A Second Wife's Tale
A woman who spent 33 years in a plural marriage describes why she supports polygamy but opposes the sect leader Warren Jeffs.
They've all passed away, except for one, and she and I see each other frequently.
How many were there?
A few. I never say how many. I can't answer for them, even though they've passed away.
What is your reaction to Warren Jeffs' arrest?
My first reaction was one of relief that that part of it is over. When you have a strong leader over a community for that long, eventually it seems to explode from within. I am glad that he was taken peacefully--there was no bloodshed, I don't think anybody wants that. I'm hoping he can get a fair trial, just like anyone else. I think he's entitled to that. It'll be interesting to see more of the particulars as time goes on.
Is Warren Jeffs connected with your group?
Not at all. Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist LDS church is only one of many fundamentalist groups. I've never met him, and I don't particularly want to meet him. I know some of the people who have left his community, but I am glad to say I am not associated with his leadership in any way.
Why are you glad about it?
I understand that he has exercised a lot of control over his people and has condoned and even married underage women. I believe that a girl ought to be 18, generally speaking, before she gets married, in monogamy or polygamy. And so there are things I've heard have gone on in that community that I am glad I am not a part of. And yet I still respect a lot of people that are members of that group.
I am glad you brought up this issue of young girls being taken into marriages.
I do not condone that or recommend it, and we've talked to the leaders of most of the other groups [fundamentalist Mormon groups, aside from Jeffs' FLDS], and they are beginning to feel the same, if they haven't always. They recommend 18 as the youngest age for marriage.
What do you think the future of Jeffs' movement is?
I think it's already factioned, to some degree. There are people down in Colorado City that don't seem to have a leader. Or maybe they do--I don't associate with them that closely. But it seems to me, from what I've heard, that they don't have a local leader down in Colorado City, and so I don't know if there will be other leaders who will come up and take Warren's place. That remains to be seen.
What is the difference between fundamentalist Mormons and mainstream LDS members?