Coming Off the Spin Cycle

On Friday we as family went on the Bill O’Reilly Factor show. Click here for the link. He calls the show the “no-spin” zone, yet I felt like that is exactly what happened. We did not expect him to be kind, but we hoped to at least get our book to a different audience. We knew it was going to be tough when the promo and lead in piece equated gay marriage legalization with our plight, saying that “with gay marriage becoming more accepted, polygamists want the same treatment.” We had told the producer very clearly what we wanted, so we knew the spin cycle was already in motion.

On the O'Reilly Show

Alina, Joe and Vicki in front of Fox News on the O'Reilly Show

When we arrived we were told that there was only room for two of us on set. Never mind that four of us had flown out to be on the show. The producer, who was actually quite nice, informed us they had argued with Mr. O’Reilly but the best they could do was sit Vicki and I on set and Joe in studio.  “Were not used to having that many guests and the show is about Bill,” she explained. We knew we would have an uphill battle getting our word in.

He introduced us by saying, “According to most polls, gay marriage is becoming increasingly accepted by Americans and a number of states have already legalized it, as you know. Now, we said years ago that if the country eventually permits gay marriage everywhere, then other groups will want the same treatment.” I countered by telling him that what we we’re really trying to do is get it decriminalized so we’re not asking for a state marriage license.

He apparently did not like my answer because again he asked if I “thought I had a right to participate in a polygamous marriage, should it be legal?” Of which I said yes, and he tried to accuse me of dodging the question. Vicki and I both reiterated that want we want is decriminalization, and what we have always said, that we want the right to be left alone and put our family together the way we believe in and as our conscious dictates.

Mr. O’Reilly then wanted to link “alternative arrangements” and that “they’re really eroding the traditional American family” with problems of children being born out of wedlock, etc as somehow tied to our family arrangement. Finally, not fully satisfied he asked us if we were like the “Woodstock crowd” somewhere in Vermont and the “free love crowd?”  Vicki said again she did not know much about that but that we were a family.

Perhaps we should not have expected differently. But it is sad to see such close mindedness in action. The attempt was to try to marginalize us and ignore the debate entirely, and instead link us to some slippery slope of societal ills.

In reality, we think that true conservatives out there should support our cause. Why? Because we are about family! We are about faith! We are about government being left out of our lives! We are about the first amendment, to worship freely accordingly to our conscience as long as we do no harm to others, and to be able to speak freely about it. Because Joe decides to call me and my sisterwives a “wife”, because he chooses to take the responsibility of creating a family and taking on the role of a husband to all of us, including Valerie’s five children from a previous marriage, then we are told we are felons.

We understand why people of faith want to see their values preserved. But, when we erode the liberties of our country and the ability for people to choose family and commitment to family, then we have eroded the very environment in which healthy families, however they should choose to construct themselves, can flourish.

This entry was posted in Interviews, News, Polygamy. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Coming Off the Spin Cycle

  1. Brooke Adams says:

    Loved hearing the backstory of the spin cycle! Thanks for sharing it, Alina!

  2. Tara Dawes says:

    Bill O’Reilly is a jerk, he’s a jerk to any guest who doesn’t agree completely with his “opinion” and sometimes even them he will try to pick a fight with. Some students from a college near me went on his show to talk about a professor who was unfairly fired and he wouldn’t let them get a word in and then twisted every single thing they said into something horrible. I’m sorry that you had such a bad experience on his show, but honestly I can’t say I’m surprised.

  3. Arleen Cromwell says:

    I listened to the discussion with Bill OReilly. At first, he was going to use you to make a point but when you differed, he started to dismiss you but then seemed a little intrigued by the end. You three looked great and came across as smart and dignified and normal. He came across as abrupt, not listening and not really gaining any useful information when there was a lot to get. He didn’t add much to his show but you got some points across in spite of him. So good job!

    • Alina says:

      Thank you for your comments. It is nice to see how others perceived it. Speaking out is terrifying for me, but it has grown me so much as a person and brought our family so much closer that I would not change it. It is especially rewarding to see our story touch other people’s lives. That is not why we wrote our story, or why we live our life the way we do, but it is a pleasant benefit to see so many people reach out in support and love. ~ Alina

  4. Patricia Sjöberg says:

    Bill O’Reilly isn’t really the best person to talk to if you want to get heard. Why not go on some other talk shows? Rosie O’Donnell has a new one on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) and I think she would be a much better host. People who put family first, regardless of HOW they configure their families, should appeal to anyone who has decent values. I think that not only should gay marriage be legal, but polygamy (with both polygyny and polyandry) should be legal. Basically the government needs to say, “Okay, if you’re family, you can get medical information for a family member, or assist with other legal problems a family member may have, and we won’t harrass you.” Past that, they should stay out of it. Rights of family members, regardless of HOW that family is made up, should be respected. I think ALL wives should be legal wives. Best wishes.

  5. Nikki Yaste says:

    I’m a Conservative Polygamist, so I totally get your cause! ;)

    I think Bill asked the questions MOST people want to know. He isn’t about fluff. He wants to know the root of the situation and bring out someone’s true intentions. I think that is what he was trying to do with you. After you guys were on Dr. Phil, they had Willie Jessop on to speak about the FLDS (which I thought was totally tasteless to do a premier during your episode WHILE you were on stage!) Willie dodged EVERY question with some kind of run around answer. I believe that is what Bill was trying to avoid. I thought you ladies (and Joe) handled the questions with grace and understanding. I HAVE been called a ‘Christian Swinger’ because of our polygamist lifestyle (by a Pastor nonetheless and I’m MORMON, Hello!) so I think for Bill to reference the ‘Hippies’ in Vermont made a valid point. Most people WANT to know if this is what this lifestyle is, which it is not, of course. And I think because there are people out there that take this lifestyle and turn it into something dirty (I’m looking at you Warren Jeffs and you Vermont Hippies ;) ) people walk away with the assumption. I LOVED it! I was happy to see you there!! :) :) Very proud!

  6. Beth says:

    Your situation definitely identifies more with Libertarian ideology than the average Conservative person’s values, I think. I consider myself to be an idealistic Libertarian and I still get a queasy feeling when I think about polygamy. I would sign a petition, write my representatives, etc. on behalf of decriminalization because you’re consenting adults and it doesn’t appear as though anyone is being harmed by your actions. I’m passionate about equal rights and personal choice on an intellectual level, but on a personal level I just can’t get on board. This actually really surprises me because beyond the fact that I believe it’s morally wrong, I don’t have a problem with homosexual relationships at all. In fact, I’d be totally ok with my younger siblings (don’t have kids yet!) going over by a friend’s house who has two dads than going to a friend’s house who has a dad and three or four moms.

    Unlike the general population in the US, I’m far from ignorant when it comes to the diverse culture and history of polygamous families. It has been something I’ve thoroughly looked into in the past out of curiosity and an interest in the unknown. Due to this and my political beliefs, I’m very bothered and perplexed as to why this still feels taboo and disturbing, especially since I consider myself to be very open minded.

    I think you did a good job on the O’Riley Factor and the other interviews I’ve seen. You sound really defensive when they bring up the inevitable sex questions though, and it seems sort of obtuse to wonder why people don’t ask the same things of people in traditional relationships. I thought the brief comment Joe (I think) made in one interview about being in three monogamous relationships was the perfect explanation, but it was drowned out by the defensiveness and annoyance that you were asked about it in the first place. I know that to all of you it’s just the norm since you grew up in it, but to people in other parts of the country who have never seen it in person, it’s an extremely foreign concept.

    I’m very thankful that your family has come out of the closet. The Browns annoy me to no end, so it’s nice to have another family out and about since I appreciate diversity even when it’s uncomfortable. I also think that providing more information to the general public can do nothing but good things.

    Good luck with your future interviews. Fox drives me crazy. I can’t wait to read your book!

  7. kristi mullins says:

    Alina, I think you are beautiful and an amazing person. I was raised in a traditional Mormon family and I strongly disagree with alot of their teachings. However, with that said, I am puzzled as to why several women are willing the share one man, when there are plenty of potential spouses out there. I am divorced and it was painful enough knowing that my ex husband cheated on me, the betrayal and angry feelings of him sleeping with another woman were almost unimaginable. I am not sure I could be in the same house, knowing my husband was sleeping in another womans bed that night. I guess I am trying to understand, and please dont think it is because I disagree. I am just wondering.

    • Alina says:

      Thank you for your comment and thoughts which seem very genuine and sincere. You have some great questions. I know it can be very difficult to understand the concept of sharing a husband. Hopefully I can give you a little of my perspective.
      As a child I knew we were “different” from other people but it still seemed natural for me growing up in a plural family. My two mothers got along very well and I could tell my dad cherished them both. I never wondered if he loved one more than the other. When I got older, I looked at it more seriously. I thought a lot about what it would take to share a man and all other aspects of my life. I knew it would be challenging. For me it was never about the availability of choices for a spouse; I always had plenty of options. The choice was deeply spiritual and I had a strong desire to live my life in what I viewed as an expanded way.
      There were some key points to our relationship early on; communication, trust and respect. I had to trust both Joe and Vicki were looking out for me in every way. That didn’t come over night. It was a process of proving ourselves to one another. I have had many jealous days and times of soul searching. It can be raw and very real. But I get through those times by having a deeper purpose. If the basis of our relationship was sex, I would not live this way. Through the course of time I have grown so much individually and found great fulfillment. The joy I get out of the family and the love we created is far greater than I could have imagined in the beginning.
      A very dear friend of mine went through a divorce after she found out her husband had been cheating on her over many years. The pain I watched her go through was so devastating. Just as you express, the betrayal, hurt and anger were unimaginable. I am sorry you ever had to experience this. As I watched her suffer, the difference was ironic to me. Although Joe also was in a relationship with both Vicki and Valerie, there was no lying, fraud or betrayal of me. Instead he worked hard every day to show how much he loved me and to fulfill his commitment to his family.
      I know this is short but hope it answers some questions!

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