We’ll be updating these questions from time to time. If you have a question you’d like to add to the list, please mention it in the comments and IF it is a common question, we’ll update this page – otherwise, we’ll try to answer it somewhere in the comments or elsewhere.
Is Polygamy the Same as Polygyny?
“Polygamy” is a broad word used to refer to an individual who has more than one spouse.
“Polygyny” refers to a man having more than one wife.
“Polygamy” as popularly used in the media almost always refers to polygyny but most people are not familiar with the term “polygyny” so using the proper term often causes confusion.
How is Polygamy Illegal with only One Legal Wife?
Are You Mormons?
Mormonism includes more religions than the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly referred to as the Mormon Church). We belong to a branch of Mormonism called fundamentalist Mormonism or Mormon fundamentalism. In short, we believe in the tenants and teachings of Mormonism as taught by its founding leaders rather than the modified teachings taught by the mainstream Mormon Church. One of those teachings is polygamy but there are many other teachings that we believe in that the Mormon Church now rejects. Drew, April, and Angela were all members of the Mormon Church before converting to Mormon fundamentalism and they all enjoyed their time and experiences there. Our family supports the Mormon Church in their many teachings and activities that bless the lives of millions. However, we openly oppose their support of laws persecuting polygamists.
Are You FLDS?
We cannot emphasize enough how offensive it is to be associated with the FLDS organization so let us answer the question again:
The FLDS believe in child brides. We call that child molestation.
The FLDS believe in allowing their leadership to impregnate other men’s wives to produce “righteous seed” while disallowing the husbands from ever being intimate with their own wives. We find this practice extremely abusive.
The FLDS believe in kicking out younger (and recently, married) men to create more single women to marry off to older men. We call that tragic and we feel badly for the families torn apart by these practices. Drew’s firm offered legal help to these men.
The FLDS believe in abusing government assistance programs. We call that not carrying your own weight. They call it “bleeding the beast.”
The FLDS dominate the media. We call that agenda driven news.
We are not FLDS and most anything you hear about them on the news does not apply to us or our friends and associates.
Do You Belong to a Group?
We used to be a part of a group but we are currently “independents,” which means we do not belong to a group but we still believe in living the principles of Mormon fundamentalism. We have many friends in groups.
Isn’t This Really About Sex?
Statistics show that monogamist men commonly satisfy their libidos by having affairs outside the marriage. In contrast, polygamist men commit to love and support each wife and her children emotionally, spiritually, financially, and otherwise. This can be extremely challenging. Before jumping to the conclusion that this about sex – think about it. The accusation makes no sense at all. If you’re really industrious, calculate the costs of hiring a prostitute every second or third night and then compare those costs with raising children. You’ll quickly see this lifestyle isn’t about sex. The financially wise decision would not be to raise children in a polygamist family (most polygamists desire very large families as that is part of their religion – we have fifteen children in our family and each wife wants more).
Isn’t it Unfair for Wives to Share their Husband?
This question can lead to deep philosophical questions that we’re happy to address in the comments section or on a separate post if any fans are philosophically inclined. The short answer is that this lifestyle offers various benefits and various challenges. Before living this lifestyle, people should be aware of each of those advantages and challenges, place them in the balance, and determine whether or not the pros outweigh the cons. If the benefits outweigh the challenges, then the question of fairness is moot.
What About Brother Husbands?
We respect the civil rights of other people and other lifestyles. This was a very strong tenant taught by the founder of our religion. Our family lives polygyny for religious reasons so none of the wives are interested in brother husbands. We do find it ironically humorous that some fans are incensed about the perceived inequality of patriarchal polygamists but then turn around and say “Now brother husbands, I could get into that!” Brother Husbands premiered on TLC and flopped so they haven’t pursued that show any further.
Mathematically, This Doesn’t Work. How Can Polygamy be Sustainable?
We are not making a call for everyone to live this lifestyle. In fact, we believe you’d be better of not living this lifestyle unless you feel called by God to do so. But, some persist, won’t your group run out of women to marry? The mainstream Mormon Church helps us with this question. In the Mormon Church, there are “singles wards” where unmarried people can attend church with only unmarried people. These wards are notorious for being very gender imbalanced. We seriously doubt there is a single singles ward where men outnumber women. In many of these wards, women outnumber the men three or four to one. Why? More women remain faithful to Mormonism than men. This phenomenon is an argument in favor of our lifestyle, not against it. I recently spoke with a New York City native who told me that it was easy to date and marry younger women in NYC because only 25% of the men are married. Another strong 33% or more are happy living unmarried, single lives playing the field and another strong percentage are gay. That leaves many single women who desire to get married without strong prospects in the city. The natural implications? Polygamy could be sustainable there as well. Again, we’re not advocating that this should become a common lifestyle choice. We’re merely noting that the numbers problem isn’t as problematic as people assume.
If You’re Hiding, Why go on TV?
We know, right?
We can’t tell you! This is all we can really say for now: keep watching and it will eventually make sense.
If You’re Afraid of the Law, Why did you go on TV?
Why does anyone engage in civil disobedience? If we don’t stand up for our rights who will? If not now, when? There is huge clamor across our country to protect the rights of gays, transgenders, various disabilities and other oppressed or ignored minorities. Few outside of Utah are aware of the plight of polygamists. Some people believe the Browns are the sole exception to decent people living polygamy. Others believe the Browns didn’t really flee Utah – it was all a publicity stunt. They couldn’t be more wrong. We can only be one voice but if we don’t say anything, our voice is meaningless in this cause. If you’d like more details, read our cornerstone posts (at the top of the blog) and more particularly the one discussing Why the Brineys Decided to do a Reality TV Show. As Seeking Sister Wife airs, “Holding Out Hope” is purportedly pushing Utah’s legislature to empower law enforcement and Holding Out Hope to not require them to inform polygamist parents when their children run away. In what other state would due process be so blatantly ignored?
Do You Really Believe it’s Okay to Teach Your Children to Lie?
Yes, and so does most everyone else we’ve ever met – and not just those who teach their children about Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy. Check out Drew’s post on lying and you’ll understand better.
Do You Know the Browns / Alldredges?
Yes. We love the Browns and the Alldredges. Drew has long considered Kody as one of his heroes for the being the first person to stand up to Utah’s laws (after Tom Green’s very public prosecution) despite the risks he and his family took by appearing on Sister Wives. Drew was his attorney before Kody fled Utah. Before filming Seeking Sister Wife, the Brineys and Alldredges used to have family get togethers on UFC Fight Nights and it was at the Alldredge house that the Brineys met Angela.
Do You Believe You Have to Live Polygamy to go to Heaven?
Mormons (mainstream and fundamentalists at least) believe in multiple levels of heaven. We believe people can progress from one level to the other. We believe that in order to enter the highest level, you need to live plural marriage. Yes, we understand that sounds like it will eventually cause some math problems but our theology is rich and deep and addresses this issue as well.
Do You Believe You have to have at Least 3 Wives?
This is a common misconception based upon some quotes that have been taken out of context. Some Mormon fundamentalists believe in this teaching. We do not. We do believe you need to live plural marriage in order to enter the highest level of heaven. See Do You Believe You Have to Live Polygamy to go to Heaven?
Do the Wives Get Jealous?
Just kidding. Yes.
We believe that compersion is a true principle that needs to be learned and lived. This takes time, patience, and emotional intelligence beyond that necessary to live in a happy monogamist marriage. In plural families, the root of jealousy comes from insecurities and a focus on one’s self. When wives feel secure in their relationship with their husband and focus on compersion, they overcome jealousies. This is not easy however and requires continual work to master. Auralee posted an article that gives her take on jealousy.
How Does Drew Divide His Time?
Currently, he just rotates nights with each wife. Schedules change from time to time depending on circumstances.
How Did You Convert to Mormon Fundamentalism?
Coming soon … April, Drew, and Angela each have a different story.
You can listen to Angela’s Conversion Story on this podcast.
Drew’s Conversion Story: I grew up without religion but my mom taught me about Jesus one time when I was six. She apologized for not teaching me about Jesus more and it stuck with me. I thought about that many times as a teenager so I church hopped to learn more about him. I remember getting grounded by my father for attending church. Eventually, I grew disgruntled with the vary dissatisfied with the various churches because they weren’t teaching me how to grow closer to God. At the time, I felt I had everything the world tells you makes you happy: I had a scholarship to college, a girlfriend, a car, money (by teenager standards), and I enjoyed a season of being well liked in school (“popular” would certainly be pushing the description but there was a palpable change in how people treated me after I began professionally performing on saxophone). But I was miserable. My parents were divorcing, a family member was suicidal, and I didn’t feel close to God when attending various churches so I prayed for guidance.
One day, I attended a band party and saw two sisters getting along (a first for me – siblings who got along? this was very new territory) and their father was kind and thoughtful towards his wife when no one was looking. That struck me. I attended their church. They were Mormons. I studied a lot before joining the Mormon Church because I didn’t want to be affiliated with any church I couldn’t feel proud to attend. When I learned their teachings about the plan of salvation, I felt like God was showing me something no other church had been able to teach me (Angela and I are writing a book about this right now). After I joined, I served a French speaking LDS mission in Quebec, Canada. I got to a point where I’d read so much that I wasn’t learning anything new at church or through church publications but I felt like there was more to learn about the gospel so I prayed to find whatever resources would help me learn how to grow closer to God.
At the time, it never occurred to me that this would mean I wouldn’t stay in the Mormon Church – I was just looking for books, resources. I started reading the Journal of Discourses, journals from early Mormons, and other books on LDS Church history. While teaching philosophy at UVU, I had a student who was part of the AUB (a fundamentalist Mormon group). She told me some of the things that were different between her religion and the Mormon Church. I was intrigued and insatiably read materials on teachings she exposed me to. I felt closer to God than I’d ever felt before. Initially, when I spoke to April about it, she resisted because “all of those teachings” eventually lead to polygamy. I wasn’t so sure. In my mind, polygamy was only one of many inspiring doctrines that the Mormon Church used to teach – but now rejects. I already believed some of these teachings but I didn’t believe you had to leave the Mormon Church and practice polygamy to believe them. However, after about a year of studying these things and sharing things I learned with April (not related to polygamy), April gained a testimony of these same truths and we mutually agreed to become part of a Mormon fundamentalist group.
Is it a Requirement for Drew’s Wives to have Names that Start with “A”?
Just kidding. It really was by accident. April and Auralee have the same initials, including their maiden names and Drew’s legal name is Andrew so the question goes deeper than you might expect. ;^)
How Do You File Taxes?
This is a complicated issue but the simple answer is this: polygamist men file taxes with their legal wife and claim whatever children their accountant advises – and that differs from family to family depending on income, plural wife employment status, number of children, etc. Plural wives file singly – this is their only legal option (theoretically, plural wives could marry each other for better tax benefits but none do as far as we’re aware). Many, if not most, polygamists are self employed so they pay higher self employment taxes and employee taxes, etc. but they often have more deductions as well so the two often offset one another. Because each family is different, there is no one rule as to how plural families pay taxes.
Who Pays For all of These Kids?!
One of the most common stereotypes people have of polygamists is that tax payers are paying for our kids through their tax dollars. While that might be true for some plural families and monogamist families, that is not the case for our children. Drew works very hard to support his large family and takes his role as provider very seriously! Drew has worked as a Business Law and Estate Planning attorney, serving his community for 16 years before selling his law practice and pursuing his writing career.
There are well known polygamous group who practice what they call “Bleeding the Beast” – essentially getting every kind of government welfare and support they can… much like many monogamous and single people we are aware of. We are not associated with that group and neither are most polygamists. In general, men and women with large plural families make great efforts to care for their large families and provide for them, despite opposing forces making it hard to live and work in a world that persecutes them. It is not uncommon for plurally married people to lose their job if it is found out that they are part of a plural family, so often polygamists own their own companies and/or are adept at self-sufficiency and bartering lifestyles. Polygamists are some of the most industrious people you will ever meet.