I have to confess I’m fascinated by the American Mormon polygamists. I read Carolyn Jessup’s account of her escape from a fundamentalist sect – yuck. I read David Ebershoff’s third novel, The 19th Wife — Brigham Young’s history updated. Then I read Brady Udall’s entertaining novel The Lonely Polygamist and actually felt a spark of sympathy for the hapless man, whose unruly tribe of children rang rings round him. Literally. I watched a season of the TV series Sister Wives about the Brown family with their poster boy dad, Kody Brown (nuff said) and now I’m watching National Geographic’s documentary series Meet the Polygamists, which chronicles the lives of fundamentalist Mormons living in a small, remote town in Utah. The desert scenery is spectacular, the town itself is uninspiring, and I notice nobody appears to do any *gardening – I suppose when you’re coping with meals and laundry for 22 people you don’t have the time for inessential extras. But a life without flowers has got to be a dreary existence, don’t you think? However, apart from this minor quibble, the people involved appear to be genuinely devoted to their religious ideals, and there’s no abuse of women and under-age girls. The participants are at great pains to emphasise that their life style is a voluntary choice. Hmm. No accounting for peoples’ notions.
*Since writing this post, I saw another episode which explained that the water supply for the town was tainted at source by minerals and unfit for drinking; all the water had to be imported from clean, safe sources elsewhere.