Darger Family Is Because

Like many plural families, Vicki, Valerie, Alina and I grew up in fear. We were afraid of the government, we were afraid of police, we were afraid of outsiders, we were afraid to be ourselves. It became very natural for us to hide in the safety of our families, after all there we found love, safety and security. Sadly, this is a limited way of being.

We came to realize that the very nature and calling of our faith was stifled. In fact, faith is by it nature a purposeful action in a positive direction, it is taking a step up even when you don’t know where the stair case leads. The contrast to faith is fear.

Fear is a reaction to what we think to be real but have no evidence for, and so in the end we cause that reality. In our book, Love Times Three, we chronicle the story of our daughter Kyra dying and the ensuing investigation by the state. Our years of fear manifested itself in the State investigating us. We see now, that had we not had that fear there were many powerful actions we could have taken. We were so used to hiding in the safety of our family we knew no other way to be.

Eventually we came to the understanding that family is a place to come from into the world, not a place to hide in. Our family, however imperfect it may be, like any family is a source of love for us to then share with each of our neighbors, and with the world. When you are a victim, you are creating your fears.  Too often, in efforts to help plural families, well meaning people turn them into victims. In our experience, it is always better to empower people by standing for them where ever they are at in life.

Even today, people will ask my children, or wives questions that imply they are victims of circumstance. Recently for example, Liesl had a rather boisterous girl in class ask her in front of everyone, “So are you a polygamous?”

Of course, she is not a polygamous, her parents are, but the point wasn’t as a matter of curious inquiry but rather designed to test her response.

Had Liesl reacted defensively, and with fear she would have created the very fear she wanted to avoid. People would have thought she was a victim, and she would have felt dis-empowered.

Instead she responded, “Yes I come from a plural family, pretty cool huh!”  The nature of the conversation changed and a new way of her interacting with classmates opened up.

For us it is important that we are who we are and we remain responsible for who we are. It often takes courage to be authentic. Courage is to be afraid and to do it any way. Most of us when we are in fear are not in action. Where the action is we are not. We become reactive instead of activists in our own lives.

Real power is standing in for what is really possible in your life. Real power is in being responsible for who you are and who you are not. Most people look at responsibility as something that occurs for them because of something. Responsibility revolves around fault and blame, and then we avoid it when we think we are to blame.

Our family is a creation of love, and it is because it is. We know we cannot become victims of circumstance when we react because of what is the matter. Too often in life we live in a world of explanation, and we are at the affect of life.  We say things like, “I’m fine as long as no one is mean to me,” or “I have no problem doing X, as long as Y doesn’t happen.”  For us we were fine to interact with the “world” as long as no one threatened us, but in that way of being we really didn’t fully and authentically engage with the outside, and we didn’t realize that we didn’t know we didn’t fully engage with others. It was simply the way things were.

Instead we have to notice in our life all the places we are thwarted at the affect of life and truly own it. This is to be cause in the matter, instead of because of the matter. It is an altering view of life which opens up opportunities we never thought possible. For us we have met hundreds of supportive people like those that read this blog, and talked to millions of people boldly in ways we never dreamed doing before.

This becomes a commanding way of being in that you realize in any situation, circumstance or matter you have choice, and in that choice you are cause. Just like happened with Liesl, new opportunities for action open up and people relate to you powerfully and authentically.

So the next time an upset comes up in your life, don’t tell someone that your way of being is because of whatever the upset is, for that is a lie. Instead, declare yourself cause in the matter, whatever the upset is, and you will find a new perspective that gives you options to powerfully move forward in your life.


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6 Responses to Darger Family Is Because

  1. Chris Nystrom says:

    Excellent. Powerful words.

  2. Renee says:

    I have been going through much these days no I am not in plural marriage however it is hard non the less my situation. I have been doing the THIS ISN’T fair for some time knowing full well God would rather I except this tribulation and make the best out of it. Thank you for you words it encourages me to keep things in perspective . God Bless you family.

    • Joe says:

      Thank you for sharing, acceptance for what is gives you a powerful context for action. When I have accepted what is occurring as tribulation or sacrifice, I have found that those moments are those which I have grown and learned the most in my life.

      • Renee says:

        The word you used jumped out at me “Sacrifice” yes that is exactly what is going on here. I had not thought of it in the terms of sacrifice. I now can see very clearly the tribulation is more about me gladly sacrificing for my family…I have made it a tribulation ..Sacrifing is a whole different deal…I can glady do that for my family…Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and words.

  3. Mel says:

    Joe, Alina, Vicki, Valerie and family,

    I just had to post a comment here. I admire your courage and faith in writing your book and speaking up on the rights and freedoms that plural marriages deserve. While I do not believe exactly as you do, nor am I a person of any Morman background, I believe in plural marriage and I see the many blessings that you and your wives and family receive. My wife believes that there is nothing wrong with plural marriage, but she is not sure that she would be able to live with jealousy issues. However, the blessings that God gives in large families are endless. My wife and I have eight children and indeed it is a blessing when each was added to our family. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you on your blog for what you are doing to help thousands of people in our country who believe like you that God blesses plural marriage as well. I have loved reading your story and when I bought your book, I sat down and read it in one sitting. I am enjoying reading your blog and hearing more of your story and that of the lessons your children are learning as you raise them as God fearing people. God bless you all and what you are trying to do. I don’t know if I will ever be blessed with a second wife, but I know that God has already lead my family in a direction that he has chosen. May you all have a blessed week and a great month too!

  4. amcgrrl says:

    I’m sorry, but I simply don’t understand why anyone in America would actually choose this lifestyle.

    My grandfather in China had 3 wives and my mother was a classic case for long-term psychotherapy (in my opinion). She was a naysayer, who blamed negative circumstances on others. She disowned me when I was 15, because I had won (and accepted) a scholarship to a college-prep high school in another state. When she married my father, she converted to Catholicism (from Buddhism) and all my life, she threatened to castrate him if he ever cheated on her. Fast forward to 2011, it turns out my father sought the comfort of another woman and a 24-year-old “boy” (apparently very spoiled by his mother) appeared after my father’s death claiming to be my father’s son and claiming to be the sole recipient of my father’s life insurance policy, that my mother paid for. My father never wanted to leave my mother, which is why he never told her about the affair. But he didn’t want to give up this woman either, because she bore him a son; a son is prized in the culture. So should my mother have been more accepting of my father’s “faults” such that she would/could have learned about the other woman sooner or did she end up in such a marriage, because of her upbringing and unresolved issues with her own father?

    All of us carry our past into the future. As Debi & Michael Pearl writes in their parenting book, “Train Up a Child:” “Adults are just old children.”

    I want to mention that my mother worked very hard most of her life – she was the primary caregiver in a home of 4 children and she had the better paying job working overtime in the sweatshops. My father worked hard too, but his businesses were often failures so my mother became the breadwinner, which apparently allowed my father plenty of time and opportunity to seek outside gratification. I simply see no nobility or glory in a man getting his self-esteem/self-worth needs met from the admiration and support of more than one woman.

    My parents were bound by duty to one another, much like your cooperative lifestyle with plural marriages. They were also “co-dependent” by modern psychological definition, meaning they could not survive or imagine surviving without each other. This is not healthy. Anything that is not based on choice is unhealthy for an adult, because love is a choice. Doesn’t the Bible say that God chose us to be heirs of his Kingdom? My parents needed each other psychologically (and financially), so divorce was not ever an option (hence the castration comments from my mother). But honestly, I would never in a million years consider what my parents had a “community” of two.

    Community, to me, is made up of individuals who are fully aware of their conscious choices, individuals who exercise their courage in the world as well as the home and are therefore emotionally and spiritually positioned to choose to love and serve one another. It is not a job. And it is not for children, but for adults. Yet I understand the “labor of love” aspect, but again, love is first a choice and a decision. Without that choice, it is not love, just labor. It is not something you bind yourself to because you can’t see yourself living a different life.

    Because monogamy is so rare among the world’s societies (as you have written in this blog), to me, it requires a higher spiritual plane to achieve and live out successfully. Life is boring and life is lonely sometimes. This is why Jesus and many religious prophets, gurus, sages, etc. often meditated alone in quiet places. In quiet and solitude, God speaks to us and reveals his deepest desires. Jesus fasted for 40 days in order to hear his father’s voice before he met his calling to death. Filling the house up with noise and extraneous distractions (as children and conflicts/tensions from multiple, sexual relationships will do) is not spiritual. It is merely about earthly living, which can be spiritual – but only if it truly leads us to our creator and savior. Does it?

    But being open about your life is always better than to live in hiding. Thank you for sharing and going public. I genuinely hope the sales from your book can help you financially, as large families cost a lot of money to ‘maintain’. I can only imagine the dark torment my father had in his last days of the hospital, having kept this secret from my mother all these years and how much he struggled being unable to adequately provide for either family… I’m sure it ended his life prematurely.

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