Polygamy in Recent Years the

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

Although the research found that monogamous families tend to have a greater amount of overall stability, it is also evident that polygamists families can be successful. Additionally there can be certain tools learned in polygamist families such as compromise, respect and communication that may be more difficult to learn in monogamous homes. With these things understood, having success in a family whether it is monogamous or polygamous requires a great deal of commitment from everyone in the family, including the children.

Polygamy in the Western World

Although there are occurrences of polygamy in the western world, most western nations have outlawed the practice. In fact it is a practice that is often ridiculed in the west and viewed as a threat to women's rights and freedoms. However some groups of westerners have succeeded in establishing polygamous families. These individuals are often regulated to living on the fringes of society because their lifestyles are not legally recognized. In addition there is a very real stigma attached to polygamy in the western world. As such those who participate in polygamy are often part of sects or polygamists communities. These sects or communities vary in size, scope and the freedom of women to choose this lifestyle.

For instance in the west and in the United States in particular most polygamists tend to part of the Mormon faith. The official stance of the Mormon church is that polygamy should no longer be practiced. The church has even excommunicated those who are still involved in the practice. However within the Mormon religion there are various sects. The sects of Mormonism that still practice polygamy are known as fundamentalist sects.

The largest of these sects is known as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS Church).

This particular sect has been under a great deal of scrutiny in recent years because of abuses committed against its leader. These abuses include the rape and molestation of children (Nichols 2002). According to Senator Ron Allen of Utah female members of these sects are, ' "pulled out of school at an early age, forced into marriages with older men, kept isolated from society, constantly impregnated, and often placed on public assistance with no financial means of their own. They are forgotten citizens facing abuse and fear. On top of it all, the victims are constantly taught that God is just pleased as punch about the whole deal. It has to stop ("About the Fundamentalist Church)."

Most recently over 400 children were removed from a polygamist ranch in Texas after allegations of abuse surfaced (Corbett, 2008). Ultimately only a few cases of abuse were actually found but a raid on the ranch by law enforcement exposed the lifestyle of polygamy to mainstream America. This exposure did not place polygamy into a good light in America. The women were viewed as robotic and childlike and the men were viewed as nothing more than perverts.

The negative view of polygamy has been perpetuated because several women and even men have escaped these sects and have been quite clear that the sect is abusive both sexually and physically (Corbett, 2008). In recent years many who have escaped have written books and appeared on national television to tell their stories. They do not paint a pretty picture of polygamy.

Unfortunately, this is the most prominent view of polygamy that Americans have seen and as such it does not seem like a viable alternative to most in the United States or other parts of the western world. In most cases people in the western world view the practice as archaic and detrimental to women and children because of what has been seen of FLDS through the media. However, there are books that tell rather poignant stories of growing up in polygamy in the western world. One such book is Daughter of the Saints. This is a memoir that tells the story of a middle child growing up in a polygamous family of forty eight children. The story she tells is ideal and painful. It seems to be an extremely accurate picture of polygamy in the context of the western paradigm.

There are other people who belong to fundamentalist churches who also practice polygamy, they also live in their own communities but they seem to live more normal lives and in many cases the people around them may not even be aware that they practice polygamy. They simply hide the polygamy from others but they are active in their local communities and associated with people outside of their religion. However ideas concerning the family lives of these individuals are a bit of a mystery because their lifestyles are illegal and as such it is difficult for them to speak out.

Because the western worlds view of polygamy is only from this perspective it continues to have a great deal of stigma attached to it. The western world has a difficult time seeing the aforementioned advantages that may be realized through the practice of polygamy. For the most part this is because the western world has only been exposed to the disadvantages and the negative outcomes associated with the practice. A more balanced view might result in more accurate beliefs concerning polygamy and how the western world may benefit from making it legal.

Conclusion

The purpose of this discussion is to examine the practice of polygamy. The research indicates that polygamy is an ancient practice that has religion as a foundation. The research found that although polygamy has some disadvantages including family division, there are also some very real advantages associated with the practice and a balanced view of the practice is often lacking in the western world. The investigation found that the western world has a limited view of what polygamy is through the lens of a very small number of people who practice polygamy in the United States. These individuals live on the fringes of society and the rare glimpses into their world that westerners see it disturbing. There is a lack of balance in the way that polygamy is understood and portrayed within the context of the western world.

Works Cited

About the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.. Retrieved March 9 from; http://www.religioustolerance.org/flds.htm

Al-Krenawi, A. (2006) Comparison of Family Functioning, Life and Marital Satisfaction, and Mental Health of Women in Polygamous and Monogamous Marriages.

International journal of social psychiatry.

Al-Krenawi, A., & Lightman, E. (2000). Learning achievements, social adjustment and family conflicts among Bedouin-Arab children from polygamous and monogamous families. Journal of Social Psychology, 140, 345-355.

Badawi G.A. (1976) Polygamy in Islamic Law. Muslim Students' Association, 1976

Corbett, S. (2008). Children of God. Retrieved March 9 from; http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/27/magazine/27mormon-t.html?_r=1

Roxanne D. Marcotte. How far have reforms gone in Islam? Women's Studies International Forum.Volume 26, Issue 2, March-April 2003, Pages 153-166

Owuamanam, D.O. (1984). Adolescents' perception of the polygamous family and its relationship to self-concept. International Journal of Psychology, 19, 593-598.

Nichols J.D. (2002) Prostitution, polygamy, and power: Salt Lake City, 1847-1918. University of Illinois Press polygamy. (2009). In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.

Retrieved March 13, 2009, at http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polygamy

Solomon D.A. (2004) Daughter of the saints: growing up in polygamy W.W. Norton & Company.

Annotated Bibliography

Al-Krenawi, A. (2006) Comparison of Family Functioning, Life and Marital Satisfaction, and Mental Health of Women in Polygamous and Monogamous Marriages.

International journal of social psychiatry.

This particular study compares the Family Functioning, Life and Marital Satisfaction, and Mental Health of Women in Polygamous and Monogamous Marriages. The study involves successful polygamous families along with unsuccessful families. In addition it compare what is learned about these families to existing data concerning monogamous families. The study is informative in both breadth and scope and the author seems to present a balance as it pertains to explaining the results of the study.

Al-Krenawi, A., & Lightman, E. (2000). Learning achievements, social adjustment and family conflicts among Bedouin-Arab children from polygamous and monogamous families. Journal of Social Psychology, 140, 345-355.

This study focuses on differences in learning achievements, social adjustment and family conflicts among Bedouin-Arab children from polygamous and monogamous families. The research found that children from monogamous homes are more likely than children from polygamous homes to excel in each of the aforementioned spheres. The authors provide a great deal of insight into the manner in which polygamy effects children. This was a very informative article.

Corbett, S. (2008). Children of God. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/27/magazine/27mormon-t.html?_r=1

This source provided a brief explanation of some of the issues facing FLDS and the women and children associated with the sect. In this article the author focuses specifically on the recent raid of the FLDS compound. This source was not as detailed as expected. However it still offered some good insight and evidence.

Marcotte R.D.

How far have reforms gone in islam? Women's Studies International Forum. Volume 26, Issue 2, March-April 2003, Pages 153-166

This article discusses polygamy as…