Frankly, I am more interested in a dead link to an Las Vegas Sun "Related Story" article (also dated 10/16/12) titled 'Sister Wives' clan finds accepting home in Las Vegas. I wonder what that is about and I just can't wait until it's available, if ever.*
Anyway, here's the first part of a transcript of the panel discussion. Read the complete transcript at Q&A with Kody Brown and his 'Sister Wives'.
Oh yes, interesting placement of Robyn, don't you think? Christine may consider herself a "Princess" but Robyn looks like some kind of Queen, right there between Meri and Kody. All she needs is a crown. Or a really ornate tiara. Hey Robyn, why not try designing ornate tiaras for your online store...for all those
By Paul Takahashi
Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012 | 11 a.m.
The following is an excerpt from the UNLV panel discussion with the Kody Brown family from TLC's reality show "Sister Wives." The discussion, which was Monday, Oct. 15, has been edited for clarity and brevity:
How were you raised?
Janelle: I grew up in a traditional Church of Latter-day Saints home and didn't know polygamy existed until I was 18. But in my early 20s, I began to consider the Fundamentalist Mormon faith and realized this is where I belonged. When I left the LDS church, my family had a lot of trauma. It severed relationships. Through the years, we've been able to mend those bonds, but it took time.
Meri: My family was in the LDS faith, but converted when I was about 6 or 7 years old, so I grew up in a plural family with five mothers and 25 brothers and sisters. My parents never pushed me into this lifestyle though.
Christine: I was raised in a plural family and had two moms. My grandmother lived a plural marriage as well. So I wanted to have sister wives, more than a husband actually. I didn't want to be married to one guy because I thought it would be a lot of work. (Audience laughs.) I'm a third wife and I love it.
Robyn: I was born into a plural family, but I always had a choice. I decided this was what I wanted to do. My first marriage, which was monogamous, ended in divorce. I had three children from that marriage, so our family is plural but also blended. It's been a growing experience, but a love and life experience as well. This was the family I was meant to be in.
Kody: My parents were struggling with the dichotomy within the Mormon faith over plural marriage. When I got married at age 22, this was a choice we came by out of true conviction and seeking knowledge from the All Mighty.
Is there a certain characteristic or personality it takes to be in a plural marriage?
Christine: It's very much a faith-based decision. You need a firm connection with God.
Meri: It's not for everyone. It's not an experiment. … Not to be tried at home. (Audience laughs.) We couldn't do this if we didn't have our own conviction.
Roby: You have to know the rules and boundaries. You have to respect the other wives and value them just as much as my relationship with Kody. But a guy who has a lot of wives can't be a wuss either.
Kody: We don't want to make this seem easy, because it's not. You can't trifle with other people's hearts. You need two things in a plural marriage: conviction and commitment.
Are most people out like you are?
Kody: Almost all of our friends who are in plural marriage are closeted to some level. People are careful not to flaunt it, even in small and remote towns.
Meri: We did keep very quiet before we went extremely public. There was a time when some co-workers and friends knew, but there were some co-workers who never knew.
Why did you go public?
Kody: I felt like there were so many stereotypes about plural marriages, with Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-day Saints. There was so much negative press – child brides and abuse on the compound – that I hated being identified that way. Warren Jeffs is not our poster child. When I talked with my children about doing the show, I said we have an opportunity to not only change our world, but to change the world for everyone else.
Christine: We have a story that needs to be heard. We're a normal, healthy and happy family. That's why we decided to show you our family.
Meri: The decision to go on the show wasn't that quick and easy for us. It took time for all of us to get on board.
What did you hope the show would do for plural marriages?
Christine: We're looking to be normal – when the ratings go down, and we become just another normal family.
Kody: When our peers can be public – not as public as we are – but can send a wedding announcement when they get married and claim all their children as theirs. We thought if we open up, other fundamentalist families could open up.
Meri: And for all the moms to be able to go to a high school graduation, instead of Kody and a mom and the rest of us sitting elsewhere, trying not to be seen. For so many years, we couldn't even do that.
How do you like Las Vegas? How is it different from Utah, where you lived before?
Janelle: We've been in Las Vegas two years and we've really enjoyed it. We've had no issues really. When you're living right next to a stripper, what's it to live right next to a polygamous family? (Audience laughs.)
Kody: But that's also a stereotype. We've found grace in Sin City, where there's a lowering of hypocrisy. In Las Vegas, you feel like you can own who you are. (Audience applauds.)
Are there many plural families in Las Vegas?
Kody: I haven't met any plural families in Las Vegas. We've associated with plural families in Wyoming and Utah.
What's it like having sister wives?
Janelle: In many ways, they're like sisters.
Robyn: Which means, we fight sometimes. But having a sister to gripe with about your husband or to celebrate the triumphs is great.
Janelle: We're very sensitive to emotional relationships in the family. We've very much cheerleading of each other, because tension in the family very much affects me. Especially now that all five of us are in business together.
What are your views of patriarchy and feminism? Polygamy is often seen as a patriarchy and bad for women.
Janelle: Patriarchy has a very negative connotation for me. It's true that Kody is the glue that holds us together, but I definitely have my voice. I feel very liberated. I have a career, my independence and freedom. I've never had to stay at home with sick kids or worry too much about what's for dinner. I can have my cake, and eat it too.
Meri: I agree. I've become so independent in some ways.
Christine, a homemaker: I feel our family is very patriarchal, but it's exactly what I wanted. I just want to be a princess in life.
There are negative stereotypes about polygamy. How are you different from Warren Jeffs and FLDS?
Kody: We are Fundamentalist Mormons, not the LDS or FLDS. Jeffs – who was the leader of the FLDS – built up a fiefdom around him. He took the voice away from his wives and children. My belief is that my wives should have their voice and should be able to make choices. As a family, we make choices together.
Janelle: I was able to choose my family. In some Mormon sects, marriages are arranged. In our community, we don't assign spouses. We also wait to get married after we turn 18 years old. The only common thing is we worship from the same scripture as the LDS.
Christine: We also have access to the outside world, the Internet and TV. We want the world for our children, for them to go to college and travel.
Meri: I recently ran a 5K in Utah to get people out of the FLDS. (Audience applauds.)
Janelle: Secrecy is bad, because it allowed people like Warren Jeffs to abuse. That abuse persists, because people were more afraid of the government than Jeffs.
Kody: We're don't mean to criticize the FLDS. That is a community that needs our empathy and support. We can save our criticism for their leadership.
What are your views on gay marriage? The gay and lesbian community face similar struggles when it comes to marriage.
Kody: I believe that I was able to choose our family structure. It should be the right of every citizen in this country to be able to choose their family structure. (Audience applauds.)
Janelle: We want people to openly live their truth without repercussion.
Robyn: I have a gay friend. We talk about this often, how he doesn't have legal rights if his partner is on life support. His partner's family has more power than he does.
Meri: I'm the legal wife, so I have the power to pull the plug. But I take into account what my sister wives have to say. I don't see me having any more power than they do.
Christine: We don't see her having any more power, either. (Audience laughs.)
Read the rest at Q&A with Kody Brown and his 'Sister Wives'.
Here's a post panel interview by a local Las Vegas TV station:
FOX5 Vegas - KVVU
And from twitter we have another picture of Kody and Krew...
SUES' Sheila & Jenn with @realkodybrown @meribrown1 @janellebrown117 @rosecolored6 @luvgvsuwngs at last night's event. twitter.com/UNLV_SUES/stat…
— UNLV Event Services (@UNLV_SUES) October 16, 2012
And finally (maybe)
*Here's the article I mentioned above....
‘Sister Wives’ clan finds accepting home in Las Vegas
Published Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012 | 11 a.m.
Plural marriage is not for everyone, but it can be a healthy and happy one, according to the Kody Brown family, stars of the TLC reality show "Sister Wives."
Kody Brown and his four wives – Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn – spoke frankly about their plural marriage, family and life in Las Vegas at a panel discussion Monday night at UNLV. About 300 people attended the event, which was co-sponsored by UNLV's Office of Civic Engagement and Diversity, and the Office of Diversity Initiatives.
The panel discussion was borne from a family and marriage counseling class taught by UNLV assistant professors Markie Blumer and Coreen Haym. The licensed therapists and teaching assistant Ashley Tybor invited the Brown family to speak to the larger UNLV community after they spoke to three psychology classes as part of a student project.
"Everyone's house is different," Blumer said, whether it's because of sexual orientation or cultural, economic and religious backgrounds. "We believe it is a community value to welcome diversity in all its forms."
There are more than 850 societies around the world that practice polygamy, and an estimated 30,000 or more plural families living in the United States, Blumer said. However, because of a negative cultural stigma and legal concerns, most plural families live largely in secrecy.
When the Brown family came out to their monogamous friends relatives some 20 years ago, it strained relationships and broke some bonds.
The Browns also suffered repercussions when their family made national headlines after "Sister Wives" first aired. Meri lost her job, Kody lost a couple of advertising clients and Robyn had a difficult time finding work.
For a couple of years, the family also faced legal prosecution. That was a major reason why the Browns relocated to Las Vegas, where they felt the diversity of the city would welcome them.
"We've found grace in Sin City, where there's a lowering of hypocrisy," Kody Brown said. "In Las Vegas, you feel like you can own who you are."
During the two-hour discussion, the Browns touched on a variety of topics, from what it's like to be a sister wife to differences between Fundamentalist Mormonism from other sects in the Mormon faith. The Browns also shared their views of what it means to be a feminist in a plural marriage and how they empathize with proponents for gay marriage.
"I believe that I was able to choose our family structure," Kody Brown said. "It should be the right of every citizen in this country to be able to choose their family structure."
The family also shared the decision to come out about their plural marriage.
"I felt like there were so many stereotypes about plural marriages," Kody Brown said. "When I talked with my children about doing the show, I said we have an opportunity to not only change our world, but to change the world for everyone else."
Monday night's discussion was taped by the producers of "Sister Wives," presumably for inclusion in a future episode. After the discussion, the family met with UNLV students and took pictures with audiences members.
Family members said they enjoyed coming to speak at UNLV, adding they were impressed with the caliber of questions asked. Monday night's event was the family's largest public speaking engagement and their first major one in Las Vegas.
"I liked how (the audience) was very open-minded and respectful," Christine Brown said. "It was wonderful."
The Brown family has spoken at universities before, primarily in Boston. It's a inviting environment for the family because of the open atmosphere, Janelle Brown said.
Many audience members seemed to enjoy the panel discussion as well, laughing and applauding with the Brown family. The student union ballroom, the event venue, was packed.
Las Vegas resident Tracy Enriquez, 47, watches "Sister Wives" regularly and said the show changed her views on plural marriage. Seeing the family in person solidified her views, she said.
"At first, I thought it was crazy, but when I saw how much they love each other, it kind of changed my views," she said. "If they don't force people into their lifestyle, I don't see anything wrong with it. I respect them."
UNLV senior Rebecca Koonce, 23, said the Brown family was relatable. As a part-time nanny, Koonce said she could see the benefits of having more than one mother around for childrearing.
"It takes a village to raise a family," she said. "This was a cool way to see the reality of how plural marriage works."
UNLV senior Megan Kolvenbach, 20, said she was a "huge fan" of the Browns and their show.
"Their family is really inspirational because they draw attention to the multiculturalism that exists in families," the psychology major said. "It makes you appreciate diversity more, that there are other forms of family as well. It was very insightful."
Kolvenbach added she appreciated how welcoming the UNLV community was to the Browns.
"That's what I love about UNLV, we're so diverse," she said. "I feel bad (the Browns) got kicked out of Utah, but I'm glad they came to Las Vegas and can make themselves feel comfortable here. I just think it's great."