Polygamy is the practice of marrying multiple spouses. However, it is rarely the case when a woman marries multiple men. Polygamy is prevalent among Mormons and Muslims but not everyone who is a part of those religions practices this. Polygamy does not exactly have a great reputation. One of the largest groups of polygamists in the United States is the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), but there are dozens of smaller sects located around the country, despite the fact that polygamy was outlawed years ago. Polygamy is also prominent in areas of Africa. There is a man in Kenya named Akuku Danger who has become infamous for having over 100 wives.
Polygamists live in secluded communities, often in poverty, and have their own systems of law and order. Polygamists have been known to do horrible things and mistreat their wives. Their jobs are to produce as many offspring as possible, even if that means risking their lives. Here are the worst things polygamists have done.
15 Making Women Have Kids
With marrying at a young age comes the responsibility of bearing children at a young age, even if the mothers are practically kids themselves. A young girl named Susan was led to believe that it was normal to get married and have kids at a young age. When she was still a young woman, she became an elderly man's sixth wife. From that point on, her only duty in life was to give birth to and raise as many kids as she could.
Susan gave birth to her first child quickly, and had four more shortly after. As a result of forcing these young women to have children, many babies are born stillborn. The mother's life is also put in danger because their bodies are not ready for such strenuous repeated childbirths. It does not help that a lot of these children are born as a result of inappropriate relationships, but more on that later.
14 Forcing Members To Have Inappropriate Relationships With Relatives
Believe it or not, some polygamists actually believe that procreating with people with whom you are related is a good thing because it keeps the genes in the family. However, it can cause serious medical conditions and miscarriages, not to mention it is just plain wrong. Unfortunately, it is very common in polygamous groups like FLDS. Procreating in this fashion has become a somewhat normal practice within this group, despite it being utterly repulsive and unnatural.
Many women are forced to marry their cousins, or other relatives. The FLDS members will not admit that this is the reason why so many of their babies do not survive, and instead claim that these things happen because of "God's will." These people are clearly delusional, and don't want to see how wrong their choices are.
13 FLDS Uses "Mind Control"
You may be wondering why these women do not just up and leave as soon as they are told to marry a man at least twice their age, or marry their cousin, for crying out loud, but polygamists have implemented years of mind control on their members so escaping is not a likely option. Girls have it drilled into their mind at a young age that they have to be in a plural marriage in order to get into heaven.
Women are forbidden to speak their minds and are simply told to obey their husbands. The FLDS girls are brainwashed to worship their leader, Warren Jeffs. They practically think that he is God himself, even though he was the one abusing them the most before he was imprisoned for life for assaulting young girls. However, Jeffs continues to control his cult from his jail cell.
12 Arranging Marriages Between Young Women And Old Men
Young women being married off to older men is the norm with polygamists. One former member of the FLDS polygamous community named Pennie was married off to a 58-year-old man when she was less than half his age. The man had already had five wives and around 70 children when she was "assigned" to him.
When the young girl begged not to be married off to the elderly man, the elderly women in the cult told her to "keep sweet" and do as she was told. Fortunately, Pennie was able to escape the cult but that is not the case for many of these young girls. They are forced to marry a man three times their age, have their children, and live to serve him.
11 Practicing Mass Childrearing
The goal for most polygamists is to reproduce as many children as possible. Women are often treated as incubators, and are constantly pregnant and having baby after baby. One former member of The Church of The Firstborn, a cult group within the fundamentalist Mormon movement, told a harrowing story about having to bear 13 children. On top of that, she was caring for her husband's other 58 children, who were living in disturbing conditions.
The woman shared her husband with nine other women and was isolated on a ranch in Mexico with no running water, no electricity, no heat, and no sort of entertainment whatsoever. Even with being so poor, her husband continued to marry other women who would go on to have more children. Women are seen as child-bearers in these polygamist groups, and that is all.
10 Not Taking Care Of Children
As previously mentioned, polygamist families often live in poverty because their families are too big to provide for. A woman named Rebecca grew up in the polygamous cult called the Apostolic United Brethren (AUB), which is related to the Utah-based FLDS polygamous community. She was one of 39 children. Imagine having to feed 39 children? It would not be easy for even a rich man, let alone a poor, uneducated one with multiple wives.
The former polygamist described how she had to spend one winter huddled up underneath blankets in a chicken coop and her family was forced to eat random animals they could find when they ran out of food. This is not uncommon for polygamous families and because their goal is to create as many children as they can. Having one or two children like a "normal" family is not an option.
9 Using "Seed Bearers" To Participate In Creepy Ritual
The FLDS polygamists believe that certain members of their church have a stronger "seed" than others. They want to spread this throughout their community so they have these men of "worthy bloodlines" impregnate the women. In some cases, a husband is forbidden to be intimate with his wife and must allow another man to do so. During "ritualistic procreation," the husband is required to be in the room and hold his wife's hand while the other male is intimate with her.
A man may have 40 children, but it is totally possible that those kids are not even biologically his. This would explain why the men seem to have no trouble marrying their young daughters off.
8 Women Are Purposely Uneducated
You may be wondering why so many women stay with their husbands or families if the conditions are this terrible. Polygamists often do not educate their women past grade school because they are taught that their job is to have babies, take care of their husband, and manage the house. This creates a situation where women live fearfully because they feel they do not have any option but to stay in a polygamous cult.
Women are scared to leave because they know that they know nothing about the outside world. They have no money, no education, no driver’s license, no place to go, and their families are not going to help them so they often feel trapped and hopeless. The men know exactly what they are doing when they do not allow women to learn, think freely, or speak up for themselves.
7 Women Have To Endure Risky Pregnancies
Women in polygamous cults have one job: have babies. However, when issues arise, the baby's life is always thought of as more valuable than the mother's. For starters, a lot of these women are young when they have their first child. A young person's body is still developing and is not meant to carry a baby to full-term.
They also do not have access to great healthcare, if any at all. Abortions are completely out of the question, even if the mother is in danger of dying. The women also have so many babies, an average of eight or more, that their bodies cannot handle the pregnancies as they get older. Even if a woman is warned by her doctor not to have more any more children, their husbands continue to get them pregnant.
6 Older Wives Get Neglected By New Wives
Older wives who have been with their husbands for ten, twenty, or thirty years have a hard time seeing new wives join their families throughout the years. Some wives feel neglected by their husbands because they are more focused on having relationships with the younger women.
Wives do not get to delegate when they would like to spend time with their husbands. A wife has to wait for her husband to "visit" or spend some time with them. There is a lot of jealousy that ensues between the wives because they desire some kind of connection and affection from their "partner," but feel as though the other women are responsible for taking that away. Wives will often compete to cook the best food and keep the cleanest house in order to gain their husband's love and interest.
5 Sisters Are Made To Marry The Same Man
Polygamists believe that such despicable relationships are a good thing. So they certainly do not mind marrying off sisters to the same man. Often, a man's wives are referred to as "sister wives" because of the nature of their relationships, but it is very common for siblings to be "assigned" to a husband together.
One former member of the FLDS community shared a story of when she was tempted to leave the cult, but her sister had offered for her to come be a part of their family and marry her husband. It turned out that the church had gone behind her back to convince her brother-in-law and sister to make that offer to her to prevent her from getting out. The woman was "gifted" to her sister's husband and the church managed to kill two birds with one stone.
4 Wives Are Often "Bought"
There is often an unspoken agreement in polygamous communities that the more you donate to the church, the more likely it will be for you to be "assigned" a more attractive, younger wife. Love is not an option for polygamists and although the leaders claim to choose the husband who a woman is "supposed" to be with, that is just not the case.
A girl who grew up in a polygamous cult recalled a time when her father was poor and received an older wife who was well past her child-bearing years. Older men are often the ones with the most money, which is why they are able to have the most wives and the youngest wives. The girls are basically treated as a currency that can be exchanged for donations to the church.
3 Families Put Out Hits On Their "Enemies"
Polygamous communities are formed around prominent families. These families are notorious for putting out hits on people who they have "issues" with, even if they are within their own community. Committing such horrible crimes has been prevalent within these polygamous cults for decades. Rulon Allred, the head of what is now the Apostolic United Brethren sect, was killed by the leader of a rival polygamous sect in 1977.
Ervil LeBaron, the head of the Church of the Firstborn of the Fulness of Times, had two of his wives go to Allred's office in Utah dressed in disguises, wearing wigs and sunglasses. They opened fire on him with handguns and he was found later that day. One of his wives was identified but she was acquitted of the crime. LeBaron was eventually jailed after being convicted of association with other such crimes, including the death of his own daughter.
2 The FLDS Leader Controls The Cult From Prison
Warren Jeffs is the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He was sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years for the aggravated assault of children. However, the cult leader is still attempting to control his people from inside his jail cell. He was denied phone privileges after he was caught broadcasting his phone call on speakerphone on the other end to a large group of people.
His many wives have attempted to sneak recording devices and other unauthorized items into the prison when they visited him. His mail is all sorted through and many letters have been rejected because they were sent in some sort of code. He has issued hundreds of orders since being in prison, including telling members who they can marry and where they have to live. He has even made strange demands like forcing women to use reusable sanitary products for their menstrual cycles. Warren's brother Isaac and Nephi are his most frequent visitors, who are essentially taking care of things on the outside for him.
1 This Ancient Barbaric Practice
As if forcing women to marry a man they don't want to is not bad enough, polygamists in the FLDS community have a practice that they call "blood atonement." Blood atonement consists of a husband taking his wife's life in a very gruesome way to "atone for her sins." This practice was formed in the mid-1800s by Brigham Young, the second prophet of the FLDS church after the founder Joseph Smith.
Blood atonement is based on the belief that there were some sins that the blood of Christ could not atone, so it was the sinner's responsibility to shed their own blood. The practice may only be performed in a temple. A woman is strapped down to an altar before she is "sacrificed." They also allegedly try to destroy any physical evidence.
Sources: listverse.com, cracked.com, nydailynews.com, cbn.com, cbsnews.com