Episode 56: Mormon Polygamy in the Mexican Colonies

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

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Comments (38)

  • Ashley

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    Loved this episode and can’t wait to read the book! My uncle’s mother was a Call (she was one of the younger of Anson Bowen Call’s children) and from what I understand, was certainly very proud of her heritage. One of my good friends is from the Jones family in the colonies. It was fun to hear you talk about Juarez Stake Academy. As I understand it is still open and has the Colonia Juarez temple situated next to it! So many interesting things in Mormon history.

    Reply

    • Barbara

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      Thanks, Ashley. What was your uncle’s mother’s name?

      Reply

      • Ashley

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        Fulvia Call Dixon. She just passed away a couple of months ago at the ripe old age of 98, I think.

        Reply

  • Michelle P

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    Hi Lindsay! Love the podcast, for real, I get all excited when I see a new Year of Polygamy podcast on my phone. 🙂 I wanted to comment about something you said in this last episode, where you said that modern Mormons lacked a “sacrifice it all for your faith” moment, or gesture. I think that may be true for those who live in areas where the church is well established, but for those of us living outside the “Mormon Belt” that is absolutely NOT the case. I will tell you the story of my mother to illustrate, but I want to preface this by saying stories like this are not uncommon where I grew up.

    My mother was born in Oklahoma and raised in a fairly religious Southern Baptist home. She went to college at Oklahoma Baptist University, as a theology student. She took a class on cults and was assigned to research Mormonism. As part of her research she met the missionaries and they taught her about the gospel. She decided to join the church over the objections of her family. Then she found out that she was pregnant with me. She was a single woman, in a very religious environment, and when she told my grandparents, they responded by kicking her out of the house until she changed her mind about “this Mormon nonsense”. They were not upset about the pregnancy, they were upset with her conversion. They were willing to give her and her unborn child a home, but not if she joined the church. She chose to join the church. She was baptized not long after I was born, and we lived with various friends and ward members until she finished college and was able to support us. When I was 6, she met an amazing man and they wanted to be married in the temple. She begged my grandparents to come, and they refused. They said they would pay for a wedding, as long as it was in their church. She refused and they were married, she wore a borrowed temple dress. Not long after that, she was diagnosed with cancer, and they refused to see her. They forbade her siblings from having contact with her as well. She eventually recovered, and eventually they softened their hearts and allowed us to be in their lives, but it took a long time and involved an agreement to never speak of the church.

    I write this because sometimes in the church, we are inundated with stories of long ago pioneers and we forget that there are people all around us who are pioneering in their own way. It is just as hard to leave your family today as it was back then, all for your faith. And those who make modern sacrifices deserve just as much admiration. And I’ll be honest, her story makes it that much harder for me as I question my own faith. How can I abandon something my mother sacrificed so much for? I will admit, it’s a large part of the reason I keep coming back. I know my mother, and she found something in this gospel that was worth leaving her entire family, pregnant and alone, so it’s got to be there somewhere.

    I did not intend for this to be so long, but I wanted to offer the perspective of a non-Utahan on the subject of sacrifice for faith. And although this is just one story, I could find 10 more like it in my ward. Again, love the podcast! Keep up the good work!!

    Reply

    • Chris C.

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      Michelle,

      Not sure if you’ll read this, but an aspect of your story reminds me so much of my wife and her mother. My wife’s father passed away of cancer when she was 13. It was so hard on my mother-in-law that I believe the only way she could deal with the loss was to hold very tight to the gospel. I really believe she clings to the gospel because “eternal families” feels so good to her. I certainly understand it feels good to her.

      Now, my wife has left the church because she is no longer a believer. It was not a hasty decision. One that took years of study, research, and prayer. One of the toughest aspects my wife has to deal with is the guilt she feels “turning her back on her mother” regarding the church. My mother-in-law really struggles with her decision. The two cannot even discuss it because my wife’s mother is in denial over the whole thing. It’s just too painful for her.

      My point…life your own life! Choose your own path and do not live for what your mother believed or wanted. My poor wife longs to be someone for which her mother doesn’t approve. It holds her down so much, although she is making progress to be her own person. I hope you can honor yourself and be confident to choose a life path that is in harmony with your soul. Think, “I love you Mom, but I must life my life for myself. I choose to do so whether you approve or not.”

      Now…go out and be happy living your true self!

      Reply

  • Tabitha

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    I had no idea about any of this. This was fascinating! !!

    Reply

  • Jen Dilliard

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    I really enjoyed this episode. I find it so sad that Mormons who were just living their religion were rejected by their own. I kinda know what that feels like, since questioning he church 🙁

    Reply

  • SV

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    Great episode!

    What is the name book about Lorna Alder’s life to come out?

    Barbara, what will your perspective be about the Mountain Meadows Massacre? Will the aftermath be discussed from an apologist, critic, or unbiased perspective?

    Thanks,

    SV

    Reply

  • Nancy

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    Good episode

    Reply

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  • Sergio Saenz-Rivera

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    My family is from the region of Casas Grandes, Colonia Lebaron and Colonia Juarez are located. I just wanted to mention that Villa was a notorious polygamous or, shall I say, more of a serial groom. That is perhaps why Villa didn´t particularly react to the FLDS practice in Mexico. Villa did not belong to any church in particular, so he didn´t marry for religious reasons. During the Mexican Revolution (1910-1921) he married more than 20 wives. Some claim up to 75 (this is one site with the list of wives – https://www.aboutespanol.com/las-esposas-de-pancho-villa-2601190). Pancho Villa´s thinking was – since official records were not very easily retrievable, traceable or verifiable,from town to town or state to state during the war, one could actually marry many times in different towns as long as the woman stayed in her own town. Her honor would be intact in front of her society that way.

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