If you watch reality TV, you know that polygamist families exist. And they don’t mind letting the cameras put their plural families on blast all in the name of a fat paycheck. From TLC’s long-running Sister Wives to its latest experiment, Seeking Sister Wife, here’s what reality TV has taught us about polygamy.
There is no such thing as legal polygamy in the U.S.
Kody Brown of Sister Wives can only be legally married to one wife at a time. He even divorced his first wife, Meri, in 2014 to legally wed Robyn, whose children he wanted to adopt.
So where does this leave the other non-legal wives? Well, they’re in “spiritual unions” with Kody. Which provides them zero protection under the law. Good plan.
Mormons are not polygamists. But many polygamists consider themselves Mormon.
Get ready to be confused: Mainstream Mormons reject the polygamist lifestyle. But most polygamists claim to be Mormon. So what gives?
The Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) broke from the mainstream, continuing their polygamist practices long past the late 1800’s ruling that declared them illegal. This obviously does not sit well with LDS members trying to escape the stereotype of having multiple wives. And it led to abuse of underage girls, as evidenced by FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, who was imprisoned for his crimes.
But many polygamist families have rejected the FLDS label too.
The Brown family claim to be fundamental Mormons who don’t subscribe to the abusive practices of underage marriage. They don’t come right out and spill the beans on what religious organization (if any) they belong to, although the NY Times once outed them as members of the most liberal polygamist sect, the Apostolic United Brethren.
The Browns, however, have never confirmed this label.
Polygamists need to make a lot of money. They’ve got, like, a trillion mouths to feed.
Legend has it that Kody Brown is worth nearly a cool million these days – even after multiple bankruptcies and lawsuits. The Brown family also pulls in about $50k an episode from TLC, which goes a long way toward supporting 18 kids.
Kody counts on his wives for their side hustles, like selling real estate. Or LuLaRoe. And damn, do those Sister Wives looooooove them some LuLaRoe.
Polygamists also love Costco.
This is a no brainer, and possibly the only thing I have in common with the Sister Wives. Give me an enormous cart, a Costco membership, and a debit card and I’ll show you the true meaning of hoarding.
At least Kody’s brood has a 20+ person family to warrant bulk buying, whereas I just really love buying pallets of Coke Zero and 84 string cheese sticks at a time.