"It's not about another notch on your belt or anything like that. It really is the women who really promote this idea."
Plural marriage is common around the world. In the United States most get married in religious ceremonies but keep quiet about it because what they do is illegal.
The families we met wonder why what they do is illegal. Clearly it's wrong if an older man arranges marriages of young kids, but when adults choose to live this kind of life, why is that evil?
"Because we need marriage for the good of society. I think if we were to see this across the range of society the effect would be negative," Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council (www.frc.org) told me. He added, "Slavery and polygamy were the twin relics of barbarism. Those are barbaric societies that we've tried to move beyond."
Plenty of religious leaders agree with Sprigg, but Mark Henkel isn't buying it. "If they're saying that's immoral, they're calling the greatest heroes in the Bible ... immoral! ... Saying that Abraham, with his three wives, was immoral. Jacob had four wives. David had seven known named wives before Bathsheba."
Prince Ben-Israel, who has four wives, calls plural marriage a civil-rights issue. "Who is this government that's in somebody's bedroom? ... It was illegal for me to marry a white woman at one time. ... It was illegal for me to vote at one time. And if I had accepted somebody else's definition of what was right and wrong, I would still be riding in the back of the bus.
"We're not saying this is for everybody. Everybody don't like football and basketball or tennis. But those who do oughta be free to do this."
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