March 10, 2011
“If not Arizona, then a land not too far away, where all parents are strong and wise and capable,
and all children are happy and beloved.
I don’t know. Maybe it was Utah.” -Raising Arizona

You’ve got to hand it to the Mormons. No other sect has had as much publicity as they have of late. From mommy bloggers to HBO’s Big Love series to the TLC reality show Sister Wives, there’s no end to the fascination with the Mormon lifestyle.

But let’s be clear. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is not the same thing as fundamental Mormonism. The LDS folks don’t believe in bigamy and don’t like to be associated with it (for one, it’s against the law), while fundamentalists embrace “the principle.”

We’re fascinated with polygamy because it’s so different from the mainstream. But I think women particularly are fascinated because traditional relationships are fraught with jealousy and possessiveness. The idea that a woman would willingly “share” her man is beyond our comprehension.

So it’s no surprise that these emotions flare up periodically among the polygamists depicted on both television shows and it’s interesting to see the women struggle with them.

And yet, the benefits seem to outweigh disadvantages, at least from what we see on TV.

It’s hard to argue with the logic of Sister Wife #3, who said, outright: “I don’t want a guy around all the time. I didn’t want to marry a guy by himself, it sounded like too much work.”

I see her point. Sharing household duties with Sister Wives certainly would be a plus. Having built in babysitters, another advantage. Always having a girlfriend around, chalk up another. {And Kody is rather annoying, I wouldn’t want him around all the time, either.}

Maybe jealousy is just a knee-jerk reaction that’s been culturally bred into us.

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