The book was very boring to me, having grown up around polygamy. The subject may seem very unusual and even exotic, and this may be why it has become popular to view polygamists with a sense of curiosity that blinds people to the actual abuse. But there is simply no way for a society to allow men to marry as many women as they choose. Doing this creates an elitism among polygamous men and inevitably casts of excess bachelors who are under no less "divinely" obligated to practice polygamy themselves. In a polygamous society it's simply impossible for everyone to have the option to get married. Most men in these societies end up leaving, but if you're female and you're living in such a society, it is against the better interest of the elite men to allow the women to slip away so easily. The whole situation is chaotic and ends up exploiting people as a result. The power structure between men and women is heavily slanted to the male in this situation. The Dargers are nice people and seem to take care of themselves, but it is irresponsible to engage in practices that affect the whole of society in a negative way. If the god of Mormon fundamentalism truly demands polygamy, then that god cannot possibly be just. It reduces women to objects to be collected by the elite and casts aside whole parts of its humanity as troublesome if not undesirable.
The only time this book got interesting was when Valerie started discussing what polygamy ends up being for so many people. Just a week after high school, she became the fifth wife of a man more than twice her age, and was obliged to raise children with this abusive man. Before she married Joe Darger, she was married to a more typical Mormon fundamentalist who kept his family in penury while he indulged in his weaknesses, like perpetual gambling. This is more like what I'm accustomed to seeing in polygamy. What the Dargers portray may appear pleasant to some people, but only to someone who refuses to see how their own behavior affects others: an immoral person. Society cannot provide for men who want to collect multiple wives. All of us are in this together and to take more than society can provide is selfish and immoral. Morality goes much deeper than the Dargers' strained attempt to portray their relationship as sexually-puritanical. For instance, they give great emphasis to the fact that they waited until the day Joe married both Alina and Vicky. Is this the point of chastity? Is this really what God wants?
The Dargers are nice people, but this book is just another attempt to portray polygamy as loving and normal. Perhaps Joe treats his wives more kindly than most polygamists, but the whole system is backward and misogynistic. Repeatedly I hear polygamous women referring to polygamy as a challenge in which they must prove themselves. But it always sounded silly to hear this from the men. They are the ones in control. They do practically nothing to raise the children but they typically pride themselves on being able to keep a harem happy. Fundamentally-speaking, in a polygamous society, if you're male, you're superfluous and if you leave, people will barely notice. But if you're female, there is no option to leave. You can't just fade out of that society. My dear friend Flora Jessop can explain that situation. She was kept under virtual house arrest because she tried to leave. But look at how that society values their young men. Despicable.
Love Times Three is not worth your money. There's an ulterior motive behind it and Brooke Adams has apparently been hoodwinked as well. For being a reporter on the polygamy beat, she certainly has taken a one-sided approach. If you want to learn about the realities of Mormon-based polygamy, you'd be much better off starting with Church of Lies, by Flora Jessop. Polygamy is abusive in every situation in one way or another. When men collect women and use them as status symbols, it is an abuse of their dignity and decency. Don't contribute to people who do this.
Troy's review on Amazon:
Thanks Troy! We hope to hear your teaching on the Muslim religion soon! (hint)!