It is taboo in our culture to speak out. We have had many think we are putting what is sacred out to the world, some have said we have done it for attention, for money or other selfish motives, and still others have just been genuinely concerned for our safety. Our grandfathers all were in prison for plural marriage as we call it, or polygamy as the rest of the world calls it. I remember my mother telling us about visiting her Father in prison in Draper Utah, she would only see him from the road as he waved out the window. My Father would tell me countless stories, one of which I relate in the book of his family running from the law, living in every western state and going by an alias (The Brown’s of all alias polygamous names ) So when our families get upset, or when they don’t understand why we do what we do it is not without basis.
From those without the culture, there is a similar misunderstanding as to why we would do this. We had one reporter who had covered polygamy for 20 years repeatedly ask us why we were writing this book? Why would we risk it? He said he had never encountered polygamous families willing to talk except off the record? So in his experience he could not reconcile why.
The truth of the matter is that there is more to risk financially than gain to speak up, and it has taken all of the courage we could muster to lose our anonymity. We hope those that read the book understand our journey. This is not something we woke up one day and decided to do. The fact is we have felt lead and inspired by our Father in Heaven to move forward in faith, and we have been inspired by good people before us who have stepped forward for causes for freedom of the unpopular.
I recently listened to an old radio clip of the great broadcaster, Edward R. Murrow, and as I listened to the words I thought they articulated better than I the feelings that had inspired me to speak out.
“If we dig deep into our history and our doctrine, we will remember we are not descended from fearful men. Not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend the causes that were for the moment, unpopular.”
And then he went on to say, “We can deny our heritage and our history but we cannot escape the responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of the republic to abdicate his responsibilities.”
I abhor people who use religion to justify horrible acts against the innocent, and my faith alone cannot justify my unlawful act of plural marriage. But this is a country that was borne to allow the most unpopular of faiths to practice according to their conscience, it is a country that is dedicated to the pursuit of happiness, the idea that as long as we do no harm to our fellow citizens we should be left alone by our government. When we allow the least of us to suffer injustice we erode the foundation of the Republic.