Year of Polygamy

Amber’s story

Bio: I’m a mother of three and a survivor of suicide. I grew up in a devout Latter-day Saint home and still live in Utah with my parents.

I was optimistic when I left BYU to marry my sweetheart. We met at a Utah singles mixer for people with LDS standards in 2007. Because we didn’t want to sin, we got married five months after meeting. He was so much smarter than me and understood things I had never been interested in, like politics.

What I didn’t know at the time is that being interested in politics was a requirement in his family. Every time we would visit his parent’s house, dinner time discussions revolved around the government trying to take away our freedoms. Like the family depicted in the show, my husband’s family were anti-taxers. They did pay enough taxes to not get jail time, but they were always trying to cheat the system and look for loopholes.

We would watch Glenn Beck’s programs for family home evening. His parents would then testify about the truths of the Gospel and how Glenn Beck, a fellow Mormon, was called in his role as television host. It wasn’t long before I began spending all my time with my husband’s family. We eventually moved in with his parents and that’s when my hell really began.

I don’t think i realized how much gender roles were enforced in his family until I lived there. I was now pregnant with a difficult pregnancy and very sick all the time. I was expected to do all of the cooking and cleaning and to “take care of my husband.” One time, my mother in law sat me down and told me that my husband had complained that I wasn’t giving him enough sex. I was mortified. I had been sick and the pregnancy was really hard and didn’t want anyone to touch me. She scolded me and told me I shouldn’t be surprised if he found attention “elsewhere.”

I somehow survived this culture but looking back I felt like I was a servant to his family. I didn’t have a job and the more kids I had, the more tied I felt to my husband’s family for their help. They soon began going to local meetings with constitutionalist militia groups. I would sometimes attend and my job was to prepare the refreshments with the other wives. The men would sit around talking about guns, the government and stupid liberals and then we would all run drills outside. We practiced sharp shooting and military drills. Some of the leaders of this militia group had ties to polygamists groups like the AUB, even though most of us were mainstream LDS.

I became really depressed, especially when some men suggested to my husband that he could consider joining the AUB and have a wife that would finally “satisfy” him. One night I wanted to disappear and took all the medication I could find in the house. I won’t go into all that happened after that but luckily, I survived the ordeal but it left me with stomach problems. I eventually found the courage to leave and now live with my own parents. For the first time in my life I’m going to school to become a nurse so that I can get a job and live on my own.

I have felt really dismissed by the Latter-day Saints who are upset at the show. The show is very personal to me and too true.


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