Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate March 2001

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I first became familiar with of the topic of polygamy when visiting Salt Lake City in Utah. I met a girl that was a devout Mormon and I started asking her about the history of the religion. She made a comment about ¡°in the past it wasn¡¯t unusual for a man to have more than one wife, and over ten kids¡±. In Utah the majority of the residents practice Mormonism, and polygamous marriages have been linked with this religion. Her remark caught me off guard, and questions started swirling in my head like, ¡°Are polygamous marriages legal? Can a polygamous marriage work? What kind of woman would want to share her husband with other women? How many people are actively involved in polygamous marriages?¡± I thought about the idea of polygamy the entire way back from Utah to Washington, and still could not wrap my mind around the idea of a husband having more than one wife.

I asked my best friend who is married what she thought of polygamous marriages. The overall vibe given to me by my friend was that a marriage is a union of two people, and anything more than one wife is an act of infidelity. After talking with her I agreed that I would not want to share my husband, life or children with another woman or women.

Then, last winter quarter I took the philosophy class Sex and Love. We did not directly address polygamous marriages, but we did talk a little bit about group marriages. My professor suggested that marriage is a union that involves respect, commitment and loyalty unconditionally, so why is a marriage with more than one person any different if it holds to these same standards? I then realized that there may be more elements to a polygamous marriage...