Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Polygamy supporters rally in Utah
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah -- Polygamy is part of the history of the Mormon Church. But since 1890, the church has repudiated it. As a matter of fact, Mormons are excommunicated from the church today if it is learned they are polygamists.

But there are by most accounts, many thousands of people who think the Mormon Church has gone against God's intentions by banning polygamy. However, these people have for the most part kept low profiles about their beliefs, since plural marriage is against the law and they fear arrest.

That's what made what just happened in downtown Salt Lake City so unusual. For the first time that anyone can remember, a large-scale demonstration supporting polygamy was held in the open -- a demonstration that was led by the children of polygamists.

Some 250 people turned out to a rally site just down the street from the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to express their support for polygamy.

Children as young as 10 took to the podium to declare that they and their parents have the religious right to practice polygamy and that they feel they live perfectly normal lives with multiple mothers and huge numbers of siblings. Children and teens came up to me saying they can't imagine living a childhood without having more than one mother.

Although polygamy is against the law (a felony in Utah), authorities say they won't arrest ordinary polygamists, although they do want to prosecute polygamists accused of molesting children, like Warren Jeffs.

There were husbands who attended the rallies with multiple numbers of wives. They stayed low-key out of habit. But one man did tell us he did not mind appearing on the news for the first time in his life because he wanted to show his support for polygamy rights. But he, like everyone else at the rally, did not use last names because of their long held fears.

The Mormon Church says these people can no longer consider themselves Mormon because they violate the church's rules. But these polygamists believe they are doing what the revered founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, would want them to do.
Posted By Gary Tuchman, CNN Correspondent: 8:41 AM ET
Although I don't believe polygamy as a way to get salvation I do believe in the first amendment. There are some bad apples that seem to punish the good ones (i.e. Warren Jeffs) that have large caring families. America is stuck in having the status quo of the 50s. One man, one woman, 2 children. Well now media has brought to light that almost any make up of individuals can be a great family. Shouldn't children that are brought up in a loving, caring, and supportive environment be more important than what (or how many) parents are involved?
Posted By Anonymous Jacob, Indianapolis IN : 9:25 AM ET
I found the report last night on 360 about the Mormon polygamists very interesting. The fact that interests me the most is how the Mormon Church used to support polygamy and now does not. The report failed to mention (or I missed it), what caused the change in belief in 1890 making the act of polygamy so extreme that its practicers will be banned from the Church. There are some people who do not support the theory of Evolution when it comes to the creation of man. But I wonder if these same people would depute an evolution of country and religion. This country was founded by people who were trying to escape religious persecution in England (the Puritans), and now only a few hundred years later (which when you stop to think is not as long as it seems) religious persecution is again happening. The governmental laws say polgamy is illegal, but if it is part of a religious belief system, how can that be illegal since written in the Consitution it clearly states freedom for religion? And furthermore, the belief of Protestantism came out of Catholism, so the King could divorse to get remarried to try to have a son. Perhaps if it was anybody else but the King, the idea of a whole new religion would have never evolved, but it hard to say. Here in 1890, the Mormon Church banned a belief that was endorsed by its founder. And yet, there are still people who believe themselves to be Mormon Fundamentalists by exercising the practice of polygamy. Perhaps if it was the President being a polygamist the consensus about polygamy would be different. And as far as people like Warren Jeffs go, all pedaphiles should be found, tried, and jailed regardless of their religious afflitations. It is just unfortunate how it only takes a few people (terrorists included) to ruin an entire community's reputation.
Posted By Anonymous Tracy: Somerville, NJ : 9:36 AM ET
Oh Goody. They're having a rally to celebrate mind control, misogyny, welfare cheats and other abuses. Hooray
for cults! Where can we purchase Warren Jeff's "Seven Brides For One Brother" DVD? It would be nice to get one now before the next "Waco".
Posted By Anonymous Carol B. Frederick, MD : 9:38 AM ET
According to the Doctrine and the Covenants, Joseph Smith was told by God to practice polygamy and all Saints will be polygamous in the after life. So the issue for the church is really one of being PC.Had the Mormon church not conformed to social norms, it may not exist today.
Posted By Anonymous Mary W., Atlanta, GA : 9:53 AM ET
I suppose to an extent it's 'to each his own', but by mine and many others beliefs it's no better than making excuses for wanting mulitple partners and to me it goes completely against the Bible, but then I don't understand many beliefs. The way things are in the world right now, how can you pick out one way to believe when there's so much killing and terrorism in the name of God or Islam or whoever. Sometimes I think none of us are long for this world. I know it's a pessimistic attitude, but where is the optimism now days?? I fear for the younger generations and usually keep my comments to myself.
These children of polygamy aren't to blame, as usual it's the adults example, but it's a trend they'll follow probably for the rest of their lives.
Posted By Anonymous Bev. Ontario, Canada. : 9:57 AM ET
As long as children are not harmed then let them be. Let the state worry about the killers and child molesters. They work, pay taxes and raise their children to be respectful and god fearing. Just let them be.
Posted By Anonymous James, North Las Vegas NV : 10:14 AM ET
I can't imagine living in a household with multiple wives and dozens of children; not in this day and age. When the west was wild, when things were unsettled, when women needed protection-that may have been different. I would never subject myself to being one of many.
Posted By Anonymous Jess Paris KY : 10:14 AM ET
I don't understand why anyone would want to be in a polygamist relationship. Since I don't believe that anyone should impose their religious beliefs on anyone, I would be a hypocrite to try to stop them. As long as children are not forced into being wives, welfare fraud is not happening to support all the children, and the children are free to decide how they will live in the future, then who am I to judge their lifestyle?
Posted By Anonymous Cathy, Minneapolis, Minnesota : 10:27 AM ET
If you want to have 10 wives and 100 children fine...as long as they are supporting themselves financially. I draw the line at having my tax money going to welfare to support the extra wives and children. Only one marriage is recognized by the US. Many of the other wives (from what I have heard on CNN) go on welfare to help support the family. That is wrong!
Posted By Anonymous Heather Gregory Dayton, Ohio : 10:31 AM ET
The Rally led the local news, but it felt like a non-event to me. Of course the kids would support their parents. That is how they are brought up. Maybe they will feel differently once they are at marrying age.

Personally, I could care less how they live, as long as they take care of their own needs. If a guy can take care of several wifes and tons of kids, great. If, on the other hand, he can't, they had better come up with a pretty good reason why we have to support them with welfare, foodstamps, or whatever. Our rights to our money should come before their rights to procreate like rabbits.
Posted By Anonymous Paul, Vernal, UT : 10:52 AM ET
I would like to know if the polygamist in this rally are members of Warren Jeffs Sect, the FLDS?

The group of polygamist near Pringle SD that are near my home are not the same group I saw on the program last night. Where were the girls and woman in their traditional long dresses of the 1890 era? The sect that lives close to me are not friendly, do not try to mingle in the community, and stay to themselves in their compound. But then again these are Warren Jeffs followers and I am sure do not follow the same guidelines as the group that had their rally in Utah.

I live in fear from the FLDS that live near me. My fear is from what I have read about these people. They have locked gates, and very unfriendly.

I could go on and on about my neighbors. I just want to make it clear NOT ALL polygamists belong to the same sec. There are many version of polygamy out there. The FLDS and Warren Jeffs should not be taken lightly. There is a reason the FBI has him on there 10 most wanted list.
Posted By Anonymous Corrine Staton Pringle SD : 10:53 AM ET
Of course the men want to keep polygamy alive - it's an easy way to get out of fidelity. And what easier way to justify it, then to say it's God's will? the women and children have been brainwashed, and are products of the loony environment that these men created in the first place.
Posted By Anonymous Alice, Rolling Meadows, IL : 11:01 AM ET
Hi Gary,
Obviously these children live in stable, loving households. And they don't appear to be afraid of exposing their lifestyle to the world..It wouldn't be my choice, but I have enough trouble minding my own business to ever try to mind theirs..Best wishes for them..Take Care
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton,Calif. : 11:09 AM ET
The fact that polygamy has jumped from the shadows to national prominence recently interests me not just as a casual observer but as a Mormon from my youth. I come from a family that is very active in the LDS Church and I've always understood that at one time many LDS Church members practiced polygamy, but it wasn't a part of my day to day life at all, more of a interesting story about life in the wild west. Yet it's something that people outside the Church so readily recognize as a Mormon belief. At no time have I wondered "will we one day return to practicing polygamy?" It's a practice that had it's time and place in my mind, like the days of Abraham or Israel, but not meant for contemporary times. Modern day polygamists seem as foreign to me and my beliefs as Rip Van Winkle was to the villagers after his long nap.
Posted By Anonymous Andy Funk, Santa Monica, CA : 11:18 AM ET
I believe in freedom of religion. However, practicing one's religion shall not conflict with the laws of this country. I believe children raised in a pologamist society know nothing else, therefore have essentially been brainwashed. When fathers willingly and enthusiastically turn over their pubescent daughters to men--sometimes decades their senior--for marriage, it is a crime. Men engaging in marital activity with minors should be prosecuted. We need to stand by the laws that protect our children, regardless of their parents' religious beliefs.
Posted By Anonymous Nancy Davis, Sunol, CA : 11:59 AM ET
I do not support polygamists. I believe it's wrong, demoralizing, not to mention illegal!!

However if you are going to support polygamists, I have a question for you...If a man can have multiple wives, why can't a woman have multiple husbands? What's good for the goose must be good for the gander right??

What is comes down to is this...free speech. Albeit somewhat strange to watch a polygamist march and totally WRONG to involve children by parading them down the street with signs supporting their 10 mommies and 1 daddy, polygamists have the right to express their views and opinions on multiple marriage. They are not breaking any laws by voicing their opinion but that's as far as their rights go. Just because you have a view on something doesn't mean you have the right to act upon it. This isn't a debate on church vs. state. Polygamy is wrong, it's against the law and those breaking that law should be prosecuted at the fullest extent of the law. By turning a blind eye, law officials are giving these men and women the thumbs up.

If you want to practice polygamy, move to a country where not only it's the norm, but it's legal. Let them embrace you!!
Posted By Anonymous Jen, Vancouver, BC Canada : 12:11 PM ET
Joseph Smith did not found this church. It's real name is the Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints. It is Christ's church. The name "Mormon" is simply a monocre given to our church stemming from The Book Of Mormon; A book that we believe to be another testament of Jesus Christ, just like the bible.
Posted By Anonymous Krista HInds, Fort Gordon, Georgia : 12:21 PM ET
Hi Gary- Pologamy would not be my thing, it seems a bit unusual to me but if they are happy with it so am I. Males do not seem to be monogamous by nature anyway. I think most prefer to jump fences. But seriously, I am going to have NIGHTMARES if Anderson plays Warren Jeffs erie singing anymore!!!! SCARY!
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann Taylor, Nacogdoches, TX : 12:33 PM ET
Polygamy is against the law and no person, regardless of religion, is above the law. How does a government expect people to uphold the law if they do not enforce it...such is the case in Utah.
Posted By Anonymous F. Berg, Del Rio, Texas : 12:33 PM ET
They are also doing what all Mormons believe they will do in the afterlife. Yes, though the Mormon church has banned plural marriage on this earth, the church teaches that its best members will live a polygamous afterlife for eternity.
Posted By Anonymous Jack, New York, NY : 1:12 PM ET
How is it Polygamy is more accepted then gay marriage? Perhaps the midwest conservatives should push Bush into trying to make a constitutional admendent to this as well. What's the defention of a family?
Posted By Anonymous Jake Rockwell, Essex CT : 1:33 PM ET
Discussions like this serve to remind us that there is no such thing as a "normal" life. They've got children saying that they can't imagine life without multiple mothers because that is their "norm". I personally can't imagine having more than one mother or father or lacking a mother or a father. They have a different perspective from us; we cannot be critical of them. But this is not true for their parents. Children are easily influenced by the behavior that they imitate from their parents. But their parents know right from wrong. They know that having more than one spouse is just glorified infidelity. Maybe the man really loves both (or all) of his wives but it's more likely to be a Hugh Heffner kind of deal than actual love. Joseph Smith is not a prophet of any kind. He's a man just like any other man who wants what he can't have.
Posted By Anonymous Kristen, Rocky Hill, CT : 1:36 PM ET
PUUULeaase!!!! I was forced to "attend"
this church until I turned 18 and moved out. In the Mormon religion women are to be seen and not heard, and barefoot and pregnant. I have never understood why any man would more than one wife. Isn't one wife enough of a headache? The church is run by wealthy, white men, whom have no respect for women's feelings or views. There have been women "excommunicated" from the Mormon Church for publishing their views about the church. And Mormons think it's ok to beat your children and women and look the other way. For example: My Step-Father would beat me and my siblings with whatever he could and leave serious marks. We, the children, went to the Bishop, he told us to "Mind your parents". I knew of a man who beat his wife regularly and the police officers, who happen to be Mormons themselves dropped the charges because it was a member of the church. Christian religons have throughout time have changed the Bible to suite their needs. (Hey Bush-in the Bible it states "thou Shalt Not Kill, that means Do Not Kill EVEN in War time) And the Christians call the Gypsies and the Pagans barbarians,huh???? We Pagans don't beat or rape our women and children.
Posted By Anonymous Jen, Norwalk, CT : 1:41 PM ET
The Utah polygamists are entitled to express their beliefs, whether anybody cares or not, which most do not. What's ironic about the Utah polygamists, "fundamental Mormons", is they proclaim polygamy was given and commanded by a prophet of God, Joseph Smith, yet, when the succeeding prophet, Wilford Woodruf, whome they followed, received revelation to abandon the practice saying it had fullfilled its purpose by allowing many women financial stability and ability to bear children honorably, in weddlock, say it's a false abolishment and that the practice should continue. I've grown up as a Latter-day Saint, my great, great grandfather, George Reynolds, represented the LDS Church on polygamy. The LDS Church lost the case, the commandment to abolish polygamy was given, case over. Modern day polygamists are nothing more than splinter groups on the edge of society who will eventually die out like the Branch Davidians.
Posted By Anonymous Darrin, Eugene, OR. : 1:41 PM ET
The gospel originally restored to the world by Joseph Smith around 1830 included polygamy, but as you mentioned, the Mormon Church repudiated this practice in 1890. Why? The Edmunds Law of 1882 and the Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1887 made polygamy illegal. The President of the Church, akin to the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, is believed to communicate with God. After much prayer, Church President Wilford Woodruff received a revelation from God in 1890 that the Church ought not to practice polygamy. One tenet good Mormons must follow is to obey the laws of the land. Those currently practicing polygamy are sinning by breaking the law and they ought to be punished accordingly. They are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and bring about bad publicity for those who are.
Posted By Anonymous Steve, Fort Collins, CO : 2:29 PM ET
I found I was greatly mistaken just when I thought this nation's morals couldn't sink any lower. Now the Mormons are using children to push polygamy. These children are way too young and inexperienced in life to understand what polygamy does to adults. How does anyone know that the children really want this way of life or if they were forced to demonstrate for it by their parents? Maybe they think demonstrating for polygamy is one way they can win their parents' love. The children have never seen true love between one man and woman.
Posted By Anonymous Carol, Columbus, Oh : 2:35 PM ET
I would like to respond to Jen from Norwalk,CT's statement. Christianity and Mormonism are not synonymous. Christianity is built on the foundation that God made himself human, walked the earth and later was crucified as an attonment of the world's sin. He was the perfect sacrifice. Mormonism is a religion created by a man. Yes he may have written a book and many people may follow it however it is not the Bible and he was not God. Next time you look for a way to rant about the "Christians" you so obviously hate make sure you are pointing that hatred to the right people. Yes many Christians in the world do very unChristian things however I can assure you they do not the hold the same beliefs as Mormons.
Posted By Anonymous Kim Columbia, MO : 2:38 PM ET
Of course these children believe this is the right way to live. This is all they know and they are being brainwashed daily by their mother(s) and father. What man doesn't want to have sex with more than one woman and have the entire household treat him like a king? That doesn't mean that he is still not mistreating his servants. It is illegal for a reason and what I find most disturbing about this story is that in Utah polygamy is considered a felony- yet as long as the authorities don't find out that molestation is going on- they are looking the other way(probably because they, too have more than one wife.)
Bottom line:If polygamy is your cup of tea- go live in one of the plenty of countries that agree with you!
Posted By Anonymous Holly Baker, Sumter SC : 2:44 PM ET
Jen, mormons are not considered Christians by Catholics, Protestants, and other faiths. They use Christ in their teachings as an cover for their cult mentality.
Posted By Anonymous Joe, Mclean VA. : 2:44 PM ET
Let's see Bush and crew are waging war to free women-children who are denied civil rights by religious zealots half way around the world. So why don't we bring the troops home and send this group over there where their 'beliefs' are mainstream.
Posted By Anonymous linda, bella vista, ar : 2:52 PM ET
Careful...is this just a ploy to have multiple partners legally??? What a shame that they stoop so low as to use children.
Posted By Anonymous Harriet, Lilburn, GA : 2:54 PM ET
Dealing with one wife and 2 kids is stressfull enough. Who in their right mind can even think of having more than one.
Posted By Anonymous Jay W. Dallas, TX : 3:51 PM ET
Think about it for a moment. How can polygamy be prosecuted effectively? Under law, the second, third, fourth, etc. marriages in a polygamous union are invalid. They don't exist. Only the polygamists themselves believe the marriage is valid. So how do you prosecute the offenders? Technically, the men and women are just living together. And sometimes, they even live in separate houses. That's not much different from a man with a wife and a mistress (or two?). I believe Utah is prosecuting what it's capable of prosecuting--welfare fraud, underage brides, etc.
Posted By Anonymous jackie, tracy, ca : 3:59 PM ET
Such hypocrisy from such a large number of people, it never ceases to amaze.

All of these Children have been 'brainwashed' into thinking Polygamy is ok; yet those of us who were raised by a single set of parents weren't? What about those of us from 'broken homes' where the parents then remarry, now we have multiple sets of parents who more often than not hate each other. That is healthier?

How did this turn into a 'Mormon bashing' exercise? The LDS church has not only come out against said actions, but have excommunicated all those they find.

Mormons are no better/worse than any other large sect of any religion. There are good people and bad people, blaming a religion based on family seems silly. There are many factual errors here as well, but the hypocrisy bothers me much more than when someone is simply wrong.

As Christ said, Judge not lest ye be judged. If you prefer a 'modern' (and atheist view), don't throw a stone when you live in a glass house.
Posted By Anonymous Mike, Philly PA : 4:05 PM ET
When people start to understand that state of mind is the virtue forgotten...they will cease to be concerned with such non-sense...peoples aloneness will some day shine through. until then, shall we all enjoy a media frenzy?!
Posted By Anonymous Temeyoski, Waikoloa, Hawaii : 4:09 PM ET
I can't believe that any of these families can live without major public assistance, & that is the first question that should be asked these people, could they follow this lifestyle without it.
Posted By Anonymous Tom, Holland, AR : 4:11 PM ET
Kim from Columbia, a Christian saying the Mormon religion is manmade is like the pot calling the kettle black. There are plenty of people who believe that all Judeo-Christian religion - all religion, period - is manmade. There are plenty of people who believe God is a manmade idea, and the Bible a manmade work of fiction.

Anyway, I digress. I really don't care about the whole plural marriage issue - as long as no one is being exploited or hurt. I have certainly never felt threatened by anyone else's plural marriage (or same-sex marriage, for that matter).

Mormon men are free to marry as many Mormon women as they want, and have as many Mormon children as they see fit...as long as no more Mormons show up uninvited to my house trying to convert me.
Posted By Anonymous Jesse, Calgary, Alberta : 4:14 PM ET
It's clear, it's against the law. If these people feel that the law should be changed, then they should persue it within the justice system. Until then, they should sit in jail. Since when is it up to the police which laws they will or will not enforce?
Posted By Anonymous E, Winnipeg, Canada : 4:35 PM ET
While individuals have the right to worship as they please, there comes a time when a little common sense has to be applied to a situation. When a group of individuals base their beliefs on a translation of golden tablets as read through special glasses (all of which were lost), and which declares that American Indians were descendents of the lost tribe of Israel (disproven by modern genetics), how can we take anything seriously concerning their scripture?
Posted By Anonymous Charles, Greenville, NC : 4:48 PM ET
Every Mormon man would be a pologimist today if the law allowed it. Men are selfish centered beings. Those that still have several wifes do it in "The Name of Religion". But in reality they are sexually driven men that have given them selves a reason to sleep with multiple partners. If you were to do research on the dates of the marriages that these men have with their wives, I think that you would find that a very large percent of the women were underaged when they were married. That just makes the men child molesters as well. If the nation is going to make a list of all sexual predators and those that harm children, then every pologymist should be on that list.
Posted By Anonymous Sharon, Kansas City MO : 4:49 PM ET
You know Gary, I am getting a little tired of people living in this country, who believe that laws do not apply to them. Social order requires lawfulness and to those who do not want to be lawful, I would invite them to leave. Polygamy is against the law and so are many other things that polygamist take part in, like fraud and tax evasion, and sexual exploitation of children.
Posted By Anonymous Judy Stage Brooklyn Michigan : 4:54 PM ET
The Mormon Church gave up the belief of plural marriages in 1890 so the territory of Utah could become a state. It was one of the conditions the US government placed on Utah's Mormons.
Oh, and Joseph Smith only believed in plural marriage because he enjoyed the company of women, but refused to pursue that company outside of the confines of marriage.
Posted By Anonymous Eric, Roy, UT : 4:54 PM ET
Mike from Philly - You read my mind. Well said all around. You pretty much posted what I was planning to write today.

Charles from Greenville - So it's better to believe what a bunch of guys wrote about someone they claimed could do miracles, and called it the "Bible"? Please... they're all man-made and their core value is that they give comfort to those that believe. And give people an excuse to get together on Sunday before football games and show off their new SUVs and clothes.

Many so-called Christians are among the most judgmental, hateful, and condescending people I've ever seen. I wonder how they look in the mirror and believe they are good people. I really feel sorry for them.. they've been brainwashed into thinking that hating homosexuals and anyone who believes differently from them is the right thing to do.

This'll really burn you up. I'm a Pagan, but a friend of mine (who is Catholic) told me I was the best Christian he knew. At first I was offended, but then he explained that it was because I always treated people as I would want to be treated. And yea.. if I were acting like a self-righteous closed-minded fool, I would want someone to call me out on it. So.. I'm doing you all a favor.
Posted By Anonymous Alex, Columbia, South Carolina : 9:03 AM ET
Jen in Norwalk - I am sorry to hear of your experience, but this is not the Mormon Church I was raised in. I know of several men who have been disciplined by the Church and/or referred to county organizations for spousal or child abuse issues. In any large organization, the potential exists for these situations to occur, but for many years, the Church has made major efforts to stress equality in the husband-wife relationship and that no force or abuse is to be tolerated. The abuse situations you describe would never have been tolerated in any of the congregations I have ever lived in. My wife would never put up with the "seen and not heard, and barefoot and pregnant" philosophy. The Mormon Church has some of the world's largest all-women run organizations in the Relief Society, Primary and Young Women's organizations.

There is a major difference in the way polygamy was practiced by the early Mormon Church and the way it is being reported in groups like Mr Jeffs. In the 50 years or so that polygamy was practiced, only about 3% of the Mormons ever entered into polygamous marriages. There were a few leaders, like Brigham Young, who had a large number of wives, but most were two or three wives. Some leaders were encouraged to take multiple wives, but none were ever forced and the prophet did not arrange marriages or excommunicate 'sinful' husbands and give their wives to others. Any man who wanted to take another wife had to have approval from all of the previous wives and had to show that he was financially capable of supporting all of his family. One of the points brought out in the report on the rally in Salt Lake City was that many of these polygamous families without legally documented marriages are heavilly dependent on government welfare for the support of their children. This did not happen with the early Mormons.

Contrary to stories prevalent about Mr. Jeffs group, the early Mormon Church did not coerce adolescent girls to marry old men or execommunicate young men to eliminate the competition. Life for polygamous families was not always a bed of roses as protrayed by the rally. Many had good lives, but some struggled to make things work and some ended in divorce.
Posted By Anonymous Alan, Gilbert, AZ : 2:54 PM ET
This has nothing to do with polygamy but with how others have spoken of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in this forum. I find it interesting that people are so willing to accuse others of liars and cult members simply because they do not understand what a religion teaches or believes. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe they are Christian. They believe Jesus Christ is their Savior. What further definition do you need to be Christian? They believe in a prophet called of God--and that is NOT Warren Jeffs--but a wonderful, prophetic man named Gordon B. Hinckley. If you are polygamist you are excommunicated from the Church. It's that simple. Women are highly respected in the Church and have a voice. In fact, women are revered for their abilities and sensibilities in the Church. Please try to exercise more understanding than hatred in your comments about something others consider sacred.
Posted By Anonymous M.D., Salt Lake City, Utah : 3:08 PM ET
Well, if there is a subject that is sure to inflame people it is religion!

Personnaly, I wouldn't be a good candidate for polygamy! And in any religion, I don't agree when they use children to get their message accross.
And yes, children molestors should be prosecuted.

That being said, I just find it amazing to see how many Gods there are! Every body claiming that theirs is the real deal! I think that religions were created by mankind. I don't care who believes in what frankly, live and let live. The only problem I have as a woman, is there a religion where the women are as important as the men? A woman can't be a priest, she needs to stay at home with the kids, she can't say what she thinks,etc....(I'M including a few religions in my example).

I understand that people turn to religion because they have to believe in something, need to have faith in someone or something. But how about believing in ourselves first,in our own strenght? How about having faith in us and each other? I'm tired of earing "religion" at every sauce to explain our behaviors. How about standing on our own first, then turn to something else, wathever our choice, to inforce that faith.

I just find it sad that we have to look outside of us to find a sense of belonging. Religion as always and will always be a touchy subject. Nobody's wrong, nobody's right. We just have to find a common ground.

Joanne Ranzell
Laval Quebec
Posted By Anonymous Joanne Ranzell Laval Quebec : 3:19 PM ET
Being born and raised in a polygamous family, I have a very unique perspective, as you can imagine, of this lifestyle, and I am surprised at the narrow-mindedness of some people. Some seem to think that ALL polygamists are child-molesters, abusers, and that they brain-wash their children. The also seem to think of us as one big group. In fact there are many groups scattered across the American West. I am not a member of the FLDS church. I have lived in Salt Lake my entire life. Because I was raised in a big city, I never was completely shut off from the outside world like so many youths in Colorado City and Hildale. I visit the area many times a year and it shocks me to see the strangle-hold that Warren Jeffs has on his people. It did not surprise me when I saw that there was nobody there at the rally from the FLDS church. Some of those poor people ARE brain-washed, molested and abused. I participated in the rally to show that I support my family, this life-style, and that I am not brain-washed. It was pretty amazing to watch Gary Tuchman interview my cousins and hear some of the questions that he asked them. Such as, what they thought about the main-stream LDS church. I hope that in the future, Gary, you will have more clips from that interview on one of your shows. i have only one more thing to add... We are no more brain-washed or have certain beliefs forced on us than any other child in America. Good Polygamists hope for their children to be good polygamists. Good Mormons hope that their child will be a good Mormon. Good Catholics hope for their children to be good Catholics. Good Muslims want their off-spring to be good Muslims. the same applies to Buddhists, Protestans, Baptists, Athiests and any other parent from any religious background in the world.
Posted By Anonymous T. W. Salt Lake City, Utah : 10:05 PM ET
A behind the scenes look at "Anderson Cooper 360°" and the stories it covers, written by Anderson Cooper and the show's correspondents and producers.

    What's this?
CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. Please note that CNN makes reasonable efforts to review all comments prior to posting and CNN may edit comments for clarity or to keep out questionable or off-topic material. All comments should be relevant to the post and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying information via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.