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Friday, October 21, 2011

Character Counts!! Sister Wives

Character Counts 
Since the opening scene of Sister Wives season 3 (since the Brown family filed their lawsuit against the State of Utah, really) my thoughts have turned to the issue of character.
My parents taught me that character, a person’s moral and ethical qualities, defines a person.  You may lose all your possessions and wealth, your job, and your loved ones through circumstances beyond your control, but your character will remain.  In a number of organizations where I have worked, character – beyond all other education, skills and/or abilities – will get you or lose you the job.  Yes, character is that important.
We all have ideas about what makes up a person’s character.  So I turned to the trusty Internet and learned about the “Six Pillars of Character” that a lot of U.S. schools are using to teach character to our kids.  These pillars are:

This is the start of a multi-part series examining the Brown family and their recent actions in light of the Six Pillars of Character.  Stay tuned and please feel free to express your thoughts.  None of us are perfect, but most of us try to do the best we can; as Michael J. Fox said, “I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection.  Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.”  

Honesty is Such  A Lonely Word
Character Counts Part 2

Today I would like to talk about trustworthiness.    Being trustworthy is complex.  We understand on a gut level what it means, but it can be difficult to explain in words, which is why many of us find it difficult to explain sometimes exactly why we don’t think someone is trustworthy (such as one of the Browns).   It involves being honest, having integrity, keeping promises and being loyal.  To make it even more complex, trust may mean different things to different people and in different situations.

Honesty is such a lonely word.
Everyone is so untrue.
Honesty is hardly ever heard.
And mostly what I need from you.
Billy Joel, “Honesty”

The most fundamental part of being trustworthy is honesty.  Honesty is more than not lying.  When we communicate to others, being honest includes being truthful, or expressing the facts as we know them.  It involves sincerity and being genuine, and not tricking people with half truths, omissions, or being misleading.  It also incorporates candor; this means that needed information is volunteered rather than being withheld and that we are frank and forthright.

Being honest in your actions involves playing by the rules without cheating, stealing, defrauding or tricking.  My personal opinion is that the Browns’  “rotating bankruptcies” method of financial sustainability is a type of trickery, but others may not share my opinion.

This is one of the things that bothers me about Kody, Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn Brown.  I am not sure that they have been honest about their reasons for moving to Nevada.  Was it because of the threat of prosecution or not?  Janelle’s differing responses confuse me (See Mister Sister’s post on Janelle Brown’s affidavit:  http://sisterwivesblog.blogspot.com/2011/10/janelle-brown-excerpts-from-court.html).  I am also not sure of their true reasons for suing the State of Utah, their ultimate goals in pursuing this suit, or who their advisors are in this endeavor (who is behind the scenes).  I haven’t even touched on their reluctance to discuss their religion, even with multiple outlets of Facebook, Twitter and media interviews – or the recent MLM issue.  Looking at this evidence I cannot say that I consider them to be honest.

Trustworthiness also includes integrity.   People of integrity act according to their beliefs.  They do not ditch those beliefs because it is convenient, for instance, when discussing moral issues with their teenagers, or when faced with financial difficulties.  There are so many examples that I consider to show the Browns’ lack of integrity that I cannot list them all.  I’d love to see them discussed in the comments for this post.  

In my post on hypocrisy (http://sisterwivesblog.blogspot.com/2011/10/but-they-seem-like-such-honest-people_19.html) I discussed how I feel the Brown parents do not keep promises.  I feel that “Sister Wives” showed how the parents misled their teenaged children into believing that the kids would have religious choice and meaningful input into family dialogue, which was televised to not be the case.  It is one thing to say that your family is not a democracy and mean it, but another to say you will listen to your teens and then to shut them down when they try to participate in family discussions.

Finally, trustworthiness involves loyalty.  Loyal people do not play off one partner against another.  They do not betray confidences.  My personal opinion is that polygamy is antithetical to loyalty. I think that being loyal to a spouse involves responsibilities to promote that spouse’s best interests.  How can you do that in plural marriage when  spousal interests conflict?  Answer, you must prioritize one over the other, only satisfy partial interests, or choose none – none of this sounds particularly loyal to me when all spouses are supposedly equal.  As per Matt 6:24, “No one can serve two masters.  Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”  While the Bible was discussing faith and money, this also holds true in matters of love.  I do think that there are limitations on loyalty when maintaining loyalty would be contrary to our integrity.
Next time I will discuss respect, and possibly responsibility (if I feel like it and I don’t have anything better to do – like flipping my hair around).
Resource:  http://josephsoninstitute.org/MED/MED-2sixpillars.html
1.       Phrase borrowed from the Josephson Institute:  http://charactercounts.org/



  1. What a great post, Terrasola.
    Looking at the Browns with the right perspective. Not just bashing, but LOOKING at how they behave. I am not good at all this, but I bet Caramel Brownie will give you a list a mile long on each aspect! I can't wait to see what others think.

  2. "My personal opinion is that the Browns’ “rotating bankruptcies” method of financial sustainability is a type of trickery, but others may not share my opinion."

    I totally agree.

  3. I would like to know if Janelle, Christine, and Robyn have legally changed their names. My understanding of the name change due to legal marriage is the wife has the option to adopt her husband's name. When I got married, I had to file a change of name with the DMV, SS, and so on. With no legal marriage to the Kodster, to be Christine Brown for example, there would have to be a petition for the legal name change. But if that is the case, what name did/does she collect welfare with? After all, when it comes to bleeding the beast, she suddenly transforms to a baby momma with no husband in the picture.

    One other thing that really bugs me: I would be very hurt, and YES, JEALOUS!, if my children called another woman Mom (especially if she was knockin' boots with said hubby). They have MY DNA, I carried and delivered them, love them, and raised them. I really think the very idea of spreading the kids among all these women is awful at best. I wonder how the Kodster would like for his 13.95 kids to have another daddy? I bet that would go over as well as Meri getting another husband!

  4. One more thing: I have read some of the polygamy boards (disturbing to say the least). Many of the polyamist women, at least the ones who blog, think the Kodster is a wonderful husband, father, provider, and human being. If Kadouche is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, then we really do live in a sorry world and marriage is doomed.

    I cannot give the women a pass. They are raising their boys and girls to live the life. I truly believe that it is as bad for the boys as it is for the girls. These poor children, this is their legacy. Character building? Yeah, sure.

  5. "This is one of the things that bothers me about Kody, Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn Brown. I am not sure that they have been honest about their reasons for moving to Nevada. Was it because of the threat of prosecution or not?"

    The one show clip that stands out to me is the one where the Browns move into the 'vacation rental' when first in Vegas and there is a shot of Madison pouting in the background. The camera man asks her what she's upset about, and her response is "are you KIDDING? I hate it here."

    Her reaction tells me all I need to know. The kids know the truth. Nice example, Kody.

  6. The Browns are devoid of integrity and they are liars. If the Principle Voices wanted us to have a positive impression of polygamy from watching this family, they are dead wrong.

  7. Who shields these people?

  8. I completely agree with all of you and I have the same question Kiska. When in the hell is this sham going to be exposed? Because as much as I LOVE to snark about these Clown Browns, deep down I am sick to death of this. They need to prosecuted for welfare fraud amongst other things. I feel very sorry for the kids and cannot imagine having my Dad, Mom(s), how unique!,strangely interrelated Grandmas and dirty laundry aired for all the world to see. Good job TLC, first the Gosselin kids and now the Brown children. How low will TLC go?

  9. integrity.

    1. Saying it's suddenly ok to have sex at 18? Saying nothing about relationships, or what god asks of you.
    2. Saying your wives make all the decisions and you are just the patsy, then being so cruel to Christine about moving, that "she had a choice"
    3. Planning for YEARS to fight the law against polygamy, the running?
    4. Never speaking about what your religion is REALLY all about, or WHY you have to have all these wives.
    5. Lying about finances.
    6. Poor Da-Ton, 3 schools already?
    I could go on and on.

  10. I am wondering which of the boys will be cast out first. I am amazed that a boy as capable as Logan (and therefor threatening) hasn't already been dumped on the side of the road to make his own way in the world. That is the ONLY way polygamy can work (other then aborting male babies). Da-Ton will be kept around forever to do the grunt work of the Kodster.

  11. Kelly commented on the Gosselin and Brown children, and wanted to know, tlc how low will you go?

    We should rename them TLC The Limbo Channel

  12. excellent, BC!

  13. Wait. You mean that lying about if you receive government assistance, not trying to provide for your family, and joining a pyramid scheme to suck money away from your dimwit fans...you mean those actions lack character? ;-)

  14. I give two paws up to that nomination BC! Love it!!!

  15. A better way to say it would be what was actually true and had integrity that they have done? nothing
    Great story Terrasola, I need to think on it!

  16. Wait, in the pic on this post you can see Christine's knees. What is up with that? They take great lengths to cover their arms (all the layered clothes)...but her knees can show?

  17. Well, they were going swimming.

    I had a video when my kids were little about Character that counts!
    thanks so much for sticking that song in my head....grrrr.... took me years to get rid of it!!!LOL (just kidding)

    http://www. trial -lawyer.co/2011/10/tlc -sister -wives-utah-lehi-polygamist-kody-brown-and-his-4-wives/

    Before the investigation, KB & his wives TOLD ABC News the FAMILY WAS AWARE of potential legal troubles, but thought STARRING in the show was worth it to help their LIFESTYLE gain acceptance.

    In both of these 2 interviews I came across, KBF has repeatedly stated they already knew the legal risks.......
    Why are they crying wolf now? Where's the honesty or sincerity in their lawsuit? I seriously want to know, so can someone please tell me.
    Opportunity to explain their religion aspects as well, but didn't since the only thing KBF emphasized was their lifestyle?
    Things that make U go hmmmm??...lol

  19. Excellent posts Terrasola!! U got some madd writing skills girl :) ... I <3 ur thoroughness, explanations, organization & humor.
    As always BC, U crack me up dawg...haha
    Lot's of stimulating posters on here too =)

  20. Why thank you Caramel Brownie. Love your posts, too.