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Usually the polygamy escapists have harrowing tales of abuse to relay. This one was light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek. Almost, dare I say it, a fun read? I would have read it through in one sitting, but my Kindle was running low on batteries from playing Bingo. Shrugs. I was totally on board with the author. She didn’t make excuses for falling into polygamy and didn’t go the “oh, woe is me” route.
Well written and a change from the direct factual account format. I loved Joanne’s humorous spin on life within a Mormon cult. Would have loved another 100 pages. I'm sure there are more stories she could have eeked out of her time with TLC.
It's a page turner
I thought that this was a really great and even look at what happens in polygamist communities. Yes, I do find it strange that someone who lived a mainstream life could fall so far off the wagon—and I don’t understand what it must feel like to be so very drawn to a man that pronounces that he has a special relationship with God. Or that women, by their very nature, are subordinate. That’s why this book was really interesting and revealing. Great Read!
This book is an easy read. I liked the fact that it wasn't an angry, exposé type of story. Joanne took a humorous approach which I think conveys how she is trying to take her exit from the polygamous Mormon cult she was in. She does a pretty good job of explaining the branch of Mormonism she belonged to and the commonalities as well as differences and is very clear that involvement in the True and Living Church (TLC) of Jesus Christ of the Last Days caused her to be excommunicated from the “mainstream” Mormon church. However, she also does a good job of how the fact that the Mormons have never renounced the revelation on legitimized plural marriage (Section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants) leaves the practice of polygamy as an open question for certain types that associate with the Mormon church. In reality the church has just amended their practice of plural marriage to only allow one wife at a time in this mortal life. They, however, continue to believe in plural marriage in the afterlife and so you will find many in the church, including its highest leaders, who are sealed (eternally married) to more than one woman if the previous wife died or was divorced (yep, secular divorce doesn't void the eternal marriage).
Of course a key point of this book is confronting the claim that Mormon polygamous marriage is not about sex. Most Mormons know little about Joseph Smith’s practice of polygamy and how it was instituted. This book glosses over it, but perhaps provides more details than, say, Rough Stone Rolling by Bushman. A better book for the details is In Sacred Loneliness. However, when you know the details and you compare Joseph Smith’s behavior to modern day Mormon polygamists the parallels are striking. It appears that the “revelations” came out of need to justify pretty typical male behavior and institutionalize it. This probably explains why Joanne didn’t go back to mainstream Mormonism or any other religion when she left the TLC. It’s pretty tough to go back once you’ve seen that “the emperor has no clothes” to put the blinders back on.
My reading about Scientology led me on a path out of mainstream Mormonism. Reading this book could do the same for other Mormons who are questioning or have doubts. So a great book for those people but probably not great for died in the wool, true believing Mormons who “know” their church is true and don’t want to examine or question that belief. In that case it would be a tough read to see how the same ways that they “know” the truth were used to convince the members of the TLC that their church was true and that Mormonism is apostate.