Polygamy raises questions, concern for children

By Anita Doberman

I am Italian and somewhat jealous when it comes to my husband. It runs in our blood. The concept of sharing a husband with other women is incomprehensible to me. I’ll often remind my husband that there are still many passion murders when a husband is found to have cheated on his wife.

With the recent raid on the compound in Eldorado, Texas, and the ongoing investigation involving polygamy, the debate about having multiple wives and sharing a husband seems to be everywhere.

I interviewed several women who had lived with or still practice polygamy, and I tried to understand how someone freely chooses to live this lifestyle.

I spoke with Anne Wilde, co-founder of Principle Voices, a group that advocates for women in plural marriages; and Flora Jessop, a woman who escaped from a polygamous lifestyle and is now involved with organizations that help abused women escape from fundamentalist groups.

I was surprised by the fact that Wilde is an educated woman who chose to enter a polygamous marriage after her first monogamous marriage ended in divorce.

She was the second wife of Ogden Kraut, a prominent Fundamentalist Independent Mormon, one of the groups practicing polygamy, who wrote more than 65 books about Fundamental Mormonism.

Wilde and Kraut were married for 33 years until his death. Wilde said she was very happy in her plural marriage and that she enjoyed close relationships with her “sister wives” and with her husband.

Wilde also is an Independent Fundamentalist Mormon and believes that only the original Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints teachings were correct, teachings from which the LDS church long ago distanced itself.