Ethnology: An International Journal of Cultural and Social Anthropology, Vol 47, No 3 (2008)

CO-WIVES, HUSBAND, AND THE MORMON POLYGYNOUS FAMILY

William Jankowiak

Abstract


Mormons in polygynous communities glorify plural or celestial marriage, disapproving of romantic intimacy between a man and any “favorite” wife. Most men prefer, but do not readily acknowledge, forming a close bond with a particular wife. Many husbands experience guilt over their inability to uphold the community’s ideal of harmonious or plural love. Romantic passions unite and divide the polygynous family. The interplay between romantic passion, the desire for dyadic intimacy, combined with a deep-seated commitment to religious principles create stress and anxiety. (Polygynous Mormons, fundamentalism, family, pair bond)

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