Thursday, September 19, 2013

"Sister Wives" Christine Marie and her thoughts about the UNLV Panel with "Kody Brown Family"

“Painting Us With Their Experience?”
That’s the name of the episode.  It’s not true though.  This was the theme of Kody’s comments – that we were painting them with a broad brush (generalizing all polygamy to be abusive.)  This was handy, but we didn’t do that.  I don’t believe that Kody physically abuses his wives or children.  I think their family is unique, and quite frankly, special.

But it is not true that I projected my experience onto them.  In fact, that is the very reason that I brought up research.  And in case I was challenged on the validity of it, I had packed a huge stack of peer-reviewed research and brought it along.  Kody repeatedly argued that I was “painting with broad strokes,” meaning that I was wrongly labeling all polygamy harmful. I said it was NOT “broad strokes.” I gave specifics.

I explained how the Canadian government was so liberal, they legalized same-sex marriage in 2004, and they legalized prostitution in 2012, but when the Supreme Court of British Columbia sought to overturn the ban on polygamy, after reviewing “the most comprehensive judicial record on polygamy ever produced in the history of the world,” Chief Justice Bauman declared that there was inherently too much harm to justify legalizing polygamy.

This had nothing to do with me projecting my own bad experience onto them.  It had nothing to do with me at all.  Or them. These are just facts.

At the debate the Brown’s said being open and embracing of those families who want to live polygamy will result in these families feeling less likely to separate themselves into their own isolated communities.

Kody explained that their family should not be treated like criminals just because other men in polygamy have abused their wives and children.  We get this.  Kody said they should have the right to live as they wish as long as they are not hurting anyone.  We get this too.  But laws are not made for the exceptions.

And most families in polygamy are not like them.

Kody’s rationale was that if all families could be allowed to live polygamy openly and publicly without fear, people would not retreat into isolated groups and there would be less abuse.  (Will get to this in a moment)

Rejected, Ouch! BROWNS REFUSE Photo session and Visit!
After the debate, I was hoping to invite the women of the Brown family to come to our Las Vegas studio for a super-fun, creative photo shoot, something that would have been modest, retro and positive, but Christine Brown immediately rejected my offer.  Without hesitating she said something like, “No I don’t think so, we’re just on two different tracks.”

FYI – My husband is fashion photographer Tolga Katas. He has a waiting list of magazines and women who want his photos or dream of being photographed by him.  I was surprised and confused by Christine Brown’s response,  so I tried to clarify.

“You mean you can’t have a photo shoot done by someone who has different beliefs from you?”

In my happy world, people can have different views and beliefs and still be friends. That’s freedom.

Christine fumbled for words and it was a really uncomfortable moment for me.  I even blushed, looked at the camera guys filming me and said, “Well, that was awkward.” I felt like I was in junior high, and a group of girls rejected my invitation to be friends because I didn’t have the same beliefs or skin color.

What Went Wrong?

Then questions and realizations started washing over me in waves – like maybe Christine Brown saw me as an enemy, or someone who threatened her “lifestyle.”   (After all, I am an abolitionist.  Among other things, I actively try to help lawmakers realize how certain religious leaders employ psychological terrorism to benefit themselves, and how religion can be used as a tool of human trafficking. )

Or maybe their prophet or Bishop or Kody told the wives in advance that associating with this particular non-believer was off limits.  Or maybe I was just too evil.

But here’s what I realized.  The moment Christine Brown shut the door to my offer, the Brown’s entire argument about how decriminalizing polygamy would create an openness & transparency that would stop isolation & abuse from happening – just flew out the window, fell to the ground and buried its head in the mud.  They want the world to be open and embracing of them, but they don’t return the favor for people who are different.

I wanted to be friends.  My door is still open.  If their answer remains a big fat “NO THANK YOU,”  it’s no big deal for me.

But they also slammed the door on associating with Kristyn Decker, their own family member, for the same reason.   Something in the Brown’s religious
mindset will not allow them intermingle with “apostates” – even if they were previously beloved family members.   I don’t consider that freedom either.   To the Right - "The Apostates"

 What Their Group Believes.

The elect and chosen people of God must associate with others like them.  Whites and blacks cannot intermarry.  Gay marriage is forbidden, there are different rules for men and for women, and the list of policies and restrictions goes on.  It’s so very legalistic, I can’t help but worry about them. Christ was about loving and forgiving one another.  Perfect love casteth out all fear, remember?  Yet while we were getting ready for the debate, we were told we had to enter the building at a different time and through a different door so the Brown’s didn’t have to see us. Christine Brown wouldn’t come out of the bathroom for ages because she didn’t want to see Kristyn.   Kristyn was filled with excitement, hope, anticipation and good will at the thought of seeing and hugging her neice Christine.  But it seemed as if Christine Brown and family were filled with a fear of her own making.

Like they wanted to drum up a reason to feel attacked.  But there was no antagonism or attacking going on, at least from our end.  There was no hatred, no name-calling, only love and hope and offers for friendship. The Brown’s saw the world from a false reality.  All four of us wanted to go to dinner with them afterward.  We were open and embracing. The Brown’s misjudged us and rejected us, not the other way around.
Is Fear Really Freedom?

The Brown family is unique, but even they have their walls of fear.  Legalizing polygamy will not change this.  Nothing will stop true believers from isolating themselves, or gathering the righteous, like-minded people together so they can better follow their religion.

But if the Browns, (the best example of living patriarchal polygamy on the planet), do so because they are indoctrinated by a religion that requires it, remember that it is this same religious mindset that calls for them to shun the disillusioned members, separate themselves from those who have a crisis of faith, cover their ears and discredit former members when they speak about their painful truths, and demonize those who question their way of life.

It’s the epitome of kicking a person when they are down, pouring salt in a wound or adding insult to injury – multiplied by the former value of your soul.  When the members of the AUB or other polygamist sects abide by this policy of shunning wounded defectors, then all members are aware of the painful consequences that they too might face if they do not tow the line, or if they maintain a loving relationship with someone who is speaking out about their own bad experience.

That must be a terrifying thought to the members of the sect, hence, people like sweet, mild-mannered Kristyn Decker become reframed as people to fear. And families like the Browns create their own victimization in their own minds. This limits their choices.

Is that freedom?  What is the real rationale for shunning Kristyn from the extended family she loves so much?  Those Brown women may be happy, and I think they are extraordinary women, but they are indoctrinated, as I once was and I hardly consider them free.

I credit and honor these women for all the things they do so very well, for raising incredible children, for being kind to one another no matter how difficult it is, for trying to make a difference in the world in their own way.

But let’s call a spade a spade.  Religiously-mandated polygamy is a tool of manipulation and in most cases, it’s harmful.  Most families are not like the Browns. And laws are made for the majority, not the exception.


That’s my two cents.    -  Christine Marie
** Get your Kollene T shirt today!! Limited time offer!! Help!
Christine's interesting story was also featured on
What Love Is This?

Also See Christine's Story: How Could I have Believed Him?  and Q and A with Christine

Learn more about Christine Marie, victim's rights and so much more click here: 

We thank Christine so very much. I do think Christine Marie will be coming by to answer your questions here. 

TOPIC Post about Christine Marie and UNLV. Any other post should go below in the 4 - tweets area. 


  1. Still processing but... wow.

    Brilliant insight from Christine Marie!

    The one word I am thinking about the Browns right now is "hypocritical." And as a Christian myself, being hypocritical is something that turns me off. And I pray that I am never as hypocritical as the Browns, unfortunately, are making themselves out to be.

    1. And the blog sure is pointing that out. I'd give my left foot to be photographed by her husband, you should see his pictures!

    2. I'm with you, Mister Sister! Christine Marie's husband's work is AMAZING! And I'm a (published) photographer! lol!

    3. They sure didn't mind having a photo shoot for MSWC. Remember that lame ass episode when Kody referred to himself as a pool boy or something like that...
      Pool boy my ass, more like a damn beach bum!! Bwahahaha

  2. Thank you Christine. Just like Kolleen, you are bright, beautiful and doing a wonderful service exposing the evils of polygamy. I wish you all the best!!

  3. The Browns are flat out liars. They are not for gay rights, they won't even break bread with fellow panel members!
    The REJECTED OUCH! really made me mad.

  4. Man, why don't the Browns tell the TRUTH. All lies. Thank you Christine Marie, for such an insightful post.

  5. Can you guys read ok or do you want it bold?

    1. Reads OK; nicely broken-up paragraphs are easy to read.
      Christine Marie, well said! So perfectly articulated. I am really impressed with your thoughts.

      "The moment Christine shut the door on my offer, the Brown's entire argument about how decriminalizing polygamy would create an openness & transparency that would stop isolation & abuse from happening - just flew out the window...They want the world to be open and embracing of them, but they don't return the favor for people who are different."
      Seriously, how hypocritical of them.

    2. Bold not so much a problem--but the font is microscopic

  6. This is such a great article. I loved the mention of the Canadian court case against polygamy (fact. Alina Darger was Witnesses #7 in this case, testifying for polygamy). I would also like to point out that the Canadian case found that polygamy causes far too much harm on the children. They don't get the freedom to "choose" this lifestyle or the hardships that go with it.

    So glad ppl are sharing their stories here, allowing for more and more ppl to learn about polygamy and it's harms.

  7. I can read fine. So glad to read more insight into polygamy.

    Interesting fact, Alina Darger was witness #7 in the Canadian court case about legalizing polygamy, which eventually decided that the inherent social and physical harms of polygamy to women and children outweighed the benefits of pleasing the polygamous minority.

  8. Well put Christine Marie! The way the Brown's (mainly Robin and Christine) came off to me was childish and insecure. If they loved their situation so much, it seems like they would jump at the chance to talk about it. Also, it sounds like they missed out on a fun photo shoot!

  9. That was very beautifully and intelligently written. What wonderful insight. You made the excellent point that laws are written for the majority not the exception. I wish the browns would remember that. But they will never accept it because they are that exception. It's like speeding. Even if the road is empty and you don't hurt anyone, you'll still get a ticket for going 100 miles per hour. Thank you Christine Marie for your excellent insight.

  10. All this just reinforces something that I was told here. I wish I could remember who said it because I'd credit them. It really stuck with me and cleared up a LOT of confusion I had.

    Persecution is like crack to polygamists. They want it. They crave it. They NEED it. It is an addiction to them.

    If the Browns are an example of how polygamy WORKS that should just prove how broken it is! Welfare, fraud, bankruptcy, and who is on the birth certificates? Blank? Unknown? Fake name?

    It works, alright!

  11. I am reading the book "The Witness Wore Red" (review to come next week!) and according to Rebecca, 'apostates' (those who know about the true principle and don't live it or leave the religion) are actually worse than anyone else. The AUB and the FLDS all discourage communication with any outsiders but most especially apostates. Christine was afraid of Presybeterians but in their minds, an apostate is the worst shark of them all. They may have let Christine Brown be the 'rejecter' but I would imagine none of them would have agreed to a meal or to a photo session. They are very afraid of the outside world and downright terrified of anyone who has left the fold.

  12. There is a sentence in there that is so case in point. Evil? i got a good laugh at that. Can't come by? Crazy. Sadly, and not starting a debate her, but God, the God I know, IF they thought someone was evil, would WANT you to go visit with them! Share and enjoy. What is wrong with the Fundamental Mormon Culture?

  13. I think this was a beautifully written response to what we saw on TV. I didn't understand why Christine Marie was on the show at first (as her situation seemed to be less about polygamy and more about being conned) but I see that this experience helped forge her personal mission with further outlawing polygamy and better understand why she was on the panel. That said, I don't understand why the "anti-polygamy" side was so surprised when their invitations for getting together afterwards were rebuffed. Regardless of whether this was a panel or a battle, was with family or not, the "anti-polygamy" side was saying that, while a special circumstance, the Brown family's religious beliefs were wrong and inherently caused pain and abuse. Why would the Browns want to hang out with people that believe so poorly of the religion they deeply believe in? I don't agree with polygamy, I thought the "anti-polygamy" side made very valid points but don't get the hurt at being rebuffed from spending time together. That rebuff just seemed like a given.

    1. Which one of Jesus' disciples had been a tax collector (Paul?). Jesus not only broke bread with him, but loved him, included him, defended him.
      Give to Caesar what is Caesar's.

    2. Hi, Bemused. in answer to your question, it was St. Matthew who was formerly a tax collector before he followed Christ. St. Paul was not one of the 12 disciples-- He was Saul of Tarsus, a persecutor of the Early Church, before his conversion on the Road to Damascus (Acts 9) and subsequent name change. Hope this helps! :-)

    3. BeBe:

      Matthew was formerly "Levi" a tax collector. He changed his name when he decided to follow Jesus.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. Hi. This is Christine Marie. Teresa, thank you for your supportive words. I think you are right about the rebuff - it was natural to expect. It took me a bit to remember that mindset but it's completely understandable. I wrote more about that here

      Scroll down (sorry it;s so long!)

    6. I'm not sure how I became the polygamy-defender, but just because the Browns didn't feel like hanging around with a bunch of people who openly disapprove of their lives doesn't mean...anything! Except they had enough for one day. To accuse them of being un-Christlike is like accusing them of being human. You don't have to spend time with people you don't like to be a good person. No one is called to evangelize 24 hours a day.

    7. There are some blood ties there, which can be seen as a greater impetus to put aside differences and "be" together; no evangelizing, just accepting one another on a human level.

    8. IDK, I'd think that if the Browns are going to continue to try to talk the talk about being the exception, that they'd try to walk it, at least while the cameras were rolling. That they couldn't do something as innocuous as sitting down to a meal or doing a photoshoot, proves exactly what Christine Marie said.

      The word hypocrites or frauds describes them perfectly.

    9. I don't know about everyone else here but outside of my parents, brother and sister I haven't spent time nor do I want to spend time with anyone in my family. I would feel even more strongly if they were openly speaking against my religion.

    10. Yeah, anon 10:01, however when all the world's a stage sometimes there is a right thing to do for self-respect and to at least 'showcase' respect for others. For the idea of a thing. Though yes, we are speaking of the Browns, who seem unconcerned about how they are portrayed on the world stage.
      Maybe that's part of the larger problem.
      What would Ghandi do?
      What would an honorable diplomat do?
      What would the Browns do?

    11. Bemused (this Anon 10:01) it hurt my heart to see you put Ghandi and the Browns anywhere near each other.

    12. Anon 10:01 from 9:59, I just had to get back on the computer to comment after having read the above comment earlier this morning, because while I'm trying to finish my workout I keep laughing! Soooo funny!!
      Really, I'm just blathering on and throwing in Jesus and Ghandi for some fun. Nothing like keeping it light!
      Hey, whatever the Browns want to do is fine with the Browns. Heck, sometimes I don't even want to go to dinner with my in-laws who I love. Or my husband who may have behaved very poorly before he left for work this morning.
      The Browns are clearly just too afraid to hear anything contrary to the self-definition they've come up with for themselves.
      Especially Christine. Good Lord, she is obviously hurt and suffering but just cannot acknowledge that or see it for what it is (I'm referring to Sundays therapy and Q&A session). She is in extreme denial, poor thing. Meri actually seems to be awakening from her denial, just a bit.
      I'm not seriously comparing the Browns to Jesus or Ghandi, yet am seeking a high-bar standard by which to judge their behavior, in good fun, of course.
      Not that there's anything wrong with that.

  14. Thank you so much Christine Marie for your thoughts and response to the UNLV panel. You are a very kind and gracious woman and I am truly sorry that the Browns were so defensive towards you. I really enjoyed reading this you offered a lot of insight. And I agree with Mister Sister! I would give my foot to have a photo session!:)

  15. I think you are being too kind to the Browns, calling them the best example of living patriarchical polygamy.

    A man having fourteen children -- continuing to have children deliberately -- when he cannot feed those children with out TAXPAYER assistance -- which the Brown children had -- is abusing those children. If you can't feed your child, that is child neglect and abuse in my book. That the government steps in and feeds those kids with taxpayer dollars does not alleviate that the child was neglected by his parents, and would be hungry if not for the government.

    1. I agree with anon 4:51. Couldn't have said it better.

    2. Anon 4:51, I completely agree.

    3. I also agree with the three Anons. Kody may be the cutest polygamist patriarch (his funky hair non-withstanding) we've seen so far, the women seem completely determined to hang on to him and this carpet ride on TLC for all it's worth, and the kids seem pretty okay socially and emotionally (the ones we've seen and heard a bit--not sure about Robin's kids yet), but there are so many issues we've seen for ourselves amongst the wives, through Kody's behavior, and in the legal sector, that I'm not sure they are a fine example for how to live well in modern polygamy.
      Except that they ARE the one polygamist family we are all talking about. That does make them special and unique.
      Boy, that Kody must have something special that we're not seeing....

    4. Yikes! I think Uncle Art is way cuter.

      I'm confused about how Kody isn't tapped for child support for his kids on the gov dole. Wouldn't the state file the paternity suit, and the child support claim if the mom's are collecting? And his back child support would be owed to the state. I think that's how it works where I'm from...

    5. Oh yeah, I do not think ol' Kode is a cutie anymore. I'm referring to his high school pic and his marriage to Meri pics.
      I would love to see one of the wives stand up to him.
      The Browns may be a 'special and unique' family among polygamists because they are on tv, but as we've all seen, the character traits and relationship positions are old hat compared to plenty of other polygamists.
      Kody, by the way, you are NOT a hipster. Nor a cool hippie. We hipsters and hippies have blackballed you.

  16. Wow, that was awesome! Very articulate and on point.

    All I heard from Christine Brown was, "She thinks differently than I do so I'm afraid of her!" I thought it was interesting when Meri was asked if she was nervous or scared and she said, "Why would I be? They think differently than I do. That's OK." (I'm sure I'm paraphrasing poorly, but that is about what she said)

    Meri was the only one who appeared to grasp that other people are allowed to have their own thoughts and opinions. Makes me wonder how well she truly fits into the cult of Kody?

    Refusing the olive branch that you extended just furthers the appearance of the Browns actually knowing that their belief system is grossly flawed. They seemed terrified that people who had lived polygamy were going to expose the reality of what the lifestyle entails.

    1. Reminds me of Christine's bizarre reaction to the Presbyterians...they were "sharks". The Browns are judgmental of others who don't agree with their beliefs and seem to have no problem stating their disdain.

    2. I'm surprised Christine didn't call the Presbyterians "toasters"...after all toasters kille more people each year than sharks!

    3. I was impressed by Meri in this episode. I thought she was the most rational and adult of the Browns.

      I had to laugh when the women were talking about being offended by having their husband sleep with other sister wives. If I were Kody I would be most disturbed by Meri's delight that he is not in her bed most nights.

      Wonderful writing, Christine Marie. Very insightful.

    4. Meri's "liberating" comment about Kody's absence in her bed was PRICELESS!! her face looked quite instantly red when she realized why the audience went into immediate laughter and OOPS! - that didn't come out quite like she meant for it to. HAH!

    5. Anon @ 4:59,
      For some reason when I read what you said about Meri, I immediately thought of the Dargers. I've no doubt they'd have readily agreed to join the other panelists for dinner or a photo shoot and that they'd have had a great time.

      In addition to their religion, I think two reasons the Browns are so afraid are that they're insecure as individuals as well as their places in the family unit plus they're unable to defend/verbalize their beliefs. The Dargers don't seem to have those problems. They appear to be secure in their own identities as well as their religious beliefs and articulate in expressing themselves.

  17. The brown's portray themselves as persecuted polygamysts in order to keep themselves relevant and drum up more interest for their fake show. I think people actually liked them during their first season when they weren't acting and making up phony drama for the cameras. What an interesting show it wouldve been if they had presented their facts or case abt their lifestyle without attacking the other panelists. TLC wouldve had great footage if the brown's had gone to dinner with krystin and christine marie. They couldve also had great footage of a photo shoot withchristine maries famous photog husband. But instead we saw a fake scene w a sister wife supposedly needing to be rescued from the bathroom and of course robyn keeping herself relevant by attacking kollene.

  18. Loved, loved, LOVED this response! An insightful and gracious look into what happened at the panel. I appreciated that Christine Marie didn't just dismiss them as drama queens (and king), but was looking at the root of their behavior. She is a wonderful example of how to live- thanks Christine Marie!

    1. You are so kind, you are all so kind, wow. Thank you so much.

    2. Anon 5:00, regarding TLC getting great footage of dinner and photo shoots, while that is true and I think the Browns are missing out, I have to say that had they done that they would have been perceived as not standing true to their beliefs, in a sense. Sort of like selling joolery in a casino? I think their priesthood head may take issue with it, and wouldn't they look silly enjoying a nice dinner after all that drama? Once they committed to being victims of persecution they had to follow thru.

      That being said, I did gain respect for Meri in the episode. Favorite line on the couch ever for me when she deadpanned to Christine, " there are five of us." Hahaha! Truthfully, if I had lived in Meri's shoes for the last twenty three years I think I would be a nasty, spiteful shrew. Unlike the kind, patient wife and mother I am today. Right, Dear? ( looks at hubby...he, the teen, AND the dog look at each other and say, "whatever!")

  19. Thank you, Christine Marie, for your insights. Wow, you have really opened my eyes. How absolutely rude and childish of Christine to reject you very kind offer. Sad.

  20. Christine Marie is an articulate, classy woman. Thanks so much for your thoughtful write up on the UNLV panel. I absolutely love SWB - thanks to those who work so hard to bring out the truth!!

  21. Amazing. Thank you for sharing how the Browns behaved behind the scenes. Seems as though they were behaving terribly, as though they were in high school and the mean girls. I see where you did not ask for separate rooms, etc. Wonderful. I would have been happy to come over.

  22. I'm probably going to get slammed here, but here it goes. First off, last week, I was walking to my office, with my little son in the carriage, (fury son) two Mormon boys on a mission (white shirts, black ties) stopped and asked me their required questions. I explained to them that I was Jewish, and convert proof! They smiled and were the sweetest two boys, I have met in a long time, very polite very smart, one from Montana the other from Texas, and here we were on a beautiful sunny southern CA day. I asked them for a book of Mormon, which they gave me, it has really nice pictures of paintings in the front. I'd always wanted to look through one. I asked them if they knew who Jodi Arias was, since that case had so much to do with the Mormon church and her converting for him, etc. etc. They had no clue who she was. I asked them if they knew who the Sister Wives on TLC were. Oh they knew exactly who they were. They were very quick to let me know that the Browns are NOT part of LDS. I told them right, only because Utah couldn't get into the Union unless they dumped the multiple wives nonsense. I said "Otherwise you would have been looking at 20 wives and 100 plus children" He smiled and didn't answer. I also asked him this. So Joseph Smith came to Utah or wherever he came to, less then a 100 years ago, and all of sudden what he said was so, never mind that there were already millions and millions of people around the world that believed something totally different? So they were all wrong? He couldn't answer. Also on Tuesday polygamy was great, but on Wednesday because Utah wanted to be part of the club, it was really bad right? He didn't answer me. My point being, it's all made up, all religion is blind faith, and most people believe what they do, because they are taught what they believe by their parents. Why are the Browns any worse, then anyone that thinks some man rose from a cross or Moses parted a Red Sea? It's all BS, all of it, none of it can be proven, anyone arguing over someone elses religion, is nutso. It's really a pot calling a kettle black. All the miracles happened 5 thousand plus years ago, now if something happened it could be proven, nothing ever happens. The Browns are no more evil then the Catholic church, with all of the gay priests, all the pain and misery they have inflicted on hundreds of thousands of little boys, some/many never recover. They have lied and covered for each other, paid people off, they are so evil, and proof that there is no god. The true numbers will never be known, many do not come forward. I'm not a fan, never was, I do watch once in a while always visit this blog, because I love it. The Browns, are trying to make money are they evil like Charles Manson? No of course not. They lie so they can keep the show on the air, they have producers, handlers, agents, it's not just all them, keep that in mind. The show and them should be looked at as fiction, a good 30 minutes to escape whatever, just like Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Christians, it's all fiction, based on fairy tales, that can not be proven. I wish I wrote the bible would never have to work again, nor my heirs. It's a great racket if you can think of it!!!! I don't expect this to be posted, but I had to get my 2 cents in! Thank you, great work here on the blog!

    1. Thank you for telling your opinion. Each is entitled to their own. Many here to have faith, just not FM faith. HOWEVER, you will not get slammed here, because each is entitled to their own as long as they do not attack another poster.

      This is not up for debate. Let's no tie up the posts with rebuttals. Thank you!

    2. The religion that offers women only adultery as a door to eternal salvation and renders them useless otherwise is worthy of being called out for the dreadfully harming vehicle that it is.

      Your Jewish beliefs of Moses parting the Red Sea do not harm and render women abused by neglect and poverty as Morman-based polygamy certainly does.

      My belief in Jesus Christ and eternal salvation based in HIS atoning payment for sin is freely offered to all, only belief is required, not harmful at all like the forced adultery to earn salvation in Mormon based polygamy.

      Are the Browns free to believe in a god created by Joseph Smith that says that a woman is of so little value that she MUST be a plural wife and commit adultery to have any chance at eternal life? Yes. They are completely free to believe that.

      But it behooves all of us as human beings to speak out about the harm and utter degradation that the Brown's god inflicts on them.

    3. @ Pat Brown ~ Great comment, but unfortunately, it is twisted people that have made it a great racket.

    4. So sorry, but I need to say something. Gay priests do not molest children. Pedophiles molest children. Gay does not equal pedophile.

    5. END of this particular discussion, thanks!

  23. Christine Marie,
    Excellent personal review. !!!

    Yes, they rebuffed your photo offer (Umm..will I do?, pleading)....

    And they rebuffed any offer to dine together with you all including the company of a member of Christine's own family. However, I am not surprised at all because the whole event was staged to further the storyline of the Brown's martyrdom. Dining privately like civilized people would not have fit the show's agenda.

    What is the real loss here is that TLC, who dreamed up and arranged the event, threw away a golden chance to show the Browns as open-minded, courteous and *decent* plygs who actually walk their in an authentic philosophy and request of "live and let live"..for all..n both sides of the aisle.

    How many times has Sobbin thrown out the barbs of "monogamists do this or do that"...?? We have seen her take that tack many times when she ascends her little podium to justify the obvious pitfalls of the plyg life.
    Pitfalls that they themselves have allowed to be filmed. (for money)

    And each time she does it, each time she childishly go there, she deepens the rift. And by doing so, it is Sobbin herself who "broad brushes" all of the Browns with a seemingly collective ill-will toward non-plygs.

    "Kody said they should have the right to live as they wish as long as they are not hurting anyone."
    The salient question is "who gets to define hurt."
    Apparently the Canadian Court did just that with its ruling to reject legalizing polygamy primarily based on the welfare of *the children.*

    Thanks again, Christine Marie for sharing your perspective. You made excellent points.

    1. In my opinion, the producer was sensitive, kind & I believe he made a valiant attempt to be fair to the various stakeholders. I don't have any major complaints how it was edited. (Of course everyone wishes something was different, that's unavoidable, but they did honor something important to me, so they gained my trust.) On a positive note, regardless of how people feel the show was edited, it has promoted a lot of discussion and caused people to think deeper. I respect that the producer/network for even allowing those who oppose polygamy to explain the negative side. I thought that was really cool, considering it's the Brown's show. Finally, I believe the ending was genuinely what the Brown's wanted, not the network. I understand it now & don't take it personally. They were just living their religion. Agree or disagree, I believe it was authentic.

    2. CMK,

      Thank you for your reply and clarification.
      You are right, it is the Brown's show.
      A point that needs to be respected and a point that, as you say, inspires individual thought on the subject...which is a good thing.

    3. I'm not impressed when polygamists claim that monogamists also have problems. It seems to me that polygamists can have the same problems that some monogamists have, such as domestic violence, in addition to problems specific to polygamy.

    4. Do you think the Browns had any advance idea about the panel, and who would be on it? I wonder if Christine knew her aunt would be there?

    5. I'm sure Christine will share her insight, but until then I will share mine. Of course they did. TLC asked for and planned the discussion from what I've been told. Christine showed us herself on the episode she knew well in advance who would be there. IMO hand picked by TLc and IMO approved by the Brown family. Had to be for them to participate. Sadly this was not your average panel discussion. TLC owns the rights which is unusual for a college discussion.

    6. Yes you are right, Mister Sister. The Browns knew. I was recommended by Kristyn to be on the panel and TLC approved me. I thought it was going to be a debate/panel discussion where we would tell our stories and then discuss the pro's and con's of polygamy. I told them I hoped my contribution would be to not focus on my story, but to share research on polygamy because most of the public mistakes polygamy to be "just another lifestyle," and to be responsible to society, TLC should help clear that misconception up. The public deserves to know the facts, and they still don't. They only know stories.

      I give TLC credit for having us on to share stories, but why not include any details about the research that I shared, yet allow Professor Jankowiak to list percentages from some study (that none of my colleagues have ever heard of) that lead the public to believe that polygamy is just like monogamy? That wasn’t right.

      I was so frustrated by the comments I was seeing on twitter the night of the show about how polygamy is no more harmful than monogamy that I spammed my twitter with research facts as a clear rebuttal to that misrepresentation.

      I truly wish they would have allowed some of the court-vetted data I shared to make it into the minds of the American public. That is so much more important to society than my story.

    7. Christine Marie I went to college for religious studies (not theology) so this is a very fact based question. We both agree that the Browns, Dargers etc are not the traditional form of polygamy that has been practice in the US. Is the data that you have about polygamy based on the traditional families (this being the FLDS, Kingston group etc.) or on those families like the Browns. I would think that you can't really compare data from those two groups. One being a very horrible way to live (aka a cult that controls every aspect of a person life) and is not too far off, better or worse, then most people the way most people I know grew up.

    8. Whoa, you don't realize the basic doctrines are the SAME. Kody is a member of the AUB, I was born into the AUB. Polygamy is a MANDITORY COMMANDMENT there too and we were taught we would lose our salvation and suffer eternal damnation if we didn't accept it "sweetly".
      Kody and I share a maternal grandfather, his wife Christine is my cousin. Joe Darger's twin wives Valerie and Vickie are my nieces. Make no mistake, the polygamist groups that claim or blame Mormonism are all cut from the same cloth, therefore painting them with the same brush is highly appropriate. Polygamists don't share their "holy" secrets and they don't want anyone else to either. That's why the Brown's fear controversy.

    9. Great job Christine. Fantastic insight. You are also a fine writer.

  24. Everyone else really took the words right out of my mouth so I'm just going to say thank you Christine Marie. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the research you've done into polygamy.

    You've had a tough journey, but I can tell from your website that you are happy and loved and that's a huge thing.

  25. Amazing insight. Thank you so much for sharing. You seem like an exceptionally wonderful person. I'd be delighted to know you and call a talented, lovely person like you a friend.

  26. I have been bothered several times by thmention of the Canadian statement. Prostitution was legalized in what was basically the same motion. Prostitution absolutely fails society on almost every point specified. I find that the gap left by that fuels the arguments of the supporters of polygamy. Also, I think it is way too generous to say that Kody is an exemplorary polygamist husband who doesnt abuse his wives physically or sexually. They have openly stated that the entire family, especially Aspyn, was used to manipulate Christine into having another baby--even though they knew it could be life'threatening. She had nearly hemorrhaged to death, and had been adament that she did not want to go through it again. Impregnating a woman under duress is both sexual and physical abuse.

    1. Hi Anon. 6.43 I am Canadian and have studied the polygamy here. Prostitution is NOT legal in Canada- it is tricky. It is "legal" to BE a prostitute, but it is illegal to accept payment for any form of sexual activities. Thereby making the act illegal and not the person. But it doesn't mean prostitutes walk the street and are accepted by society.
      And I think Christine Marie was using the point to show that if our "liberal" country wouldn't recognize polygamy as legal, then it is for good reason. This being said, the majority of Canadians do not support prostitution or polygamy (this has been proven in various studies,message me if you want more info). We just like to think we are more accepting of certain things than others. Even so, polygamy is not legal in Canada because it was found to be far more harmful than good.

    2. I was anon 6:43 (linnetagin) like most Americans am pretty ignorant about Canadian laws, but I have seen the same info cited repeatedly. Thanks for the reassuring update. That being said I think the term should be eliminated from the conversation when citing the list of societal damages caused by polygamy--for the same reason I stated earlier. BTW I was on my phone and am not particularly good with the teeny keyboard--that is why i was anon. Explains the spelling errors, too!

    3. Actually, the law that was changed here in 2012 allows for the existence of bawdy houses or bordellos. It has nothing to do with whether or not a person is permitted to be a prostitute or accept money for sexual services; sex workers are now able to hire drivers, bodyguards and support staff and work indoors in organized brothels. Exploitation” by pimps remains illegal.

    4. I like the way it is in...Sweden, I think. It's perfectly legal to offer sex for sale. But totally illegal to BUY it. Making the "customer" the criminal, not the the one most folks agree is being victimized, the seller.

    5. Sockie Mom - Amen to the Swedish legal model! I'm impressed you know about this!!!

  27. First I would like to state that I in no way agree with the beliefs of the AUB and think that the Flds group should have some more investigation and arrests made. But having stated this here are some points that I would like to make.
    Looking and seeing the rationale from both groups I really do not understand why either group would be surprised that because of beliefs there are not friendly feelings on either side.
    boston corgiSeptember 19, 2013 at 5:54 PM
    "The Browns are judgmental of others who don't agree with their beliefs and seem to have no problem stating their disdain."
    After reading the comments on this site now over the last sever days it seems the posters here also do not have any problem showing disdain for those who do not believe the way they do. So that seems to work both ways.
    Why would it be surprising for the Browns to feel persecuted after having had to keep their lifestyle secret for so long? As we are reminded constantly polygamy is against the law and they are told over and over how horrible it for their children and degrading it is for their women. That there is no way God would require such a thing.
    I would feel a bit on the defensive if I had to deal with that for years.
    I am not saying they have a perfect life, and if what I am reading is true, they have financial issues but still it must not be very pleasant to be told your beliefs are trash and you should not be allowed to live as you are.

    1. I think the bigger issue is the lies they keep puporting on the show. Kody saying that welfare use is "sterotypical" and not them is one example.
      They most certainly did use it and even lie on their B Reports.
      THAT has become the issue.
      THEY themselves show us nothing but unhappiness on the show, that is their doing.
      IF they would say, yes, we've used the system, but hopefully with the show we now will not, no one would say a word.
      They throw out there what we see, and it is lie lie lie.

      THERE lies the problem. NOT nearly as much as them and their religion. BUT while we are on that, please take note, they do not show much of it.

      If the Browns want respect, then don't LIE. You will get caught, we are smart ones.

    2. Anonymous at 7:08
      I really was not referring so much to what ever their religious beliefs are but that they have had to live with constantly being told they are wrong. It must take a toll.
      I am not sure what a B report is so will accept what you have said on that.
      As for unhappiness I think we see a very small and very scripted portion of their lives and it would certainly not be fair on my part to say they are unhappy.
      As for lying about welfare use that seems to be very counter productive since it would seem everyone and their uncle has looked into it and seen what they have done. I would like to hear more from them on this point.
      I guess I am an eternal optimist and I hope the best for them and their children.It would seem from what has been shown on TV that the kids are relatively happy and well adjusted. I do not think they will choose to follow their parents in the lifestyle and from what has been said they will still be loved and supported.
      Truly I wish the best for all.

    3. How can a man who deliberately doesn't have his name on all his children's birth certificates, so he can't be held legally responsible for them, who has their mother lie about his involvement from the moment of their conception and birth, claim he is as involved in his children as anyone? He's let them go through life as illegitimate because he won't even take legal responsibility for them.

      And of course we've heard how well he parents. Kids saying they never see him. And him saying he doesn't care to be into the negative because he's there so little. Way to get Plyg father of the year.

    4. Anonymous 8:28--and Mister Sister--I have been reading more and more often on SWB that Kody's name is not on the birth certificates of the Brown children. Has this idea been verified in the public record? I have read a lot of post archives on SWB, but not all (chipping away, chipping away), so perhaps I have missed something.

      I have read the digitized bankruptcy docs online and seen that Christine and Janelle present themselves as single mothers, but this in itself doesn't mean that Kody isn't listed on the children's birth certificates.

      If it is true, it's an egregious manipulation (which would not surprise me). But if it is speculation, it isn't something I want to trade in. Can anyone clarify?

    5. Kody Himself said that they did not put his name on all the birth certificates in fear of prosecution in one of the first few episodes I believe.

      I know he said it but do not have the exact place set in my mind.

      SWB however would not look up any public record on the children and have turned downed offers from those that would in the area. I do not believe it is just or right to go prying.

      So for many, this is coming from what he himself said on the show.

      Where anyone else or posters are getting their information, I cannot say for sure, other than this fact.

    6. In Utah it's pretty common to see and know of plyg families. They build those big houses and school in plyg co-ops. They for the most part are left alone and enabled by the government to keep bleeding the beast. It's not like they are persecuted.

    7. Anon 6:43- Since you quoted me, I just want to clarify that my remark was directed at the fact they behaved in a way which is opposite from their statements of acceptance & tolerance. Since the Browns have felt persecuted and judged, I am very disappointed they had such difficulty extending compassion towards others on the panel. End of story.

  28. Really enjoyed reading this insider's perspective. So articulate and honest. I think everything Christine Marie said supports my feeling that Brown's manufactured the fear (and the whole panel discussion) to create a little drama for the cameras. The whole hiding in the bathroom scene was childish and unnecessary. I agree with the comment above that the Browns seem to thrive off the notion that they are being persecuted for their religion. Vegas was their Plymouth rock, and really nobody there cares about their lifestyle, so now they have to arrange academic panel discussions and trips to Robyn's anti-plyg hometown, so they can continue to feel special and misunderstood.

  29. THIS POST is not for a religious debate!!!
    Ask Christine Marie questions about UNLV, her charity, her work, life, Her husband, and I bet you will a response.

    No more random posts about religion.

  30. Christine, we really didn't get to hear what happened to you. do you mind telling us, and how you got yourself back emotionally?

  31. Anon @ 6:43PM,

    Most of us that comment on this blog started watching this show because we were curious to see how a family that lives polygamy could make it work. I have read that many times on here. As for me, I was hoping to see a very happy family that was making this life work for them without the abuses and unhappiness that usually happens in polygamy.

    The first season they all actually seemed HAPPY and it appeared they got along with each other. Then came Robyn which caused all sorts of drama, the book came out and they moved to Vegas.

    They lie repeatedly on the show, stupid lies that it is easy to catch them in which is really ridiculous. Why lie and make your kids all afraid that the police are coming to round them up and put the adults in jail when it was the furthest thing from the truth?

    Did we ASK the Browns to "come out" as the face of "modern polygamy"? No. None of us did. So why did they open themselves up to people's curiosity, ridicule and judgment? M-O-N-E-Y right there in 5 letters is the reason they did this.

    So if they feel persecuted I cannot feel sorry for them. When they were ready to sign on for this show, Kody went to the authorities and ASKED if they would be arrested or otherwise prosecuted for doing this show. He was told NO unless there was child abuse or something like that going on.

    So again, they knew all of this before doing the show. Surely they didn't think all of America would watch this show and just think they were the most amazing thing since sliced bread. If they did, they were extremely foolish.

    As far as the panel discussion went, again, they brought this on themselves. TLC is the one that ASKED to have this even take place. TLC is the one that suggested or requested that Christine Marie, Willie Steed, Kollene Snow and Kristyn Decker appear. The Browns never even gave the 4 of them a chance to finish a sentence that I saw. They talked over them, were rude and extremely defensive.

    You think the 4 that were against polygamy never feel persecuted? I'd bet they do. No matter which way you want to stack the deck, the Browns are living an illegal lifestyle, have repeatedly used the government to support their overly large family through illegal means such as having each mother listed as a single parent with all those children, have repeatedly filed bankruptcy and just 'bleeding the beast'. They should be ashamed of themselves and certainly should not be held up as a shining example of "modern polygamy".

    1. Funky Town,

      Couldn't agree more. Well said !!

      I have watched since season one because after having watched all seasons of Big Love, which was a Hollywood fictional product, I was intrigued when the promos for SW promised the show would be a "real" view of plygs.

      So, if this is the "real" view, what possible conclusion could be reached other than the lifestyle is more often one of depression, jealously, frustration, welfare abuse....and if televised for significant money, leads to inevitable duplicity, inflated egos and greed ??!

    2. ^seconded^ Exactly what I wanted to say, but better.

    3. Thank you both very much. I appreciate the support *happy thoughts and hugs*

  32. Thanks, Christine Marie, Kollene, Kristen, Ed and everyone for contributing to this blog. We are all learning extraordinary details about Mormon polygamy from different perspectives. The Sisterwives show might be scripted and edited for conflict and controversy, but it has provided a framework for this magnificent discussion about polygamy and the belief system that keeps people in polygamous marriages even when it's very destructive. You guys have taught us about other aspects of this 'lifestyle'. Thanks to you, we have learned about the extent of taxpayers' contribution to this 'lifestyle' through welfare payments and food stamps. You have shown us that shunning still exists even in progressive fundamentalist polygamous families. That's a tragedy. You have shown us glimpses of other family members who have left the 'lifestyle' and what happened to them after that.

    I have been interested in polygamy for a different reason. I married a Muslim and lived in his extended family in Bangladesh. One of my sisters in law was the first wife of a landed aristocrat who had a second wife and basically lived with her instead of my sister in law. However, he always provided for her, because the Koran says that all wives have to be treated equally. If you give a sari to one wife, you have to give saris of equal value to all your wives. Muslims can have up to 4 wives at a time. In practice, in Bangladesh, only the very rich and the very poor tend to have multiple wives. The rich do it because they can afford it. (And their wives don't have to live in the same house). The poor do it to make money.

    One of our housekeepers was the second of four wives. Her husband put all the wives out to work as domestics and pocketed their wages. One day, she turned up at our home all black and blue because her husband had bashed her for buying herself a small piece of jewelry out of her wages. Instead of sending her back into that situation, we took her in. Late one night, her husband turned up, with a small army of his belligerent friends, to take her back. Fortunately, my husband wasn't the only man at home that night. Three of his older brothers were there too. There was a massive fight in the stairwell of our building. My mother in law, who lived with us, barricaded herself in the main bedroom with the servant girl and me. We had barricaded the front door as well so nobody could break in. The poor servant girl was a blubbering mess. She kept trying to go out to go back with her husband and save my husband and in laws the trouble. She had never been treated well in her marriage. The battle continued for hours. Eventually, my brother in law shouted through the door that they had seen off the servant's husband. We let them back in to the apartment.

    When I wondered how four men had fought off a gang, my husband told me that, because they grew up relatively wealthy, they always ate well and therefore they were naturally stronger than their opponents who had not eaten so well growing up. That had never occurred to me.

  33. Christine Marie said..At the debate the Brown’s said being open and embracing of those families who want to live polygamy will result in these families feeling less likely to separate themselves into their own isolated communities. Kody’s rationale was that if all families could be allowed to live polygamy openly and publicly without fear, people would not retreat into isolated groups and there would be less abuse.
    Then she gives many fine examples why this is not true, from from how they were treated to this beliefs of not mixing with non believers (apostates)

    So many fine examples! My question to you Christine Marie is this:
    Would you be willing to say, or say in your own words, that polygamy is abuse? That so much of the abuse is emotional that the women and children don't even know it?

    Also Christine Marie, do you feel that the women are immature because of their lack of fulfilled love?

    Thank you so much for coming and talking to us. I also thank you for sharing your story, which I am getting of here to click and enjoy!

    1. What a great question! I agree with BC Chief Justice Bauman that polygamy is inherently abusive, and I agree with the UN's Human Rights Committee and CEDAW who have so resoundingly rejected polygamy as a violation of women’s human right to equality in marriage. Even without overt physical or even psychological abuse, inequality is a form of abuse on its own. The America Bar Association wrote a great article on it here:

      They would not agree that they are victims of anything, so intuitively it doesn't feel right to tell other people they don't know what they feel. But I'll end with a quote by Harriet Tubman: “I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” Just food for thought...

    2. I love that quote! That fits exactly. EXACTLY.

    3. That quote by Harriet Tubman is truly profound, and it's applicable to this subject. (Huge sigh....)

  34. First and foremost Christine you are an amazing person. Your writing was beautiful and your behavior at the debate was EXCEPTIONAL. It lead to me a question that I have been dying to ask.

    Do you do anything on the legal side of things? The amount of research you present as well as your extensive knowledge on the subject makes me believe that you would be fantastic person to deal with these issues. You also speak well which is a major bonus.

    Also, I think people should take note of your "abnormal" experience with polygamy. You were scammed which is exactly what COULD happen if polygamy is legalized. Legalizing it opens it up to not only financial fraud but slavery.

    note: I put abnormal in quotes because with how lucrative polygamy could be, I doubt Christine is the only who has had this happen.

    1. Ooh great question to which I will add - Christine, if so, we would love for you to write a little post about the legalization/laws for this post!

    2. I would love to, do you have a specific question or should I punt?

  35. Christine Marie,
    Thank you for sharing on SWB. And thanks to the blogger who made all this happen this week!

    You truly are an inspiration and light among many in this day and age.
    You husband's work is amazing!

    I have a question. What exactly did this man who took you as a "wife" say his religion was?
    Did you have children when you were in this relationship, or ones you brought into it?

    If so, how did they take all of this?

    I am asking as one that got away from a psychopath in disguise as a wonderful man. Sadly, he is a Dr. Lord help who he is working on! I had children from a previous marriage that sadly went through this with me, and left penniless with no family to help. Did you have help monetarily?

    1. My prophet's religion was his own brand of fundamentalism. My children did not go through this with me because I shared custody with my ex and when the going got rough, I changed the custody schedule so they were with him temporarily. My whole experience was less than a year. They don't remember much about it, their lives stayed normal. Luckily they were pretty unscathed, except for seeing the aftermath of what happened to their mom. I had pretty bad trauma so I tried to always hide my PTSD from them. Sometimes I just couldn't though. My youngest son and my daughter especially - they would always know when I was floating or trying to hide a flashback. "Mom, what are you thinking about?" For the first couple of years especially, staying present took so much effort.

      I was left homeless and penniless too. I had no family to help me, the LDS church wouldn't help me because they considered me apostate for having associate with a fringe group, there was no victim's assistance, no victim's advocate, just victim blaming for not having been able to detect that he was a sociopath. I will never forget how hard it was to put my life back together. I think that is partly why I am so driven to try to help survivors recover.

    2. Thank you for sharing.
      I have to say that is what hurt me so bad. I don't know if I am using the correct term psychopath. He may have been a sociopath, but the fact remains no one said to me "I don't care for him" or "I don't like him" when in fact all my friends loved this man. Thought I was the lucky one to have him.
      If we could all see a sociopathic soul, they wouldn't get a hold of us. That's like saying you know what a rapist looks like. they are smart, cool, and have had played this game before so I do know what you are talking about. I hid for 10 years after that just because I couldn't face myself. God bless you and thank you for sharing with me.

    3. Oh my Pam thank you for no longer hiding, and please do not blame yourself no matter what everyone else thinks. A psychopath and sociopath are basically the same thing, so I get it. It is nearly impossible to detect one, even trained professionals who screen for psychopathy and law enforcement who deal with this get fooled! They are charismatic and likable and experts at appearing wonderful! I have a another web site I made to help women understand and stay safe from psycho/sociopaths - here -

      I hope it is comforting to know that you are not alone!!!

    4. Yes, psychopaths are manipulative and charming. And can leave a lot of damage in their wake...

      I saw another show about your story, Christine. For some reason it seemed like a longer ordeal than a year. You are lucky to manage to have escaped so quickly.

      I am curious about the LDS and their reaction after you realized you were scammed. Is it like being excommunicated in Catholicism? Wouldn't they be thankful you "came to your senses" and back to the fold? How would one go about getting back into the LDS?

      Was it the rejection that made you leave that faith, or being donned in the name of religion? Or maybe you came to realize it wasn't for you for other reasons all together?

    5. Sockie Mom, the other story you saw was enormously fictionalized, sensationalized, and hurtful - even splicing my words together from different places to create entire sentences that I did not say - to give credibility to their misrepresentations - using my own voice. All I can say about that episode is that if you watch it, nothing will make sense!

      After "The Great Deception," even in my traumatized state, I walked to church security headquarters and tried to warn them about how a predator played on my beliefs to gain my trust, get into my life, then used this "special trust" relationship to exploit me in a most devastating way. Some LDS people were pretty judgmental, others were compassionate, few helped though - because they thought I should have known better. But none of that impacted my testimony so much.

      At the time, I actually thought that my experience proved that no one could do what Joseph Smith did, because the first day one of his accomplices met me, he cried with remorse after seeing what had been happening to me, then dragged another accomplice over (my fake sister wife who helped deceive me and into whose account the money had been deposited) and they spilled the beans on the whole scam.

      At the time, the fraud itself did not shake my testimony, it built it. Little by little, though, I started thinking about everything, reading books, and studying what happened to my brain, and just had to put the whole religion thing in the freezer of my brain for a while so it could process it all. We can continue this conversation privately if you want.

  36. Pam,

    I'm glad you got away from him although it's terrible that you were left penniless without anyone to help. I hope your kids and you are all doing well now.

    Great questions for Christine. I hope she comes online and answers everyone.

  37. Wow, things have sure been rocking here at SWB! Another day, another amazing post. Thanks to Christine Marie for her personal perspective on doing the UNLV panel chat with the Browns.

    To my thinking, when someone knows a lot of things about you that most people don't know (the skeletons in your closet, your dirty laundry, name your metaphor), you have to either trust that person a great deal to keep your secrets, or you are going to be quite nervous about possible exposure. So there's part of the Browns' manufactured "fear."

    I also think that the Browns will always and forever be hypersensitive around former polygamists, particularly those who lived a fundamental version (most)and have distanced themselves from that life. Kody and his wives are choosing to interpret their own discomfort as "YOU DON'T ACCEPT US!! WAAHHH!!" when in reality it should be "IF WE STAND TO CLOSE TO YOU, OUR VIEWERS ARE GOING TO SEE THAT THE APPLE DOESN'T FALL FAR FROM THE FAMILY TREE!!"

    About 20 years ago, I came out of a belief system that was highly repressive to women, and the period of change--when I no longer identified as the woman I HAD been, but didn't yet know who I was without those tall fences--was honestly terrifying. It was like being de-constructed with no clear idea what sort of "me" would be on the other side.

    The Brown wife with the most strongly-cemented polygamist identity is Christine, and while I think that there was a ridiculous amount of middle-school histrionics on her part(e.g., restroom-gate), I also believe she really was going through some genuine psychological turmoil--because she's not stupid, and the intelligent part of her is tired of being shoved into the dark. JMO, dear hearts.

    1. This is Christine Marie. I think you are sooo right about the 'genuine psychological turmoil.' We tried to put ourselves in their shoes before the show, and we felt a lot of concern and empathy for them. I thought they did great though.

      Your insights and ability to express yourself are incredible. I love this "when I no longer identified as the woman I HAD been, but didn't yet know who I was without those tall fences--was honestly terrifying. It was like being de-constructed with no clear idea what sort of "me" would be on the other side." I have an incredible book called "Brainwashed: The Science of Thought Control" by neuroscientist Kathleen Taylor. She explains how when people are brainwashed, it changes the way the neuronal paths behave. You can't just snip a thread called "misguided beliefs" and start thinking differently. Everything in our brains is interconnected and our entire worldview, identity, value system - everything is formed around this cognitive web. You can't just wake up one day and walk away a free, independent woman. It takes years sometimes for the brain to reroute and recreate the world in a healthy way.

      I did a rant on brainwashing here:

    2. This is such excellent information. Redwood Curtain and Christine Marie, you have no idea how many people you are impacting by courageously sharing your stories. I have read the book^^ "Brainwashed: The Science of Thought Control" and agree that it is superb. I hope others will read it, too, b/c it will shed so much light on why people, from a vast array of backgrounds and situations, do the things they do.

      Each day, I love the Sister Wives Blog more and more b/c of everything that is being imparted on these pages. Even though the show "Sister Wives" is reaching its season finale (and I don't give a hoot!), I believe there is so much that has been activated in all the regular readers/commenters, particularly during recent weeks, there will continue to be so much more to learn, share, and comment upon.

      I have enjoyed the humor aspect of the blog, of course, and have participated in it when I was an anonymous commenter and now under my Giltee Guilt name. However, I have really broadened my mind by coming to this blog. Christine Marie, Ed & Cara Kociela, Kristyn Decker, Willie Steed, and Kollene Snow have brought so much wisdom to us all. This forum exists because of the hard work of the blog administrators, and you deserve so much credit! A big thank-you and a hug through cyberspace to you!

  38. FYI - Anytime you see a post by CMK (signed in, a follower) this is Christine Marie.

  39. Christine Marie, you are a beautiful writer! Thank you for filling us in behind the scenes on the Browns. You were more than kind to them.

    Be honest - just a tiny bit of snark for us?

  40. I just wanted to say not all laws are made for the majority and nor should they be. Many many important laws are made to help, to regulate or to punish people who fall within exceptional situations. I'm not saying that polygamy should be legalized. I just wanted to point out that arguing that laws should only be made with the majority in mind is a dangerous slope.

    1. No but in this case the minority truly in question is the women children of polygamous families, because they are brought into the fold which often includes poverty, abuse and harm. So the law here, by keeping polygamy illegal, may "harm" those like the Browns who want it legalized but it is an attempt to keep children safe by trying not to introduce them into these potential harmful situations.

      Additionally, there is rarely equality in polygamy, which means that women are often abused in one way or another... even if they will not admit it (which is how I feel about the Brown women).

    2. Anonymous, you are right in that our system is designed to protect minority populations.

      Elayna, you are right to point out that, in the case, the true minority is the children (not the under-represented religion.)

      I think Christine Marie's take is more that the Browns are the "exception to the rule." Like, a very tiny percent of theives steal to (literally) provide food for the children. That's a minority, but stealing is still illegal.

  41. Christine Marie,
    Thank you so much for such an interesting and insightful piece here on SWblog.

    I hope that you and Kristyn Decker look after Willie and Kollene, so many of us would just like to give them a hug!

    I know you just hit us with the facts.
    I know you were very polite.
    I see that you are very artsy and fun.
    Next time u see Kody, please whip out some blonde paint and "broadstroke" him some color on that balding head he thinks is so cool. The glare off my TV is killing me. (jk) had to trhow a little snark in there!

  42. Christine Marie,
    Do you know anything about this?

    If a woman is infertile in a FM relationship, what happens to them?

    Thank you for writing such a great piece. Delightful.

    1. This is Christine Marie (my initials are CMK) Sorry I don't know this, but what is FM?

    2. Our term short for fundamental mormon

    3. Oh I don't know the answer to that! That is a great question.

    4. @anon (9/19) 10:07 I BELIEVE that:
      1) If they are "unsealed" from their husbands they may become "ministering angels" to worthy men (just like "pure", unmarried women--who are "worthy" of salvation, but not married to "worthy" husbands)
      2) They may retain their celestial marriage status if they remain sealed to their "worthy" husbands. . . maybe ex AUB can verify.

  43. As always, Christin Marie, what you write is intelligent and well reasoned. Thank you for sharing your views and insights.

  44. Christine Marie, I meant to say earlier and forgot that I was so puzzled by Christine's refusing to visit with you and take some photos. When you wrote this, you were so right: The moment Christine Brown shut the door to my offer, the Brown’s entire argument about how decriminalizing polygamy would create an openness & transparency that would stop isolation & abuse from happening – just flew out the window, fell to the ground and buried its head in the mud. They want the world to be open and embracing of them, but they don’t return the favor for people who are different.

    That right there is what the Browns are about in a nutshell. Nicely said.

  45. the bottom line is that TEAM BROWN simply doesn't have the intellect nor the emotional i.q. to spar with TEAM KRISTYN. that is the harsh true reality. that's why it was a massive headbanger for TEAM KRISTYN and always will be when engaging w/their inferior intellect, critical thinking skills and listening skills.

  46. Thank you Christine Marie for all the great info!

    I was wondering if the other Brown women were in agreement with Christine when she declined your invitation? It's too bad because they really missed a wonderful opportunity to spend time with some extraordinary people.

    1. Christine Marie here - the other women weren't around so I don't know. Christine Brown did give me a hug afterward, which I thought was so sweet. It kind of accidentally just came out, like that's what was in her heart. I think the rejection was more trained, or policy-driven, not because she didn't want to come. I am just speculating.

    2. The fact you are willing to say these things - GOOD things about the Browns, and not just bash them - gives you SO much credibility. So, I just wanted to say, thank you for actually being honest. That's all we want here - the truth. Good, bad, in between, whatever - just the truth. The truth is from whence credibility and solid arguments stem, so thank you!

  47. Christine, thank you for your thoughts and response to the panel and letting us know the way you were all were really treated.

    I cannot agree more with you about Christine proving the point that families like hers isolate themselves by their own doing, not society's doing. I remember when Christine flat out refused allowing her children to go to the Presbyterian youth group, because she was afraid they would try to indoctrinate her children. Christine never wanted her family to intermingle with society to begin with.

    I have thought either one of two things. The Browns are huge liars (which has been pointed out many times) or they are the cruelest people on this face of this planet. First of all, they are liars, if what they say about only wanting to be able to choose their lifestyle, citing gay rights as an example, is all they really care about. They act like it's a live and let live world, and the only choice that matters is the one that any given person would want to make in his or her own life.

    Well if they truly believe that their lifestyle is the only way to heaven (outside of a lifetime of celibacy) and all others will burn in hell, then how can they say they want their children to just be happy and to be able to choose to live however they want to live. What parent would honestly believe something with such conviction and not do everything in their power to make sure their children choose the "right" path. If they believe in eternal damnation for those that do not choose polygamy and it's not a huge deal if their children do not choose polygamy, then what cruel parents they are. So either they do not believe their religious doctrine, in which case they are living this life based on something they know is a lie, or they do believe it and saying their children have a choice is a lie. It cannot possibly be both ways.

    No the truth of the matter is, they do truly believe this doctrine to be true, and they will do anything in their power to coerce their children into following this path. However, for the cause of polygamy, they are going to sit on TV and lie to us all, tell us it's simply a matter of choice, they are going to pull on the heartstrings of those that fight for legal marriage (both gays and the heterosexuals that see nothing wrong with gay marriage, which is a HUGE segment of society), they are going to try to make these demographics believe they are struggling with the same type of persecution. This is all a lie, they believe, you, me, all the gay people and any other person that is not in a plural marriage (unless celibate and saving themselves for God), is not going to inherit the celestial kingdom, WE are going to burn forever in hell. They only need us right now to further their cause...every vote counts.

    1. Well, I do understand that if you believe that polygamy is living a higher law that will enable you to live in the celestial kingdom where you can be with your family and experience the ultimate eternal joy, which parent wouldn't want that for their children? I don't see that as hypocrisy at all, only as wanting to share what they believe is the greatest gift they could possibly give their children. The isolation thing is a protection thing, like all parents try to keep their children separated from a culture of drug and violence. This is not negative or unique to them, just a reminder why I believe that changing a law won't suddenly take away isolated societies or a create that transparency and openness - for the most controlling groups.

      I appreciate your insights on the topic of choice. Have you heard of Dr. Janja Lalich or her research on the concept of "bounded choice"" that constrains the choice of true believers? "The result of this interactive dynamic is a “self-sealing system,” that is, a social system that is closed to disconfirming evidence and structured in such a way that everything reinforces the system. The theory attempts to take into account individual choice within the context of an authoritarian, transcendent, closed group." It's compelling and argues that people may think they have a choice even when they really don't. Food for thought.

  48. Christine Marie, are you still a Mormom and believer in Joseph Smith?

    And thank you for the gracious essay you wrote.

  49. Dear Christine Marie,
    First let me say that I did notice you were trying to raise the facts in the panel discussion. I have studied polygamy and I have never seen the statistics that Professor J? sorry, his name escapes me, was quoting. Where did he get his, and is there any studies we can read online that have the same statistics that he gave.

    Your essay here was thought provoking, clear, and very kind. I feel that I can say you are a real sweetheart in real life. You are as beautiful on the inside are you are on the outside. I am off to read more about you.

    Thank you for answering my question in advance.

    1. I don't know where he got those statistics, I am going to ask him because they do not match anything I have ever read anywhere. I have been asking that same question to other people who are more scholarly than me to see if they know! And thank you for your warm and tender words. <3

    2. Thank you for your time. I too hope to see more from you here soon!

  50. Christine Marie,

    Best wishes to you and your new husband. I am glad to read you found happiness after going through hell.

    Your post for us was very interesting, honest, and fair. I doubt the Browns would be so kind.

    My question to you is this:

    Why is it that with the Fundamental Mormon religion, it seems they get a pass for treating everyone terrible? I understand (but do not believe) in the whole gentile presentation as a tidy way to not mingle with us awful folks, but it seems that the Browns have faked out America on this.

    I had to look up the episode, but in Season 2, Episode 6 the Browns had a dinner with their monogamous friends. Seriously that is what the guide said.
    So, obviously, that was for show, to show us how normal they are?

    What do you think Christine Marie?

    They also had an episode where they celebrated Hannakuh instead of Joseph Smith's birthday. I thought it was strange then, really strange now. What are your thoughts?

    Thank you for coming to the blog. I hope we will be seeing you again.

    1. I actually never watched that show or any show in full, I didn't even watch the one I was on! I did watch the clip Kollene was on on YouTube though, and I went online and watched Janelle's weight loss journal, which was cool.

      So I can only speculate. My guess is that they have boatloads of monogamous friends and friends who believe differently from them. But they didn't want to associate with us because we were not just different. we were perceived as enemies. An awkwardness comparison might be sort of like having your ex-husband and the wife he left you for - over for dinner.

  51. Dear Christine Marie,

    What a powerful speaker you are. Your words jump off the computer at me. So absorbing it was I hated that it ended. Please write something else for us. Or better yet, make us, SWB a video report like Kollene. what fun that would be.

    I have some questions.
    Were you LDS before going into the Fundamental Mormon?
    What branch of Fundamental Mormon were you in?
    What state were you living in at the time.

    I appreciate you sharing.

    1. Yes I was LDS.

      My prophet presented his own unique brand of fundamentalism, and it would morph as needed, and it was supported by "historical documents" that all turned out to be a scam. Let's call it MarkHofmanism.

      (If you're young, you probably won't get that.)

    2. aw, don't beat yourself up too bad over being conned Christine Marie! Mark Hofmann conned the soon to be LDS Prophet man of god himself - Gordon B. Hinckley! LOL so much for "spiritual discernment" he supposedly held. Funny tho how the ex-mormons The Tanners deemed them forgeries from the get-go. :)

  52. Thank you for such a polite and thoughtful piece. Hit them with the facts. Sadly the Browns don't want the facts.

    Christine were you bothered by the fact they said over and over that they were invited by the professor to this debate and how they didn't want to come when in fact it was planned by tlc?

    Do you find it interesting that Polygamy USA was also having a panel discussion they were filming on the same day - somewhat strange?

    Is lying on your bankruptcy papers and to the welfare no big deal to the fundamental mormons?
    I am assuming lying isn't either.


    1. I didn't know they said that because I didn't watch the show. I didn't know that about Polygamy USA, how interesting! About fundamental mormons and lying, all I know is the justification that my prophet told me for his own lying and falsely posing as people he wasn't. His justification came straight from examples in the Bible and the Book of Mormon where someone lied for a greater good. That's where my cognitive dissonance was at its finest.

  53. Thank you so very much for your wonderful blog post! You have a true gift for writing and clearly stating the truth and drawing the the logical and obvious out of what the Brown's try and obscure.

    I know it must not be the easiest thing to do, make your life and that mistake public, but the bravery, grace and eloquence that resonates from your words is of so much value to humankind. In this life you may never know the exact number of people you have helped by speaking the truth. And thank you for being willing to come here and illuminate this group of readers.

    Do you still believe in Mormonism and Joseph Smith?

  54. Christine Marie: I can honestly say that you are the most eloquent, well-informed, well-read person I have yet heard speak on Sister Wives or any of the related shows (Polygamy USA, Love Times Three, etc.)
    What shines through your post, and all your measured and considered commentary, is just what a warm, kind, and **generous-spirited** person you are. I am so sorry that someone took advantage of those qualities and conned you, but so awed that you have used that experience to create positivity and put forward kindness into the world. It would be so easy for you to be too bitter or embarrassed to say anything; the fact that you see the value in sharing your experience despite that risk, to help other people, is the mark of a truly good and gentle soul. I could listen to you speak for hours, you have a very calming, meditative quality.
    Best of luck to you and I hope to read more and more of what you write.

    1. Oh my gosh, OpenMinded - you have just put tears in my eyes. You have absolutely NO idea how much your words meant to me, or how deeply healing they were, or how happy that you me. I am so humbled by your response and moved, it just made all the bullets that have been shot at me worth it - to know that people like you have found value in my words and effort.

  55. Sam Franklin and Tony the TigerSeptember 20, 2013 at 10:49 AM

    Dear Christine Marie,
    I hope that life is treating you well now!

    Do you have any type of charity group that you work with in Las Vegas?

    I'm sorry they turned you down on the offer to come to their house. It did show so much in that one little act.

    Thank you for informing us on their beliefs on us black and gay rights. I have read that before.

    Best of luck to you!

    1. Yes, I started ! Thank you Sam!! And life is treating me soooo awesome now.

  56. Why *not* make polygamy legal? Or, at least, decriminalize it. Maybe provide amnesty to polygamist families while we figure out how to protect the kids/women while also respecting their right to practice whatever whackadoodle religion they want.

    So go ahead, Kody, and get yourself four legal marriage certificates, and get your name on all your kids' birth certificates. Let the government document EVERYTHING, and leave no question as to who is responsible for food, clothing & healthcare.

    Of course, I'm not suggesting we deny plyg kids government assistance if needed, but there should be a nice paper trail leading to the sperm donor who brought 'em into the world, and should that dude fall into money or inheritance or land a sweet reality show gig, Uncle Sam should be able to come knocking.

    Diversify schools, police departments and health clinics in these areas, too. Bus kids in (or out!) and provide incentives for non-Mormons to accept jobs in Fundamentalist outposts so that people who wish to get out can do so without fear & persecution.

    Schools should be required to teach basic skills like how to obtain social security numbers and drivers licenses and how to read bus schedules & maps, etc.

    You can't stop people from doing what they wanna do, at least drag 'em out of the dark recesses of society in into the light where we can keep a better eye on 'em.

    1. A huge flaw in this plan is that the majority of Utah is mainstream LDS. They do not want plygs to assimilate; this would force them to acknowledge the unspoken truth. Also, even mainstream LDS cannot leave the big church without fear of persecution and ostracism. I know loads of Baptists and Catholics who have lived in Utah. ALL of them have reported the same experiences of LDS bigotry. As long as Utah's politicians call the worst polygamists "friend", their will be no honest discussion on polygamy in Utah.

  57. I'm wondering how old you were (no need to be TOO specific ;-))when you were first approached. I am also wondering if you feel that your non-Mormon upbringing helped you leave and adjust afterwards?

    Thank you for sharing your personal experiences.

  58. Christine Marie-
    Thank you for writing such a thoughtful and gracious response. It was a pleasure to read such an articulate, first-hand perspective. I suspect much of how Christine behaved was manufactured, but I also think she was genuinely afraid of facing people(especially her aunt) who left polygamy behind. I honestly believe Christine doesn't want to face the real reasons why she is unhappy.

    From watching the show, I get the impression that Christine takes the brunt of Kody's frustrations; if she is not perky and happy or easy to deal with, he makes her feel pretty badly or ignores her. Meri is legally obligated, so he has to play ball with her. Robyn is the new favorite. And Janelle is independent, has proven herself capable of earning wages, and is not afraid to walk if things get too bad. And she is starting to look pretty hot,too! That leaves Christine to be the one who gets the short end of the Kody stick.

    Christine was raised to believe plural marriage, really wanted to live it, and is finding herself unhappy in it. It's not a marriage based on mutual respect, it is skewed one-sided to how Kody feels. He doesn't want to be bothered with her feelings. Y'all really represented a truth she doesn't want to face.

    At least this is how I see it, based upon reading their book and watching their show. I maybe wrong. Anyway, thanks again for sharing and for your activism. The world is better for having you in it.

  59. Thank you Christine for sharing your story and standing for what you believe, facing a situation that was likely to not have a positive outcome. I know that you were led by your heart, willing to help someone in need, while potentially placing yourself in harm's way.

    Keep your head up and reaching out to others whom only you can help. You are an overcomer and empower others to regain their lives after suffering through impossible circumstances.

    You are blessed, as are the the lives of those who you touch.

  60. "On a positive note, regardless of how people feel the show was edited, it has promoted a lot of discussion and caused people to think deeper."

    This blog is a rich repository of thoughts, and it is amazing how civilized and calm we can all be. I wish I could be as eloquent as many of the other posters but, just reading all of these insightful posts/ the Browns realize how shallow they appear that they cannot/will not even try to explain themselves and their beliefs in such a thoughtful manner?

    I mean, it's like there's the polygamy awareness folks who just want to show that there is harm and danger in polygamy. They calmly offer well thought arguments, presenting documented evidence, are polite and logical. All of this despite horrors that they experienced first hand.

    Then you have the Browns, and they're like a bunch of apes, jumping up and down and being all 'it's not fair' 'don't judge me' 'oh, no, we can't associate with you', not hearing the arguments at all. They remind me of little children who put their hands over their ears and go I can't hear you, la la la, when you're trying to talk some sense into them.

    I'm not saying I support them, but if they would just get their heads out of, well, if they would just make the effort to be more logical and not so defensive all of the time, then they could at least make people stop and think before discounting polygamy. As things are now, it just takes about 5 minutes of viewing any episode or reading their tweets to see that truly defending their choices is *not* what they're about.

    (I will say that even though I don't agree with her lifestyle choice, I am inspired by Janelle's accomplishments as far as weight loss. I can encourage her in that way; I would even go for a walk with her or join her at the gym, because I am not afraid of her beliefs; she just seems like a nice person to hang out with.)

    Thank you, Christine for writing such a beautiful and thoughtful response. I really appreciate how you all try to interject positive things into your viewpoints.

  61. You are one fine lady, and I've learned so much. Loved the quote you gave me too. I just came back to say, I wish you and your family the very best.

  62. I am amazed at how people use the medium of TV today just to make money. Of course when you have so many wives to support the only logical solution is to have a TV series to support them. Although I know that the Mormon religion is a cult religion it is very sad that so many people of different religions are exploiting their religions today on TV.