It was one of the harder interviews for us to arrange. Polygamists don't like to talk on camera. It is against the law in every state to have a plural marriage, and people involved in this lifestyle are constantly looking over their shoulders wondering if they might be arrested. Many of them have parents and grandparents who have spent years in jail.
But after weeks of negotiations, a group of polygamists who live near Colorado City, Arizona, agreed to talk to us for tonight's "360°" special on polygamy.
We went with one female polygamist to her home, and what a home it is -- 32 bedrooms, immaculately decorated, architecture that resembles Versailles. This is not the typical polygamist's home, but size is a great benefit in this kind of family.
Linda (who did not want her last name used to protect her family) was afraid to give too many specific numbers and details about her life. But she did tell us she lives with at least ten other wives, and has more than 30 children, nine of which she has given birth to herself.
Many of the wives in the house have paying jobs, she said. The husband they all share has a job they do not want to disclose. We also talked to one of Linda's teenage daughters. She said she is not sure if she will be a polygamist too, but claims it's the most normal lifestyle in the world.
In addition to Linda, we interviewed nine other male and female polygamists, all from different families, who say they have plural marriages because it's a religious commandment. They are fundamentalist Mormons, who believe the Mormon Church made a mistake more than a century ago when it banned polygamy. One woman said, "Why is love punished? That's what our lives are about. Love, love and more love."
The women acknowledge their husbands must have significant stamina. When we asked a question that a lot of us are curious about regarding how conjugal visits are determined, a woman named Joyce joked that whichever wife draws the short straw is the one who sleeps with the husband that night! But she then added in seriousness that it's all decided by good communication among the wives, who are her best friends, as well as their husband.
The people we talked to are not followers of Warren Jeffs, the man recently named one of the FBI's 10 most wanted, but they are not ready to vilify him until a jury finds him guilty. They dress conservatively and act conservatively, and say they are open-minded concerning how other people live.
But they do not believe the rest of society is open-minded enough when it comes to their lifestyle, which they say they are not willing to give up, no matter what the law says.