mormon, or LDS church practiced polygamy as part of its religious doctrine. Not all men in the church were polygamist, but there were enough that the US guv-mint started passing laws to outlaw the practice. Eventually, after many laws were passed and many leaders of the church were imprisoned (one of the LDS church prophets died while in hiding), the church banned the practice. All marriages that had been performed before the Manifesto were allowed to continue until the death of the spouses, but no new polygamist marriages could be performed, essentially ending the practice. After the church banned the practice, Utah was able to become the 45th state in 1896. However, there were some members of the church who decided that they would ignore the LDS church and the guv-mint and continued practicing polygamy. These members were excommunicated by the LDS church and then went on to form their own churches.

Fast forward to today. Being from the GSOU, like most born-and-bred Utahns, I am descended from early Utah polygamists (one had seven wives). There are still polygamists that live in Utah, some in the open like the members of the FLDS church who live in southern Utah on the Utah-Arizona border and some who live in secret. The GSOU has started going after polygamists, not because they are polygamists, but because their lifestyle causes them to run afoul of laws designed to protect minors. Recently, two polygamists in Utah were convicted of having sex with minors due to the fact that some of their wives were underage when they were "married" to them. Now, their convictions are being challenging as unconstitutional because they are being imprisoned for "practicing" their religion. Whether or not these polygamists win in court and find that polygamy is a protected relgious practice is not my concern. I have a hard time imagining what it would be like to have more than one wife. I doubt it would be like some frat-boy fantasy from the pages of Playboy. Playboy never talks about how one wife wants a new car while the other one, jealous that the first is getting a new car, wants a new kitchen in her house (of course you would need two houses. You haven't heard of "cat fights"?). The more I think about it, the more I am in awe that my male polygamist ancestors could have put up with more than one wife. I would have quickly joined the French Foreign Legion to escape.

Posted by El-ahrairah at January 13, 2004 02:51 AM | TrackBack
The state of Utah local papers, the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News have more background info than the AP wire on this item. Posted by: El-ahrairah at January 13, 2004 06:25 AM
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