This isn't a review, although I just now finished The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams and it was incredible. I'm actually quite sad after reading this book.
However, it's given me time to ponder an interesting question. Even though the U.S. allows freedom of religion, should this include polygamy?
I understand that everyone has his or her own belief system. And I have watched episodes of Sister Wives. It seems the women get along great, although there is some jealousy, and the kids are free to choose their own lifestyles. I just don't think that's the same with polygamists everywhere.
Doesn't sharing a husband contribute to a woman's low self-esteem? Knowing he's sleeping with another wife that week? Knowing (if you're the first or second wife) that you're about to be joined by a younger wife who he may prefer to sleep with because she's new?
When it comes to some groups, such as the one depicted in this book, children don't have a choice. They are forced to believe that all of us in the outside world are Satan at work. In our clothing, our TV, our computers. The young girls are married off at 12 or 13 to really old men. They're scared, shouldn't be having sex that young anyway, and must be obedient to their husbands. My heart breaks for them.
This might not be the way with all polygamist compounds, but it's so similar to the cult life that I can hardly see a difference.
What gets me is the whole females needing husbands to get into heaven thing. Seriously? God doesn't accept us as individuals? You can only get into heaven on your husband's arm and you must have babies as part of God's will? That doesn't seem like the same God from the Bible, the same God who sent Jesus down to save us. Keep in mind, I'm speaking from a Christian point of view.
In the book, young girls get beaten. Straight in their faces until they can't open their eyes. Babies are dunked in ice cold water and held there as punishment for crying during meetings. The Prophet has visions and they must be obeyed or else. When boys disobey, they are let out into the desert to die, groups called the "lost boys." Women who act out are mostly killed or beaten into submission. And the fathers of unyielding children are banished and get their entire family taken away from them. Children of unsound mind or who possess a handicap are disposed of. The main character, 13 year old Kyra, is forced to marry her uncle. He's in his 60s and already has 6 wives. All books except for their scripture are said to be from Satan.
Is this the norm, or just a case of polygamist groups with corrupt leaders? Several women from inside these compounds have spoken out to say they're not brainwashed and this was a life they've chosen.
Several children have run away in Utah only to be sent back to their homes by our authorities who failed on their promises to help.
Are we doing enough to investigate these groups?
Am I the only one upset by this?