Evaluating the Effects of Polygamy on Women and Children in Four North American Mormon Fundamentalist Groups: An Anthropological Study

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Highlights many of the inherent problems of polygyny, but challenges the media-driven depiction of plural marriage as uniformly abusive and harmful to women, criticizing techniques used by state and federal governments used to raid entire communities as they did in the 1950s and in April of 2008. This book contains six black and white photographs and two color photographs.


Some readers will find Janet’s assertion that polygamy or polyfidelity may serve a useful purpose not only in the context of mainstream Mormon but also in the larger society provocative and playing into well-ingrained misogynist tendencies. Conversely, as long as the United States remains a grossly socially stratified society, women, including those who are attracted to Mormon polygamy, will find sanctuaries by which to cope with the vagaries of life under corporate capitalism.” - Prof. Hans A. Baer, University of Melbourne

“I know of no other scholar who has engendered the confidence and trust of polygamous communities as she has.” – Prof. Cardell Jacobson, Brigham Young University

“Dr. Bennion moves beyond that public stereotypes, minimal ethnographic evidence, and media bias to document the many faces of polygamy.” - Prof. Phil Kilbride, Bryn Mawr College

“. . . immensely insightful . . . This is compelling reading and it engages the reader.” - Prof. William Jankowiak, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Table of Contents

Foreword by Hans Baer
Preface: A Peculiar People
Chapter 1: Introduction: Is Polygamy a Viable Alternative?
Chapter 2: The History of Mormon Fundamentalism: From Nauvoo to Eagle Mountain
Chapter 3: Culture and Ideology: The “Fullness of Times”
Chapter 4: Gender Dynamics, Family Life, and Sexuality
Chapter 5: Politics: Of Covenants and Kings
Chapter 6: The Many Faces of Polygamy
Chapter 7: A Test of Big Love: A Comparison of HBO with Real Life
Chapter 8: Positive and Negative Impact of Polygamy on Women and Children
Chapter 9: Conclusion: What Does the Future Hold for Modern-day Polygamists?

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