Episode 150: Polygamist Therapist and Aspiring Sister Wife

Written by Lindsay Hansen Park on . Posted in year of polygamy

  Join Lindsay as she interviews Mary Ellen Crase about her journey into fundamentalism and being a therapist to many in polygamous communities. Links mentioned in this podcast:

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Comments (40)

  • KNJ

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    Just wanted to comment on how much I enjoyed this interview. I wonder if one of the reasons Mary Ellen didn’t have the typical reaction many women do on learning about polygamy in the LDS church is because she wasn’t married? For a lot of women (especially raised in the church, TBM women) the negative reaction is tied to the expectation that plural marriage is an inevitability, regardless of our feelings about it.
    I found it a painful topic of conversation when I was just a teenager considering a theoretical husband in a theoretical future. It was excruciating (at least for me) when I was standing next to a man I love and adore, faced with the truth that my faith expects me to cheerfully submit to my husband dividing his love and devotion between myself and an unnamed number of other women. Refusing to submit means risking being set aside or damnation. A husband and wife who are both excited about adding more wives to their family is one thing, but I find the coercive and punishing nature of such an expectation from the faith I grew up in so incredibly damaging.

    Anyway, I loved Mary Ellen’s bright personality and enthusiasm.

    Reply

    • Mary Ellen Crase

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      Thank you so much K!
      To answer your questions:
      I didn’t have what you feel is the “typical” reaction to polygamy because #1 I chose into it #2 I feel called to do it and #3 I am not forced to do it.
      I have found that with women that are appalled by Plural marriage there is typically a NEED unfulfilled in their marriage. They often have jealousy based on their insecurities or fears in their relationship. Whether it be financial insecurity, they fear not being loved by their husband anymore, not being the husbands “one and only”, sexual insecurities, co-parenting issues… etc…
      I feel that plural marriage should be chosen into and not forced on or expected by anyone.. I can see your perspective growing up in a forced environment is very different from my stance and perspective

      Hugs Beautiful lady 🙂 Everyone’s journey is glorious and makes us the wonderful people we are today 🙂

      Reply

  • Dot

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    Thank you for doing this Lindsay. I am a convert, non-American, who would not have joined the church had I known about Polygamy. I think I understand why someone growing up in the mormon culture, going through some serious abuse, and single with kids, may be OK with going into a family of polygamists.

    I certainly admire Mary Ellen’s guts and spirit, and wish her love and acceptance. But the Mormon fundamentalist culture gives me the shivers. And the longer I am away from LDS thought, the healthier I feel.

    I don’t often comment (being an outsider!) but your series, along with mormon stories, helped me to not go off my head.

    Love and grace to you and your work.

    Reply

    • Mary Ellen Crase

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      Awwee thanks love **hugs**
      I believe everyone’s journeys in life lead them to their true selves 🙂

      Love and light!

      Reply

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