I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Mine was a young suburb filled with new trees planted in the easement strip. Dotted and dashed along the sidewalk, driveways stitching neighbors into the commonness of the neighborhood. On each side of us and in just about each home on the street were kids my age and most in my class at school. Young families, filled with promise, living the American Dream.  All were equal, right? It was supposed, but not practiced.

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A Feminist Studies Mormon Polygamy And, Remarkably, Finds That It Liberated the Wives

By Linda Witt

For her Ph.D. thesis in counseling psychology at Northwestern University, Utah-born Vicky Burgess-Olson felt herself drawn to an examination of her Mormon roots and the peculiar institution of early Mormon families—polygamy. The great-great-granddaughter of a man with four wives, Dr. Burgess-Olson, 33, studied the diaries kept by Mormon pioneer women between 1847 and 1885. She followed up her ground-breaking research by editing Sister Saints, a study of 19th-century Mormon women, published by Brigham Young University. A confirmed feminist and mother of two sons and two daughters, Burgess-Olson recently completed summer training at Fort Sam Houston as a major in the U.S. Army Reserve. She is a school psychologist in Provo, Utah, where her husband, Eric Olson, 34, an Egyptologist, teaches at Brigham Young. Dr. Burgess-Olson talked with Linda Witt of PEOPLE about her research.

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The paradox of polygamy II: Why most women benefit from polygamy and most men benefit from monogamy

By Satoshi Kanazawa
Created Feb 21 2008 – 7:10pm

George Bernard ShawContrary to popular belief, most women benefit from polygynous society, and most men benefit from monogamous society. This is because polygynous society allows some women to share a resourceful man of high status. George Bernard Shaw (who was one of the founders of the London School of Economics and Political Science where I teach) put it best, when he observed, “The maternal instinct leads a woman to prefer a tenth share in a first rate man to the exclusive possession of a third rate one.”

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The paradox of polygamy I: Why most Americans are polygamous

By Satoshi Kanazawa
Created Feb 17 2008 – 8:07am

Big LovePolygyny has been in the public eye and many Americans’ water-cooler conversations lately, from the success of the HBO series Big Love to the trial of the Mormon sect leader Warren Jeffs. Most Americans consider polygynous marriage to be exotic, unusual, bizarre, and even morally wrong, hence the attraction of Big Love or the titillation of the Jeffs’ trial. But polygyny is not that exotic; many — even most — Americans are already in polygynous marriages.

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The Present State of Our Polygamous Future

Jul 20, 2011

Joe Carter


In an interview on the science in science fiction, novelist William Gibson noted, “[T]he future is already here. It’s just not evenly distributed yet.” What Gibson meant was that the innovations in science fiction could already be found—at least in embryonic form—in our current ideas or technology. Much the same could be said about future social and legal norms concerning the institution of marriage—they are already here, they’re just not evenly distributed yet. 

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Monogamy has been codified into the law of the land due to a nineteenth century religious bias inherited from a state religion tradition in government dating to the Romans where there was only one church. If there had been true separation of church and state in this country, the government would have been religion neutral and freedom would have trumped any alleged harm regarding polygamy—But, as black slaves had to fight for their freedom to overturn “Dred Scott” and eventually gain civil rights equality (in this America where all men are purportedly created equal), polygamists have had to fight as well for the reversal of “Reynolds” and continue to endure oppressive bias regarding a religiously mandated monogamy. This begs the question, “In a free state, why should the religious tradition (monogamy) of the majority be imposed on an unpopular religious minority?”

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This blog post from “Progressive Proselytizing” caught our attention:

On the Morality of Polygamy Law: Freedom vs Harm

Should polygamy be legal? This question is at the core of the landmark polygamy case slowly working its way up the Canadian justice system. To answer this, we look at the balance between harm and freedom. The balance in this case is contrasted to the case of gay marriage.

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