9 people who have lived in polygamy explain why they support — or don’t — a Utah bigamy bill


Hi, my name is, uh, Lydia. I chose the principle at 26 years old. I had lots of different options, lots of different
men — single young men — I chose the principle because I wanted the opportunity to share
my life with as many people as I possible could, with the opportunity of one life to
impact as many souls as I could. Um, I just want to support any law that lets
me live my lifestyle. Um, thank you. Hello, my name is Jedediah, and I’m recording
this because I support Senate Bill 102 to reduce, uh, polygamy to an infraction instead
of a felony. Um, as a child I grew up in a polygamist household. My parents are still polygamists to this day. I have no religious affiliation with polygamy. I have no interest in becoming a polygamist. I, uh, do not believe the same way that they
do in the least bit. That being said, I don’t believe that they
are bad people, and I do believe that they should have the freedom to live the way that
they want to live, as should everybody. I don’t think that this new polygamy bill
is going to change much here in Utah. Um, I think that it’s great that Utah’s trying
to address that we do have a polygamy problem, but I think we need to address the deeper
problems in these polygamous cults, first. Like, the incest that’s going on, the child
brides that are happening, the abuse, like why is it legal for a 15-year-old girl to
get engaged with her parents’ consent? There are so many laws that we need to focus
on before we focus on this polygamy thing. It’s just, it’s crazy that I can name to you
over a thousand people who are married to their half-sibling, or their uncle, or their
first cousin and they’re having children deformities and all of this starts from them being a child
being manipulated in to this situation. So I think that if Utah will start to focus
on the incest and the child marriages and the abuse that’s going on, then the polygamy
part will be a lot easier to take care of. I support Senate Bill 102 because consenting
adults should be allowed to have the kind of marriage that they want. And the actual crime should be what is punished,
not the marriages, but welfare fraud or whatever else are the problems going on. Hi, I’m LeAnn. I’m from the Turmoil Blog within AUB, Turmoil
within AUB. Um, I grew up within a polygamous community. Um, I’ve been trying to work with abuse within
my own circle for a few years now, and it’s been really difficult. Um, and I firmly believe that the fear of
the law that’s gone back a long ways, the fear of persecution has been the deciding
factor on whether victims will come forward or people will allow changes to happen. And, in my opinion, the most secretive polygamous
societies having the most amount of abuse and problems is clear evidence that the fear
of the law is an issue here, and I believe that religious freedom from within and without
polygamy needs to happen and is a step in the right direction. My name is Emily Tucker. I’m originally from the Kingston Group. We left when I was 14. I do not support Senator Henderson’s bill
on polygamy. First, we need to define what exactly is a
consenting adult. Is a consenting adult someone who has grown
up in these groups and believes that this lifestyle is the only way for them and their
future children to get into heaven? They say that they want to help victims, how
is this going to help victims? They’ve already said that they won’t prosecute
polygamy itself, but they will prosecute crimes in polygamy. They don’t do that either, though. We need more resources for victims when they
leave, we need more housing, Medicaid would be nice, we need daycare assistance, if we
want to actually help victims, that is what we need to do, we need to prosecute the criminals,
we need to hold them accountable, and we need to help the victims who are leaving. I am one of three happily-married plural wives. I chose to enter the principle at the age
of 25, and we have been happily married. Um, I love the fact that Senator Deidre Henderson
is trying to push forward a bill that is, um, lowering the criminalization of my lifestyle. Um, however, I can’t fully give my support
to Senate Bill 102 because I can’t give my full support to anything short of complete
decriminalization. Um, and also, um, I can’t support the enhancement
penalties in any way. As a former polygamous wife here in Utah,
I support bill SB102. Not that it’s perfect, but I think it’s a
great step in the right direction. I think it is fundamentally unconstitutional
for polygamy to be a felony when, ultimately, it is a lifestyle choice. When people are afraid because their grandfather
or their father, was put in prison, they’re not going to call and report a domestic violence
or a sexual abuse crime. And I don’t think the general public realizes
that this is very real to these people. It was their fathers, it was their grandfathers
that were put in prison, that were persecuted. And so there is like a cloud of fear that
hovers over. My name is Anne Wilde, and I identify myself
as an independent fundamentalist Mormon. Exactly 50 years ago, I became a plural wife
and, throughout those years, I’ve become acquainted with literally thousands of other fundamentalist
Mormons. Only a very small percentage of these people
have not been upstanding, law-abiding citizens and consenting adults if they are in a plural
family. I suggest we enforce the existing laws penalizing
those who are guilty of associated crimes and separate them from a freely chosen religious
lifestyle. For many reasons, I am in favor of Senator
Henderson’s SB 102 bill reducing the living of plural marriage between consenting adults
from a felony to an infraction. For one reason, it would bring state law in
agreement with the current policy and practice of the Utah Attorney General’s Office, which
is refusing to prosecute consenting adult polygamists who are not guilty of any other
crimes. It is certainly inconsistent and poor state
government, to say the least, to have a law on the books that is ignored and not enforced.

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