the smell of my desperation has become a stench

A can of worms

Lately the most frequently asked question sent to me in email (other than 1) what kind of dog is Chuck? SuperMutt, and 2) how do you pronounce Leta? Rhymes with pita) is: what is your take on “Big Love,” the new HBO series about a polygamist who lives in Utah? I have been reluctant to write about it here because my response to this show goes way beyond a cursory thumbs up or down. It is inextricably tied to how I feel about the Mormon church, and if I explain those feelings I am going to be crossing into some really uncomfortable territory for many members of my family who read this website.

After watching last night’s episode, however, and witnessing my own reaction unfold I think it might be time for me to be up front regardless of how certain people are going to react to what I have to say, particularly my mother and my father who are both devout Mormons. As this website has evolved I have had to take a hard look at my boundaries, at what I will and will not write about, and for at least a few years now I have stayed very far away from any serious talk of Mormonism, although I have frequently poked fun at my Mormon heritage and have on more than one occasion described the proper way to hit a Mormon with a moving vehicle.

That unwillingness to talk about Mormonism here grew out of an unspoken agreement among the members of my family, one that dictates we not ever talk about religion or politics if we are in the same room. It’s an agreement that has worked and has preserved our relationship because they don’t ever have to be confronted with how I really feel about their religion, their way of life. I have said it here before but it bears repeating: leaving Mormonism is tantamount to leaving your family. At first, that’s exactly how my family felt. They never came out and said that directly, but they didn’t have to. I had lived and breathed that religion for over 22 years and I knew exactly what they were thinking, that my rejection of Mormonism was in essence a rejection of them and all the work they had done.

Over time we learned how to navigate around those issues in our relationships with each other. They know that they should never preach to me or call me to repentance or send me a Book of Mormon in the mail. I never talk to them about why I left or why I’ll never go back. We’ve even developed a sense of humor about our political differences, and often my clumsiness or Leta’s unwillingness to cooperate in any situation is blamed on my being a Democrat. Which is fine. I blame their political party for the fact that they own furniture upholstered in acid-washed denim.

So here’s the thing about “Big Love,” a television show about a man named Bill who is married to three women. The producers of the show have made a point of saying that the members of this family are not practicing Mormons, and I am glad they did this. Mormons do not practice polygamy, haven’t since before 1900 when the United States government made it illegal. Certain fundamentalist sects of the Mormon faith practice polygamy, and they are represented in this show albeit with standard Hollywood exaggeration and dramatization. But it’s a television show and that’s what they’re supposed to do, so whatever.

I read an interview somewhere with Jeanne Tripplehorn about her role, the oldest of the three wives and the one who has been married to Bill the longest, and she said she had a really hard time deciding to take it on. In order for her to make her character seem convincing she would have to get to a place where she could see why this woman would willingly enter into a relationship with with these two other women, and for a while she didn’t think she could ever get there. I remember thinking when I read this that it didn’t make sense: she’s an actor, isn’t it her job to pretend? Couldn’t she play this character even if there wasn’t a single part of her that understood why a woman would do this?

But last night as I was watching the third episode my body started to recoil involuntarily as it had done during the first two episodes. For the entire one hour duration of the show I had to fight the urge to puke. The work that goes into maintaining a marriage to one person is hard enough, but three? THREE? When I watch the show I feel like I’m married to all three women and by the end of the night I want to divorce each one of them. I can barely watch the dynamics among all three women, how in God’s name are these actors even pretending that it’s okay?

Personally I can understand why a woman would want to marry another woman, or a man another man. That makes perfect sense to me, and if I had my way homosexuals would have the same rights as heterosexuals in this country when it comes to marriage. It’s barbaric that they don’t. At the same time, if we’re talking about civil rights, doesn’t it make sense that all consenting adults should have the right to marry whomever they want to marry including multiple people? Polygamy seems like a natural extension of civil and religious rights as long as all parties involved are adults and know what they are agreeing to.

But I do not get it. I cannot understand why a woman would consent to this arrangement, and the whole time I’m watching this show I can’t get one thought out of my head: if you have a choice, why would you do this to yourself? Why would you do this to your children?

Now we get to the part where my feelings about the Mormon church come in. Even though this show isn’t about the Mormon religion my family practices, it is indirectly about the religion in its infancy and what the religion might one day become. The founding prophet of the Mormon Church, Joseph Smith, started polygamy because he said it was a revelation from God. And so he and other elders in the church took dozens of wives, many of them in their early teens. That isn’t okay to me. Nor is it okay that the only reason the church stopped sanctioning polygamy was because the government told them they had to. So… God was wrong? God answers to the American government?

Mormons believe that polygamy will be practiced in the afterlife, and what I can’t help thinking is that when the civil right of marriage is ultimately extended to homosexuals and then to polygamists, why wouldn’t the Mormon Church start practicing it again? And when they do start practicing it again, how are the members of the church going to handle it? If Mormons truly believe their religion they have to believe that polygamy is their destiny, so why are they always trying to distance themselves from it? I think that many of them don’t want to ask themselves that question because they might be terrified of the answer: they aren’t okay with it.

It was this very issue that started me on my way out of the religion, this issue and that of the role of women in the church. I realized that I valued myself too much to ever be okay with sharing my partner with anyone else. I deserve all of him, and he deserves all of me, nothing less. I had a hard time reconciling the fact that my father (although he has a civil divorce from my mother) is married to both my mother and my step-mother in the Mormon temple, but my mother, unless she gets a temple divorce from my father, can never remarry another man in the temple. She doesn’t have the same rights as a man in the church. That isn’t okay to me.

  • CJ mama

    2006/03/27 at 3:23 pm

    I live in Utah and my primary issue with Mormonism has to do with their views of women. I cannot participate in anything that will not allow me to hold any of the top “offices” simply because of the fact that I am a woman–no other reason. I just can’t.

  • mom on a wire

    2006/03/27 at 3:23 pm

    I joined the Mormon church when I was 16. I have now been married to a wonderful man for 5 years and we are raising our children in the religion. I have to tell you honestly, if we were “told” that we were supposed to start practicing polygamy, I think I would probably leave the church. I do not believe that polygamy will be practiced in heaven, and I do not believe that it is an ok thing to do. Mormons teach family values and the sanctity of marriage, and I think that polygamy is so far away from that. I don’t know enough about why it was started or why it ended to try to justify what the early members of the church did. There is a lot of church history that frankly just baffles me, however I feel strongly that this is where I need to be at this point in my life. I truly believe that the church is evolving in a positive way, farther away from polygamy and closer to the equality that I believe men and women should have in the church. I wouldn’t stay here if I felt the future of the church was going in a direction I was uncomfortable with. Polygamy is a very emotionally charged issue with a lot of people, and it will be interesting to see the church’s reaction to Big Love. Thanks for stating your views so openly and without malice. You’re a peach. 🙂

  • CJ mama

    2006/03/27 at 3:22 pm

    I live in Utah and my primary issue with Mormonism has to do with their views of women. I cannot participate in anything that will not allow me to hold any of the top “offices” simply because of the fact that I am a woman–no other reason. I just can’t.

  • Jeni

    2006/03/27 at 3:21 pm

    I just wanted to show my support for your post. The courage it takes to publicly post views that clash with your family’s core belief system is huge. You accomplish this in your post with a lot of poise and much respect for your family. I hope the backlash (from family members and those who will slam you for supporting gay rights) isn’t too hard. Finding balance as a writer is a struggle, you handle it well.

  • Whinger

    2006/03/27 at 3:22 pm

    I think you’re dead on. It’s fine for consenting adults to do pretty much anything, I think, as long as they’re not hurting anyone.

    That said, I can’t imagine sharing my partner with someone else on varying nights. And why is it the women are always getting the raw deal?

    Sigh. Religion.

  • Beverlee

    2006/03/27 at 3:20 pm

    It sounds like all of you have developed a mutually respectful space around the “hot” issues. I know that in my family (siblings & parent), there are some areas that I just avoid just to keep the peace and keep the ties. Otherwise, we would have all gone in our opposite directions a long time ago. The family connection is worth caring for if at all possible.

  • Vickee

    2006/03/27 at 3:18 pm

    This is a very brave post. Thank you. Oddly, when I first heard about Big Love, I immediately thought about you and what you might think about it.

    And when you think about it, God is Everywhere. Why must one visit a church to feel close to God?

  • Lisa V

    2006/03/27 at 3:17 pm

    I really enjoy Big Love and think it is a really well done entertaining show. I think it does a good job- and will continue to explore the way polygamy really can exploit women. I think the question will ultimately be did Bill’s wives have more choice and respect than the women in Juniper Creek. I am fascinated by it (and post about it every week) because it is so different from my experience. Just like Sopranos.

    I live in Idaho, I grew up in Idaho Falls and some of my family are LDS. I always see all the nods to Mormon theology and lifestyle, even while Bill and the wives distance themselves from it.

    The first week I posted about it I felt odd, because I felt like in some ways it was mocking things people I respected held dear (Like temple marriage).

    Your perspective is interesting and heartfelt. I hope your family understands.

  • staceymay

    2006/03/27 at 3:13 pm

    As a Mormon, I’m impressed that you explained your feelings without any pot-shots or belittling. I may not agree with all that you say, but I respect your right to say it and I think you said it well.

  • FashMags

    2006/03/27 at 3:11 pm


    Thank you for a thoughtful post. I was wondering aloud with friends today what you thought of Big Love. My husband and I (not Mormons) have suffered through the first three episodes saying “THREE” how the hell do you deal with all that turmoil. No thank you – I couldn’t be that devout to chocolate cake and I LOVE chocolate cake. I’m impressed you did not mention Chloe Sevfugny being born to the part. Funny, you don’t get a lot of lead actresses who bring their own wardrobe. Best regards from Boston!

  • Monkey

    2006/03/27 at 3:11 pm

    A Joseph Smith reference! My mother’s side of the family descends from the Rigdon lineage (Sydney Rigdon – widely viewed among Mormons to be a traitor to the church, because he walked away from it). Whenever we’re around Mormons and we reveal this fact, they suddenly fall very silent, back away slowly, shielding their children’s eyes while whispering: “Pay no attention to those pagans, dear.”

    Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little but you get the idea.

  • Nothing But Bonfires

    2006/03/27 at 3:11 pm

    I’m just not sure why it’s neccessary that we see Bill Paxton’s buttocks so often! And yet … that doesn’t stop me from watching.

    I read a great book a few months ago — “Leaving the Saints: How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Faith” by Martha Beck. Compelling stuff.

  • R

    2006/03/27 at 3:08 pm

    very well said!

  • ManicMommyK

    2006/03/27 at 3:09 pm

    This post was interesting to me because, beyond your feelings about Mormonism and religion, it speaks to the challenges when “putting it out there” for the world to see.

    Whether blogging or podcasting we set up, consciously or unconsiously, boundaries about what we can or will share with our audience. Do I talk about my kids? My job? Show pictures? Share my address? As you know better than most, there can be unanticipated consequences if these boundaries aren’t determined.

    I have always been amazed by your willingness to open your life so completely to your readers. Thanks for opening up this part of your life and background also – you did it with grace and skill.

  • joanne

    2006/03/27 at 3:06 pm

    Although I didn’t email you to ask you what you thought of Big Love, I did wonder what you thought and am glad to know. I admire that you work so hard to keep a relationship going with your family, and maybe it’s a testament to them and to you that you all even bother, even though it’s difficult. As for the show, I don’t know – we are giving it one more week before we decide if we’re going to hang with it. Right now I want to divorce them all too, especially that wooden dead actor Bill Paxton.

  • Stepha1202

    2006/03/27 at 3:04 pm

    I am against organized religion for many reasons, but also because women’s place in the church is portrayed as too subservient and miniscule. It is so nice to see a confident woman who values herself. So few women really do and I think this is why women would be willing to be one of many wives.

    Also, interesting parallel between homosexuals and multiple spouses. I’m not sure what I think about that, but it has me thinking.

  • jen

    2006/03/27 at 3:05 pm

    I know you’ll get trash about your gay marriage POV, but I want to thank you for saying it anyway. You have no idea how much it aches inside when someone tells you your sexuality doesn’t deserve rights- that it, for all intensive purposes, doesn’t really even exist. Thank you for believing what you do- I think you are very courageous to have such different views from the rest of your family and still love and respect them. It’s a refreshing concept these days to think that different people can get along.

  • Amanda

    2006/03/27 at 3:02 pm

    I can’t imagine any member of your family being offended by your response, because it’s obvious that you took great care in choosing your words and that you care about them very much. Dealing with religious issues, especially denouncing your family’s religion, is a huge deal. Although I’m only 18, I’ve already been to hell and back as far as gaining respect for my beliefs, and only my immediate family knows about it! Your effort is commendable and heartfelt, and I can only hope someday that I will be so gracious.

  • NicRenee

    2006/03/27 at 3:01 pm

    Your issues with leaving Mormonism are shared by many, not just former Mormons, as I’m sure you know. I and several people I grew up with have left Christianity within the past several years, and it has been a very intesting experiment in the our relationships with those whom we’ve worshiped with for years, and our families who are still devout Christians. I think it is scary to them that they might be wrong, and it’s easier to push us out of our lives than to consider that possibility. Thanks for the great post.

  • Littlehoney

    2006/03/27 at 2:58 pm

    Well said. I think that’s a perfectly reasonable, respectable answer to a question that might have become uncomfortable.

  • ZUZU

    2006/03/27 at 5:25 pm

    I grew up as a Bible Church Christian. My husband and I always had nagging questions we couldn’t answer adequately within that church. We found Orthodox Christianity and converted to that. It has been painful as my family is clearly worried about me and my children. Even though it has been a difficult road, it has been strengthening to confront questions and do something about them. Even though I’m a stubborn, opinionated woman, I have begun to understand that I don’t have to agree with or understand EVERYTHING that happens or is said in the church to appreciate the beauty that can be found there. At the same time, I understand that there are some things that a person might not be able to live with and it’s important to figure out what you are willing to ignore. While I empathize with the collective sigh I hear on this comment board about the mess that “Organized Religion” is, I hope that everyone doesn’t give up on it. Our church leaders always say that the church is a hospital for us sinners. So, it makes sense to me that there are some problems within a hospital that is run by sinners for sinners, but my family is so nourished spiritually by it, anyway, with all of its human failings. I think it is only by God’s grace that churches survive at all.

    Anyway, I am so bummed that I didn’t get to see you while you were in Austin, but it looks like you had a good time anyway. Loved your Shoshon entry. Leta sounds so cute! After reading your praise to your househusband, I told my daughter that I hope she marries someone like her dad or like Jon! Thanks for blessing my days with your writing.

  • utahtumbleweed

    2006/03/27 at 5:23 pm

    I live in Orem/Provo..and I am not Mormon….I know, I know!! I am going to hell, I feel like a wolf in sheeps clothing! anyway, the Mormons here are outraged at this “Big Love” thing…. I have not seen it yet, not sure if I really want to….but I am glad to see that you addressed your feelings on this issue.
    Oh, dont worry about me saying anything negative about Mrs. Federline!! my 10 year old would hang me up by my painted toenails……

  • Andreina

    2006/03/27 at 5:22 pm

    I was wondering how long it was going to take you before you had the urge of talking about this. I can imagine is a very touchy subject for you and your family but I appreciate that you are brave enough to show us where you stand. At least I feel like I understand much better now; better than just watching a show where the only purpose is to keep people watching while the husband has sex with his three wifes on a daily basis.

  • Megan B

    2006/03/27 at 5:21 pm

    Wow Heather,
    Very interesting post. I think that Big Government needs to stop focusing so much of its energy on preventing homosexuals from being together (I say let gay/bi people find some happiness in what must be a very difficult existence with all the prejudice, etc.) and instead focus on more relevant issues such as coming up with alternative energy sources to prepare the USA for when the world oil production peaks in the next few years, etc, etc…
    Also, I think that too many people out there try to twist religion around to promote their own agendas, whether it be allowing polygamy for men but not women or saying that only men can be priests or some Muslims stoning women to death for having sex outside of marriage and letting the man off scott-free. Do all religions give women the shaft or just all the ones I know about?
    I was raised Catholic but currently am avoiding organized religion altogether b/c I have too many things I disagree with. I admire your courage in letting your family know that you left the church b/c if I told mine, I know they would quite literally never speak to me again.
    That’s all for now!

  • Mackadoos

    2006/03/27 at 5:14 pm

    Makes perfect sense, and those who know and love you, should accept you for your beliefs, for what you stand for and what you believe. I love your blog!

  • rockr girl

    2006/03/27 at 5:14 pm

    very well said.
    while i never was a part of the LDS church directly, my neightbors all my life (till i was 18) was a mission home. families rotated in and out of that house every 3 years and some of the families were really great. we enjoyed having them as neighbors. but regardless of what kind of neighbor they were, we could not get over they way the women and girls in the family were treated as second-class citizens for the most part. it inspired a lot of conversation between my mother and myself, and i think ultimately, the role of women in organized religon being what it always has been, and probably always WILL be, is what turned me off from religon as a whole.
    but i never did get over that harsh realization that this was OK with them. i’m not sure if its because this is all these women had ever known, or if they simply took this treatment out of obligation to the church or what. i saw what the males did and how they acted and what they were allowed to get away with, and the double-standards sickened me.
    i can understand not wanting to open up this can of worms with the people you love most, but i think ulitmately if you feel so strongly about something, you cnnot keep it held in. i applaud you for crossing into your “uncomfortable zone”.

  • beetski

    2006/03/27 at 5:11 pm

    Your eloquence continues to floor me, whether you’re talking about constipation or a topic as thought-provoking as this. I’m not really that into blogs, but I find myself checking your site daily. Thanks for writing. I’ll keep reading, not only because I enjoy your work, but also because I’m hoping your ability to express yourself so clearly will rub off on me.

  • aggie75

    2006/03/27 at 5:00 pm

    Heather B — great post. Like art, it’s not just what the artist paints that changes the world. It’s what people see in the art that changes the world. While your post was wonderful, the comments continue to speak to others making your voice more powerful. You are a change agent and a blessing to all who are fortunate to share your thoughts. Thanks for helping me on my journey…

  • aubriane

    2006/03/27 at 4:59 pm

    Okay, I realize that this comment most likely will not even be read, but I had to make it, considering that one of my heroes has just talked openly about an issue I feel strongly about.
    I agree wholeheartedly that it is biased to deny to homosexuals the same rights we give freely to heterosexuals, regardless of how flippantly or seriously they happen to regard it. However, when I bring this up, most people will reply with “Should we allow a person to marry their dog?” When I explain that a dog can’t sign a consent form agreeing to get married, they ask “Should we allow mothers and sons to get married? Or fathers and daughters?”
    Now, this question is a bit more tricky. The government has of course laws against incestual marriages; however, if they are both consenting adults, what difference is there from a marriage between two homosexuals, or a polygamist marriage? Most of my ethical beliefs are strongly against any sort of incestual marriage; however, if I can’t follow through on my argument for marriage between consenting adults, regardless of sexual preference, I can’t allow myself to make the argument.
    Mrs. Armstrong, if you happen to read this comment, would you mind letting me know how you would respond to it?

  • Shelli

    2006/03/27 at 4:52 pm

    I SO knew it was pronounced like Pita!

    And thanks for the props about supporting Narda’s and my right to marry.

    In the Orthodox sect of our religion, a woman must get a “get,” or a Rabbi-sanctioned divorce as well.

    Needless to say, we are not Orthodox, although we are very observant.

  • jonell

    2006/03/27 at 4:57 pm

    I think we should have a big convention/party (with alcohol) for all of the ex-mormon women who left the church, became Democrats, who now blog and read Dooce. I think there are about 65,000 of us – but I could be off a few thousand here or there.

    When I left the church I demanded to be ex-communicated because I didn’t want to be counted in their numbers & didn’t want to add to their political power. I was young and dramatic, so I demanded to be released “in the name of feminism.” They wrote back with a demand that I consult with the bishopric because a decision of such importance could not be made without consulting with the brethern. Which was the final proof that they would never, ever understand my position.

    Polygamy was a further reflection of that. If it’s good for the goose it should be good for the gander, but what are the odds that the church would ever except multiple husbands in the afterlife?

  • Katie

    2006/03/27 at 4:48 pm

    I have to say, I began grimacing about halfway through this post, and then the grimace was peppered through the comments.

    You raise a really interesting point about polygamy and homosexual marriage. Hmm. As I write this, I’m not even sure how I feel. I understand your point about it being between consenting adults. But polygamy… I don’t know if I could ever swallow that.

    I’m gay and am obviously an advocate of gay marriage. I feel like making gay marriage legal would actually solve more problems than it would create. I think this because of what I define marriage as: a union between two people. Partners. Your other half. Whatever you want to call it.

    While polygamy isn’t hurting anyone, I think it’s playing with fire. Maybe this is a double standard. Maybe I can’t look at it objectively because I’m inherently against the idea of polygamy. But my instinct tells me that you’d really be messing with people’s minds if you made it okay to marry more than one person. I can think of a thousand different scenarios where this would be a bad idea. Maybe it’s because I can’t take polygamy out of the context of a male-centric idea. I guess I feel like emotionally, no matter how much you say you would be able to handle it, it would be extraordinarily difficult. And that, to me, is creating more problems than it would solve, you know?


    God, imagine if polygamy were legal… In 100, 200 years, it might become difficult to find someone to mate with that isn’t a close blood relation.


    Thanks for the great post… I’ll be thinking about this one for a while.

  • KidKate

    2006/03/27 at 4:43 pm

    This American Life had a cool segment on a woman in a polygamous marriage earlier this year. You can’t link directly to the show, but if you go their homepage ( and click Complete Archive in the left nav bar, it’s under 2006 shows, and the date is 1/27 (“I enjoy being a girl, sort of.” Act Four.) Anyway, if I couldn’t exactly identify with what she was talking about, she did offer a different perspective. It’s certainly something you don’t hear much about, particularly from the woman’s point of view.

  • Irina

    2006/03/27 at 4:46 pm

    As always, you’re just so right on. We have the same stupid rule in the jewish temple…until we’ve gotten a proper divorce under jewish law, my ex-husband and I aren’t supposed to marry again (thank goodness I’m not marrying a jew this time!) If that weren’t bad enough, technically, I’m not even supposed to marry someone from the same TRIBE of jews as my ex…wtf is that? My aunt went through the “jewish” divorce and the minute the papers were officially signed and accounted for, she was treated like a pariah by the very rabbi who’d been so helpful and encouraging all along.

    Organized religion kinda blows.

  • Amanda B.

    2006/03/27 at 4:40 pm

    I too was raised in a religion whose tenants I found that I could not adhere to as an adult. I have yet to find one that feels good and natural to me, so I just work on my own concept of spirituality- however limited that may be.

    I think that you have expressed your views about your former faith in a very respectful manner. Personally, I don’t see how we as hairless monkeys can grow spiritually if we don’t ask a lot of questions, and ultimately find our own path.

  • vegasandvenice

    2006/03/27 at 4:28 pm

    I am simply very glad that you shared this information with us! I too understand how it is to live in a different spiritual (or non-spiritual) path than the rest of your family. I am very respectful of your courage to discuss this issue with them and now with us.

    Thank you!

  • sherships

    2006/03/27 at 4:30 pm

    I’m a Seinfeld Jew. That means that I’m a cultural, but not religous jew. I’m also reading your blog from New York (city) and I feel like I’m looking through a window into another world. We’re not exactly afraid to voice our opinions out here so I’m always surprised when I note any hesitance on your part to speak your mind.

    The city is gritty, it’s big, and it can be confusing, But for the most part, New Yorkers tend to get along. After all, we all have to ride the subway together.

    Personally – could I share my spouse or partner with someone else? Noooo. Do I understand how other women could choose that lifestyle? Not at all. However, do I care if other people want to live that way? Nope, not at all.

  • athena_d

    2006/03/27 at 4:30 pm

    As a Mormon, I too am impressed with how you explained your feelings, and while I may not agree with everything, I respect your right to say it too. It takes courage to speak up, but certainly a good hand to be able to express it well.

  • Sketchy1

    2006/03/27 at 4:24 pm

    You are very brave. I’m so impressed by this post, especially your willingness to matter-of-factly state your pro-gay marriage point of view. Yay, yay, yay!

  • Sanya

    2006/03/27 at 4:27 pm

    I think this is one of my most favourite posts of yours. It’s deep and thoughtful and something I can talk about in class tomorrow. I agree with your opinion 100%, and I’m not one to agree with people about stuff — I’m a big arguer. But anyway, I’m glad that you are so civil and at the same time, stand up for what you believe in. You’re a true role model. Thank you, Heather.

  • Elise

    2006/03/27 at 4:22 pm

    Big Love is so much more about gay marriage than about polygamy. How pathetic that polygamy is a more acceptable topic for exploring human relationships and bigotry than same sex relationships. Personally, I can kind of see the sister-wife thing; the competition keeps each relationship fresh. And attraction the attention of a powerful man who is more than ready to commit, it’s pretty sexy.

  • Torrie

    2006/03/27 at 4:23 pm

    You know what I love about this post?

    I learned something.

    And it’s not the first time I’ve learned something from you Heather, so, thank you.

  • Carli

    2006/03/27 at 4:24 pm

    Heather, i thought that your post was very clear and concise. You obviously have thought a lot about what this means to you and how it would effect your family by discussing it in the blog. I commend you on being so honest and still protecting the feelings of those that you love. That’s something I need to work on in my own life, but you did it so well. I watch Big Love, but don’t delve too deeply in to it – it’s a tv show people, not a documentary. I have read other boards where people are confused that this family is Mormon and not a splinter group, and I would hope that by the third episode, it is now clear. I also didn’t know about how being sealed in the temple and then divorced has more ramifications on the woman than the man…. almost like she is being “punished” for not keeping him happy… Very interesting. I’m agnostic, but like learning about every other religion, in case I might have a revelation. Again, thanks for a great post.

  • duchessjane

    2006/03/27 at 4:22 pm

    I loved reading your point of view on this topic.

    My mother left Catholicism the day she found out I was going to be a girl.

  • fred

    2006/03/27 at 4:17 pm

    i dont get HBO 🙁

  • Kristine

    2006/03/27 at 4:19 pm

    Very well said, Heather.
    Did you let out a big sigh of relief after you wrote that?
    I know I did after I read it. Great job!

  • wendy

    2006/03/27 at 4:20 pm

    I’ve been watching Big Love too, and there is just no way I could deal with being one of multiple wives. I think by nature, women are competitive enough…add in sharing a husband, and I see nothing but heartache.

    I come from a long line of Mormons, and my great-grandfather was the last to have two wives. I was absolutely mortified to read in one of many handy dandy geneology books that he was courting wife 2 while wife 1 was pregnant with my great-grandfather. My grandfather was the only one of his family to leave the church, much to the chagrin of my great-grandfather, who was a bishop at the time. That was a rift that took a long time to heal.

    Our family reunions are great. On one side you have the drinkers and heathens, and across the room there is a line of frowning Mormons. Since I love nothing more than to torture relatives that think I’m not going to be allowed in whatever heaven, I let my bleeding heart liberal views out as loudly as possible.

  • Leta

    2006/03/27 at 4:17 pm

    Wow. I emailed you months ago requesting just this sort of post. Outstanding. Kudos to acknowledging legal polygamy as the logical next step beyond gay marriage. As a fellow gay rights supporter, I’ve struggled with this one.

  • MsShad

    2006/03/27 at 4:16 pm

    I live in Idaho Falls, am not Mormon, but watch with horrified facination, wondering what the Mormons are gonna do about such a show! I’m surrounded by Mormons and don’t like the fact that I can’t even exercise without hearing the other ladies talk about what seems to me, their submissive lives.

    You posted beautifully.

  • Tiggerlane

    2006/03/27 at 4:14 pm

    Kudos to you, Heather…you spoke your mind eloquently, and of course, I feel like you gave due respect to your family’s beliefs.

    As a recovering Mormon myself, I can completely identify with the reasons you left the church, and I applaud you for speaking honestly about those things that would make a thinking person question the church’s position.

    I, too, left b/c of the “lesser position” that women in the church must adopt. Any time I would ask a provoking question about what us Mormons were supposed to believe about issues such as polygamy, I was told, “You’re too young in the Gospel to understand that just yet.” Thankfully, a good friend from high school shared with me the true nature of what it would mean to be in the Celestial Kingdom one day – that he fully expected to have many wives. That, coupled with the insanity of having to interview with a group of temple Mormons to gain my own access to God’s most revered house (according to them), helped begin my drive to leave the church. I never understood the concept that the temple in Salt Lake was the most holy house of God – yet you had to have an interview with men to get in. I always felt that if it truly was the most holy of God’s houses, the Mormons should throw the doors open to anyone wishing to be a part of all that was glorious about their faith.

    I will say this, though – I joined the Mormon church b/c they were the one group of people who really “walked the talk.” Mormons are a testimony of their faith, b/c they are among the most sincere in how they live their lives.

1 2 3 6

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

read more