Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Few Words on the FLDS

Lots of other bloggers have already posted in depth on this, and have subjected it to far more penetrating analysis than I could. So I'm just going to focus on making one point: that polygynous enclaves like the FLDS are about male ownership of women. They're not about free, equal adults choosing to enter into unconventional lifestyles (generations of girls have been born into it now; they're never taught anything else), and they're not about the free exercise of religion (again, it's only free exercise for the patriarchs. The women and girls are essentially free to do whatever the man of the house says, or be beaten or get kicked out and starve).

You don't have to take my word for it: here's FLDS escapee Carolyn Jessop on the conditions under which she lived as church elder Merril Jessop's fourth wife:

To protect myself, I had to remain of value. Sex is the only currency – every polygamist wife knows that. A woman who possesses high sexual status with her husband has more power than his other wives. (emphasis mine)

She also has more children, and children are an insurance policy. Even if her husband takes a new and younger wife, a woman who produces a bevy of beautiful babies will earn respect.

She had to remain "of value," or else, presumably, her husband would tire of her and neglect her and her children. That's not the dynamic of a loving and mutual relationship that happens to include more than two people, that's the dynamic of master and slave.

1 comment:

Wilhelmina said...

Keep up the good work.