Polygamy prosecutions spark lively debate at University of Utah

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  • Candace Owens Rocks Forest Heights, MD
    May 11, 2019 11:31 a.m.

    Polygamy should be encouraged, not prosecuted.

  • Breitbarts GhostšŸ‘» , CA
    Jan. 31, 2019 9:57 a.m.

    Children are more valuable than money, and I am sure many people inside and outside the polygamist community would give up luxuries in favor of more children.

    I know that because there are always more parents wanting to adopt than children available.

  • R
    Oct. 24, 2008 3:55 a.m.

    //Who can afford 30 children. maybe Bill Gates but I dont see any pligs owning fortune 500 companies.//

    Come on, is that the best argument you can muster? Maybe you should look into what companies have Saudi investors...

  • R
    Oct. 23, 2008 7:22 p.m.

    John Lambert, you're probably right. I haven't read her book, and I hope there's a lot more fact-checking than in her nonsense articles for the Huffington Post, but I'm not holding my breath. I knew nothing about the FLDS before April, and although I don't think they're perfect, the more I learn, the more sensationalist and inaccurate a lot of the criticisms of them prove to be.

  • mhojho
    Oct. 23, 2008 7:03 p.m.

    child support? Thats called genocide. I think you should go live in another country for the lie you just told!

  • Child support?
    Oct. 23, 2008 6:19 p.m.

    Hmm, when the man has 6 wives and 30 children, who ends up paying for the children? the taxpayers do. Who can afford 30 children. maybe Bill Gates but I dont see any pligs owning fortune 500 companies. Polygamy is fine, just do it in another country.

  • zxcvbnm
    Oct. 23, 2008 6:07 p.m.


    Thanks for your analysis LAMBERT....you drove home several points.
    The threat of an flds voteinc bloc on itizens of ElDorado and Sleicher County was brought up early in this affair.
    Many citizens wrote local papers complaining and Rep. Hildabrand made mention of a flds Bloc as one more reason for his legislation.
    The information presented by citizens as well as Hildibrand had the same source and things went well beyond reality as we are all now aware......five flds members are registered voters in Schleicher County.
    As a Texan I am well aware of county political structire and worst case the flds would have been able to control one od four county precincts... hardly a threat except to the existing Sheriff and
    one county officer.

  • zxcvbnm
    Oct. 23, 2008 5:29 p.m.


    Targeting ex-flds who make accusations that amount to wild speculation would be a gteat use of police resources.
    Targeting Flora for kidnapping young girls could be at the head of the list an I suggest Dan Fischer be added to the list of deadbeat Dads.
    Eliminate the source of misinformation and bingo.....devote the rest of the resources on perverts of every religion.

  • HSFAN
    Oct. 23, 2008 3:09 p.m.

    Targeting Fundamentalists who marry underage girls is alot like targeting Homosexuals who only target young boys....Perhaps you should target all forms of abnormal destructive behavior.....anything less is a moving target!

  • Er in AF
    Oct. 23, 2008 2:11 p.m.

    I love it when Takashi gets into a thread. He never opens his mouth but that smart and well-thought out stuff comes out. Would that all bloggers did the same thing. Google him and read his stuff.

    I currently live in a culture that polygamy exists and multiple partners without marriage is frowned upon (Central East Africa). I do not advocate polygamy, but I sure as heck think that a man making babies with 4-6 women has a much more detrimental effect on society than it does. I also happen to have investigated many instances of ID theft. There are thresh-holds of what the US Attorney's office will accept with this crime. And that thresh-hold is different in many parts of the country. It is determined by resources. I am sure that the same is true with most crime to include this one. Prosecute the crimes in the plig community and leave the bedroom alone unless you want to do every bedroom.

    I go along with the guy talking about the Islamic marriages in NYC. Prosecute them and then you can come out to Utah and tell us what we need to do with our situation.

  • John Pack Lambert
    Oct. 23, 2008 1:57 p.m.

    The deeper I delve into the background of Ms. Hamilton the more I realize that the Deseret News was probably wise in not telling her background, because if they had any lover of religious freedom would have great fear.
    She thinks religious freedom is the freedom of government from religion, not the freedom of religion from government. She thinks there should be no restriction on givernment suppression and regulation of religion.
    She has also denounced the Catholics on the Supreme Court for attending a mass that urges people to act uprightly and ethically when deciding law.
    She believes that the religious liberty of offie holders should be more restricted than that of Americans at large.

  • John Pack Lambert
    Oct. 23, 2008 1:44 p.m.

    Thankyou Raymond for your heads up on Ms. Hamilton.
    I did a deeper look at her background. I have just began it, but I have already found that she was disengenous in her comments at the University of Utah.
    She said she felt that Utah had an extremely short statue of limitations on child abuse. What she forgot to mention was that she wants to eliminate the statue of limitations for child abuse. She should at least make it clear that she wants to get rid of the statute of limitations entirely, because the way she presented the issue it made it seem she had an idea of what a good statute of limitations is that coincides with accepted notions on the issue, while in fact she wants to eliminate such a structure entirely.

  • zxcvbnm
    Oct. 23, 2008 1:22 p.m.


    Now we have the fantastic claim that Obamas father was a polygamist.......could things get stranger.
    What is it about polygamy that brings out the sex and or religious police. Pretty soon cancer will be blamed on polygamy and halloween will be forbiden untill only monogamous households can be identified.
    Did anyone hear the latest accusation about FLDs being responsible for the economic mess we are in.

  • John Pack Lambert
    Oct. 23, 2008 1:19 p.m.

    Assuming Joey is right about what Ms. Hamilton advocates to crack down on polygamy, why does she not first try to get New York City to do such police watches on Muslim men to catch the many who are involved in polygamy?
    I also wonder what people would find if they compared the statements of LDS Church leaders about polygamy and homosexuality since 1990. I think they would find 0 references to needs to be kind or compassionate specifically to polygamists but many on the issue of homosexuals. I understand why this is, because there is more anger that gets directed at homosexuals in some ways, especially because of activities of groups like GLSEN, but it goes to show that accusations about the church's position are usually built on something other than reality.
    I have to say I am not in anyway saying that anger or hate towards people based on homosexual actions or feelings is OK, I am just saying that in our society it is more likely to occur.

  • John Pack Lambert
    Oct. 23, 2008 1:10 p.m.

    The last question is why does Utah prosecute its polygamists on illicit sexual relations with minors but California and Minnesota fail to do the same with their polygamists.
    The answer to this question is the exact opposite of what many people claim to be the situation. It is because the vast majority of Utah's population is LDS, not inspite of it, that the FLDS get prosecuted.
    This is a complexed system, and is not a direct result of religious bias. It is what I will call religioun caused awareness.
    There are actually two factors. On one hand the fact that the Latter-day Saints have a historical connection to polygamy causes them to be more aware of it.
    The second is that since the enemies of the church constantly accuse it of being in collaboration with the polygamists, the church has to proactively and vocally denounce such things.
    However I think the basic problem is the anti-establishment view. As long as it is just some immigrants with no clear leader doing something people do not mind, but when it is people who can buy property, protest and prosecution ensue.

  • John Pack Lambert
    Oct. 23, 2008 1:01 p.m.

    There are two more points.
    One actually is pointed out by the Hmong hater. The Hmongs are poor. The Hmongs are living in squalor.
    In the case of the FLDS and even more so some other polygamist groups in Utah, most of the people are not living high on the hog. However, Warren Jeffs seemed to be. How much this was really the case I do not know, but the people who want to see all of Jeffs' lieutenants locked up until they die, fuel their cries of "slavery" by claiming that the Polygamist men are getting rich off of the sweet of their women and children. To these people the Polygocracy that runs the FLDS church is similar to the Slavocray of the ante-bellum south.
    Hmongs are not a unified group, with clear assesets and stucture to destroy, the FLDS are.
    In some ways, at least the fact that Hamilton spends her energy attacking the FLDS and other polygamist groups shows the extent to which anti-establishment views still florish in the United States. Anti-clericalism is still alive and well. There is another issue I will try to analyze.

  • John Pack Lambert
    Oct. 23, 2008 12:55 p.m.

    The Hmongs are no where near taking over the electorate in any area. The FLDS at the YFZ were very close to doing so. Although some people think of Minnesota as being as homogenoeous before the Hmongs came as the West Texas county was before the YFZ ranch was built, the Farmer Labor party of Minnesota had a very different philosophy than did the political leaders in west Texas.
    The fact that the governor of Minnesota made a proactive decision to invite the Hmongs there also complicates the issue.
    The Hmong related dynamic are different in Northern Wisconsin, Fresno, other areas of California, Detroit and southern Macomb County and elsewhere than in Minnesota.
    Secondly the Hmongs are not as reclusive as the FLDS. This is even more so since they have tended to go to more urban areas where friendliness is less, and have not built large, self contained ranches. As you can tell, none of these things I have identified have to deal with ilegal activities and none of them really explain different treatment in Utah at all.
    I know I am being like Monty Pythons inquisition and coming up with more points as I go along.

  • Raymond Takashi Swenson
    Oct. 23, 2008 12:52 p.m.

    Marci Hamilton DOES get into court a lot, representing local governments that enact zoning ordinances that discriminate against churches and synagogues. Her basic philosophy (in her columns for the Writ opinion page at Findlaw.com) is that churches and religious should have NO special status under the law. She basically would like to erase the "free exercise" clause from the First Amendment.

    There are laws against bigamy, which is contracting an apparently legal marriage with more than one spouse. However, the polygamists have figured out that they are not committing bigamy if they do not hold themselves out as legally marrying their additional wives. Indeed, as others have noted, they are in exactly the same legal position as the drug dealers in many inner cities who have children with several women, and who are even worse because they provide little financial support. If Marci Hamilton is attacking sex with multiple partners, and not just churches who endorse a form of it, she should be advocating prosecution of such "serial fathers". Monogamists who don't "monog" (like Bill Clinton) have no moral superiority to polygamists.

  • John Pack Lambert
    Oct. 23, 2008 12:49 p.m.

    To the 12:42 commentator,
    I think the one with racial animosity is you.
    There have been people give speeches urging the end to the US allowing immigration or at least major cut backs in it because of the Hmongs, which is often a misnomer, because Hmongs are a very small percentage of all immigrants.
    Beyond this, by no means do all Hmong pracitice polygamy, and I have known unmarried Hmong women who were 20.
    Lastly, I think you fail to realize why the FLDS are prosecuted. Although anti-Mormon bias may play into it slightly I think there are two other factors involved.
    One is that since the FLDS are citizens they can vote and change the political makeup of areas. Although the Homongs are havily concentrated in areas like St. Paul, these are big cities where the Hmongs, while clearly the largest immigrant group (at least for the first 20 years of their presence, the story is different with the large influx of people from the Horn of Africa to the Twin Cities of Late) and generally making up most of the population in the areas of non-European ancestry. I will explain more.

  • realitycheck
    Oct. 23, 2008 12:31 p.m.

    who cares if consenting adults get married to more than one person? Who does it hurt? No one.

    Hopefully at some point they will raise some children that can actually think for themselves and they'll get out of there pronto.

    And if not? Who cares? What's a few hundred more dueling banjos, in the big picture? As long as they keep them hidden in the desert and out of general population, they can't really do any damage to the normal gene pools...

  • zxcvbnm
    Oct. 23, 2008 12:09 p.m.


    Can't prosecute because there is no evidence and in the light of consensual sex ruleings the prosecution of pligs is a waste of money.
    How about a law that forbids co-habitation between two woman and one man......but hey, the old show three's company would be illegal.
    Can't set up cameras in bed rooms till we expand homeland security laws........get started folks.

  • Prosecutor
    Oct. 23, 2008 11:37 a.m.

    I note that Ms. Hamilton didn't take Mr. Torgensen up on his offer to deputize her so she could prosecute these resource-intensive, logistically difficult polygamy cases. As Mr. Torgensen points out, it's easy to criticize from the safety of the academic ivory tower.

    I believe Utah -- and Texas, by the way -- are taking the right approach. Concentrate on crimes within polygamous communities. And, in those cases in which solid evidence of polygamy is present -- sure, throw in a polygamy charge. It is illegal. But concentrate scarce resources on cynical predators raping child "brides" and producing "lost boys."

    In the long run, compulsory education will largely cure the polygamy problem -- among the FLDS, the Hmong, and the Islamists. We've seen it already among courageous women like Flora Jessop. As they become aware that polygamy not mandated by God is, as Church doctrine affirms, a gross imposition on human dignity, they get out.

    All the young Flora Jessops out there -- and their "lost" brothers -- deserve our approval and assistance. Expending copious amounts of scarce public resources prosecuting otherwise non-criminal polygamists misallocates funds that could be better used supporting victims.

  • always the same
    Oct. 23, 2008 9:54 a.m.

    Every one chooses there life style, why is it that Americans think every one has to be like them and nothing else is ok. Every religion has Criminals in them, but judgeing a race or religion because there might be some bad guys or girls in them is foolish and very dangerous. maybe you could say America makes its own terrorists from distroying whole religions like this. If the Government does win at distroying the FLDS church what do you think they will now be spending there time on. maybe nothing on helping the USA after all the government just ripped there families apart and crashed every thing they work for.

  • lost in DC
    Oct. 23, 2008 9:13 a.m.

    Common sense, could you please give us a sample of something from one of her books that makes her an expert? I doubt too many of us have time to run out and buy one and read it before this thread dies. until then, we have nothing to go on but the article, where she comes across as an outsider who knows little of what really goes on here but looks smugly from her ivory NY tower at us poor hicks out in the hinterland. I'm not saying that's whay she is; I'm just saying that's the impression we're given. thanks

  • common sense
    Oct. 23, 2008 8:45 a.m.

    None of you must know Marci Hamilton or her work very well. Its not just Polygamy, Its any action of child abuse in any religion. Why? Because Child Abuse can been hidden easier in religious communities, or insular communities. Read some of her books. Followers or religions or religious leaders to the point of them making all decisions for you, leads to abuse! Regardless what name you attach to it.

  • The New Yorker
    Oct. 23, 2008 7:43 a.m.

    So the U scours the nation and finds a lawyer who doesn't actually do trials in a courtroom to come to Utah to tell Utah lawyers how easy it is to hold a trial without evidence. Apparently, there is a rule that allows supposition, innuendo, gossip and inferences to be sufficient to convict in Ms. Marcy's courtworld. I don't agree with polygamy, but I am glad that we have an Attorney General that believes in the rule of law and only prosecuting with evidence, not rumor.

  • What is this
    Oct. 23, 2008 7:36 a.m.

    I think it is religious persecution. the FLDS are small and vulnerable easy targets for bullies. The guy with comment about the Hmong people and the "logic dictates" comments are right on target.

  • Joey
    Oct. 23, 2008 7:30 a.m.

    Marci advocates for a policy of placing police watches in and around polygamous communities to see who's going in which house, to identify polygamists. If Utah were to instate such a policy they would be sure to meet civil rights challenges of that kind of thing, as it's plainly profiling. The Feds would have to step in to ensure the rights of these communities.

  • Jancis M. Andrews
    Oct. 23, 2008 7:09 a.m.

    Many studies by social scientists (check the Internet) state that polygamist "wives" (in reality, concubines in a harem) are impoverished by polygamy. They are not legally entitled to share in their "husband's" estate (the legal wife is entitled to half), or his pension plan, health insurance or life insurance, or social assistance benefits. There is also the psychological cost of being in rivalry with other concubines for the man's attention ... not to mention that his sex life is very rich, while concubines have to wait in line! Polygamy comes to us from the dark ages when women were chattels, without rights, and were traded among men like so many cattle. It's time to kick this male-oriented, ancient practise into the garbage can where it belongs. The year is 2008 AD, not 2008 BC. By the way, although polygamy is sanctioned in the Old Testament, both St. Paul and Christ said a man should have but one wife. Read Matthew 19, 3-9,and Paul to Timothy,3,1-2,and 12,plus Paul to Titus, 1, 4-7. The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints should not use the name Christ in their title -- that's gross blasphemy.

  • Utah Texan
    Oct. 23, 2008 6:50 a.m.

    I love Utah and I am from Utah (but now live in Texas). Utah comes across as condoning polygamy because it does not prosecute polygamy (only the crimes within polygamy). In Texas, there isn't alot of separation of Church and State and they assume it is the same way in Utah. However, the judges in Utah do not allow it as they do in Texas. But Utah has been soft on polygammists, which has allowed the polygamists to grow to a point where it would be extremely major to take care of them now. This confuses people about the LDS church's role with polygamy because they assume that the LDS church runs the state. Not so. Many do not know that SLC has not had an LDS mayor in many years and that it has a very high number of non-LDS people. As I read the paper, it is apparent that Utah news people are more concerned with being overly fair to people on other side of the issues than the people in the south are. Unlike many other states, they are quick to point out Utah's minor flaws where in other states they don't do this.

  • Only a matter of time
    Oct. 23, 2008 6:46 a.m.

    Hey everyone, don't worry. Pretty soon it will be okay to be a polygamist. Once California okays gay marriage then pandoras box will be open for all alternative lifestyles. People will be "marrying" their siblings, polygamy will be legal, and don't forget about farmer Bob who wants to "marry" his donkey. Once you approve one alternative lifestyle you have to approve them all, or dare I say it, YOU will be discriminating!!!

  • Logic dictates ...
    Oct. 23, 2008 6:16 a.m.

    I was thinking the other day about prosecuting polygamy and came to the conclusion that prosecuting men who have multiple wives while not prosecuting men who sleep around with multiple women (adultery) promotes the wrong behavior. For those of you who are on the 'prosecute every polygamist man' bandwagon, I hope you are equally vigilant in promoting the idea that our society should prosecute all adulterers.

    As it stands now, we encourage adultery and punish marriage.

    Women being held against their will (physically or psychologically) is a separate issue. That falls under the category of kidnapping. It appears to me that there are plenty of laws that address kidnapping, under-age marriage, etc.

    If we're going to punish men for supporting multiple wives (and the children) through marriage, and turn a blind eye to men who sleep around, fathering children, and leaving behind a single-mother to raise the child, we're really promoting the wrong behavior.

    If you're going to get all hot-n-bothered by polygamy itself, at least be intellectually and morally consistent and get all hot-n-bothered about adultery.

    For those of you who believe this dialogue comes from a polygamist ... I'm a monogomist, married to 1 wonderful lady.

  • nosugrof
    Oct. 23, 2008 5:09 a.m.

    I wonder why hatemongers such as Marci Hamliton refuse to consider the trauma that was inflcited on the children at Short Creek in 1953 and at the XYZ Ranch.

  • American Citizen
    Oct. 23, 2008 12:50 a.m.

    To Bobby Pins & Buns: You Say: "How dare anyone refer to the FLDS cult as LDS or Mormon. :[ BAHHHAH Hum bug!

    TO THE DEVIL WITH ALL POLYGAMISTS!"

    By your remarks I can only guess you are LDS. Well if you are LDS and considering that Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Joseph F. Smith, Heber C. Kimball etc, etc were all polygamists and according to outward LDS beliefs, saved in the Celestial Kingdom of God, - you just sent them all to hell, or "to the devil". What God has exalted, you seek to destroy. You curse your own prophets if your LDS thus knocking out the very foundation you stand on. I think it was the Savior that said something about a kingdom divided against itself. I think you stuck one of your "bobby pins" in just a little too far. Sit down on your "buns" and think about it. Think about your own doctrines - if the LDS has any doctrine left that they have not compromised.

  • You want polygamists?
    Oct. 23, 2008 12:42 a.m.

    Look at the Hmong communities. Their girls marry at 12 or 13, polygamously, and most of them live in complete squalor, sharing a two bedroom apartment with a husband, a couple wives, 10-20 children, and dozens of chickens.

    Seriously. I've investigated crimes among the Hmong and have seen this scene dozens of times. But no one would dare be "culturally insensitive" and suggest that these poor refugees be prosecuted for taking multiple child brides.

    But those white plygs in Utah? Yeah buddy, round 'em up, brand 'em, and send 'em to the Big House.

    What a crock.

    (For the record, I don't care what people do in their bedrooms or with whom. Polygamists whose only "crime" is having sex with more than one consenting adult woman aren't really criminals. If they were, you'd have to arrest half of our inner city populations and probably two thirds of the businessmen and politicians.)

  • To Bobby Pins
    Oct. 23, 2008 12:00 a.m.

    The word Mormons comes from those who believe in the Book of Mormon. I think the FLDS people fall into that classification. Remember, a lot of the Christian world believe that mainstream Mormons are also in a religious cult. Don't throw rocks lest they be thrown back.

  • Re: Bobby Pins & Buns
    Oct. 22, 2008 11:52 p.m.

    You just insulted Barrack Obama's dad! Obama's dad is a polygamist, so I've heard.

  • Woman Slavery
    Oct. 22, 2008 11:03 p.m.

    Jonh Pack Lambert

    I cannot figure you out for the life of me? Why are you so interested the Flds people? And always on these Flds poligie blogs? Why do you choose to know so much about these woman slavers? Is this your new found religion or what? Sorry, I really don't mean to sound critical, but I'm just surprised to see all the time, your comments, and deep your involvement with these abusers if you are truly a good LDS?

  • BOBBY PINS & BUNS
    Oct. 22, 2008 10:20 p.m.

    How dare anyone refer to the FLDS cult as LDS or Mormon. :[ BAHHHAH Hum bug!

    TO THE DEVIL WITH ALL POLYGAMISTS!

  • John Pack Lambert
    Oct. 22, 2008 10:01 p.m.

    If Ms. Hamilton really wanted to do something about polygamy she would encorage the government of New York where she works to go after all the Islamic polygamists in New York City.
    While polygamists wives in Utah are normally citizens, polygamist wives in New York City tend to be undocumented immigrants who if they go against their husbands will can easily be exposed and deported.
    If she really believed that ending polygamy would free woman from oppression she would advocate that the New York prosecutors office actually do something about the many 16-year-olds who are coming to New York to be second wives to 35-year-old men.
    It seems odd for her to criticize the Utah Attorney Generals Office when they do way more along these lines than the New York Attorney Generals Office, when there are quite possible more polygamist marriages in New York than Utah.