One of the most extensive studies on Mormon polygamous men (see source below) found that most polygamist husbands “would not have considered polygamy if they had not believed it to be a commandment”. That study also found that the manner in which plural families got along depended upon the husband’s behavior more than the wives’; as one wife put it, “It was the way the man handled it a lot and not the way the women themselves accepted it”.
However, this study also found that some polygamist men treated their first wives differently because they knew that additional wives were a possibility. Instead of divorcing wives they grew tired of, or no longer got along with, they could marry additional, almost always younger, wives and ignore the wives they no longer wanted. The researcher spoke with one older man who said that all his plural marriages had been due to inspiration at the time he entered into them, but now that he was older and his desires were waning he realized that men believed in polygamy “because of their lustful desires” and that this “was the reason polygamy could not be lived”. In other words, he had confused lust with religious inspiration and was living the consequences, with greater wisdom but some regret, in his later years.
If I understand this study’s findings correctly, the option to pursue polygamy, which would occur if polygamy were legalized, creates an opportunity for men to become perpetrators, while the requirement to pursue polygamy, which occurs in some fundamentalist Mormon groups and/or communities, creates an opportunity for men to become victims (as well as perpetrators).
(We Will have more on Tom Green Tomorrow!!!!)
Written by Terrasola