After the 2010 premier of TLC’s reality show, “Sister Wives,” which peeks inside the lives of a polygamous family, Joanna Brooks, a senior correspondent for religiousdispatches.org and a Mormon, had some questions.
“Why am I being taken on a tour of computer-generated graphic rendition of the Brown’s three-level suburban home?
Why am I peeking into these windowless bedrooms at middle-aged, middle-class blondes in fuzzy slippers and sweats?
Why am I spending an hour of my life watching a middle-aged advertising salesman in suburban Utah standing there in the predawn hours in his sweats explaining where he keeps his clothes?”
The answer is simple. TLC wants you to know that polygamists are just like you and me. They wear slippers and sweat pants, love their families, and live in houses. So stop acting like they’re weirdoes. That’s the message of “Sister Wives.”
But, no matter how hard TLC may try, polygamy is not normal. And a 2011 Gallup poll proves it. According to Gallup, only 11% of Americans find polygamy to be morally acceptable. On top of that, it’s also illegal.
As we discussed last week, the families of Sister Wives were, in fact, under investigation by the county because their bigamy is a crime. However, it is the policy of the state not to prosecute unless there is abuse in the criminal homes.
Child abuse and sexual abuse is not uncommon in polygamous (often Fundamentalist Mormon) homes. In fact, Warren Jeffs, the leader of one of the largest polygamous organizations in the country, was charged just last year with 2 counts of sexual assault of a child and sentenced to life in prison.
Before his arrest and conviction he had been convicted by the state of Utah with 8 other sex crimes against children and was accused of arranging marriages between adult men and minor girls. That conviction was overturned because of problems with the jury.
The seemingly innocuous Brown Family does not represent all polygamists. Although Kody seems to be a nice guy who is good to his children, pedophilia and sexual abuse are deeply intertwined in the polygamist lifestyle.
Although TLC certainly will not draw attention to this, it is important that people are aware.
Let these veteran advertisers and a few new sponsors know that you are not pleased with their support for the lifestyle.