Angela, April, Auralee, Cornerstone, Drew

September Q&A #2

Did anyone even see it coming she [April] wanted out? I truly respect you all for how you are so open with everything and are true to your beliefs.

Thank you. Being open is the only way for people to gain a true understanding of our lifestyle and our beliefs so we feel a certain duty to our friends, family, and community to share our story. Sadly, we haven’t done a very good job, yet, but we’ve had so many people asking for more information that we’re at least going to try a little harder.

Did we see that April wanted out? Yes and no.

As we’ve tried to handle respectfully and in consistency with our legal contracts and divorce orders, April struggled with mental stability (that’s the term the legal team told us to use instead of specific diagnosis labels), which became evident when filming began. It’s a lot of pressure to know the world is watching your every move, capturing your briefest odd-expression just to plaster it all over the web with snarky memes.

You don’t truly understand that pressure until you’re in the fire, so to speak. I filtered hundreds of cruel comments on family media pages calling for me to kick April to the curb, calling her evil, and making various diagnoses based on what people saw on tv. Professionals approached us via private messages and sometimes openly on social media pages to offer their unsolicited diagnoses. Many openly expressed their hatred of April and some went so far as to “wish she was dead.” Again – these were posts not just on the web, these were on our personal, family social media accounts that we were contractually obligated to service. Luckily, I have thick skin so it wasn’t terribly burdensome for me to take those comments down (hopefully) before April saw them, but frankly, they were all over the web and they rolled in 24/7 so sooner or later, April got her eyes full and it was devastating to her.

That kind of stress can put someone over the edge. Adjusting to adding a new wife can already be tough and frankly, April had been doing a pretty good job adjusting to Angela coming into the family. I’m not claiming she never struggled or got upset or did anything wrong (we’re all human), but it’s not an easy adjustment for anyone to add a plural wife I was proud of her for her growth. Adding a wife to the family is a huge life change. Add to that having a film crew (which was full of people we liked and got along with) follow you around and capture every little thing you do and it’s tougher. Add to that some mental challenges and a crash is all but imminent. So, yes, we saw a crash coming, happening, whatever.

That said, I never imagined April would abandon our family and do what she did.

While there were definite signs that she wasn’t happy and other relationships and interests were her priority, I never imagined she’d do what she did. I wasn’t surprised she left the family, just the way she did it.

She and the family were kind of at an impasse on several issues at the time. She and Drew had been discussing different options for her to handle the stress and had even begun making plans for her to move into a local apartment at her request. So… all the more shocking for her to leave the way she did and take the children away from the rest of the family.

What do you all mass produce for dinner and can I get a recipe??!!

The only thing I mass produce when it comes to cooking is a lot anxiety over what in the world to make! Hahaha.

What is a family favorite meal?

We do “Happy Things” every night. I can’t remember the last time someone (at least one, usually two, sometimes more) didn’t include a meal as one of their happy things. So, I don’t know if there is a universal favorite.

Every morning Lenny requests “Yogurt, cereal, yogurt.” Lol.

What’s the one thing you wish people knew about your family?

That’s a great question and to be honest, I’m not completely sure how to answer in a way that makes sense to our fans (or that they want to hear). We filmed several beautiful family scenes that never saw the light of day. That makes sense from a tv perspective – I’m not throwing shade at the network here, but the fact of the matter is, most of our lives are like the boring documentaries that make you change the channel because there isn’t much to see. It’s impossible to accurately portray a family’s lifestyle in 15 minutes a week for six weeks.

Real life for me is not drama and arguing like you saw in season 1. Those are occasional pieces or seasons of life I try to forget and leave in the past. Sadly, that’s pretty much all of our life the public saw and that’s what is associated with our family name. Frankly, as a family, we’re ashamed of what you saw on tv and wish we hadn’t filmed at all, not because of our own reputation, and not because we didn’t like the crew or anything like that, but because we wanted to show the world what a normal, polygamist family looks like. We were in a space where we believed we could show the world the beauties of our lifestyle instead of the pockmarks the media likes to blare all over the news. The stress of it all overcame our intentions. We failed miserably.

Honestly, things were going well enough before filming that I didn’t expect anything like that to happen, let alone find its way to a camera. That’s not what plural life is about. That isn’t our lifestyle. That isn’t what we sacrifice for. That’s not why thousands of polygamists in Utah suffer under unjust Utah laws to defend their religion. That’s the smudge on our face the media wants you to see, but that’s not who you’ll see if you spend all day at our house today or tomorrow or next week. If there is anything I wanted people to know, it was that there is beauty in our lifestyle that isn’t found elsewhere. There is joy in our lifestyle that isn’t found elsewhere. That isn’t to say we’re perfect or better than everyone else. That isn’t to say we never argued or disagreed about anything or that we never argue or disagree about anything since April left. It’s only to say our unique lifestyle has unique beauties. We failed to show that.

If people could see most polygamists for who they truly are, persecutions would cease and thousands of good polygamists in Utah could live in peace and without the fears of government that they experience today. Yes, I’m speaking about today, not twenty or thirty years ago. Naysayers can claim all they want, but I’ve lived in the trenches with polygamists for many years now and thousands are still afraid of the government and the LDS Church’s influence upon the government, especially in the state of Utah. Right or wrong, accurate or not, that’s how they feel and they have good, strong historical and modern reasons to support their belief. True, there are some bad eggs out there who feed the fire of persecution, but we don’t threaten to throw an entire race in prison just because some of them are bad. Think about that for a moment. Would you even begin to consider throwing all homosexuals in prison just because some were open criminals? Would you consider throwing all blacks in prison because you’re convinced O.J. Simpson was guilty? Of course not, but that’s what the law has done with polygamists.

So, we were trying to show the world that not all polygamists are bad. Some of them are the best people I’ve ever had the pleasure to know.

However, instead of showing those beauties unique to our lifestyle, we, as a family, fell into our worst selves and gave people more reason to believe that our beliefs, our lifestyle, and our family is nothing more than the label they’ve already tied to polygamists. We became just another reason to label polygamist families as dysfunctional. Big life regret.

I work a lot of hours, but I don’t make a lot of money. My daily life is not exotic. I run a youth leadership program, I hold cottage meetings to teach people about early Hebrew symbolism in ancient Christian and Jewish-Christian documents, I attend church meetings every week, and I struggle to meaningfully interact with and bless each member of my family. I’m not perfect. I’m not saying I’m better than anyone else. I’m just saying that I do the best I can and I don’t quit.

I want my children to excel in life and to be much better than I’ve ever been. I want them to be more Christian than I am, more loving than I am, more understanding and empathetic than I am, and to enjoy a life of success I haven’t enjoyed. I want them to pursue their dreams better than I have. True, I’m not a total failure. I won a case appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, I had a case published by the Utah Supreme Court, I’ve written or co-authored a dozen books, and helped hundreds of polygamists as an attorney. True, I was an adjunct professor of philosophy in Utah and I toured Europe and Asia with a jazz band and a symphony. Yes, I was voted Utah’s Best Professional Juggler and competed internationally in 2006. Yes, I have a lovely family, beautiful wives, and amazing children.

But, like most of you, I want more for my children. I want them to have financial freedom I’ve never enjoyed. I want them to understand their personal value and potential more than I understood my personal value and potential when I was their age. I want them to be stronger than I am in every way and I wish I had more influence to stop all of the hatred, bigotry, and persecutions that try to keep them from reaching their potential. Sure, those obstacles can make some people stronger. They also crush many people. They shackle people. I’ve watched that happen to dozens of friends and I don’t want that to happen to my children.

I have two wives living with me and a quiver of children. That is what people see. That’s the label that defines our family. That’s why we were on tv. But the real story? Everything good about me and my family stems from our acceptance of Christ and his gospel (which for me, includes all truth, including science, etc). Everything bad about me and my family stems from our imperfections and inability to live the lifestyle he modeled for us. That’s what I want people to know about our family.

I’m sorry if that isn’t the answer anyone was looking for, but it’s the truth.

So many kids, seems like it’d be a bit hectic. How do y’all not pull your hair out? My 2 year old makes me want to pull my hair out sometimes. Do the kids look at all of the wives as a bonus mom? Love you all!

Maybe you didn’t notice my hair is thinning? Haha.

Children growing up in this lifestyle often don’t see having multiple moms as strange. Just like your kids love their aunts and uncles and don’t think of them as bonus family members, our kids don’t see multiple moms that way, either. It’s just extra love if all is going well or trouble if all is not going well. Hopefully lots more of the former than latter.

Girl, I get it. My two year old makes me want to pull my hair out too, sometimes! Right now, Lenny and I live in our own house (right across the street from Auralee and her kids) so sometimes it’s even more pronounced. Because it’s all me. He doesn’t have anyone else at home to play with regularly. So he gets bored easily and I have a hard time getting things done.

So there are tradeoffs… The noise and hustle of lots of kids running around, but keeping each other company and occupied, or less noise and hustle going on around you but the one being more dependent on you. (There are obviously more tradeoffs than this – this is the one related to your question.)

Miss u Guys ❤️

Thank you. We appreciate all of our kind-hearted fans who look past our weaknesses.

Thank you! We’re always gratefully surprised when fans send us the nicest messages or comments.

Ok all these questions. Are you really ever gonna answer… or even read them?

Yup. I only skipped duplicates and one question about meal preparation. I’m not a talented chef so …

What is something one of your kids has done in public that was totally embarrassing?

Well, that’s kind of a two-fold question for me.

First, I honestly can’t think of anything other than brief hygiene guffaws … I have high standards for my kids and I’m vocal about that with them, but honestly, I’m a very proud father.

Second, if I cared about what other people thought of me as an individual, I wouldn’t have been on tv as part of a despised minority. haha

What is the question you wish people would ask you?

Great question. I’d probably have to answer the same as what I said above in answer to the question of what would I like people to know about our family. My biggest goal going on tv was to make a difference in the world. I wish that vision had gone better and people were asking how they can get a huge crowd of people together to influence the LDS Church to stop lobbying the state of Utah to enact more and harsher laws against polygamists so they could peaceably live their religion. Frankly, we failed so badly that I don’t expect people to ask that question of us anymore. Hopefully, the Alldredges and Browns will continue to get asked those questions. And when fans ask them questions, they’d probably send them to Joe Darger to organize whatever support they can muster, but I’d love it if that’s what people were asking about.

I’m going to keep it pithy and petty… I wish someone would ask if Auralee and I really stole April’s clothes! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Stay tuned for Part 3 of September’s Q&A!

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6 thoughts on “September Q&A #2

  1. If there is something the general public / fans could do to help your cause( in regards to laws and truth of polygamy) even if some of us don’t practice polygamy or live in Utah but feel like we want to help , what could we do to help? Is there information that can be shared to help get the word out? BTW hope to see you all on tv again soon. My husband and I don’t practice polygamy but We are Christians and feel like you should have that right to do so without judgment.

    1. Thank you Jamie – there are really only two pragmatic things we know of that can help.

      1. For those who live in Utah, write and educate legislatures about how their laws are hurting victims and polygamists who are not abusive. Contact Joe Darger for specific information about events and legislative efforts.
      2. For those who don’t live in Utah, good PR is the best thing we can receive. When an opportunity arises, tell people about the beauties you see in the lifestyle and tell them that media efforts are extremely biased and unrepresentative of many thousands of polygamists. Ultimately, word of mouth helps.

      Thank you for your support and your goodwill.

      God bless

  2. I have been traveling for work the last several days and imagine my joy when I could sit down and read about the family I feel so passionately about. I love and appreciate all of you for allowing me to see into a life that I find so fulfilling. And call me crazy, but I promise you I would be one of you pushing for the freedom to live and worship freely if I could. I see such calmness in your posts and pictures now. And I am thankful that God placed you with like minded people who welcomed you.
    Be blessed in all that you do and know that you are all loved by me.

  3. I keep checking to see if the next set of questions/answers has been posted! I love that you guys are doing this!!

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