1 Jun 2011

Study on Bedouin polygamy finds it condemns women and children to lives of poverty, loneliness and depression

Shatil - Israel May 24, 2011

Polygamy causes suffering among women, study finds 

Arab women in Israel who are in polygamous marriages live in a state of poverty, neglect and anxiety.

Polygamy disrupts women’s and children’s lives and condemns them to a life of poverty, loneliness and depression.

These are the conclusions of a qualitative study conducted recently among Bedouin women in the Negev by SHATIL and Ma’an, the Forum for Arab Women’s Organizations in the Negev.

The study’s purpose was to examine the experiences of women living in polygamous marriages and to look at how polygamy affects their lives. In in-depth interviews with nine women, the researchers found that:

• the women fear divorce.

• they experience a serious deterioration in their economic situation once their husband marries an additional wife.

• the “left behind wife” loses her social benefits as the state does not recognize more than one wife.

• they suffer physical and emotional abuse after the additional marriage.

• there is a cycle of lack of education.

• all express anti-polygamy stands.

One of those surveyed tried to commit suicide after being beaten and humiliated by her husband. She said: “Everything I do is for my children. I cannot divorce and remarry because then I would lose my (eight) children.” (In Bedouin society, the children of divorce stay with the father and the mother may be forbidden from seeing them.)

R. 26, a mother of six who married at 14 and was forced by her husband’s family to leave school, said: “My husband’s third wife is now building a new home with my husband. I live in their basement. When I first came there, there was no electricity, water, windows or bathrooms. Today there are windows, but still no door.”

Z, whose father has three wives, sees the lack of justice that may arise from polygamy.

“My father has a son from his third wife and a daughter from my mother. Both are eight and are in the same class. My father pays for the class trips of his son but not of his daughter…Before we went to court, he would take our government child allowance…”

P, aged 38, echoed other women in polygamous marriages when she said: “I’m against polygamy, because it’s hard on the (first) wife and the children. Always, as a result of polygamy, one of the wives is neglected. This is hard on the mother and on the children because they need the father, they need their father’s voice, they need their fathers’ talk…sometimes they get out of control because of this.”

The findings strengthen academic studies of polygamy and enrich it with personal complexity. [see related articles links below]

The study was conducted by Hind Elsana, the lobbyist for SHATIL’s Bedouin Women’s Rights and Leadership Project, funded through the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, Office of the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) as well as a Ma’an attorney and a SHATIL Everett Social Justice Fellow, Tamar Seter. The study’s conclusions were presented Tuesday at a conference at Ben Gurion University as well as at Ma’an’s 10th anniversary conference.

The study followed an intensive anti-polygamy media campaign by a coalition of Israeli Arab women’s organizations.

Ma’an has launched a project to raise awareness in the Bedouin community about the problems caused by polygamous marriages. A position paper prepared by Elsana will soon be presented to the Knesset.

This article was found at:


Jerusalem Post  -  Israel    December 23, 2010

Israeli anti-polygamy activists run into Islamic opposition

Negev clerics and politicians infuriated by women's campaign to stop polygamous marriages among Israeli Beduin.


A women’s group campaigning to stop polygamous marriages among Israeli Beduin is running into strong resistance from Islamic groups and even some politicians.

The organizers of the "No Excuse for Polygamy" campaign, launched at the end of November, have been called infidels in newspaper editorials and accused of serving the Zionist agenda by limiting the Arab birth rate. Last Friday’s sermon in a mosque in the Beduin town of Rahat war

Even heads of Negev regional councils representing Beduin towns have publicly denounced the anti-polygamy campaign.

Safa Shehadeh, director of Ma'an – the Forum for Arab Beduin Women's Organizations of the Negev, one of the groups behind the anti-polygamy campaign, said she expected traditionalists to push back. But the reaction has been more aggressive than she had expected.

"There were no personal threats against us," Shehadeh told The Media Line, "but some of the articles published by members of the Islamic Movement and municipal leaders included tacit threats."

In Islam, a man may marry up to four wives on condition that he provides for them equally. But in most Arab societies the phenomenon is frowned upon and in Israel polygamy is illegal, punishable by up to five years in prison. Nevertheless, the custom is deeply rooted in the culture of the Beduin Arabs who traditionally were tent-dwelling nomads but who have gradually been settled in permanent towns like Rahat.

Husbands will have their polygamous marriages sanctified religiously but not in the government marriage registrar. Indeed, many second, third and fourth wives are officially listed as single parents, entitling them to allowances.

Since polygamous marriages aren’t recognized by the government, no official statistics exist. But the Research and Information Center of Israel’s Knesset, or parliament, estimates that somewhere between 20% and 36% of Beduin households in the southern Negev region, where most of Beduin live, are polygamous.

The Working Group for Equality in Personal Status Issues (WGEPSI), which organized the campaign against multiple marriages, believes the number is at the high end of that range. It blames a lack of education and an undeclared Israeli policy of legal non-intervention as the main causes.

Primarily a media campaign using posters with women's testimonials, the "No Excuse for Polygamy" initiative also holds meetings and seminars aimed at educating single women about the price of polygamy. The campaign defending polygamy has been more visceral.

A menacing red and black advertisement published in Al-Hadath, a newspaper published in Rahat, urged women who had failed to get married by age 30 to find a husband to share.

"What is the solution for 7,513 unmarried women in the Negev over the age of 30?" the advertisement rhetorically asked. "Polygamy -- a shariah-sanctioned solution!" it said, answering its own question by defending the practice as approved under Islamic law.

Heba Yazbak, WGEPSI's activities coordinator, said she was heartened by the counter-measures. "This proves that our campaign has really destabilized them," she told The Media Line. "Many men in the southern branch of the Islamic Movement are married to more than one woman, so they have a personal stake in this."

Yazbak noted that the counter-campaign calls itself the Committee for Women's Equality in the Negev, a name similar to her own organization. It also copied the logo and poster design of the original anti-polygamy campaign. "It seems that our campaign threatens everyone," she said.

Sheikh Hammad Abu-Da'abes, head of the Islamic Movement's southern branch, said the women's movements had no answer to the growing problem of spinsterhood in a fast-urbanizing Beduin society.

Some 200,000 Beduin live in Israel, mostly in the Negev desert. With an annual growth rate of 5.5%, Israeli Beduins are one of the fastest growing populations in the world.

"Women are the greatest beneficiaries of polygamy," Abu-Da'abes told the Israeli-Arab weekly Kul Al-Arab. "Spinsterhood has reached 25% in Arab society, and when we fight polygamy we shut the door in the face of many women who wish to marry half a man due to their inability to marry a full man."

For that reason, Abu-Da'abes criticized Arab men who take foreign women in addition to their Arab wives, saying he would like to issue an Islamic legal opinion, known as a fatwa, against mixed marriages.

Yazbak dismissed Abu-Da'abes’ argument, saying polygamy causes poverty and dissolves the family structure. She asserted that Israel’s policy of non-intervention was part of a larger strategy to keep Arab society in Israel impoverished.
"Israeli law is not applied in the Negev," she said. "This is a marginalized and neglected part of the country."

Shehadeh of Ma'an said the opposition to the women’s campaign won’t sway her from fighting polygamy.

"They tried to question our legitimacy, our credibility and our patriotism, but this is a human rights issue,” she said. “We don't even go into the religious question of whether it's permissible or not."

This article was found at:


YNet News  -  Israel    December 21, 2010

'Over 30 and single? Try polygamy'

Local Bedouin newspaper sparks calls on single Bedouin women who are over 30 to consider polygamous marriages, saying 'it's the Sharia solution'

by Ilana Curiel

Have a wife, or maybe a few: New ads have been popping up in local Bedouin newspapers throughout the Negev recently. The ads suggest that Bedouin women who are in their thirties and single try polygamous marriage as a solution to their "problem."

As polygamy is illegal in Israel, the people behind the ad campaign refuse to reveal their identities, but sign the ad as The Negev Committee for Women's Rights.

Even though polygamy is illegal and anyone marrying more than one woman is in danger of being arrested, the fact is that the law is hardly ever enforced. An ad featured in Rahat's Al Haddat newspaper states that the purpose of the campaign is to help women who have passed the 30-year mark and are having trouble finding a groom.

The ad also stated that according to Islamic law, marrying a second and even a third wife is an extremely effective solution for single women in their thirties.

The ad shows a 34-year-old Bedouin woman who tells of how she feels that her "future is bleak" because all of her friends are already married and she doesn't know if she will ever be able to experience motherhood. The question "What is the solution for 7,514 women in the Negev who are over 30 and still single?" was spread underneath her picture with an answer already included: "polygamy, the Sharia solution".

The ad's initiators shared an important stipulation – polygamy was allowed if a man can treat each wife equally. Those who cannot should not marry more than one woman. In addition to polygamy being illegal in Israel, the ad campaign itself is illegal because it encourages illegal activities. Various sources within the Bedouin community claim that the phenomenon has seen a worrying increase in recent years.

'Oppressing practice'

Attorney Rawia Aburabia of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), who frequently lectures about the status of Bedouin women, in a forum on co-existence in the Negev stated that there was a 30%-40% rise in the number of polygamous marriages.

"Polygamy is a practice that oppresses everybody – women, children and men." According to Aburabia, the ad campaign comes as "a response to a major campaign against Polygamy which is being carried out by a number of equality and civil rights organizations."

The ad includes an email, but publisher remains anonymous

Polygamy also causes negative social trends within the Bedouin community. Among other things, mean who marry more than one woman 'import' women from Gaza and the West Bank so that the act is, when all is said and done – human trafficking. Polygamous marriages incur additional felonies, such as fictive divorces and national insurance fraud.

A central problem which the authorities deal with in efforts to enforce the law, is the fact that it is incredibly difficult to prove that any crime has been committed.

Meanwhile, it is unclear exactly who is behind the ad campaign, and all attempts to contact its initiators have failed. The ad includes a contact email but so far, Ynet has received no response. The editor of the newspaper in which the ad appeared said that the publishers wished to remain anonymous.

Police waiting for instructions

The southern region's prosecution said that they were well aware of the problem and noted: "This isn't a singular case; this is a social trend, which needs to be dealt with in a systematic and comprehensive manner.

"Over the last few months' discussions attended by officials including the southern region civil prosecutor, the southern region criminal prosecutor, additional representatives from the state prosecution, police representatives and other government officials were held for that purpose."

Referring to the polygamy trend the southern region police department stated that: "A Justice Ministry committee is discussing forming directives for law enforcement methods, the police will operate in accordance with the directives it receives."

Hassan Shaalan contributed to this report

This article was found at:


YNet News  -  Israel     September 26, 2010

Barely 16 and married

Thousands of adolescent girls are married in Israel every year, decisive majority of them Arabs and Bedouins. Legal marriage age is 17, may increase to 18 due to new legislative initiative

by Yael Branovsky

"The day I was married I knew I would divorce. I didn't really understand what it meant to be married and mother, but I knew I do not want to be married. I wanted to be a normal teenage girl. Go to school and chat with my friends. But 25 years ago the decision was not mine. I was forced to marry a guy I barely knew. Love was definitely not in the air."

While many Arab and Bedouin women are marrying and having children in Israel every year, their peers are still in high school and preparing for enlistment in the army.

According to the 1950 Marriage Age Law, minors are permitted to marry at age 17. Although marriage prior to this age constitutes a crime, (assuming there are no mitigating circumstances, like pregnancy or birth). The law was legislated in 1950 and is considered progressive for its time, but in most European countries, in the US and even in Iraq, the legal marriage age is 18. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2008 there were 636 brides aged 16 and under (most were married between 2005 and 2007 and registered late with the Interior Ministry). Brides aged 17 numbered 1.455 and bridges aged 18 reached 2,519.

Hanna, who is now 41 years old, was married when she was 16. Today she recalls the mistake she made then. "My parents immigrated to Israel from Georgia, where it is customary to marry girls at a very young age. My father passed away and my mother was left alone with young children, so for her it was a relief to have me married at a young age. I met my husband through the arrangement and didn't really understand what I was getting into. Facts were created for me."

Hanna quickly became pregnant and decided to stay with her husband until the kids grew up. "From the start I knew this was not the person I want to grow old with, but I did want my children to grow up with a father figure." She left high school and did not study for many years, despite her ambitions. "I didn't go into the army and didn't experience a normal teenage upbringing. Only once my children had grown up did I complete my studies and even went on to so a master's degree but I know I missed out on the formative years of my life."

'The girls had no idea what they were getting into'

According to a position paper prepared by the Rackman Center for the Advancement of Women's Status, the number of Muslim girls that are married is double that of Jewish girls. At ages 16-17 the gap is four times as big. Most girls under age 16 who are married in Israel are Muslim. In 2006, 150 Muslim girls married before reaching their 16th birthday. For the sake of comparison, in that same year, six Jewish girls married at that age and 10 from other religious backgrounds. There are also Palestinian girls younger than 16 who are "imported" for the purpose of marriage. In 2007, 32 girls were "imported" for this purpose and married to Israeli men. In 2008 1,665 girls aged 14-18 gave birth in Israel, 77% of which were Muslim.

The authority that authorizes marriage below the legal age is the family courts. Among Muslims, the Sharia courts issue marriage authorizations retroactively and are supposed to report it to the police as required. However the reality is quite different.

Talking to Ynet, Rackman Center's chairperson, Professor Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, said that the law in Israel is not enforced. Thus, for example, in 2007, 166 women under 16 years of age were married. Only 20 requests were submitted to the courts and only two cases were filed with the police and ultimately closed due to lack of public interest.

A., a young Beduoin woman from northern Israel, is currently completing her bachelor's degree in law. Both her brothers, aged 21 and 32, obtained a higher education abroad. "Despite the fact that my parents are not educated, they made sure we did get an education. I considered my family to be modern and progressive and that's why I was surprised when two years ago, both my brothers married cousins of ours who were only 16 years old. My parents did not object, as they wanted my brothers to be married. I tried explaining to my brothers that these girls were too young and not ready for marriage, but they did not listen."

According to A., "My older brother said he wanted to be with someone who has not yet seen the world, so he could educate her and mold her as he saw fit. I also spoke with the mother of these girls, who herself married at a young age and likes to tell the story of how, when she was that age, she would wait for her husband to arrive to give her money to go buy candies. I believe these girls did not understand what they were getting themselves into and a lot of pressure was exerted on them."

Warda ElKranawi, the coordinator of SHATIL's Bedouin Women's Leadership Project coordinator in Beer Sheva, says that unfortunately, in recent years the subject has actually received less attention. "Men prefer to marry very young women who have no experience. This is evident even among the educated. Beyond the damage this causes women, who are not mature or knowledgeable enough to run a household, it is also a serious blow to our society. A child who does not receive proper support and education at home will not grow up to become a responsible citizen, and our society continues to go in this problematic direction."

The girls themselves, explains ElKranawi, are willingly marrying at such a young age: "Girls only 15 years old dream of getting married, because they understand it to be the way to independence. After all, if you are 20 or older, you may be married as a second wife. Even if a woman has obtained an education, she will not be independent. Her parents will continue to make decisions for her."

Deputy Minster Gila Gamliel is working on changing the legislation by raising the marriage age to 18 and toughening the conditions for receiving special authorization and increasing regulation: "Even when the marriage is not consecrated under coercion, it is difficult to say that it was done consensually since the girls are so young. It leads to immature motherhood, ignorance and the perpetuation of poverty. High percentages of the girls suffer from physical violence, economic exploitation and emotional abuse. Their lives are in the hands of their families and their husbands."

The entities dealing with this issue are not sure that raising the legal age will necessarily help the situation. "I don't know how much it can help since, in Israel, people get married through religious institutions. The social reforms must go much deeper," says SHATIL's ElKranawi.

Circumventing the law

Tatiana, 25, who married at age 15 and a half and is mother to four children, believes changes to the law will not actually bring about change: "I was ready and in love and for people like me I don't think it will make a difference. Even if they change the legal marriage age to 30, people will simply live together."

Despite losing out on an education, she has no regrets. "We were young and very in love, and I knew I wanted to marry him. My mother raised me by herself and from a very young age I learned to manage on my own, cook and clean. I tried convincing my husband to wait till I was 18 to get married, but he did not want to hear it. At 17 I already became a mother and a year later I had another child. I quit my studies and never worked. Now, with my children grown up, I want to study and have a profession, because I feel that I was left behind. My children no longer need me like they used to and I am currently looking to register for courses."

Hanna is also doubtful the new legislation will have any effect: "I do not believe the law will change anything. There are communities in Israel that are completely isolated, who will always find a way. I know a family that decided to marry their daughter at age 14. The community rabbi gave his blessings and only after she became pregnant, did the court issue an authorization. I believe that in other closed communities like it, people will find ways to circumvent the law. There are certain cultures in which this is so firmly ingrained that no law will help."

Professor Halperin-Kaddari strongly believes that the state must raise the legal marriage age: "We must align ourselves with international norms. Early marriage generally lead to early motherhood and international studies have shown that as a result, women suspend their education and their socioeconomic status remains low. Studies have also proven a strong connection between early marriage physical violence. This usually occurs in closed communities and we as a state must protect our children."

This article was found at:


Mormon fundamentalist leader must testify in tax case and reveal details of polygamy and child brides in Bountiful

Mormon polygamist who pleaded no contest to child bride sex assault appeals conviction based on search warrant

Israeli politicians and women's advocates call for immediate change to polygamy law to protect rights of women and children

Research from over 170 countries shows polygamy causes extreme violations of women and children's rights

Book investigating Mormon polygamy suggests prohibition enables sect leaders to commit sex crimes

Two reality TV polygamist wives want out of marriage but fear losing kids, family hires lawyer as state considers charges

Author who escaped abuse in US polygamy cult explains why Canadian constitutional case is so important in both countries

Stop Polygamy in Canada website has notes taken by observers in the courtroom as well as links to most of the affidavits and research the court is considering in this case.

Religious practice not above the law, polygamy consumes its young says Attorney General of BC in closing argument

Summary of positions in Canadian constitutional case on polygamy as court begins hearing final oral arguments

Lawyer says extraordinary evidence in Canadian case shows polygamous society consumes children, harms women

A review of the Canadian constitutional case on polygamy after completion of testimonies

Canadian Muslim polygamists closely watching landmark constitutional case on Canadian polygamy law

Economics professor considers financial aspects of polygamy that create inequality

Legal expert tells Canadian court polygamy prohibitions and monogamy tradition pre-date Christianity

B.C. government expert in polygamy case sets out long list of social harms, societies that abandon polygamy do better

Polygamy expert tells court in constitutional case that it reduces women's freedom and equality and leads to forced marriage

Polygyny and Canada’s Obligations under International Human Rights Law (pdf)

Research paper submitted to B.C. court in constitutional case documents harms associated with polygamy

Bountiful evidence that polygamy harms women and children - constitutional case likely to reach Canadian Supreme Court

Some religious practices, such as polygamy, are inherently harmful and should not be tolerated in modern society

Women's adovcates: polygamy is an “oppressive institution” that abuses and enslaves women and children

Prosecuting Polygamy in El Dorado by Marci Hamilton

Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Hearings on Polygamy Crimes: What Needs to Be Done at the Federal Level to Protect Children from Abuse and Neglect

Senate hearing: "Crimes Associated with Polygamy: The Need for a Coordinated State and Federal Response."

Texas Will Attempt to Show That Polygamist Culture Itself Harms Children


  1. Polygamy just doesn't make sense


    There isn’t a shred of evidence that polygamy benefits women. Even the UN, often a laughingstock of blind ideologues, has declared that polygamy violates women’s equality rights.

    Still, that hasn’t stopped academics (who should know better) from suggesting that polygamy be decriminalized.

    The latest educator to jump on the decriminalization bandwagon is U of A poli-sci professor Lois Harder. In a recent study written for the Vanier Institute of the Family, Harder wonders if women in polygamous families might be better off if polygamy wasn’t a crime.

    “Decriminalizing polygamy would not entail expanding the definition of marriage to include polygamous marriages,” she wrote. “Rather, it would provide a firmer foundation from which to protect women and children in polygamous relationships from exploitation.”

    Yeah, right. Remove polygamy from the Criminal Code and all those young girls and women who’ve been brainwashed by the men in Bountiful, B.C., and other polygamous communities will shake off the shackles of exploitation and go to university to become doctors, lawyers and, oh, poli-sci profs.

    “In contexts in which exploitation is not presumed to be at issue, the question arises as to why polygamy … should not be accorded some legal status,” Harder argues in the paper, After the Nuclear Age, in which she explores recent developments in Canadian family law.

    It’s incredibly naive to believe that polygamy can exist without the exploitation of women. The females in these dysfunctional relationships may not think they’re being taken advantage of. They may, in fact, insist they freely chose such a lifestyle.

    After all, what woman wouldn’t want to get married in her mid-teens to someone old enough to be her father or grandfather, drop out of school, have a baby every year and share her husband with a bunch of sister-wives?

    Isn’t that every woman’s dream?

    Proponents of polygamy, or polyamory, describe it as “responsible non-monogamy,” Harder notes. “This phrasing challenges the presumption of promiscuity, immorality and the twinned responses of moral repugnance and titillation that often accompany popular representations of non-monogamous relationships.”

    This presumes that women in polygamous relationships, like those in the demented fundamentalist Mormon communes in Canada and the U.S., had any real choice in the matter.

    On the contrary, any stirrings of free will are stamped out from the time these females are toddlers.

    They are bred solely to satisfy the sexual and narcissistic needs of a bunch of male control-freaks who try to disguise their misogyny as religion.

    (The young men in these communes are also victimized, pushed out of the communities so they won’t compete with older men for the brainwashed young women.)

    Polygamy is simply incompatible with equality and basic human dignity. It’s soul-destroying and merely feeds the deranged dictates of pathological egotists.

    While these fundamentalist Mormon megalomaniacs shun the outside world, they have no problem “bleeding the beast” — or hitting up the government for welfare for all their wives and children.

    Harder suggests that recognizing polygamy would help women in these relationships because legal status would confer obligations and entitlements — presumably things like property rights and financial support.

    “If Canada was to extend various forms of entitlements and obligations to people as a result of the existence of interdependence, it may well be that people participating in polyamorous relationships would benefit,” she writes.

    And pigs will fly.


  2. A fork in the road from Bountiful

    Scott Stinson, National Post · November 22, 2011

    Winston Blackmore and James Oler have outlasted a lot of agitators. Wally Oppal, the former B.C. attorney-general who shopped around until he could find a special prosecutor who agreed to lay criminal charges against the founders of the polygamist community in Bountiful, was beaten in the 2009 election. Gordon Campbell, the premier who presumably gave Mr. Oppal his blessing, is retired. Two more attorneys-general have come and gone in B.C. since Mr. Oppal left office.

    The Bountiful leaders re-main, poised now for what could be their biggest win yet, with a ruling expected on Wednesday from the B.C. Supreme Court that could strike down as unconstitutional the section of the Criminal Code that outlaws polygamy.

    But while Bountiful, with its images of young women dressed like extras from Little House on the Prairie, drew major attention to polygamy and kicked off the resulting legal odyssey more than five years ago, the B.C. court's ruling, which is likely just a major signpost on the road to the Supreme Court of Canada, is about more than the living conditions of a community of 1,000 in southeastern British Columbia.

    It's about whether Canada wants its religious freedoms to be absolute. And, of particular note at a time when the federal government has made considerable hay out of demanding that newcomers to Canada accept "Canadian values," it's about deciding whether a practice that is accepted in many countries will continue to be outlawed here.

    Decriminalizing polygamy would seem a baffling move, if only for the plain fact that the federal government raised the age of consent to 16 from 14 in 2008. If Parliament does not believe that a person is capable of granting consent to sexual activity until 16 years of age, then how could it possibly sign off on the marriage of girls in their early teens, even those said to be "consensual"?

    But upholding the law is fraught, too: Religion is a Charter right, and those who practise polygamy under the banner of religion are not like those mischief makers who tell censustakers their religion is "Jedi."

    No one doubts that the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a "real" church, and while the majority of Muslims don't practise polygamy, a small fraction of them do.

    "I don't want to say the issue is easy, on the contrary it's very complex and vexing," says Nick Bala, a law professor at Queen's University in Kingston. "There are legitimate questions about freedom of religion, but if you look at the body of evidence there are serious concerns about harm caused to women and children in polygamous relationships. It is an inherently un-equal relationship."

    Prof. Bala offers that although the B.C. court heard from people who said they were happy in polygamous marriages and that they weren't coerced into such an arrangement at a young age, he says on balance such marriages have more incidence of abuse than traditional marriages.

    "Of course it's not true of every single polygamous family that there's been coercion, but this is about pat-terns of behaviour," he says.

    "The fact that someone can drive safe at 150 km/h doesn't mean you can't have a law against it."

    But Bev Baines, also a law professor at Queen's and one of the auth-ors of a 2005 study commissioned by the federal government that said the law against polygamy was unconstitutional, says decriminalization is "the only possible solution for women."

    Women in polygamous marriages might be in need of help, she argues, but the law as it stands makes criminals out of all parties in such a relation-ship ...

    read the rest of the article at:


  3. More rape and violence among polygamists: Study

    ERICA BULMAN, QMI AGENCY January 23, 2012 Toronto Sun

    VANCOUVER - In cultures that permit men to take multiple wives, the sexual competition between men for the remaining women causes more murder, rape, violence, kidnapping and poverty than in monogamous societies, a new University of British Columbia-led study shows.

    “The scarcity of marriageable women in polygamous cultures increases competition among men for the remaining unmarried women,” said UBC’s Joseph Henrich, a cultural anthropologist who served as an expert witness for the B.C. Supreme Court case involving the polygamous community of Bountiful.

    That increases the likelihood men will resort to crime to gain resources and women, the study said.

    The study suggested institutionalized monogamous marriage is rapidly replacing polygamy because it has lower levels of inherent social problems.

    “Our goal was to understand why monogamous marriage has become standard in most developed nations in recent centuries, when most recorded cultures have practiced polygyny,” Henrich said.

    The study suggested institutionalized monogamous marriage is replacing polygamy because it has lower levels of inherent social problems.

    “Our findings suggest that that institutionalized monogamous marriage provides greater net benefits for society at large by reducing social problems that are inherent in polygynous societies.”

    The study was published in Monday’s edition of the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.


  4. The puzzle of monogamous marriage

    by Joseph Henrich, Robert Boyd and Peter J. Richerson

    The journal of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society


    The anthropological record indicates that approximately 85 per cent of human societies have permitted men to have more than one wife (polygynous marriage), and both empirical and evolutionary considerations suggest that large absolute differences in wealth should favour more polygynous marriages. Yet, monogamous marriage has spread across Europe, and more recently across the globe, even as absolute wealth differences have expanded. Here, we develop and explore the hypothesis that the norms and institutions that compose the modern package of monogamous marriage have been favoured by cultural evolution because of their group-beneficial effects—promoting success in inter-group competition. In suppressing intrasexual competition and reducing the size of the pool of unmarried men, normative monogamy reduces crime rates, including rape, murder, assault, robbery and fraud, as well as decreasing personal abuses. By assuaging the competition for younger brides, normative monogamy decreases (i) the spousal age gap, (ii) fertility, and (iii) gender inequality. By shifting male efforts from seeking wives to paternal investment, normative monogamy increases savings, child investment and economic productivity. By increasing the relatedness within households, normative monogamy reduces intra-household conflict, leading to lower rates of child neglect, abuse, accidental death and homicide. These predictions are tested using converging lines of evidence from across the human sciences.

    Read the full study at:


  5. The Perils of Polygamy

    by Christopher Kaczor, Public Discourse: Ethics, Law and the Common Good May 21, 2012

    Recent empirical research suggests that, in virtually every respect, polygamy is socially detrimental—to society in general, to men, to women, and to children.
    In the course of history, approximately 85 percent of societies have practiced polygamy. Pushed by advocates of same-sex marriage and multiculturalism, some scholars, such as the signers of “Beyond Gay Marriage,” argue that it is irrational and bigoted for contemporary society to limit marriage to just two people. However, there is no bigotry in treating different things differently, and there are many important differences between polygamy and monogamy in practice as well as in principle.

    There are three main forms of polygamous relationships: polygyny, polyandry, and polygynandry. In polygyny, by far the most common form of polygamy, one man may marry a number of wives. In polyandry, one wife has two or more husbands. This form of polygamy is extremely unusual, and often takes the form of two brothers marrying the same woman. In polygynandry, two or more wives marry to two or more husbands. Polygynandry is even more rare than polyandry, but will be similar in some respects to polygyny, insofar as a man has more than one wife. Since both polygynandry and polyandry are virtually non-existent, I’ll focus on the more common case of one man with multiple wives, and use the more common term polygamy to describe this arrangement.

    Now let us turn to the practical considerations drawn from human experience. Recent empirical research suggests that, in virtually every respect, polygamy is socially detrimental—to society in general, to men, to women, and to children. These problems arise because of the nature of human reproduction.

    In human reproduction, slightly more male than female babies are born (approximately 105 boys to 100 girls). As boys are more likely to die of natural causes as infants and from violence before they marry and reproduce, ceteris paribus, at any given marriageable age, there will be approximately 50% males and 50% females. Given roughly equal numbers of males and females as found in nature, polygamy and monogamy shape society in radically different ways. In a monogamous society, for each man there is a corresponding woman. William Tucker notes that this gives “every man [and every woman] a reasonable chance to mate.” By contrast, in a polygamous society, some men take multiple wives, but this leaves other men with greatly diminished prospects of marriage or an exclusion from mating altogether. The question under consideration, then, is what social effects does this arrangement bring?

    In their 2012 article, “The Puzzle of Monogamous Marriage” appearing in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Joseph Henrich, Robert Boyd, and Peter J. Richerson used converging lines of evidence from the social sciences to compare polygamous and monogamous societies. They found that polygamous societies differ from monogamous societies in terms of violent crimes, female educational attainment, domestic violence, parental investment in children, and economic productivity.

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  6. continued from previous comment:

    A wealth of sociological information points to the fact that single men commit the vast majority of violent crimes. Women and married men seldom murder, rob, rape, and assault in comparison to single men. So, since there are many more single men in polygamous societies, polygamous societies have higher rates of violent crime. As Henrich and colleagues note:

    Faced with high levels of intra-sexual competition and little chance of obtaining even one long-term mate, unmarried, low-status men will heavily discount the future and more readily engage in risky status-elevating and sex-seeking behaviors. This will result in higher rates of murder, theft, rape, social disruption, kidnapping (especially of females), sexual slavery and prostitution.

    With little reason to invest in the established social order, single males are more likely to turn away from activities conducive to long-term productivity and turn toward the quick thrill, if not a violent overthrow of the established social order. These tendencies are detrimental to society as a whole, including to single men who are the most common victims of theft, violent assault, and murder.

    In a polygamous society, the age of marriage will be lower for females than in a monogamous society. With a relative scarcity of possible mates of their own age, men seek wives among women of younger ages. Early marriage in turn leads to much higher rates of reproduction. Rather than delaying marriage and childbearing until their twenties or thirties, women marry and have children as teenagers. In modern social conditions, teen motherhood is detrimental for both these young women and their families. For a female teen, marriage to a much older man makes it unlikely that she will have an equal partnership with her husband and makes the completion of her education difficult, if not impossible. Indeed, marriage at a young age to a much older man is also linked to lethal domestic violence. In the words of one study:

    The larger the age gap, the more likely it is that a husband will kill his wife, and vice‐versa (the young wife murders her husband). … This suggests that polygyny is relatively (potentially) much more dangerous than monogamous relations because age gaps of 16 years are not uncommon when accumulating young wives.

    The difference in age exacerbates gender differences, and, for men, is more likely to give rise to jealous fears that their young wives will be unfaithful.

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  7. continued from previous comment:

    The phenomenon of “co-wives”: (a misnomer since polygamy typically involves a hierarchy among the wives) also undermines the well-being of women. The senior wives worry that they will be replaced by younger wives, and the younger wives in turn worry about the power exerted in the home by senior wives. Research indicates that levels of domestic strife and violence are higher in polygamous homes than in monogamous homes as wives seek to preserve their place with their shared husband as well as struggle to secure resources for their own biological children. As Henrich and colleagues point out:

    Co-wife conflict is ubiquitous in polygynous households. From anthropology, a review of ethnographic data from 69 non-sororal polygynous societies from around the globe reveals no case where co-wife relations could be described as harmonious, and no hint that women’s access to the means of production had any mitigating impact on conflict.

    These conflicts lead polygamous family units, particularly those with three or more wives, to have in general higher rates of divorce than monogamous couples. In the supplementary materials to their article, Henrich, Boyd, and Richerson point out: “Systematic and controlled analyses from polygynous societies generally show higher divorce rates for polygynous vs. monogamous marriages in the same society. … Relative to monogamous families, polygynous families with more than two wives are five times more likely to divorce.”

    As bad as polygamy is for women, it is perhaps even worse for the well-being of children. Because the polygamous wives tend to be younger and less well educated, their children suffer in not having more mature mothers, as would be more typical of their counterparts in a monogamous society. The children suffer also from having multiple stepmothers involved in ongoing struggles with each other. Half-siblings must compete for limited resources while having weaker genetic bonds to mitigate the conflict. While these extended-family relationships could in theory be a source of support, more often they endanger children. Henrich’s study explained:

    Much empirical work in monogamous societies indicates that higher degrees of relatedness among household members are associated with lower rates of abuse, neglect and homicide. Living in the same household with genetically unrelated adults is the single biggest risk factor for abuse, neglect and homicide of children. Stepmothers are 2.4 times more likely to kill their stepchildren than birth mothers, and children living with an unrelated parent are between 15 and 77 times more likely to die “accidentally.”

    Polygamous families are also more likely than monogamous families to be in poverty, since typically only one breadwinner supports numerous children.

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  8. continued from previous comment:

    Polygamous societies also dilute the investment of fathers in their children in at least two ways. First, because marriage to other young women is still an option, a husband’s resources of time, attention, and money are diverted away from his own children and toward finding new mates. Secondly, in virtue of the greater number of children in the polygamous family, it becomes increasingly difficult to give each child sufficient time and attention. Indeed, some fathers of polygamous families have so many children that they do not even know each child’s name. This dilution of paternal investment is similar in effect to being raised by a single mother with all its attendant risk factors (especially for males) for drug abuse, trouble with the law, and dropping out of school.

    A final harm brought on by polygamy is economic. Henrich’s study notes:

    When males cannot invest in obtaining more wives (because of imposed monogamy) they invest and save in ways that generate both reduced population growth and more rapid economic expansion (increasing GDP per capita). Thus … the nearly threefold increase in GDP per capita between Comparable Monogamous Countries and Highly Polygynous Countries is partially caused by legally imposed monogamy.

    Economic well-being contributes in turn to the stability of families which is a benefit to men, women, and children alike.

    Finally, even aside from the sociological data, there is an inherent inequality in polygamous marriage. In monogamous marriage, spouses give themselves as spouses to each other unreservedly, unconditionally, and entirely. Now, giving oneself as a husband or wife to one’s spouse does not exclude giving of oneself in ways that are not distinctly marital to other people (such as playing tennis with a business partner, or going to the movies with a group of friends). Part of the marriage vow is the promise of sexual fidelity, the bodily manifestation of one’s commitment as spouse entirely to the spouse and to the spouse alone.

    In a polygamous marriage, the man does not give himself qua husband entirely to his wife. A polygamous husband gives himself qua husband to however many wives he has. Wives, by contrast, are expected to reserve themselves in a sexual way for their husband alone. Moreover, wives face inequality among themselves as “senior wives” enjoy rank above “junior wives.” The polygamous relationship can never attain the mutual and complete self-donation of spouses in monogamous marriage because it is intrinsically impossible to reserve oneself in a sexual way entirely for one person and at the same time reserve oneself in a sexual way entirely for a different person (or persons). Marriage understood as a comprehensive union can exist only between two persons, and never more than two persons. Society, therefore, has good reason not simply to proscribe polygamy, but to endorse monogamy.

    Christopher Kaczor is Professor of Philosophy at Loyola Marymount University and the author of The Ethics of Abortion: Women’s Rights, Human Life, and the Question of Justice (Routledge 2011).


  9. Love Plus

    A Vermont prof says polygamy is the new marriage-rights frontier

    BY MARGOT HARRISON Seven Days - Vermont's Independent Voice November 14, 2012

    In her decades of researching polygamy, Janet Bennion, a professor of anthropology and sociology at Lyndon State College, recalls three times she was “courted” by married women. One wrote her “love letters.” Another took her to a restaurant “to determine whether I was wifely material,” Bennion writes in her new book, Polygamy in Primetime.

    These women were devout members of fundamentalist Mormon sects, not swingers. Like many examples in Bennion’s illuminating study, they defy the popular perception that the practice of men taking multiple wives is solely about the male libido.

    Liberal Vermonters have cheered on the progress of marriage rights this election season. But what would we say to a woman who sought to unite herself in matrimony to a man and another woman?

    We might crack jokes about group sex, accept such a union as “polyamory,” or view it as dangerous to women’s rights when associated with a patriarchal religion. But whatever we think of polygamy in America, Bennion argues, it’s not going away anytime soon. And she believes it should be legal.

    Bennion, 48, has been researching polygamy for two decades. As a master’s student in 1989, she moved in with a rural Montana colony of the Apostolic United Brethren, a fundamentalist Mormon sect that still practices plural marriage as instructed by founder Joseph Smith in 1843. (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints [LDS] officially renounced polygamy in 1890.)

    Bennion would go on to publish book-length ethnographic studies of the AUB and the LeBaron fundamentalist colony in Mexico. Her fieldwork got her in trouble with LDS church leaders, who “disfellowshipped” her. And she writes candidly in the introduction to Polygamy in Primetime that it also didn’t do wonders for her relationship with her first husband (“living with polygamists is not good for a healthy marriage!”).

    But she made new friendships with a startling range of polygamous women. Most bore little resemblance to the underage brides in prairie dresses familiar from news reports about raids on Warren Jeffs’ Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS). Women in the large AUB group can and do work outside the home, dress as they choose and divorce when they wish.

    Take Elizabeth Joseph, a journalist and lawyer who “relied on her co-wives to help her with child care and meal preparation.” Or the three suburban wives of Rod Williams who shared childcare duties so one could earn a business degree while another got her master’s in sociology. Or the women who, Bennion writes, “would often say to me that they felt sorry for monogamous women who were with their husbands all the time.”

    Such modern-style American polygamist families kept a low profile until recently, when two TV shows — HBO’s “Big Love” and its reality-show counterpart, TLC’s “Sister Wives” — put them in the spotlight. Meanwhile, in 2010, a Canadian court case posed a landmark challenge to that nation’s anti-polygamy law (which was upheld in November 2011).

    Polygamy in Primetime responds to this new visibility with an overview of the subject that, despite occasional academic language, will appeal to general readers seeking more details than the soap operatics of “Big Love” can provide. Bennion argues provocatively that, just as marriage-equality legislation followed the advent of nuanced media portrayals of gays and lesbians, so “the decriminalization of polygamy will follow the recent poly media phenomenon.”

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  10. Of course, there are plenty of reasons for progressives to question the notion that polygamy is part of the “new American sexual revolution,” as Bennion puts it. Mormon plural marriage is tied to patriarchy and the official subordination of women who have access to the privileges of “priesthood” only through men (as in mainstream LDS). The practice rests on the assumption that all fertile women should be breeding; it relies on a high female-to-male ratio; and it has led to abuses, from the rape of teenagers to the mass expulsion of young men who threatened the ruling patriarchs’ monopoly on nubile wives.

    But, as Bennion points out, monogamy has sheltered abuses, too. Polygamy, she believes, will never be “the prevalent marriage structure.” Yet it seems to work for some, including mainstream LDS women who convert to fundamentalist sects seeking a “good man” they can’t find in the regular dating pool — even if they have to share him.

    We may assume we know why men opt for polygamy: Is a guy who maintains three wives in connected households really that different from a secular serial monogamist on his third or fourth family? But why would an educated, independent-minded woman choose such a situation?

    Bennion is happy to chat about such questions from her office at LSC, where she’s taught for the past 10 years. Her previous job was at Utah Valley University, where the high birth rate led to “enormous” classes, she says. Her two daughters are graduating from the University of Vermont, and Bennion says she wouldn’t want plural marriage for them — or for herself. But the anthropologist, who calls herself a “gender humanist,” is fascinated by the “ways that women find surprising ascendancies, empowerments, autonomy” within fundamentalist cultures, she says.

    SEVEN DAYS: What do women find in polygamy?

    JANET BENNION: One reason I wrote this book was to underscore the variability in experience for women in these groups. If you’re in the FLDS, you’re going to find more restrictions, but even there, some women are able to find ways around them. The Allreds [AUB] have been able to provide women with more venues for power, such as hypergamy, or divorcing a husband and marrying up. The groups vary, and some women find that working with other women in the home is beneficial to them. One woman described her co-wives as “second mothers,” [who do the childcare] so she can go find a job in the community. They have this economical and social network that provides a little bit more freedom than you might see in a monogamous pair bond.

    I’ve taken so many surveys in my classes, asking students, “Which parent in your home does the household work?” Eighty-five percent of students say, “Mom does it.” So that second shift is hard on the monogamous woman.

    SD: What’s the relationship between fundamentalists and the LDS church?

    JB: The mainstream [church] obviously does not recognize [polygamy] as a valid form anymore. Still, the mainstream is made up of people with ancestors who were polygamists. [Both Bennion and Mitt Romney have direct forebears who were persecuted or prosecuted for polygamy.] You can see that there are some sensitivities there, especially in an election year. Half of my family was for Romney, the other half for Obama. The Romney half was saying, “You shouldn’t have that book out there.”

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  11. The Mormon church today is very mainstream. It’s changed many of its doctrines to fit an evolving constituency, but the priesthood is still firmly in the male corner. If you’re connected to the Mormon community and you’re a liberal woman like me, you live for the day when women can have the priesthood. Allred women use the priesthood covertly to bless the children. They actually have some informal venues that give them more power than the monogamous mainstream woman.

    SD: You mention having a “theory that plural marriage fosters clandestine lesbianism” — something the LDS church doesn’t condone.

    JB: That’s a new area of interest. I think women do what they need to do without a man around. Mormon women have done this for ages. There are women in the Utah pioneer days who formed a sisterhood network and allowed for lesbian connections. It doesn’t upset the patriarchal framework. I talked to at least three women who had formed sexual connections to their sister wives or to another woman in the community. When the husbands found out, they just called it a friendship. But for two men to get together — that threatens the hypermasculine roles that are the foundation for patriarchy.

    SD: Were you ever tempted by polygamy?

    JB: I was tempted to leave my husband, but I wasn’t tempted to join polygamy. I grew to love the women. Yet there was never that urge [to join them], ’cause I knew that I could never tolerate patriarchy, ever. I believe in all the nonpatriarchal components of Mormonism, but everything that deals with patriarchy, I put it out of my life.

    SD: Why should we legalize plural marriage?

    JB: We need to just step back, get off our high horse, and look at this from a civil liberties perspective. If we’re going to pave the way for alternative sexuality, why not provide liberties for those who choose the polygamy form? We hear a lot about the abuse cases, but we rarely hear about the well-functioning families. As a feminist, I say, “Bring it on; let’s legalize it.” In that way, what you do is you bring the abuses into the light. You bring in governmental regulating policies that protect second wives.

    [This position is] controversial, that’s for sure. There are abuses, but to state that polygamy is uniformly abusive is just an outright lie. It’s a form of bigotry.

    SD: Given the reasons you cite for modern single women to choose polygamy — access to high-status men, emotional and economic support from co-wives — is it likely to start taking nonreligious forms?

    JB: I think there actually are these kinds of families but they are the outliers. Because polygamy is such a hard lifestyle, you have to have some cultural basis for living it. When you sit there thinking about your husband having sex with your sister wives, you have to have some sort of ideology.

    It doesn’t have to be Mormon. Among African-American Muslims and converts who are professional women in Detroit and Chicago and other areas, you’re going to find women actually opting for this form. Islam allows for four wives for each man, so there’s an ideological framework. They want to opt for a better man, and they’d rather share a good man with another woman than be unmarried without the possibility of having children.

    I’m finding also a rationale for polyandry. I had an angry man call me recently, and he said, “I’m angry at the polygamists because they’re hoarding all the women.” There are a lot of men who might at this point be interested in the alpha female. We’re opening up to new and creative sexual forms in order to deal with our socioeconomic crisis. So stay tuned.

    "Polygamy in Primetime: Media, Gender, and Politics in Mormon Fundamentalism" by Janet Bennion, Brandeis University Press, 376 pages. $35.


  12. Why not polygamy?

    By John Witte Jr. Guest Voices - The Washington Post November 9, 2012

    Is the legalization of polygamy inevitable in America? From 1965 to 2005, American courts struck down the traditional sex crimes of contraception, adultery, fornication, abortion, and sodomy as violations of modern constitutional norms of liberty, autonomy, and privacy. Traditional criminal laws against polygamy seem vulnerable to this same constitutional logic. If you add the religious freedom claims of Muslims, fundamentalist Mormons and others, the case for polygamy seems especially ripe --whether we like it or not.

    Many liberals praise the nation’s rise to enlightened sexual liberty. The anti-polygamists of today, they argue, are like the patriarchs, anti-abortionists, and homophobes of the past, clutching their traditional Christian morals at the cost of true liberty for all.

    Many conservatives lament the nation’s slide down the slippery slope of sexual libertinism. “State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution … bestiality, and obscenity are all now called into question,” U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wrote dissenting in the Lawrence v. Texas case that protected sodomy.

    Sorting out the case for and against polygamy is complicated. But it’s not just a dialectic of modern liberty versus traditional morality. I argue that polygamy is dangerous because it harms women, children, and men alike, and will allow some religious communities to become a law unto themselves.

    That’s what Western history tells us. The West’s prohibition of polygamy -- unlike many other traditional sex crimes -- is both pre-Christian and post-Christian. “Pagan” Roman emperors first made polygamy an “infamous” crime in 258, more than a century before they established Christianity. Enlightenment liberals disestablished Christianity, but still regarded polygamy as a betrayal of nature, utility, and fairness. Polygamy was a capital crime till the nineteenth century, and it remains a crime throughout the West today.

    Western writers have long argued, and modern studies now document, that polygamy is unjust to women and children – a violation of their fundamental rights and dignity, we now say. Young women are harmed because they are often coerced into early marriages with older men. Once pushed aside for a rival co-wife, women are reduced to rival slaves within the household. They are then exploited periodically for sex and procreation by emotionally detached husbands. They are forced to make do for themselves and their children with dwindling resources as still other women and children are added to the household against their wishes. If they protest their plight, if they resort to self-help, if they lose their youthful figure and vigor, they are often cast out of their homes -- impoverished, undereducated, and often incapable of survival without serious help from others.

    Children are harmed because they are often set in perennial rivalry with other children and mothers for the affection and attention of the family patriarch. They are deprived of healthy models of authority and liberty, equality and charity, marital love and fidelity, which are essential to their development as future spouses, citizens, and community leaders. And they are harmed by too few resources to support their nurture, education, care, and preparation for a full and healthy life as an adult.

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  13. Men, too, are harmed by polygamy. Polygamy promotes marriage by the richest not necessarily the fittest men in body, mind, or virtue. In isolated communities, polygamy often leads to ostracism of rival younger men. Polygamy inflames a man’s lust, for once he adds a second wife, he will inevitably desire more, even the wife of another. And polygamy deprives men of that essential organic bond of exclusive marital companionship, which ancients and moderns alike say is critical to most men’s physical, psychological, moral, and even spiritual health.

    The Western legal tradition has thus long called polygamy a “malum in se” offense (“bad it inself”). That category of offenses now also includes slavery, indentured servitude, obscenity, bestiality, incest, sex with children, self-mutilation, organ-selling, and more. These are activities that are just wrong -- or too often foster wrongdoing. That someone wants to engage in these activities voluntarily for reasons of religion, bravery, custom, liberty, or autonomy makes no difference. That other cultures past and present allow such activities also makes no difference.

    While some religious communities and their members might well thrive with the freedom to practice polygamy, it is inevitable that closed, repressive, and isolated regimes will also emerge. And this, in turn, will lead to under-aged girls being duped into sex and marriages with older men, and to women and children trapped in sectarian communities with no access to protection from the state and with no real legal recourse against a church, temple, or mosque that is just following its own rules.

    We prize liberty and equality in America too highly to court such a risk.

    John Witte Jr. , is director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University , and author of a forthcoming title, “Why Two in One Flesh: The Western Case for Monogamy over Polygamy.”


  14. Allegations of polygamy, abuse and psychological torture within secretive sect

    by Jennifer Campbell, W5 November 17, 2012

    It doesn’t look much like a church. In fact, it used to be a ski lodge. But deep in a valley, south of Owen Sound, Ont., is the Church of Jesus Christ Restored: A place where an old Mormon doctrine, polygamy, has been allegedly practised in the shadows for more than 40 years. A former church wife told W5 her story.

    Carol Christie was 18 when she says her mother, an unstable religious fanatic, drugged and manipulated her into “marrying” a charismatic preacher more than twice her age. His name was Stan King. In the early seventies Stan broke from The Reorganised Church of Latter Day Saints, and established his own fundamentalist Mormon sect. His followers called him The Prophet.

    One of his entitlements as “Prophet” was the privilege of having plural wives: Women who were supposed to bear him special sons, princes to carry forth his teaching.

    When Carol Christie moved into King’s farmhouse, near Sauble Beach, she says she joined his legal wife, and two other “church wives” -- one of whom, she says, was only 14. According to Carol, Stan had a fondness for group sex. And as time passed, she says King bedded three more “wives” ranging in age from 10 to 17.

    But Carol was a favourite because she produced two sons in quick succession, James and Marcus. James was born in 1977, the same year the church started a printing company in Mississauga, Ont. Within five years, King and his followers bought a 200-acre property in his beloved Grey County. It was a bankrupt ski resort, simply rechristened “The Property.” They planned to build a temple there, high on a hill. But the temple was never built. Four years later Stan King, now living with a 20-year-old church wife, died of a stroke at the age of 58.

    His followers gathered around his body, and prayed for the “Prophet’s” resurrection. A week went by. Carol says the stench became unbearable. Finally, without ceremony, his remains were put in the ground.

    Stan King had fathered three sons with his legally-married wife Erna. Upon his death, his youngest, Fred, inherited his father’s mantle “Prophet” and his illicit wives. One of them, Carol Christie, became Fred’s property. And briefly, his bedmate.

    “It was horrible,” she recalled in an interview with W5’s Victor Malarek. Carol didn’t like Fred, and couldn’t disguise it. So he ordered her to move to Guelph, Ont., where a group of church members could keep control of her.

    Life in the church changed under the new Prophet, Fred. Carol says the first time he physically assaulted a church member, the congregation hung its head in fear. And that established a pattern of dread, violence and silence.

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  15. Growing up a son of the church, John Knisely says he took his share of beatings from Fred King. They’re actually half-brothers, sired from the same father, Stan King. But their shared paternity didn’t make life any easier for John.
    Knisely was 15 when Fred pulled him out of school and put him to work at the church’s printing plant where he says he earned $10 or $20 a week, cash. Later, he got a paycheck, but says he had to turn most of it back to Fred and the church. Weary of beatings he and his family endured, or had to witness, he ran away 14 years ago.

    It took Carol Christie longer. “I got to the point where I thought he was insane. I thought he would kill me the beatings were so severe.”
    Four years ago she ran, but left her son Marcus behind. He was too afraid of the spiritual consequences of abandoning the church and the Prophet’s teachings to leave with her. It is Carol’s greatest regret.

    W5 sent registered letters to Fred King requesting an interview to discuss allegations of polygamy and abuse. We also tried to deliver a letter to the property. At the door, Fred’s legal wife, Linda, would not accept it. She may have feared a summons. Within the past two years, Fred King and his church have faced lawsuits from six former church members like Carol Christie and John Knisely.

    The lawsuits allege: “Fred emotionally brutalized the plaintiffs…by systematically creating an atmosphere of fear, which was used to prop up absolute obedience to a ruthless tyrant.”

    King denied the allegations in filed Statements of Defence, but the lawsuits were settled quickly, with settlements believed to be worth several million dollars in total.

    W5 did not manage to meet Fred King. But he may be aware of our inquiries. You can’t drive onto “The Property” anymore. There’s now a gate, complete with a heavy padlock and chain, and a sign warning no hunting or trespassing.

    see links to court documents at:


  16. Ontario Provincial Police Probe Polygamy Cult

    by Manny Paiva Bayshore Broadcasting News Centre November 23, 2012

    Carol Christie interviewed by OPP about shocking case of polygamy and assault.

    Grey County OPP are now investigating allegations of abuse and polygamy at a compound just south of Owen Sound.

    Former member of the "Church of Jesus Christ Restored", Carol Christie first told her story on the CTV program W-5.

    On Thursday, she spent most of the afternoon outlining her allegations to the OPP in Chatsworth.

    Christie says she spent nearly 40 years in what essentially was a cult and she suffered physical and emotional abuse at the hands of the Prophet, Fred King.

    The Owen Sound woman says she was brought into the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the late 1960's by her mother.

    Fred's father, Stan King eventually broke away from the Mormon's and started his own Church.

    Carol Christie says she became a "church wife", one of several Stan King had at the time, even though he was more than 20 years older than her.

    She says he was very strict, but her life took a turn for the worse in 1986 when Stan died and Fred took over as leader of the Church.

    Christie claims he took her as one of his seven wives, and she was spit on, slapped, and kicked at numerous times for alleged straying's from the church teachings.

    She finally got fed up after a severe beating and fled about four years ago.

    In 2010, Carol Christie launched a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Fred King and the "Church of Jesus Christ restored".

    The defendants denied the allegations in statements of defence but Christie says the lawsuit was quickly settled, and she knows of 5 other lawsuits by former members that were also quickly settled out of court.

    Christie could not disclose how much money was awarded.

    She says her goal by going public is to break up this cult, see charges filed, and put a stop to the abuses at the facility on Concession 2 just east of Chatsworth, between Massie Road and County Road 40.


  17. OPP probe polygamous church cult allegations

    BY MICHELE MANDEL, TORONTO SUN November 29, 2012

    TORONTO - In the heart of pastoral Ontario, Carol Christie lived a nightmare that she insists exists to this day. And finally the OPP are looking into her bombshell allegations of a church cult that condones polygamy, underage sex, physical abuse and brainwashing.

    Now 59, Christie once dreamed of being a nurse. Instead, her mother groomed her to be the sex slave of Stan King, a charismatic, self-proclaimed “Prophet” of a fundamentalist Mormon sect who decreed he could have as many wives as he wanted.

    Including girls as young as 10-years-old.

    When Christie was 18, she says she was beaten and drugged by a fellow member of the Church of Jesus Christ Restored, and then taken to live with King and his other wives at his farmhouse in Sauble Beach. He was 24 years her senior.

    Eventually the church would buy a bankrupt ski resort outside of Owen Sound and set up residence. She soon won his favour because she bore him two sons. “I belonged to the Prophet. He owned you and you danced to his rules and you did whatever would make him happy,” Christie recalled bitterly.

    Even if that included group sex.

    When King died in 1986, Christie dared to dream again, that perhaps she and her children would soon be free of the church that ruled their every thought and movement. Instead, King’s son Fred by his legal wife took over both his title and his possessions. And so she was passed from father to son.

    “He said whatever belonged to the first Prophet was now his,” she recalls.

    Like his father before him, she says he, too, filled his bed with underage girls. One of his seven “church wives” was a child bride of 10 or 11, she says, while another had his baby when she was just 15.

    But unlike the first Prophet, Christie claims the second harboured a deep streak of cruelty and violence.

    “I finally left because I thought he was going to kill me,” she says. “It wasn’t just me he was beating, it was other members of the church as well. He said chastisement was the will of God so we could become free of all our evil.”

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  18. After years of abuse and humiliation, her oldest son escaped in 2007. Meanwhile, the rage and physical violence she endured at King’s church services began to intensify. She’d go to bed each night, praying God would take her in her sleep. “There was nothing more to live for except more beatings and being told you were evil and mental.”

    For eight years, she was kept under “house arrest” in a Guelph apartment where she had to care for the children of other “church wives.” Her youngest son and other members of the sect had to work at the church-owned printing business in Mississauga.

    Christie finally decided to leave after she was slapped and kicked at an Easter Sunday service in 2008, but her son refused to join her. He told her he was afraid he’d go to hell if he left, just as the Prophet had threatened. “The brainwashing goes so deep,” she sighs. “It is truly the worst chapter of my life because I had to leave him behind.”

    After much counselling, she slowly rebuilt her life. She met her husband, an Owen Sound broadcaster and former city councillor, when she took a cleaning job at the local radio station. They married in 2009.

    He was the first person to whom she told her harrowing story. The second was her lawyer.

    In 2010, Christie filed a lawsuit against King, now 53, and the church, alleging she was involved in polygamous “coercive and abusive sexual relations” and was subject to “forcible confinement”, assaults, threats and emotional abuse.

    King and the church filed a statement of defence denying all her allegations. But they quickly settled her lawsuit and five others for “a lot of money.” A request for comment left at the church’s printing business was not returned.

    Christie is now determined to go public and see the 40-member church shuttered. Her story aired on CTV’s W5 two weeks ago and the OPP have confirmed that they’re now investigating. “We’re still in the very early stages,” said Sgt. Dave Rektor.

    Helping in her crusade is John Knisley, Fred’s half-brother and son of the church’s founder, Stan King. He got away in 1998 but his mother and sister still remain there. “I am working with officials and others to help close down and end this cult that is still holding my family captive,” says Knisley, who also settled his lawsuit against the church. “I want to see my mother again. I haven’t seen her for 14 years.”

    Christie may be free, but she remains tortured by those still trapped inside: Not only her son, but the young girls being groomed to be King’s brides. “It rips the heart out of me,” she says softly. “That’s why I’m trying so hard to get it shut down and get them a chance at life.”


  19. Cult-like churchs printing company linked to GTA school board

    BY MICHELE MANDEL, TORONTO SUN November 30, 2012

    TORONTO - This is not a match made in heaven.

    A Mississauga printing company linked to a cult-like church being investigated by the OPP on allegations of polygamy and underage sex has been doing work for years for the Dufferin-Peel District Catholic School Board, the Toronto Sun has learned.

    TriPrint Media is one of 15 current pre-qualified vendors on the board’s list for printing services and has been used in the past as well, confirms spokesman Bruce Campbell. But he stopped short of saying that the Catholic school board will no longer be using the company.

    “We recently became aware of the controversy related to the company. We are, of course, not obligated to use any one vendor on the pre-qualified list,” he said.

    A member of the printing industry who has done business with TriPrint Media for years said colleagues were horrified when they read the Toronto Sun story Friday and watched a W5 documentary about the Church of Jesus Christ Restored and their printing company run by Joe King, brother of the church’s self-proclaimed Prophet, Fred.

    “As a collective group we’re shocked and horrified,” said the print broker, who requested anonymity. “The school board is their biggest account. We anonymously mailed them a copy of the W5 video last week. I don’t think the Catholic District School Board wants to be associated with these people. As a taxpayer, I certainly don’t.”

    The woman now blowing the whistle on the church couldn’t agree more. “I don’t think anybody should be doing business with them,” said former “church-wife” Carol Christie, 59.

    The OPP are in the initial stages of investigating claims she and other former members have made about physical and sexual abuse committed by the church and its leader. Several attempts to reach TriPrint Media and the Kings for comment were not returned.

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  20. In 1969, the church broke away from the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints in Owen Sound after Stan King became dissatisfied with how it was straying from fundamentalist Mormon teachings. The married charismatic leader installed himself as the Prophet and at 18, Christie was told by her mother that she would be one of his “church wives” — even though he was 24 years older.

    At about the same time, the secretive Mormon sect, based at a former bankrupt ski lodge outside Owen Sound, established a printing business in Mississauga known then as Resto Graphics where many members were expected to work.

    Christie would have two sons with King, who took more wives, some as young as 10, and ordered them to participate in group sex. When he died in 1986, Christie thought she was free. Instead, she was simply passed to his successor, his legitimate son, Fred, who she claims had the same taste for child brides but ran the church with a far more brutal hand.

    She finally fled in 2008 and two years later launched a lawsuit against the church, Resto Graphics, as well as owners Fred and Joe King. “Resto and the church were inextricably entwined in the minds and lives of the members of the church,” Christie claimed in her lawsuit. “The plural wives of Stanley and Fred were taught by such persons and by Joe that the work performed to benefit Resto was in turn intended to benefit, build up and edify the Church and its assets and material interests.”

    As one of Fred’s seven wives, she alleged she was subject to “coercive and abusive sexual relations” and “forcible confinement”, assaults, threats and emotional abuse.

    While the Kings denied all her allegations in their statement of defence, the lawsuit was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. So, too, were five others launched by former members of the church.

    A short time later, Resto Graphics changed its name to TriPrint Media. Among their employees is Christie’s youngest son who refused to come with her when she finally broke free of the church after almost 40 years under its control.

    “You’re blackmailed that if you leave, you go to hell,” she explained. “Fear is a very powerful thing that keeps you there. You’re taught the world is an evil place.”

    When the true evil may be what’s going on inside.


  21. Ontario police investigate and lay polygamy charges, while B.C. dithers

    It tooks days for the OPP to large charges, a feat B.C. hasn’t managed in 60 years

    By Daphne Bramham, Vancouver Sun Columnist January 13, 2013

    Just like that, only a week after they had responded to a domestic dispute call and found a guy with a weapon and two wives, Ontario Provincial Police laid a polygamy charge.


    In a single week, Ontario did what British Columbia hasn’t been able to successfully manage in the nearly 60 years since the fundamentalist Mormon community of Bountiful was founded.

    Few details about the Ottawa-area man are available. His name, address and age are being withheld because the OPP say it is a domestic matter. OPP Const. Janice Sawbridge told me that officers who responded to the call determined that the man kept two separate homes – one for each wife.

    The man, she said, is “not part of a cult.”

    The OPP are investigating another polygamy case involving Fred King, a print-company owner and prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ Restored, who is alleged to have multiple “church wives” including one whom former followers say was only 11.

    It sounds all too similar to Bountiful, B.C. and the leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

    King’s father, Stan, started his own church and community on the site of an old ski lodge south of Owen Sound.

    King had left the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints, which is based on Mormon founder Joseph Smith’s teachings. Polygamy had never been practised within the Reorganized Church and was, in fact, the reason that its followers had broken with Brigham Young and the mainstream Mormon church in 1851. (The mainstream Mormon church didn’t renounce the practice until 1890.)

    The OPP’s investigation began in November after Carol Christie told her story to Victor Malarek, a reporter with CTV’s W5. (www.ctvnews.ca/w5/allegations-of-polygamy-abuse-and-psychological-torture-within-secretive-sect-1.1041913)

    Christie, now 59, was one of Stan King’s seven wives. Christie was 18 and King was in his 40s when she became one of his “church wives.” Not only did King have a fondness for group sex, Christie says his youngest ‘wife’ was only 10 when he first has sex with her.

    After King’s death, Fred took his father’s wives as his own and added a few more including one girl who was only 11, according to Christie.

    Christie recounted the physical, mental and emotional abuse she suffered at the hands of both father and son. She escaped four years ago. One of her two sons went with her; the other remains in the group.

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  22. Another former follower – John Knisely — told Malarek how he had been forced at 15 to leave school and go to work for King’s company for $10 or $20 a week, most of which was handed back to King and the church.

    Similar stories have formed the basis of documentaries, hundreds of newspaper articles and several books written about Bountiful.

    Yet, the B.C. government hasn’t done little for the women and children there.

    Three times in the past couple of decades, RCMP have recommended polygamy charges be laid. Not once have lawyers in the attorney-general’s ministry approved those charges. Instead, they’ve made all kinds of excuses.

    For more than two decades, lawyers working for the B.C. attorney general insisted that the criminal code sections were likely unconstitutional.

    By early 2000, they piled on two other ‘reasons.’

    They said they didn’t think pursuing the case was either in the public interest or had a substantial likelihood of conviction. This is despite Winston Blackmore, a former FLDS bishop, having publicly admitted several times to not only having multiple wives, but having ‘married’ a 15-year-old in a religious service.

    In 2009, a special prosecutor did approve charges against Blackmore and James Oler (who was then the FLDS bishop). But those charges were thrown out because a judge decided that the prosecutor had been improperly appointed.

    After that, the attorneys general for Canada and British Columbia launched the constitutional reference case.

    Mountains of evidence were placed before Chief Justice Robert Bauman including documents used in the Texas conviction of the FLDS Prophet Warren Jeffs on child rape charges that detailed polygamous marriages of B.C. men as well as how they took their own daughters illegally into the United States to become plural wives of other FLDS men.

    A year ago this week – Jan. 18, 2012 – Peter Wilson was appointed as special prosecutor to review all the new evidence.

    What he’s been doing for the past year? Who knows? Wilson has never responded to my requests to speak to him. His assistant tells me that Wilson doesn’t talk to journalists.

    All of which makes me wonder whether some of Bountiful’s polygamists wouldn’t already be in jail if police here could lay charges as their Ontario counterparts do.


  23. Lawyer on polygamy case changes his tune

    by Damian J. Penny, Canadian Lawyer Magazine January 21, 2012

    When s. 293 of the Criminal Code of Canada was referred to the British Columbia Supreme Court, I wrote that I believed the law was clearly unconstitutional in its current form:

    If this case was about legal recognition of polygamy — with massive implications for family law and even immigration policy — it would be much more challenging.

    At issue, however, is whether a polygamy should be a criminal offence. Federal and provincial governments, and many interest groups, argue that the Criminal Code provision is necessary to protect women and children coerced into abusive relationships.

    Such activity is already illegal, however, and the way s. 293 is written criminalizes all polygamous relationships, even those involving consenting adults. I would be very surprised if the B.C. Supreme Court — and, ultimately, the Supreme Court of Canada — does not find that the section is overly broad and therefore unconstitutional.

    The Supreme Court of B.C., of course, did uphold the constitutionality of s. 293 (this is why you shouldn’t take my stock market or fantasy football predictions, either). But the debate isn’t over, and the anti-criminalization arguments summarized in my blog post will still be forcefully made by religious and pro-polyamory activists.

    Craig Jones, who represented the British Columbia Department of Justice in the Polygamy Reference, could not disagree with these arguments more strongly. A longtime civil libertarian, Jones was confident the constitutionality of s. 293 would be upheld, but he initially did not personally take a strong position against the practice.

    By the time the matter made it to court, however, he was convinced polygamy is an inherently harmful practice that should not be tolerated in a modern society. He explains his evolution, and the case against polygamy, in his fascinating book A Cruel Arithmetic: Inside the Case Against Polygamy.

    In a polygamous society like Bountiful, B.C. — a mysterious, secretive colony populated by members of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints, the breakaway Mormon sect which practises “plural marriage” — this “cruel arithmetic” inevitably manifests itself in two ways. Every time a man takes an additional wife (polyandry, the taking of multiple husbands by a woman, is almost unknown) another man in the community is left with no one to marry. And as the adult females are married off, younger and younger wives are taken. The results: child trafficking, sexual exploitation of minors, and “lost boys,” who are marginalized and even expelled from their homes:

    According to Jones, it is not enough for the state to take action against only “bad” polygamy involving young children or coercion and abuse:

    Again and again, the discussion circled back to the fact that academic writers seemed to consider only harm arising in polygamous marriages, not polygamous societies [emphasis added]. The focus was entirely on how to accommodate polygamous unions while minimizing or addressing possible harms to co-wives and children. The commentators concluded that banning polygamy was unconstitutional because the law could be written to apply only to “bad” polygamy, or the state could simply scrutinize polygamous marriages looking for abuse and crimes. But the “cruel arithmetic” effect on the targeting of girls, like the increased criminality of men in the polygynous society, would be felt everywhere, and this was so even if every polygynous marriage was harmless, egalitarian, and restricted to fully consenting adults.

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  24. One of Jones’s expert witnesses, Dr. Joe Henrich, forcefully made the case that a “nontrivial” increase in polygamy would result in higher rates of crime and anti-social behaviour from the growing number of unmarried males (this has been the experience in China, where the “one-child” policy has led to an imbalance in the number of males and females).

    But surely if polygamy were decriminalized, very few Canadians would take up the practice, right? Jones isn’t willing to take that risk. He devotes a lengthy chapter to the findings of historians and evolutionary psychologists, who note monogamous societies are a relatively new development. And, of course, there are still many nations where polygamy is legal and/or widespread, and it’s not hard to believe immigrants from these societies would be attracted to Canada — multiple wives in tow.

    A Cruel Arithmetic makes a very strong case against polygamy, but does it make a strong case for criminalizing the practice? I find Jones’ arguments compelling (as did the British Columbia Supreme Court, obviously) but I still believe consenting adults have an inalienable right to enter into whatever arrangements they want.

    Indeed, adults can enter into polyamorous relationships, provided they don’t go through anything like a marriage ceremony. Once the relationship becomes a “marriage,” though, it becomes a crime. As the distinction between even monogamous marriage and common-law relationships becomes less clear, I believe this becomes increasingly hard to justify. Even Jones has a difficult time pulling it off, in my opinion:

    There may be harms that attached to some “polyamorous” relationships that weren’t marriages. But in my view, there was something about marriage, about the invocation of some external authority with (even notional) powers of enforcement, that permitted polygamy “take” a spread. . . . Who knows, if polyamory really does take off, and if it caused the same problems as polygamy, perhaps the law would have to be changed to accommodate that new reality. But line drawing, as we would urge the Court, is Parliament’s business, and when dealing with a spectrum of risks and harms the line has to be drawn somewhere.

    Jones puts forward evidence that polygamy leads to societal harms that justify infringement upon some individual rights. But we have to be careful about where that line of thinking can lead us (would an abortion ban be justifiable if social science research showed harm arising from a declining birth rate?).

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  25. There’s also the fact Canada has tolerated the practice of polygamy in Bountiful for decades. There might be a Criminal Code section that makes polygamy a criminal offence, but it hasn’t stopped a polygamous community of 1,000 people from developing in the B.C. interior. We’ve known what’s been going on there for years, but nothing was done about it. And the longer it takes, the harder it becomes to suddenly start prosecuting it.

    Moreover, Canadians know the anti-polygamy law is almost never enforced, but that certainly hasn’t led to many more “plural marriages.” If anything, the existence of Bountiful — a closed, cultish community that feels like a throwback to the 19th century — has probably made polygamy less attractive to mainstream Canadians. Who wants to live like those guys?

    The case against officially recognizing polygamous unions, however, is much more strong (if anything, A Cruel Arithmetic is useful for rebutting the argument made by anti-gay-marriage activists, that recognizing same-sex marriage will lead to a slippery slope toward officially sanctioning polygamy). We can respectfully disagree as to whether it should be a crime, but we can agree that polygamy is a very troubling practice.

    More importantly, A Cruel Arithmetic describes this major Canadian constitutional argument in more detail than I’ve seen in any other book. The duelling lawyers and their personalities, the clashes within the civil service, the preparation and cross-examination of witnesses — it’s all here. And it is absolutely riveting, especially when Jones describes the dismantling of dubious “expert” witnesses trying to make the case that polygamy is not so harmful. I’d go so far as to say every law student should read it, and many practising lawyers could learn a lot from it, too. I certainly did.


  26. Woman flees polygamy after disappearing 10 years ago

    Law enforcement » Arizona A.G. claims increased police patrols led to woman’s escape.

    By Jim Dalrymple II, The Salt Lake Tribune
    January 22 2013

    A woman who was finally able to leave an FLDS-controlled polygamous community escaped thanks to beefed up law enforcement in the area, according to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, which pleaded Tuesday for more funding.

    In a news conference, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne announced that Ruby Jessop had managed to leave Colorado City earlier this month. According to a news release, Jessop was held against her will for more than 10 years after being forced to marry her second-cousin, Haven Barlow, in 2001. Ruby, now 26, has been granted temporary custody of her six children, according to the release.

    He said a criminal probe of the FLDS and the Marshal’s Office, which serves as a small police force in the twin polygamous towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, is currently under way. He declined to provide details.

    "What they do is say, ‘Everybody watch her so she won’t run away.’ Then she can’t leave," Horne said of women like Ruby. "Women who wanted to escape have been forcibly held by the marshals against their will."

    Attorneys for the two towns and the Marshal’s Office adamantly denied the charges, calling Horne’s words "inflammatory."

    "I can’t speak for the FLDS but the bottom line is the Marshal’s Office absolutely does not hold people against their will," said lawyer Blake Hamilton. "The Arizona attorney general, as the highest ranking law enforcement official in Arizona, ought not be making those statements unless he has evidence of it."

    The release characterizes Jessop’s departure as an "escape" made possible by $420,000 that Horne set aside in 2012. The money was used to increase sheriff’s patrols in Mohave County, where Colorado City is located. The release claims that sheriff’s deputies were "instrumental" in helping Jessop and her children leave, although it does not provide additional details about the process. It also does not explain how she gained custody of her children.

    Horne could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday but said in the release that the additional funds he allocated will run out in six months. Horne urged Arizona residents to contact legislators and ask them to support bills that would "authorize Mohave County Sheriffs Deputies to do the policing in Colorado City rather than the local marshals who are under the control of the dominant church."

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  27. On Tuesday, Jessop’s sister Flora Jessop said recent weeks have been the happiest time of her life. In 2001, Flora watched as then 14-year-old Ruby was forced into a polygamous marriage. Days later, Ruby called and said she was being abused and begged for help, Flora said Tuesday in a telephone interview from Phoenix, where she lives. "I was on the way to pick her up when she disappeared," Flora said.

    Ruby Jessop landed on the Arizona attorney general’s radar shortly thereafter, according to the release. At that time, Flora told authorities Ruby was being held against her will in various homes along the Utah-Arizona border. After Ruby disappeared, the sisters lost contact.

    Flora said she spent the next decade searching for her sister, becoming an anti-polygamy activist along the way. When Ruby left Colorado City, Flora’s quest finally paid off.

    Flora said Ruby left Colorado City about a month ago. After she left, her children were "held hostage by the FLDS," Flora added, until Ruby won temporary custody of them last week. The children range in age from two to 10 years.

    Flora said Jessop is doing well but has been advised by an attorney not to speak to reporters. Her attorney could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon. Flora added that living conditions in Colorado City have recently deteriorated.

    Tonia Tewell, executive director of Holding out HELP, agreed with that assessment. Tewell — whose organization provides humanitarian aid to polygamists — was not familiar with Ruby’s case but said the Colorado City area is currently filled with people who have been excommunicated from the FLDS’ United Order, those who are trying to get back into the church’s good graces, and members in good standing. The faithful are often forbidden from talking to those who have fallen out of favor, and people with different standings in the church often have conflicts. Tewell said her organization also has been receiving reports of significant abuse.

    "A woman came to us who was being drugged and locked in a room," she said.

    Tewell said women in the FLDS community are particularly vulnerable because they can lack education or basic skills needed to survive in the outside world. Many people also fear losing their families — as well as their jobs, status and even possessions — if they fall out of favor with the FLDS church.

    "It’s definitely getting worse as far as I’m concerned," Tewell said. "It’s crazy right now."

    The Associated Press contributed to this story.


  28. Utahns lobby against polygamy with a little help from Canada

    by Daphne Bramham Vancouver Sun (blog)February 13, 2013

    There’s Canadian content in a new brochure that was hand-delivered Wednesday to Utah state legislators by a group that opposed to the decriminalization of polygamy. The brochure quotes from the decision of B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Baumann’s decision in 2011 that concluded that Canada’s anti-polygamy law is constitutional.

    The constitutional reference case was started by the B.C. government in response to concerns about the polygamists in Bountiful, who are members of two separate fundamentalist Mormon groups. The one group follows Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; the other follows former FLDS bishop Winston Blackmore.

    The Utah group called the Sound Choice Coalition is led by Kristyn Decker, a former polygamist. In an interview with Fox News, Decker said if Utah moves to decriminalize polygamy it will allow the state to become a haven for the abuses that come along with the practice.

    “We want to see these people protected, especially the children,” Decker said. “We’ve got generations, if it’s just ignored we’re talking hundreds of thousands of generations of the same thing going on and on.”

    The group’s lobbying is in response to a court challenge to Utah’s anti-polygamy law that was launched by ‘independent polygamist’ Kody Brown from the TLC TV series “Sister Wives.” He and his wives are challenging Utah’s polygamy laws.

    Brown and his wives also follow the teachings of Mormonism’s founder Joseph Smith. The mainstream Mormon church gave up the practise of polygamy in 1890.


    To view the brochure and download a copy go to:


  29. Utahns speak out against decriminalizing polygamy

    by Mark Green, Fox13 Now February 13, 2012

    SALT LAKE CITY — An organization that opposes decriminalizing polygamy in Utah made its presence known at the Utah Capitol this morning.

    Members of the Sound Choice Coalition visited with state officials and asked them to resist loosening Utah’s laws regarding polygamy.

    The organization’s founder, Kristyn Decker, is a former polygamist, and she said if Utah moves to decriminalize polygamy it will allow the state to become a haven for the abuses that come along with the practice.

    “We want to see these people protected, especially the children,” Decker said. “We’ve got generations, if it’s just ignored we’re talking hundreds of thousands of generations of the same thing going on and on.”

    Decker said there are many more polygamous groups out there than the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which she said gets most of the attention. She said that group is “an extreme” but that there are abuses happening in the polygamous communities that are less well-known, which she says is part of the problem.

    “There are so many violations of human rights within these communities that it’s just huge, and we know that it is,” she said.

    Decker said many people who seem to be happy with polygamy are actually miserable, and she said she once pretended to be happy in a polygamous lifestyle.

    “I was miserably happy,” she said. “I was happy that I was pleasing God, but inside of me my heart hurt. I was jealous. I was sad. And then when I had those feelings I was a bad person for having those feelings.”

    Decker said the choice aspect of polygamous lifestyles is often a false choice, and men, women and children feel they are coerced into choosing something they don’t truly want because they are raised to believe their salvation depends on it.

    “I hate to say brainwashing, but for the lack of a better word right now that’s what it is,” she said. “It’s: ‘You do this, or else.’”

    The group’s push against decriminalizing polygamy in Utah comes during an ongoing court case filed by Kody Brown, from the TLC TV series “Sister Wives.” He and his wives are challenging Utah’s polygamy laws.


  30. A Heart-Wrenching Letter from Carol Christie to her son for his birthday

    Stop Polygamy in Canada Society February 15, 2013


    Hi Nancy:

    Thank God for your listening ear and eyes, and for your blog, which gives me an outlet to express my thoughts at various times. Here’s another, as we keep trying to fight the good fight:

    Happy Birthday, Son.

    It’s on Saturday, February 16th, and he turns 34.

    He won’t hear me say it, and won’t read my words either.

    I am not allowed to be in contact with him. In this age of instant communication and freedom to say (within reason) what we want to whom we want, I can’t even tell him Happy Birthday.

    Of my two precious boys, he is the one who chose not to escape the clutches of the Church of Jesus Christ (Restored), and come with me when I hastily left in the spring of 2008.

    He was afraid he’d burn in hell if he did. He tried to stop me from going too, but I felt I had no choice. I was afraid that, based on the beatings I had already endured at the hands of the Prophet, I would be killed if I stayed.

    Now, it’s another birthday. A day for me to remember vividly how blessed I felt when he came into the world. And to feel with my every cell the torment of knowing he’s still in there, brainwashed, abused, a victim of virtual slave labour. No chance of ever being allowed to marry. No opportunity to exercise his brilliant mind and contribute in wholeness what he has to offer the world. No hope of sharing his immense musical talent with anyone but the pathetic little cluster of people victimized just like him. Made to believe that the polygamous lifestyle of the Prophet is somehow normal. To accept without question that the word of the Prophet is the absolute word of God.

    It has been a rough week, and my Son’s birthday is just part of it. I am feeling desolate inside. And afraid…that, after all I’ve tried to do…the story on national television, the interviews with other media, the police, childrens’ aid and others, nothing will happen. There’s my book, due out in a few weeks. Maybe somehow that will stir up the issue and something will happen. SOMETHING! ANYTHING!

    I leave yet another call on the message machine of an Ontario Provincial Police Detective. It has not been returned. Are they still investigating? What happened to the follow-up interview with them I was told was coming “after the holidays”? Which holiday did they mean”? Christmas/New Years? Easter? Victoria Day? Canada Day? Which year?

    I hear of journalists, near and far, who have an interest in my story and our cause. I reach out with my contact information. Day after day, I wait for at least an answer or two. The phone remains silent.

    I have been chasing my Provincial MPP for weeks. At one point, there was even a committment from his office that they would call on a given date, at a certain time. It came and went. I stayed home to receive the call. Nothing. Nothing since, either. A high-profile former MP and one-time federal leadership candidate I met promised his time and support months ago. Just so much gas, I guess. He has vanished from my radar long-since.


    Is anybody listening? Does anybody care? Anyone, that is, who is in a position to make a real difference? Anyone who will have the guts to DO something, enforce the laws that are already on the books, put the criminals in jail, and make the future look the slightest bit brighter for the on-going victims of cult religion and polygamy? In Ontario? In B.C.? In Colorado and Utah? Anywhere this disease remains unchecked and flourishing?

    Can anyone do something for my son?

    For the love of God, wake up and….HELP!

    Is there a single solid reason for hope, at the end of a really bad week?


    Carol Christie,

    Owen Sound,Ontario

  31. Polygamous family lobbies the legislature for decriminalization

    by Ben Winslow, Fox13 News Salt Lake City February 20, 2013

    Joe Darger and his wife, Vicki, walked through the Capitol shaking hands with lawmakers like any other citizen lobbyist.

    What exactly they’re asking their lawmakers to do is a little more unique: decriminalize polygamy.

    “The way we are persecuting a particular religious group of people is wrong,” Joe Darger said. “It’s morally wrong, it’s ethically wrong, and we need to look at it. It hasn’t worked for 150 years and we need to change it.”

    Darger, a polygamist with three wives, Vicki, Valerie and Alina, is hoping to get lawmakers to start considering the idea of decriminalization. He and Vicki came to the Utah State Capitol carrying copies of a book they wrote about their family, entitled “Love Times Three,” and handed them to lawmakers who stopped to chat with them.

    “Right now, it is illegal for me to purport to be married,” Darger told FOX 13. “Simply by me claiming her as my wife, I’m considered a third-degree felon.”

    The Darger’s political action comes as a lawsuit is winding its way through U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City that could do the same thing. Reality TV polygamist Kody Brown and his four wives, who star in the cable show “Sister Wives,” are challenging Utah’s ban on polygamy. A federal judge could rule on the case any day now.

    “We’re not looking for legal recognition. We’re not looking for multiple marriage licenses,” Darger said. “That kind of concern isn’t out there. We’re just saying let’s decriminalize a group of people who aren’t criminals.”
    Vicki Darger said she hopes lawmakers will at least consider her family’s perspective.

    “We don’t really expect people to morally agree with us, but we do hope they will see our stand and what we’re committed to and help us to fight for our rights and stand up for the rights that we should have, as every citizen has,” she said.

    With the “Sister Wives” case pending, anti-polygamy activists are also speaking up. Earlier that same day, the newly formed “Sound Choices Coalition” was handing out fliers to lawmakers urging them to uphold Utah’s anti-bigamy laws.

    The Dargers insist that if polygamy were to be decriminalized, people would feel more free to report abuses that have been associated with their lifestyle.

    “There’s so much secrecy that goes on simply because it’s against the law,” Vicki Darger said.

    Lawmakers FOX 13 approached about the idea of decriminalizing polygamy quickly refused to comment. At a recent availability for reporters, House Speaker Rebecca Lockhart, R-Provo, said there is just no appetite amongst the body to even consider the idea.

    Darger, who is a Republican delegate in Herriman, said he wasn’t giving up.

    “We’re under no illusions,” he said. “This is a long battle. It’s not if, but when. But part of this is a political process as well, and the legislature can change that — and should change it.”


  32. Polygamy turns junior wives into slaves

    by Marc Nkwame Daily News Tanzania March 10, 2013

    WOMEN from marginalized communities in Arusha and Manyara regions are up in arms against polygamy, which has reduced them into ‘slaves’ of senior wives.

    Elsewhere, a new wife wedded to an already married man becomes the favourite but it is not so among the Maasai or Datoga communities where elder wives continue to call all shots at the expense of younger wives.

    “In most cases, women from the Maasai, Datoga and Hadza communities suffer under male chauvinism where men harass them at will. But under polygamy, older wives too have also become tormentors.

    They beat and insult junior wives,” lamented Mrs Paulina Longu, a Barbaig lady hailing from Hanang District in Manyara region.

    Other women from Hadza tribe of Yaeda-Mbulu and Maasai communities from Loliondo division of Ngorongoro have also recounted similar tales of mistreatment. The women gathered in Arusha city to mark the International Women’s Day last Friday. Three organizations focused on protection of the rights of marginalized communities teamed up to organize the event.

    According to the women, younger wives were always treated as slaves, doing all tedious manual work, physically assaulted and insulted by older wives. Even their children suffered the consequences from elder brothers and sisters from other women in the family.

    This happens among the Maasai, Hadza and Datoga tribes in the two regions. Organizers of the event admitted that polygamy was a serious challenge in those areas. The organizations that staged the event included Pastoral Women Rights (PWC), Pastoralists Indigenous Non-Government Organizations (PINGOS- Forum), Oxfam Tanzania and Maasai Women Development Organization (MWEDO).

    The Director of Oxfam-Tanzania, Ms Monicah Gorman, suggested that women from marginalized communities should be more united to oppose male chauvinism, polygamy and other forms of social abuse. Ms Lilian Joseph from PWC pointed out that the proposed new constitution was the best instrument to save women in Tanzania from abuse.

    The director of MWEDO, Mrs Ndinini Kimesera, pointed out that despite all that, positive traditions should be maintained in order to protect women from negative traits of the so-called modern lifestyle. She said it was time local communities recognized women as important and respected members of society and allowed them to inherit land, own property as well as have access to education.

    Mr Issaya Naini, the programme officer for PINGOS-Forum, said that was the first ever ‘Women’s Day,’ to be organized for women from marginalized groups and since many came forth to speak about their problems, it was important to organize the event every year. But what do men in the accused societies say about allowing their elder wives to mistreat younger wives?

    Elder (Mzee) Kirando Lukeimei who commands respect among the Maasai society in Loliondo and is regarded as a wise advisor popularly known as ‘Mwalimu,’ admits that women in nomadic tribes were not only rendered powerless but also voiceless. “Husbands who gradually allowed their older wives to own land and cattle and have a say in the community were now suffering the consequences as older wives harassed junior wives under the polygamous system of marriage,” said Mzee Lukeimei.

    He said senior wives would even prevent their husbands from sending rations of milk and other requirements to junior spouses and harass innocent children born to the younger mothers. “This means that giving too much freedom to older wives was not a good idea.

    However, Mzee Lukeimei wanted equal rights to education for girls and boys among the Maasai and other communities, unlike now whereby only boys have the privilege to go to school and girls being used for bride price in order to give wealth to parents.


  33. OPP probe of Chatsworth church continues

    By Scott Dunn, Sun Times, Owen Sound April 24, 2013

    The Ontario Provincial Police says its investigation into allegations of past abuse behind the doors of what’s been called a “cult-like” Chatsworth church is continuing, but child welfare authorities have not identified any current victims and have closed their own review.

    Owen Sound resident Carol Christie alleged in media interviews late last year that she spent nearly 40 years under the brainwashed control of Stan King, then his son Fred, each of whom people in the Church of Jesus Christ Restored called “The Prophet.”

    After Stan King died, Christie became one of Fred King’s wives. Her story involves claims of polygamy, historical sexual abuse and missed police opportunities to uncover it.

    Christie has written a book, with her husband John Christie, about her experience called “Property. The True Story of a Polygamous Church Wife”. They will sign copies of the book Wednesday at 7 p.m. at The Ginger Press bookstore in downtown Owen Sound.

    Christie said in an interview Tuesday she has the feeling nothing is happening in the police investigation and she’s “ticked” that neither police nor the child welfare authorities have kept in touch, as she said they promised to do.

    “They promise to get back but they don’t.”

    John Christie added: “What we were getting from both of them for a period of time is one would be asking us what the other was doing . . . We said to them, well why don’t you be in contact with the other one?”

    “It just seemed like the Keystone Kops, you know, from both agencies because they were just you know, footballing back and forth,” he said. “We get discouraged because we think well, you know, is he going to get away with this? Is nothing going to happen? When the OPP say it’s an ongoing investigation, does that mean it’s on the shelf some place?”

    A lawsuit which was settled out of court contended that Christie left the church two days after Fred King beat her in church on Easter Sunday, March 23, 2008. The claim, which was never tested in court, said Fred King’s “abuse and negligence” left her struggling with chronic pain, depression and anger, post-traumatic stress disorder, a lack of ambition, trust and difficulty developing and maintaining healthy relationships.

    Grey County OPP Const. Alina Grelik confirmed the investigation which began late last year continues, but provided no further details after consulting an investigating officer Tuesday.

    Phyllis Lovell is the executive director of Bruce Grey Family and Children’s Services, formerly called the Children’s Aid Society in both counties. She confirmed her organization’s investigation is closed.

    “In the present context, we haven’t identified children at risk who live in our jurisdiction and so our process is complete,” Lovell said in an interview Tuesday.

    She also said there is no signed statement from anyone alleging children are at immediate risk, which would give the agency legal authority to intervene, and anything else at this point to suggest children are at immediate risk. She said she understands the The OPP is investigating allegations of historical abuse.

    Lovell said child welfare authorities were first notified of recent concerns about the church by Owen Sound lawyer John Tamming, who represented Christie and five others in an action that reached a confidential settlement with the church. Lovell found staff acted appropriately, based on the information at the time. In December Lovell reviewed the file again in response to a media inquiry and again found nothing to act on.


  34. Former church wife hopes for prosecution of polygamists

    By Daphne Bramham, Vancouver Sun columnist July 4, 2013

    Carol Christie was only 18 when she was chided, drugged and manipulated by her mother into becoming the fourth wife and one of three “church wives” to the prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ Restored.

    The so-called prophet — Stan King — was more than twice Christie’s age. Yet Christie was not the youngest of the wives; another was just 14. And as the years passed, Christie says, King took three more “church wives” ranging in age from 10 to 17.

    When he died in 1986 at age 58, Fred King took over. He was King’s youngest son by his only legal wife. Fred King took control of both the spiritual and temporal lives of his followers.

    He bedded his father’s wives, ran the church’s printing company and prescribed every aspect of the lives of his followers who live on an 80-hectare property near Owen Sound, Ont., that was once a ski resort.

    Christie’s story is strikingly similar to those told by women who have escaped the fundamentalist Mormon community of Bountiful, B.C., even though there are no formal links to either the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) or the breakaway group that Winston Blackmore leads.

    All three groups denounce the mainstream Mormon church and are denounced by the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All three breakaway groups claim to be the only true followers of Joseph Smith. All three condone polygamy, although the Ontario church limits it to the prophet.

    The prophets share a penchant for girls and young women and group sex. Their control over boys is equally strong and results in them working almost as slave labourers for companies whose profits go almost solely to the leader.

    Christie was fortunate. She was Stan King’s favoured wife, having borne him two sons in quick succession. While she chafed under the prophet’s control, he was never physically abusive.

    His son was.

    “He would look into my eyes and perceive evil and I would have the bejeebers kicked out of me,” Christie tells me during a recent interview. “He [Fred King] grew to be very large and strong and he could knock me right off a chair. He could hit me so hard that I would go flying through the air.”

    In 2007, Christie and James, her elder son, were watching a TV report about FLDS prophet Warren Jeffs, the FLDS prophet, of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Jeffs was in jail in Utah awaiting trial. He was later convicted of being an accomplice to the rape of a 14-year-old girl.

    “That’s us, m om,” James said. “That’s the way we live. That could be our story as easily as theirs.”

    In April 2007, James left the group even though Carol says the prophet repeatedly told his followers that he would hunt down and kill anyone who left.

    Carol promised to leave once she’d saved some money and been able to convince her younger son to come with her. The younger son believes what he’s been taught. He believes that he will be damned for eternity if he leaves the group that has dwindled to about 40 people from a high of more than 90.

    continued below

  35. But things didn’t work out that way. After a particularly harsh beating in March 2008 — another round of the prophet’s punishment for her being an evil and unfit mother for raising a son who wouldn’t obey – Christie was convinced she wouldn’t survive the next one.

    For eight years, she’d been under virtual house arrest in a tiny apartment that she shared with another plural wife. Christie could only go out if she was accompanied by someone appointed by the prophet to be her minder.

    She left her younger son behind and hasn’t seen him since.

    It’s hard to reconcile the vivacious Carol Christie who I interviewed with the woman she must have been for so many years. It is one of the cruel ironies of those who are strong enough to escape from cults that their own strength makes it hard for some people to believe their stories.

    Despite more than three decades of control, brainwashing and later abuse, Christie says she truly believed that if she worked hard and was kind to people she would survive outside the church.

    She’s done that and more.

    In October 2009, Christie married – legally – for the first time.

    With the support of her husband, John Christie, she sued the Church of Jesus Christ Restored for the abuse she suffered. It was, she believes, the first time in Canada that a former cult member had filed a civil suit against the cult and its leader for abuse.

    Still, it took two years and two traumatic events before Christie decided to go public with her story.

    On Mother’s Day in 2010, she was mugged in the middle of the day and dragged down an Owen Sound street “fighting like a wildcat” as the robbers tried to cut her purse strap with a knife. (The two robbers have been jailed.)

    Then, in December 2010, she went to a Christmas party where her beautiful coat – the first new coat she’d ever owned – was stolen from the restaurant cloak room.

    A few days later, while she and John were driving. “I turned to him and in a loud voice I said , ‘I’ve had it. I’m not going to be a victim anymore.’”

    John took her straight to a lawyer and for the second time in her life, Carol Christie told her story.

    In January 2011, Christie and the church reached an out-of-court settlement with a confidentiality clause that covers only the amount of the settlement, but doesn’t stop her from talking about her experience.

    After Christie’s story was told by W5 reporter Victor Malarek last November, the Ontario Provincial Police began an investigation, which is continuing. In April, Christie’s book titled Property was published by Dundurn Press.

    Christie wants the people she left behind to be freed.

    “I love the people I left back there. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about them. That was my world for so many years. They’re my family and I miss them.”

    And heartened by the B.C. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision that upheld the constitutionality of Canada’s anti-polygamy law, Christie wants the Ontario justice system to do what has seemed impossible in British Columbia.

    She wants King prosecuted for polygamy.


  36. Op-ed: Legislature should protect girls in polygamy

    By Rebekah Wightman, Salt Lake Tribune February 1, 2014 

    At a federal hearing this past week, a man was sentenced to 15 years in a federal penitentiary after authorities found him in possession of child pornography and engaging in a sexual relationship with a 12-year-old girl.

    The 15-year federal sentence reflects the priority that the United States puts on protecting children. It also establishes a precedent that states may emulate. Utah has developed a number of laws targeting the protection of children, but often undercuts the enforcement of these laws to prioritize other state policy.

    Utah’s enforcement of laws targeting underage marriage changes when words like spiritual, religious or polygamous are the adjectives describing the marriage.

    The deference Utah gives to this religious shield, masking otherwise illegal activities, makes it harder to sort out just who the violator is and how to help the victim, or if there even is a victim.

    But a 12-year-old girl is a 12-year-old girl, no matter if she lives in Salt Lake City or in Hildale, and no 12-year-old girl should be sexually violated.

    The Utah Attorney General’s Office has repeatedly made commitments to target the underage marriages occurring within Utah’s polygamous communities, but it is difficult.

    Intervention relies on the abused accessing the authorities and advocating for themselves. This is a herculean feat for almost any victim of sexual abuse, but the stakes are even higher when the violator’s behavior is socially acceptable and even encouraged within the victim’s immediate environment.

    As Utah’s 2014 legislative session gets under way, defining marriage remains at the center of the state’s political milieu. Both Judge Robert Shelby’s recent decision striking down Amendment 3 and Judge Clark Waddoups’ decision finding the cohabitation clause of the polygamy statutes unconstitutional have significant ramifications on Utah’s definition of marriage. After listening to a speech given this week by Utah’s House majority leader regarding the goals of the 2014 legislative session, it is apparent that the lack of legal definition for marriage has led to a halt on legislative reform for polygamy.

    Therefore, it is my suggestion that the Legislature ask a different question. Instead of focusing on how marriage is defined, the Legislature should ask to whom they owe a duty. If it is clear to whom a duty is owed, it will be clearer what remedy is owed, and knowing these two components can clarify what legislation should be made.

    The Legislature owes a duty to its constituency, and within that constituency, its highest duty is to the most vulnerable members. In the case of polygamy, that means the young girls trafficked into underage marriages, sexually exploited and abused. It means the wives trapped in relationships marked by dominance instead of love and expectations of obedience instead of equality. It means young boys rendered homeless during adolescence.

    Does this happen in every polygamous relationship? No. Does this happen in some polygamous relationships? Yes. Does this happen in enough polygamous relationships that it is cause for concern? Yes.


  37. Chatsworth church leader, brother charged

    By Rob Gowan, Sun Times, Owen Sound April 7, 2014

    Criminal charges have been laid against the leader of a church in the Township of Chatsworth, but his whereabouts are unknown.

    Grey County OPP announced Monday that a total of 31 charges - some dating back about 35 years - have been laid against the leader of the Church of Jesus Christ Restored, Frederick Madison King, 55, and his brother, Judson William King, 59.

    Frederick King hasn't been seen since allegations of physical and sexual assault against him came forward and police began investigating in late 2012, according to an OPP news release. A warrent has been issued for his arrest.

    "We can't speculate on where he would be. We don't know," said OPP Sgt. Dave Rektor. "If we did we would certainly have him in custody."

    Frederick King is described as being a white man, approximately 5 feet 10 inches (178 centimetres) tall with a heavy build and brown hair. Police would like to speak with anyone who may know his whereabouts.

    After a 16-month OPP investigation, Frederick King has been charged with sexual exploitation, sexual interference, three counts of sexual assault, three counts of assault causing bodily harm, five counts of uttering death threats, two counts of assault with a weapon and 10 counts of assault.

    Rektor said the investigation was a very meticulous, involving several victims.

    "Basically we followed the evidence and took it to where it led us and laid the appropriate charges as has been done in this case," said Rektor.

    In late 2012, the "cult-like" Chatsworth church was thrust into the public spotlight when Owen Sound resident Carol Christie alleged in media interviews she spent close to 40 years under the brainwashed control of Stan King, then his son Fred.

    Her story involved claims of polygamy, historical sexual abuse and missed police opportunities to uncover it. She wrote a book, with her husband John Christie, about her experience called "Property. The True Story of a Polygamous Church Wife." None of the allegations have been proven in court.

    "It is good news," Carol Christie said Monday on hearing charges had been laid. "It has been a long and weary journey to get here and I am really encouraged that the process has reached this point. We are hoping for the best."

    Christie said writing the book and getting her story out has helped her immensely in the healing process.

    "This community they have been great, so supportive and it has meant so much to me," said Christie.

    Grey County OPP were called in on Nov. 20, 2012, to investigate the allegations at the church located on Conc. 2-3 of the former Holland Township.

    The investigation resulted in the charges, some dating back to 1978 and involving seven victims.

    All victims were members of the church during the time the alleged offences were reported to have occurred, the OPP news release said.

    Police will not be releasing any additional information that identifies the victims.

    Frederick King's brother, Judson King, of Oakville, has been charged with assault with a weapon, uttering death threats and four counts of assault. He is to appear in court in Owen Sound on May 15 to answer to the charges.

    Rektor said no more charges are expected to be laid unless more information comes to light.

    "Often times in cases like this, especially when you are dealing with historic incidents, other things happen, other information comes forward," said Rektor. "We would never say that no charges would be additional. We will see what happens."

    Anyone with information about Frederick King's whereabouts is asked to call Grey County OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.


  38. Ontario church leader arrested on more than 20 charges in 16-month probe of alleged violence, polygamy

    by Jake Edmiston | National Post April 13, 2014

    After a 16-month investigation into alleged violence and polygamy at a rural Ontario church, police found and arrested its reclusive leader in a Hamilton, Ont., hotel room late last week — hours away from the church’s compound near Georgian Bay.

    Investigators said the 55-year-old preacher, Frederick King, hadn’t been seen since one of his alleged victims spoke publicly about her 40 years at Chatsworth township’s Jesus Christ Restored Church, which has been accused of “cult-like” activities.

    Last week, Ontario Provincial Police issued a Canada-wide warrant for Mr. King’s arrest on more than 20 charges, ranging from sexual and physical assault to uttering death threats, sexual interference and exploitation.

    “We can’t speculate on where he would be. We don’t know,” OPP Sgt. Dave Rektor told the Owen Sound Sun-Times last week. But after distributing his photo to media, investigators said they received a tip Friday that Mr. King was in Hamilton. He was arrested without incident. Police also arrested Mr. King’s brother, Judson, on assault charges earlier last week.

    The investigation started days after a 2012 interview with Carol Christie detailing her experience as one of Mr. King’s wives aired on a local TV network.

    News of the church leader’s Friday night arrest came as vindication for Ms. Christie, who says she grew up under the impression that mainstream society “was evil and if you left the church the world would eat you up.”

    “This has proven it all wrong to me. Everything I was taught was all wrong,” said Ms. Christie, who last year published a book on her experiences, Property: The True Story of a Polygamous Church Wife.

    A total of seven former parishioners participated in the investigation

    Before she left in 2008, she says she was held under “house arrest” as one of seven in Mr. King’s alleged harem, frequently warned that anyone who defected from the church would be captured and killed. One of her two sons refused to leave the church with her, for fear of eternal damnation, Ms. Christie says.

    “You would be constantly looking over your shoulder for fear that he would be there or send someone,” she recalled of the days following her “escape” from the church.

    continued below

  39. In these cults the people will do anything to serve and protect the prophet. That’s the kind of brainwashing that goes on

    “But it didn’t last for very long, after I got it into my head that he wasn’t coming. He doesn’t have that control over me any more.”

    Ms. Christie’s husband, John, says he takes minor security precautions at their Owen Sound, Ont., home, but is not “unduly paranoid” about retribution from any church members.

    “In these cults,” he said, “the people will do anything to serve and protect the prophet. That’s the kind of brainwashing that goes on.”

    After joining the church in the late ’60s, Ms. Christie says she was 18 when her mother forced her to marry the church’s patriarch and self-dubbed prophet, Stanley King. Marrying the church’s founder — who was twice her age — was the “will of God,” Ms. Christie recalled being told.

    When Stanley King died in the 1980s, his son Frederick inherited his wives, his flock and his status among them as a “supreme prophet,” Ms. Christie alleged in a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against the church, its Mississauga-based printing company and Mr. King. That suit, filed in 2010, was settled out of court for an unspecified amount of money. None of the allegations against Mr. King, his brother or Jesus Christ Restored have been tested in court.

    In her written testimony, Ms. Christie alleged that the younger Mr. King was sexually and physically abusive after his father’s death, often beating her and her sons in front of the church. The last of those alleged beatings came on Easter Sunday in 2008, when she says Mr. King spit in her face with the congregation watching, slapping her in the face and kicking her legs. Two days later, she left.

    “I think my new life began then,” she said Sunday. “I had freedom for the first time.”


  40. Church leader free on bail

    By Scott Dunn, Sun Times, Owen Sound April 16, 2014

    Frederick Madison King was released from custody Wednesday on $50,000 bail under terms which include no contact with the alleged victims of sexual and physical assaults and threats at the "cult-like" Chatsworth church he headed.

    City police and special constables with metal-detecting wands checked visitors before they entered the small courtroom, where Crown and defence recommended terms of King's release to Justice of the Peace Thomas Stinson.

    After the paperwork was signed, police escorted King, his wife Linda Frances King, and eldest brother Joseph Alcide King out of the Owen Sound courthouse to their cars. The extra security measures aren't common at bail hearings or for many court processes in Owen Sound.

    King, 55, must live with Joseph, 60, in his Oakville apartment. Fred King's wife Linda, 51, Joseph King and Fred King all agreed to be liable to pay the $50,000 if King breaches any of the bail terms.

    King must stay away from the church property east of Chatsworth, remain in Ontario and report to the OPP in Burlington twice monthly.

    He must not possess firearms or other weapons and must arrange to turn over to police any guns and documents allowing him to possess them.

    It's unclear whether the Chatsworth-area Church of Jesus Christ Restored, where worshippers referred to King as the "Prophet, continues to operate.

    King declined to answer questions outside the courtroom.

    Lawyer Charles Barhydt, who helped negotiate King's release terms, said "We're not going to be making any comments."

    King is charged with sexual exploitation, sexual interference, three counts of sexual assault, three counts of assault causing bodily harm, four counts of uttering death threats, two counts of assault with a weapon and 10 counts of assault. The charges date from 1978 to 2008.

    Police arrested Fred King after receiving a tip last Friday he might be in a Hamilton hotel. He was arrested on a Canada-wide warrant without incident.

    Police announced last week that King and his brother, Judson William King, faced a total of 31 charges.

    Judson King, 59, of Oakville was arrested April 4 and was released. He is charged with assault with a weapon, uttering death threats and four counts of assault.

    Both brothers are scheduled to attend first-appearance court in the Ontario Court of Justice in Owen Sound on May 15.

    Owen Sound resident Carol Christie wrote a book with her husband John Christie, which was published last year, about her church experience called Property. The True Story of a Polygamous Church Wife.

    In late 2012 the church was thrust into the public spotlight when she alleged in media interviews she spent close to 40 years under the brainwashed control of Stan King, who died in 1986, then his son Fred, who took over leadership of the "cult-like" church.

    Her story involved claims of polygamy, abuse and missed police opportunities to uncover it. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

    Six church defectors, including Carol Christie, have settled lawsuits against church principals, including Fred King, out of court.

    Christie's settlement of December 2010 included agreement not to disclose how much money she got, she said in an interview in late 2012. The defendants' statement of defence denied the allegations, which were never tested in court.

    Publication bans forbid identification of complainants and witnesses in King's sex-related criminal allegations, as well as evidence and submissions made in bail court until the charges are dealt with.

    John Christie watched the proceedings in the courtroom and said afterward he'll find it interesting to see how the terms of bail work. "My hope is they will work well"


  41. Prophet Committed To Stand Trial

    by Manny Paiva, Bayshore News March 25, 2015

    Preliminary hearing ends for Fred King and he is ordered to stand trial on 24 charges

    (Owen Sound) -
    The man known as "the Prophet" has been committed to stand trial.

    Fred King was the leader of the Church of Jesus Christ Restored in Chatsworth.

    His preliminary hearing wrapped up in Owen Sound on Wednesday -- and he was committed to stand trial to face 24 total charges.

    The charges that date from 1978 to 2008 include sexual exploitation, sexual interference, three counts of sexual assault, three counts of assault causing bodily harm, four counts of uttering death threats, two counts of assault with a weapon and 10 counts of assault.

    His next scheduled court appearance is May 4th.

    King's brother Judson has also been committed to stand trial on charges of assault with a weapon, sexual assault and three counts of assault between 1981 and 2007.

    The 60 year old has elected to have a trial by judge and jury, and his next court appearance is April 7th.

    Because of a publication ban, no information can be released about the allegations.

    Fred King was referred to as the "The Prophet" by worshippers in the church.

    He had disappeared after former members of the Church of Jesus Christ Restored went to police in 2012 with allegations of physical and sexual abuse.

    But King was arrested in Hamilton on April 11, 2014.

    The book "Property: The True Story of a Polygamous Church Wife" was released in 2013, and an Owen Sound woman described several acts of assault she suffered before escaping.

    She was a church member for several decades, and was one of several wives of the "Prophet" before finally breaking free a few years ago.

    As a result of the allegations, the OPP launched a 16 month probe into the church.

    On April 7th, 2014 -- police announced charges had been filed against the two brothers.


  42. Former leader of cult like Ontario church pleads guilty to assault

    Fred King admitted to spitting on people, kicking, punching or slapping church members and making some of them strip in front of the congregation.

    By The Canadian Press May 10, 2016

    OWEN SOUND, ONT.—The former leader of a southwestern Ontario church that police have described as cult-like pleaded guilty Tuesday in an Owen Sound, Ont., court to nine counts of assault.

    Fred King, 57, of Chatsworth Township, Ont., is to be sentenced on Sept. 14.

    In an agreed statement of facts read in court by Crown Attorney Michael Martin, King admits to spitting on people, kicking, punching or slapping church members and making some of them strip in front of the rest of the congregation.

    While King pleaded guilty to the assault charges, 16 other charges — including sexual assault, sexual interference, and uttering death threats — were withdrawn by the Crown.

    Known as “The Prophet” at the Church of Jesus Christ Restored in Chatsworth, Ont., King’s charges relate to his time as leader of the Church from 1978 to 2008.

    He was arrested after an Owen Sound woman told her story to the Ontario Provincial Police and media in 2012.

    A book was released in 2013, chronicling the woman’s experiences as a church member.

    King’s brother, Judson King, is set to stand trial in June on charges of sexual assault, assault and assault with a weapon from 1981 to 2007.


  43. The Prophet punched kicked and spit on his followers and forced them to strip in church


    OWEN SOUND, Ont. - Alleged polygamist Fred King, the longtime leader of a cult-like church in Ontario and known to his followers as "The Prophet," pleaded guilty to a string charges in court Tuesday.

    In an agreed statement of facts, 57-year-old King admitted to spitting on people, kicking, punching or slapping church members and making some of them strip in front of the rest of the congregation.

    Sixteen other charges -- including sexual assault, sexual interference, and uttering death threats -- were withdrawn.

    The charges date back to his time as leader of the Church of Jesus Christ Restored in Chatsworth, Ont. from 1978 to 2008.

    King was alleged to have had several wives, who were handed down from his father, Stan King, who led the church before him.

    He apparently drew on Mormon doctrine -- including the now-banned practice of polygamy -- to fashion his own more fundamentalist church.

    The odd sect began at a farmhouse near Sauble Beach, then it moved to a bankrupt ski resort in the early 1980s.

    King disappeared in 2012, just after allegations of physical and sexual assault against him were made by former members.

    In late 2012, Owen Sound resident Carol Christie alleged in media interviews she spent close to 40 years brainwashed and under the control of Stan King, who died in 1986, and another church leader.

    Her story involved claims of polygamy, sexual abuse and missed police opportunities to uncover it. She wrote a book called Property: The True Story of a Polygamous Church Wife.

    "(The church) was just filled with bizarre, insane everything. It was a living hell," Christie said in earlier interviews. "Your faith is based on fear because you're terrorized psychologically."

    She and some others who left the compound later sued and won, but the settlement remains secret due to a confidentiality agreement.

    King was arrested in April 2014, hiding out in a Hamilton hotel, after a Canada-wide warrant was issued for his arrest.

    He didn't face polygamy charges, and most of Christie's allegations haven't been proven in criminal court.

    Christie attended court Tuesday to watch as her former alleged tormentor and husband pleaded guilty to nine of the charges he faced.

    "I hope it will be the end of the church, but I don't know," she told Bayshore Broadcasting outside the courthouse.

    King is to be sentenced on Sept. 14.

    His brother, Judson King, 61, is set to stand trial in June on charges of sexual assault, assault and assault with a weapon from 1981 to 2007.


  44. Alleged polygamist leader of cult like Ontario church pleads guilty to ‘corrections and chastisements’

    Scott Dunn, National Post May 11, 2016

    It didn’t take much to set off Fred King, the leader of a small, isolated church in Chatsworth Township, just south of Owen Sound, Ontario.

    Sometimes he’d deliver “corrections and chastisements” by punching, kicking or spitting on parishioners, an Owen Sound court heard Tuesday. Other times he used humiliation or did something such as squeezing a child’s hand with crushing force for fighting with a sister.

    The victims were his parishioners. In one case when a teen tried to run away, his grandmother tattled and Fred King, who was known simply as “The Prophet,” retaliated fiercely with a beating at a Sunday church service.

    “The blows were all over his body, sometimes on the back of his head, but mostly on his arms and legs,” Grey County Crown attorney Michael Martin said while reading into the court record a statement of facts agreed to by Crown and defence.

    King, 57, of Chatsworth Township, pleaded guilty before Superior Court Justice Clayton Conlan Tuesday to nine assaults which took place between Dec. 12, 1988 and Aug. 10, 2008, mostly in Chatsworth Township or Grey County, and in one case in Peel Region, involving four church members.

    Other charges King faces are to be withdrawn when he’s sentenced Sept. 14, Martin said afterward.

    King’s victims in the charges he admitted to Tuesday include three males between 11 and 19 years of age at the time, and Carol Christie.

    Only Christie, 63, of Owen Sound, may be named under terms of a publication ban, which was lifted on her name with her agreement. It was imposed to protect the privacy of the other victims at the Crown’s request.

    After a particularly severe and humiliating attack in front of parishioners, which was detailed in court, Christie ran from the church in March 2008, never to return. Two of the charges King pleaded to related to assaults on her when she was roughly 35 to 55 years old.

    Christie came forward and was featured on a W5 investigative report and in local media in 2012 which detailed abuse allegations. The television report led the OPP to investigate, Martin said.

    Carol and her husband John Christie also wrote a book about her nearly 40 years spent in the church — Property: The True Story of a Polygamous Church Wife. Proceeds will be kept for her son who is still in the church, and the up to 35 others there, to help them reintegrate into society if they ever leave the church.

    John Christie said inquiries are being made to turn Carol’s experience into a feature film.

    The statement of facts heard in court said Fred King’s father, Stan King, left the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints over “doctrinal issues to form the more conservative Church of Jesus Christ Restored.”

    Church services were originally conducted in members’ homes in the Guelph area. Around 1984 the church purchased and renovated a former ski resort on a rural property at 396827 Concession 2-3 in the former Holland Township, near the village of Chatsworth.

    Stan entered into a relationship with Carol when she was 18. She had two of his children, born in 1977 and 1979. Stan died in 1986 and son Fred became church leader, court heard.

    Many church members lived in the Guelph area in other church members’ apartments or rented housing in Chatsworth Township. Many were employed at Resto Graphics, a printing company started by Stan King in Mississauga, later controlled by Fred King. All members would usually attend the Chatsworth property on weekends for services and related activities. Some young employees were home-schooled and had to work at the printing plant in their teens.

    Beginning in 1986, Fred King would sometimes preach from 6 p.m. on Sundays until 6 a.m. Monday.

    “At various times during the services, members would be singled out by Mr. King for corrections and chastisements,” including yelling, name-calling, hair-pulling and...

  45. ...they would be told to “sit in front of the congregation with one’s pants around one’s ankles,” according the agreed facts.

    Between 1988 and 2008, Carol King (later Christie), was repeatedly disciplined in front of the congregation. Fred King called her “squaw,” “Paiute” and other derogatory names focussed on her perceived indigenous heritage, the agreed facts said. King also called her a “bad parent” and “evil,” court heard.

    King slapped her, dragged her out of her chair and forced her to stand in the corner. He pulled her hair, spat on her and once he poured a glass of water on her.

    The final insult that drove Carol Christie out of the church was when King learned she’d spoken sternly to another woman’s 12-year-old who’d been “saucy” to her. King chastised Carol with vile language over the phone.

    Then at Sunday service King called her more derogatory names and demanded how dare she speak sternly to the child, adding “. . . ‘as if your kids are any better.'”

    “He came over to her chair, pulled her hair back and spat in her face. He pressed his finger repeatedly into her upper chest area and flicked the ridge of her nose with his fingers. He slapped her on the head repeatedly,” court heard.

    According to the agreed statement of facts, in one of the other assaults King didn’t like the way one victim spoke to him and punched his arm as hard as he could for 10 minutes.

    Another time King called a church worker to get in his truck, sped ahead before he could get in, chuckled then repeated the stunt, court heard. Once the worker was in, King drove fast over ditches and potholes then stopped, pulled him from the truck and kicked and hit him in the back, stomach and legs. He then ordered the victim to remain standing until someone came for him. After hours when no one did, the victim walked home.

    One boy who’d drawn cartoons and notes that made fun of a teenaged girl was pointed out to King by a church member, the court was told. King tossed him to the floor in front of a women’s prayer circle and repeatedly kicked and punched him, then slapped two others in the face.

    In another assault outlined in court, King ordered a male victim to strip naked and stand in front of his mother and another person outside at twilight. King then preached at them for hours, yelled and made fun of him as mosquitos bit him while he wasn’t allowed to move.

    Among the charges that are to be withdrawn are six allegations of sexual misconduct including on a young girl and a woman. In two cases the charges alleged repeated sexual assaults. No explanation for not proceeding with them was offered in court and Martin declined to comment until sentencing.

    A former church member has alleged that Fred King had many wives at once who were handed down from his father, Stan King. But no polygamy charges ever resulted from the 16-month police investigation.

    King left the courthouse without saying anything or making eye contact with reporters while he waited for an elevator in the courthouse. One of his lawyers, Paul Mergler, declined to comment on behalf of himself and his client. King remains free on bail. King’s wife, Linda, and brother Joseph accompanied him to and from the courthouse.

    Martin said there’s a joint recommendation on sentence but didn’t say what is was. Mergler asked for a three-month adjournment, saying “my client needs to put his house in order.”

    Monday was to be the start of King’s three-week trial but instead court learned he would plead guilty Tuesday. Mergler told the court on Tuesday there had been late-breaking disclosure which allowed unresolvable issues to be resolved, without saying what that was.

    Fred King’s brother, Judson King, is charged with assault with a weapon, sexual assault and three counts of assault between 1981 and 2007. He has yet to deal with his charges.