‘I grew up in a polygamous family. My father is still polygamist. I am my father’s second wife’s first child. He was married and Mormon with his first wife and they had their kids. Then they converted to the Apostolic United Brethren. It was hard on my older siblings because being Mormon was all they knew and suddenly, he flipped a switch and changed everything. We’re all really close. I’m the middle child…I have seven older siblings and seven younger siblings. They all got along with my mother and she was friendly with them. We all lived in Lehi for a while and then we moved south. We lived there for a few years before my mother was diagnosed with colon cancer and she passed away when I was nine. My dad has a second wife. When I was younger, I would sneak up to her house and hang out with her and eat snacks and watch TV. So, I’ve been really close with her my whole life.
When my mother passed away, my dad’s second wife actually moved in and raised my mother’s four kids. It was amazing because she was a woman we already knew and loved as a mom. She took care of us. It wasn’t just my dad dealing with things alone. He’s not ‘out’ as a polygamist. He’s a real estate agent and he keeps it quiet so it doesn’t hurt his sales. He was once showing a couple a house and the woman said she didn’t like the house because it had a ‘polygamous vibe’ to it. So, he keeps a low profile about it but the government has never bothered him. I think it’s something he worries about even if he never says so.
I’m not choosing to live a polygamous life. It wasn’t hard for me to separate myself from polygamy. I mean, I didn’t really know what I was doing. But, in high school, I took a seminary class and was considering joining the Mormon church and I told my dad about it. He was disappointed but he was supportive. He really wanted some of us to stay but only my one older sister did. I ended up deciding that religion wasn’t for me at all. He didn’t mind. He still loves me and we have a really good relationship. I think the problem I had with polygamy is that I just don’t want to share. I’m just not made or built for that. I want to be married to one man and for him to be married just to me. My sister and her sister-wife are living the plural life perfectly but it isn’t for me.
There was nothing to escape from. I wasn’t held against my will. The only things anyone was ever strict about was like, don’t smoke, drink, do drugs, or swear…just normal moral manners. My experience was nothing like all the bad things you hear about in the news. No one was abused or molested or mistreated. We are connected on a spiritual, emotional, and social level. My mother encouraged and expected me to treat my dad’s second and third wives with respect and that’s what we did. It’s just how I was raised. My father supports his wives. He’s legally married to one and, technically, the other is a single mother who lives with them. He takes care of everybody and, believe it or not, we’re all one big happy family.’