Principle Voices

Principle Voices, which subtitles its web site, “Power in Education, Advocacy and Communication for Equality,” is

… an advocacy organization committed to educating others about families in the Fundamentalist Mormon culture, and to encouraging empowerment of individuals and families in and from that culture.– Source: Principle Voices web site. Last accessed Jan. 14, 2006

The ‘Fundamentalist Mormon’ culture includes a number of sects of Mormonism. These breakaway groups are disavowed by the Mormon Church (which itself is, theologically, a cult of Christianity).

The sects and their offshoots broke away from the Mormon Church when the latter rejected its erstwhile key-doctrine of polygamy. Fundamentalist Mormons continue to practice polygamy, the taking of so-called “celestial wives.” In the jargon of some of these groups, this practice is known as living “the Principle.” Adherents believe that in order to achieve the “fullest exaltation” of heaven, every man must have at least three wives.

The stated ‘services’ of Principle Voices are:

  • Facilitate communication between polygamous families/communities and government agencies and non-government organizations (NGO’s).
  • Coordinate advocacy training for individuals and communities from the polygamous culture, helping them to participate effectively in political, legal and public discussions.
  • Evaluate, compile and disseminate useful information affecting plural families, especially legal issues and public policies.
  • Provide formal and informal presentations, training and education pertinent to the polygamous culture, and government agencies and non-government organizations.
  • Encourage research, studies, literary and historical works of this culture.

– Source: Principles Voices’ Services and Values Principle Voices web site. Last accessed Jan. 14, 2006

In addition, Principle Voices seeks

… decriminalization of polygamy by: (1) the removal or appropriate alteration of laws specifically targeting polygamists (i.e. bigamy, child bigamy, cohabitation, etc.); and (2) the ultimate removal of Utah’s constitutional prohibition against polygamy.– Source: Principle Voices’ Positions on Current Issues, Principle Voices web site, last accessed Jan. 14, 2006

Initially this group named itself, “Principles Voices of Polygamy:”

First came the book, Voices in Harmony: Contemporary Women Celebrate Plural Marriage.

Then a short-lived and mostly overlooked magazine about polygamy: Mormon Focus.

Now, women behind those efforts have organized Principle Voices for Polygamy to air positive information about living “the principle,” as those engaged in plural marriage call it.

“It is more or less an advocacy group to balance the negative publicity that has been out there so many years,” said Anne Wilde, who founded the group with Mary Batchelor, Marianne Watson and Linda Kelsch.

They describe plural marriage as a “wonderful experience” — which sets them apart from the very vocal Tapestry Against Polygamy, which offers help to those who would leave polygamous relationships.

“They are totally against polygamy and want to take away choice for polygamy,” Kelsch said. “We want to maintain whatever choice the individual wants to make, whether that’s for polygamy or not.”

With that in mind, Principle Voices will focus on building public awareness about and acceptance of polygamy. Its ultimate goal is ambitious: to be a force in getting polygamy decriminalized.

Wilde said the fledgling organization has support from leaders of most of the state’s polygamous groups. One exception: Warren Jeffs, the reclusive leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the twin communities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Az.– Source: Plural wives defend lifestyle, The Salt Lake Tribune, USA, Feb. 13, 2004

This post was last updated: Sep. 17, 2008    
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