Written by Angela
The Brineys on a Reality TV Show
The Briney family appearing on a reality tv show almost didn’t happen. We said “no” four or five times – even when approached by TLCs reality tv talent scout, charming as she was (really)! We knew friends who were considering doing the reality show when they were approached and we thought they were CRAZY! We would never do that! Hahaha.
We did not want to expose our plural family. Doing so in Utah is essentially asking for trouble. Plus, who wants to put their everyday life in the hands of editors looking for drama? People who can twist anything to make it look a certain way…? To do so would be asinine. Hahaha.
Drew and April told the talent scouts that our family was not who they were looking for as they sent them on their way. When the talent scouts left, April went downstairs and said a prayer, “God, please send the network the family that will do the most good for this show.” After all, we had a high interest in who would be a representation of ours and so many other plural families. We can’t all be painted with the same broad brush, but we are interested in showing at least another color than what the news dramas report on.
How We Got to Yes
We were approached a few times before saying “yes.” At the end of the day, HB99 had passed the House and the Senate, which came as a very unhappy surprise to many plural families. Utah was now making plurally married men and their plural wives felons and threatening to make their children wards of the State.
While with their lips they stated they wouldn’t prosecute unless in conjunction with other crimes, they wouldn’t codify that into the law. In the words of Joe Darger, “This is more for persecution than it ever is intended for prosecution.” What they are doing is essentially scaring us into hiding, which breeds many of the problems that they are supposedly concerned with about polygamy. Utah is ashamed of us. They want to push us into the shadows as they try to separate themselves from their religious history. The sponsor of HB99 went so far as to say that he wanted to show polygamists that they were “apostates” and that they were “hijacking” his religion.
For all of the talk about wanting to protect victims of polygamy, the bill’s sponsor put on a chief witness who was later exposed as a fraud who made up her stories and when victim’s advocacy groups testified against the law, they were given no heed. A more carefully thought out bill that (1) corrected multiple constitutional problems with HB99 and (2) facilitated the prosecution of abusive practices while leaving consenting adults alone was completely ignored despite being sent to every representative and senator within the State of Utah. A friend of ours reported that when she discussed egregious abuses with Utah’s governor, he responded not by initiating an investigation – he reportedly answered: “We passed HB99.” The alleged abuses remain without investigation despite being exposed in great detail by Utah news reporters. In the end, it appears that the law really is more about persecution than stopping abuses as legislators claim. It’s about “apostates” not criminal activity.
We hear friends reporting to us that people are wondering… Did you hear about the Brineys showing up on a reality tv show?! Well now you know, this is what pushed me, Angela, personally, over the edge. I wanted to do the show as a statement that they will not shut us up. No, we will not be quiet. No, you will not push us into hiding and remove our liberties.
As a family we prayed about and felt that we should do the show.
Utah is behind the times with their religious persecution. While most minority groups are obtaining their rights and freedoms, things are going backwards for polygamists. What century are we in?
We know that every minority group has to make their voice heard to earn their freedom. We can be no different. But even the man having multiple affairs and having children he doesn’t even know about, let alone care for, has his. Oh, the irony.
At the end of the day, we considered it a calling to do the show. If not us, then who? If not now, then when? If we risk appearing fools and our vulnerability scrutinized, so be it. We also stand to potentially gain freedom for ourselves and for other plural families by doing so. We firmly believe the world needs to see more plural families to humanize us. They will see that we are as diverse as monogamous families. When we can be humanized, we can be empathized with. When we can be empathized with ‘we the people’ will no longer remain passive in the persecution of plural families. We believe in ‘the people’. But more education and information is necessary – so that is what we’ve set out to do.
Thank you for seeing and hearing us. Please tune in Sunday nights to TLC at 10/9 Central following the new season of Sister Wives to see the Briney’s reality tv show, Seeking Sister Wife. The show premieres January 14th.