I was informed by my family that this story made no sense without the following context: this month there has been a lot of news stories surrounding the Eldorado ranch of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints which was finally breached by local law enforcement after a distressed phone call from a 16 year old woman who said she was being sexually abused and forced to marry an older man. There had been rumors surrounding this compound and those like it along the Utah-Arizona Border about sexual abuse and teenage marriages but this was the most recent breach. These mainstream-Mormon rejects live lives of extreme uniformity and isolation which feeds the trends discussed in my story.
I grew up with stories of non-monogamy. I mean, everyone did. Hercules, Zeus, the Sultan, none of them would keep faithful. It was just the way fairy-tales and myths went. But we never heard about how POed Megara got when Hercules didn’t come home at night, and Hera was always just a frigid psycho. And Scheherazade always seemed to be chillin’ with her fellow wives.
But real-life polygamy has no heros. Its leaders hide, rape teenage girls, and refuse to allow their communities to serve in the war of words which defines our democracy. Isolation does that to you.
I pick no bones with the actual Mormon Church. Ever group has their psychos and I know a lot of very down to earth, chill Mormon people. I also think its a travesty how much Mitt Romney’s religion played into his defeat (as opposed to the many legitimate reasons not to like him).
I found a fascinating take on the tragedy of polygamy for women: it restricts your fashion. Now, not all western-polygamists have the same dresscode. In fact, there are many variations. But, wonder upon wonders, the dress codes are always stricter for women. No ankles, no makeup, no cut hair, no cleavage, no form-fitting clothes. If you look at the pictures, most of the women’s clothes look handsewn. I can just imagine that conversation:
“Honey, I need you to spend the next two weeks sewing complex, ugly clothes in these pastels (and these only!) because it came down from on high that they will be more modest; I’ll stick to my t-shirt and jeans for now, thanks though.”
I’m being silly: No one asked the women.
The theory goes, we’re a minority, minorities need to stick together, let’s all dress alike so we can find each other in the crowd and set ourselves apart. Fine, goths and drama-kids do it all the time. However there are costumes and there are uniforms. Costumes are about individuality. Uniforms are individuality breaking, sex hiding, drama reducing mask against the outside world. And there are other issues quoted in the above article by Rebecca Walsh:
“For women, it’s a real nightmare,” says Jessop, who loaded her eight kids into a van and left her husband one night in 2003. She sewed replicas of the FLDS undergarments for “Big Love” and has written a book about her experiences, Escape.
“When Warren took over, my laundry went from four batches a day to 12. It’s just so impractical.”
This may sound flip, but when a leader doesn’t take in to account laundry time when making a dress code change, it speaks a lot for how much *he* values women’s work. This becomes clear again when,
Jeffs (head of Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), of course, made an exception for himself. When he was captured outside Las Vegas in 2006 after being on the lam for 15 months, his skinny legs were in shorts.
I guess his wives got tired of doing his laundry too.
Top 10 Snappy Answers to Annoying Comments
8. We can’t include him in typical classes, it wouldn’t be fair to the other kids.
Hm, that’s an interesting perspective. So I guess you have a pretty big endowment to pay for all the law suits? That must be great!
9. We can’t accept her at our school because she doesn’t have a learning disability
Ohhhh… what a shame! Oh, wait, look, she’s suddenly developed dyslexia! Can she come to your school now?