Why do couples choose polygamy?

April 28, 2008

by Roz Kohls

Most of us are mystified why anyone would want to be in a polygamous marriage, whether a fundamentalist Mormon polygamous marriage, or a Muslim polygamous marriage.

Oddly, there isn’t as much outcry from Americans who are shocked by Muslim polygamy, (regardless of the age of the brides) whether in Muslim countries or in the United States, as there is about Mormonpolygamy. There appears to be a double standard.

However, Ali Eteraz, a Muslim herself, wrote an article July 23, 2006, about why Americans enter polygamous marriages.

She started with Muslim men. “They get bored. They look around themselves to find a culture where men openly interact with more than one woman,” Eteraz said.

That leads to their method, the religion of Islam. Muslim men claim because there is no prohibition against polygamy in the Quran, polygamy is permitted. This is a distortion of the text, but is what Muslim men with multiple wives are claiming, Eteraz said.

The fundamentalist Mormons’ beliefs are even more specific. “In the 1840s, Mormon prophet Joseph Smith taught that ‘plural marriage’ was given to him in a divine revelation, ordained by God as sacred,” according to the April 19 Star Tribune.

The fundamentalist Mormons in the polygamous Eldorado, Texas compound, are different than the mainstream Mormons, who rejected polygamy in 1890. The fundamentalist Mormon men in the Eldorado compound are using the same rationale as the Muslim men, – their religion.

Now, as to why women would be willing to “share” a husband with other women, they aren’t willing, Eteraz said.

They must be convinced by men, she added.

Polygamous men must convince their first wife that they can get a second wife. Then, they must convince a new woman to be a second wife.

Polygamous men target widows and divorcees first. Muslim women especially have lived under the protective shelter of a patriarchal man, so they agree to any sort of shelter, even if it’s from a man who already has a wife, Eteraz said.

The second group of women likely to be ensnared are “converts” to Islam. “When these (Christian) women convert to Islam, it’s because they are sick and tired of the West, and thus, likely to believe the fact that Islam is ‘Eastern,’” she said.

They embrace polygamy because it is the clearest expression of an Eastern relationship, Eteraz said.

The final group of women who get tangled up in a polygamous marriage demonstrate pity and a need for self-worth.

“Women who have, for too long, served other people, want, out of pity and their own need, to help this poor guy out, and quite often, acquiesce into becoming his second wife. They don’t realize how horribly they have been manipulated,” Eteraz said.

Then, there are the very young girls put into arranged polygamous marriages by adults. These girls have no say whatsoever in whom or what kind of marriage they will have. This is what led to the raid on the Eldorado compound recently. Authorities believed a young girl was being forced into marriage there.

There is no socio-cultural reason for polygamy to be allowed in America, no matter how much leftists advocate cultural diversity. It’s as wrong for Muslims as it is for fundamentalist Mormons.