More diversity than meets the eye

 

Debra Weyermann's excavation of the hidden connections between the FLDS and mainstream LDS culture was very interesting. I wrote about this ambivalence and its reflection in  The Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News and in a chapter of Saints Under Siege. Overall, that book is more sympathetic to the FLDS than Weyermann, and tends to differentiate between the rank-and-file and Jeffs' leadership.

The thing that I found least helpful about this piece was its implied conflation of all polygamous groups. The Browns of reality TV fame are part of the Apostolic United Brethren, which has its own challenges but does not practice underage marriage. I am not an advocate of legalizing polygamy, but I've been researching five polygamist communities and have been interested to see the diversity in them. As Weyermann points out, the FLDS are the most reclusive and have been the most difficult for me to contact and study since an initial interview and tour in 2010.

Mike Hamilton
Elsah, Illinois

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