Friday, October 28, 2011
Predators, Prey, and Other Kinfolk: Growing Up in Polygamy by Dorothy Allred Solomon
In this revealing memoir, the author tells her story of growing up in polygamy. She describes her family's history in the Mormon religion and polygamy, how polygamy was outlawed in the US, and yet, through studying the Mormon scriptures, her father decided that living according to the Principal of polygamy was what their religion dictates. When she was growing up, her father had 7 wives (there was one more prior to those - his first wife, but she took her kids and left him when he started marrying more women) and they had to move often due to religious persecution. Her father and some of her mothers were put in jail for polygamy and she learned to lie about her family life to protect them all.
This beautifully written, heartbreaking tale decribes the abject poverty that her family lived in due to the fact that they had to move and hide to avoid being arrested. She describes her father as a loving, kind man, a healer and a doctor, who was eventually shot dead on the orders of a madman who wanted to take over his family and group of mormons. She also describes the darker side of polygamy, which she did not often see, but which many of her family members suffered including physical and sexual abuse. She tells about their many moves around the country and to Mexico to avoid being found out. Her father became a leader of their polygamous group and after she was an adult, he was pressured to marry more women because the other men in his group could not have more wives than he did. He eventually had 16 wives.
Although the author opted out of polygamy, she remained in the Mormon religion and formed a group to help others. This is an intriguing story about a very large family.