I never really knew my grandfather, actually my mother’s step-father, a brother to her real father who died when she was a baby. He lived 5 hours away and we had only visited a handful of times in my youth. I still felt a certain family connection to him somehow.
Recently my mother came for a visit and with her she brought an original Colliers Magazine, 1951 November edition that featured an article by my grandfather entitled ‘Why I Have Five Wives’. I found it very interesting. I already knew some of his history and background, and though he has been gone from this life for over 20 years, I felt a connection with him again. We had something in common, being ‘public’. The cover shows a drawing of a man looking sort of like Abe Lincoln, though that’s not at all how he looked or dressed, with three women surrounding him. I got online and ordered the last one available on Amazon. I felt proud of what he stood for and his willingness to be so open about his lifestyle, even after a recent raid by law enforcement on the polygamous community where he resided. Several of the men were taken to jail and the women and children were sent to various shelters around Utah and Arizona. My mother, still a child at the time, recalls with horror some of the circumstances she went through and that has always impacted me.
The entire article captured my attention but here is a small excerpt:
“Naturally, a great deal depends on the husband. And although intimate matters are my own business, as with any decent man, I will say that I try to be impartial. You must realize that a plural family is, above all, a unit. My wives trust me. A man of our faith never walks the chalk line as does the man with only one wife. I spend my time where I’m most needed, perhaps where there is sickness or trouble. My wives trust me to do whatever is best for the family as a whole.
Of course, a man has to be something of a diplomat. Even when my families lived separately, I rotated my evenings; once a week we met together at our Home Evening. When you pray and sing together, air your problems and your grudges, play games and visit, and afterward sample Marie’s special angel-food cake or Alice’s cream puffs, you not only have fun—you forge bonds that will endure through eternity.”
I don’t know whether we would have agreed on every point, in fact, I’m sure we wouldn’t have, but I respect what I know of the man, who, by all accounts that I have heard, describe him to be nothing less than honorable and kind.