The Polygamous Wives Writing Club: From the Diaries of Mormon Pioneer Women

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Although in actuality only affecting a small minority of members, church leaders of the time practiced, preached, encouraged and vigorously defended polygamy. The author examines the personal writings of twenty-nine ordinary women who privately lived it. Some were first wives, some second or later; a few valued the practice; most found it an enormous sacrifice. The book covers issues such as who entered polygamy; what relationships were like between and among spouses; how it evolved over the fifty years it was practiced; and what happened when it ended.

I loved best the sensitive concern for the writers’ feelings, as the author tried to distill their stories into a cohesive narrative (which she did very well). I came away with a sense of deep respect and appreciation for these women; coming from a monogamous culture, they would struggle through very difficult situations because of, but also supported by, their incredible faith. I do wish there had been more direct quotes from the women represented in the book (they were mostly summarized, with occasional direct quotes as representative), but the writing is sensitive and lucid, with history and biography beautifully interwoven. It is a fascinating study of the intersection of culture and faith.


Reviewed By:

Author Paula Kelly Harline
Star Count 4.5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 256 pages
Publisher Oxford University Press
Publish Date 2014-Jun-16
ISBN 9780199346509
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue September 2014
Category History
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