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    Polygamy-A Very Different Type of Marriage

    By Kristen Houghton     

    Polygamy as a form of marriage has been around for a long time. To be sure it is mentioned in the books of many world religions and still practiced in some countries as both a custom and a religious belief. In ancient times, it was a practice that was not only for religious purposes but political ones as well. It helped to connect tribes and dynasties through marriages in the hope that a man might think twice before attacking the lands of his in-laws. The women, made to enter these marriages, were, basically, live collateral.

    Why would a person enter into a plural union in the twenty-first century? Most people are hard pressed to find something they would see as beneficial in a plural marriage.

    In the USA there are varying statistics for the number of polygamous marriages. Some estimates are that over 80,000 men practice polygamy in this country, but there are no definitive government records.

    Admittedly, most Americans find a polygamous relationship strange to say the least. Why would a man want to have more than one spouse; why would a woman be content to be a sister-wife? Is polygamy beneficial in any way to all parties concerned? Is it detrimental to women, causing an inequality in the marriage dynamics? Can it perpetuate forms of abuse?

    Any one not born into a way of life has a difficult time understanding what they consider strange traditions. This is especially true when it comes to religions. The great Native American of the Nez Perce tribe, Chief Joseph, said, “It is easy to laugh at what you don’t understand.” This certainly includes spiritual beliefs.

    And while absolute freedom of religion is guaranteed for all those living in the USA, the welfare of children takes precedence over any religion or tradition that puts a minor child in danger or holds any one person against their will.

    Bringing the FDLS into a US court to answer questions about sexual, emotional and physical abuse is a positive step that is being taken by the state of Texas. Every one can and should have their say. Men, women, and especially, the underage mothers, should be heard. But it will be difficult.

    It is going to take a long time to sort this out. Any one brought up to “obey without question” and who fears eternal damnation if they go against their religious leaders, is not going to make this easy for government authorities.

    Perhaps we don’t fully understand the tradition of polygamy or the religion of those who practice it. But what we do understand is the fact of abuse so well hidden under the guise of religion.

    Written by Kristen HoughtonRate this article:

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