Angela

Release us from Your Bondage! (HB99)

Martha Hughes Cannon

Utah is considering replacing their statue of Philo T. Farnsworth in the U.S. Capital’s Statuary Hall with Martha Hughes Cannon – pioneer, doctor, suffragette, State Senator, and… polygamist. She was voted into office, defeating her husband and other candidates, in 1896.

Shocking to some is the strength and position of the Women of Mormondom, breaking the bounds of what social customs sanctioned.

I could not think of a more fitting picture of a representation of Patriarchy and Matriarchy working in parallel with Martha Hughes Cannon and Brigham Young standing statuary side-by-side, absolutely shattering the stereotypical image of Iron-Fisted Patriarchal Mormonism.

Cannon and her contemporaries, such as Eliza R. Snow, were radicals of their time. They were feminist activists who broke through their cultural glass ceilings and commanded equal footing with men not only in family, but also profession and public voice.

The territory of Utah passed women’s suffrage in 1870. In 1887 Congress had disenfranchised women along with outlawing polygamy. But through the suffrage movement Cannon helped organize, women regained the right to vote when the territory became a state in 1896. She helped pioneer the way for the 19th Amendment some 24-years later.

It should not be lost on us that Cannon’s political fight in the suffrage movement was undoubtedly synchronically connected with fighting against the concurrent anti-polygamy legislation. How fitting for the current resolution at hand in light of the passing of the anti-polygamy HB99 about one year ago. An unexpected serendipity perhaps.

April and Angela Briney protesting unconstitutional Utah law being reinstated (HB99)
             April and Angela Briney protesting unconstitutional Utah law being reinstated (HB99)

The traditional Mormon polygamist woman was on equal ground with her brother. So while the legislators behind HB99 view modern polygamous women as weak and oppressed, we are shouting to them that we are not! Release us from your bondage! For you and you alone are subjugating us! This bill is antithetical to its supposed (fabricated) intent. We are not oppressed victims of patriarchy, but rather oppressed by archaic laws. Subordinate only to you, emancipate us!

Like Cannon’s own exile for ten years, we are forced underground to avoid incrimination.

Hope of Israel
Woman, ‘rise! thy penance o’er,
Sit thou in the dust no more;
Seize the scepter, hold the fan,
Equal with thy brother, man
(qtd. in Derr et al. 147)

While not diminishing Philo’s great contribution to the world with the electric television … I’ll be wearing my yellow rose.

~Angela

 

             Drew at the HB99 rally with Janelle Brown and a fellow supporter

 

 

 

Please follow and like us to help spread the word:
Tweet 20
fb-share-icon20

2 thoughts on “Release us from Your Bondage! (HB99)

  1. This will be a rather general, and Ill admit scattered, comment. I’m all for people of various groups and lifestyles being able to live their lives without the fear of prosecution and other prejudice, as long as no one is getting hurt. Watching various documentaries, including the one your family is one, has opened my eyes and changed my views on polygamy. Is it all sunshine and love without compromise and conflict? Of course not. The same can be said for other lifestyles. As long as no one is hurt and has the option and resources to better themselves, great.

    I’m in first generation American to Haitian parents. Trust me, I know all about prejudice and other injustices based on my race and gender. It definitely is a different world from what your and other families are going through, but I get it. While I do live with a different fear and hate that others throw my way, I get understand. It is unfortunate to say the least.

    It’s shameful that abusers and statues of racist slave owners or so called doctors who only saw women like me as experiments are hailed as heroes but the women, from all races, cultures, and other backgrounds, are disregarded and their accomplishments are seen as insignificant because they are not men.

  2. I have to say that a lot of opinions on polygamy have changed since the show sister wives came out and gave a real picture of a plural family. The real proof is the now adult children from the Browns. I wish my kids turned out as good as theirs. This is no accident but the result of good parenting and love. Polygamy before has been depicted as Warren Jeffs, child abuse, sexual abuse etc. The show Escaping Polygamy shows all of those horrible cases. The right and just thing to do is go after the abusers and molesters inside plural or monogamous or single parent families. Families are in crisis at risk of failure. They need real support and tools from the community and churches to make children safe and successful. Stop trying to outlaw polygamy and go after real criminals who are ruining Utah.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *