Monday, February 27, 2006

Plural marriage

Who uses it: Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons)
What it means: Taking more than one wife, which the rest of us call bigamy or polygamy.
How you can use it: You shouldn't, and I'll explain why.

The Mormon Church rejected the doctrine of plural marriage years ago, but the fact that they still refer to it by this term -- rather than as polygamy -- shows me, and the world, that they haven't recoiled from the idea entirely. Words are powerful. Polygamy is a crime and something practiced by cultures we consider primitive; plural marriage sounds reasonable and even kind of cozy.

I'm torn about whether to watch the HBO series "Big Love." It looks very entertaining, and I'm a big fan of Bill Paxton (A Simple Plan is one of my favorite movies, and Frailty is one of the scariest films I've ever seen). But polygamy is not benign or funny, even where it's (theoretically) voluntary.

Today is my parents' 41st wedding anniversary, so I wish Dad happy anniversary -- because it will always be their anniversary, as long as anyone is around to remember it.


Sylvrbak said...

Plural marriage as in a family having a plurality of wives works very well when the right individuals make up the family. The principle itself will turn average adults into exceptional adults. Happiness and maturity for all is enhanced beyond what is possible in monogamy. This is not theory as we know by personal experience of over 15 years.

AnswerGirl said...

Consenting adults can enter into any arrangement they like -- my own ideal version of marriage would be to have a husband who lived next door to me, or across the street, or possibly just close enough to be able to visit at weekends.

However, children can't choose plural marriage, and there's no situation in which it's good for them, either in practice or example. My siblings and I shared our dad with the US Navy for 20 years, and while we admire him and learned a lot from the experience, we would rather have had him home with us.

Children don't ask to be part of plural marriages. Children deserve a full-time father who is devoted to their mother without other commitments.

And too many "plural marriage" societies believe that children in their teens are ready for marriage -- which, in the modern United States, is a crime.

Anonymous said...


I DO believe you may wish to modify your stance a bit when it comes to your views on a "perfect husband that...".

Instead, you may wish to (a) count the number of rooms in the dwelling in which you live -and-
(b) put one "husband" in each room requiring that he not come out and master all aspects of that room... be the room's "expert".

See if that works for you.

AnswerGirl said...

Lord, no... I have no interest in mastering or being mastered, and I need all the rooms in my apartment for me, my stuff and most especially my books.

Anonymous said...


Ah! Excellent! You have just learned one of life's idioms...
Wisdom trumps knowledge every time!

Stick with your "stuff" in your myriad of rooms.