What faith do the Brown family from TLC’s Sister Wives practice?
          

The Brown family from TLC’s reality show Sister Wives are currently under investigation for bigamy by the Lehi, Utah police department.

The polygamist family have exposed themselves in a major way by agreeing to the show and this attention has in practicality forced the hands of the law.  Kody Brown is only legally married to his first wife Meri but under Utah state law the crime of bigamy is defined by cohabitation and as the show has documented all three sister wives live together in the same home.  Bigamy is rarely prosecuted in Utah but if they were to be tried and found guilty the crime carries with it a third-degree felony charge.

Lt. Darren Paul of the Lehi Police Department confirmed that the show ignited the investigation:

“Admittedly, [the investigation] was brought on by the publicity surrounding the show,” Paul said. “It’s rare because most of the time people don’t bring this kind of attention onto themselves. But it is a state law, and we’re going to investigate it.”

In an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune the Browns made it clear that their intent was not to act as a representative of their particular faith but instead to show that their lifestyle is a viable and socially acceptable one.  So exactly what faith do they practice and believe in so passionately that they are willing to risk felony charges to follow?  Lets take a look at this particular question and find out some of the fundamentals of their faith system.

In another post from The Salt Lake Tribune, this a blog by Brooke Adams, it is stated that the Browns are not a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as has been reported but instead fall under the umbrella of the Apostolic United Brethern.  The AUB is sometimes referred to as the Allred group because two of its presidents shared that surname.  Members do not usually classify themselves as AUB but instead use the terms “The Work,” “The Priesthood,” or “The Group.”

Furthermore they do not refer to themselves as a church and unlike nearly all other Mormon fundamentalist groups they regard the current mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as a legitimate, but wayward, divine institution.  The leadership of the AUB, headed by Joseph LaMoine Jenson, provided a detailed description of their beliefs and practices in 2009 for addition to Utah’s “Polygamy Primer” a document put together by the state to assist social workers and the general public in understanding these groups.

AUB PUBLIC STATEMENT: MARCH 17th, 2008

1. We are, and always have been, wholly opposed to abuse and oppression of any kind, and we feel it our duty to promptly report any suspected abuse to the proper law enforcement authorities.

2. We do not encourage or permit “child-bride” marriages or arranged marriages.  Instead, it is a fundamental principle of our faith that it is the sacred privilege of all, male and female, when they are adequately mature, to choose whom they will marry.  Forced, arranged, or assigned marriages are not a part of our belief or practice.

3. We try to encourage our people to take care of their own needs and to entirely avoid any reliance upon the government. Though there are some members of our faith who may have received government assistance, they are encouraged to become self-sustaining as soon as possible. Our teachings are to be honorable in all our financial dealings which includes full payment of all required taxes as well as avoiding debt.

4. Although we have not had any affiliation with the FLDS for nearly 60 years due to some of these very issues, we are nevertheless deeply concerned that Texas state agencies have violated God-given and Constitutional rights of the FLDS community at the YFZ ranch contrary to principles and freedoms that iconic America stands for.

In summary, we do not support abuse of any kind, and feel that the perpetrator, whether it be an individual, a group, or a government, ought to be held accountable for perpetrating abuse. We believe in being honest in our financial dealings and in provid­ing for our own people. We are appreciative of this good country in which we are al­lowed to worship Almighty God, and we willingly pay our taxes so that these and other freedoms may be enjoyed by all. We do not condone underage, assigned, or incestuous relationships. We abhor compulsion and oppression in all its forms and support those laws that seek to properly address these issues.

Key to understanding the difference between the AUB and the LDS church is what is commonly referred to as the “1886 Meeting.”  From the Wikipedia entry:

The AUB’s claims to authority are based around the accounts of John Wickersham Woolley, Lorin Calvin Woolley and others, of a meeting in September 1886 between LDS Church President John Taylor, the Woolleys, and others. Prior to the meeting, Taylor is said to have met with Jesus Christ and the deceased church founder, Joseph Smith, Jr., and to have received a revelation commanding that plural marriage should not cease, but be kept alive by a group separate from the LDS Church. The following day, the Woolleys, as well as Taylor’s counselor, George Q. Cannon, and others, were said to have been set apart to keep “the principle” alive.

In summary the Brown’s faith could be described as the most liberal of fundamental Mormon group systems.  Their acceptance of the LDS along with the desire to be transparent in many ways make them the most socially acceptable of the Mormon fundamentalist groups.

So what do you think of the Brown’s faith and the subsequent investigation of bigamy by the state?  Should it be any of our business if consenting adults choose this lifestyle as long as they are not breaking any other laws?

Photos: TLC




spacer
  • No items
    • Erin

      Polygamy, Polyamory and all forms of ethically non monogamous relationships are absolutely as valid as monogamy. It does perhaps require more work, more communication, more understanding but I know it to be worth it. I know from personal experience that monogamy is not a requirement in order to have a loving fulfilling and wonderful life long relationship. In my relationship both my husband and I have relationships beyond each other. We are incredibly careful about sexual safety and about the health of our relationship and it works.
      All mature adults have the right to decide their own relationship forms and the “rules” by which they conduct their relationships as long as everyone involved in the relationships knows and agrees to the ideas and strictures by which the relationship is conducted

      • Debbie

        We have a choice but these ppl are using the bs saying ” the more you marry the closer you are to GOD”. BULL SH–. That is crap and I am tired of it being thrown in ppl’s faces on TLC. TLC was a good channel for learning. I don’t want my kids or grandkids learning this SH–. Do you hear me??

    • Laura

      I have been watching Sister Wives since it’s beginning and have found it to be very interesting. I agree that mature adults have the right to decide their own relationship forms. My concern is for the children whose lives are so greatly affected by the choice of those consenting adults. Not all polygamous groups are as open and understanding as Kody and his wives who seem to allow their children to have a voice. If you want to learn more about mainstream polygamy, read “Prophet’s Prey”.

    • Debbie

      I am tired of these ppl getting away with breaking the law and flaunting and throwing it in the law enforcements face in Utah..This type of relationship is bull crap and needs to be taken off the tv.

      • Amanda

        This type of relationship? What? A loving, caring, happy relationship? Yeah, I can see how you might think that…

        They aren’t flaunting anything. The Browns are a brave, strong family. They are shedding light on something that, until now, has mostly only been depicted as ‘abusive’ and ‘coercive.’

        It must really kill people like who assume monogamy is the only valid type of relationship to see people so happy living in a different manner.

        I can think of numerous shows on T.V. that are so much worse than ‘Sister Wives.’ I happily allow my children to watch the show. I want them to know and understand that everyone loves differently, and that love is NEVER wrong. No matter the form.

        And, the law is WRONG in this instance. Or, do you just assume that because something is illegal that it’s automatically wrong? Such a sad view of the world, my dear. THE MAN says I shouldn’t do this, so it must be baaaaadddd. Because, you know, the government knows what’s best for us, and they ALWAYS have our interests at heart.

        • mikki

          I agree. As a matter of fact I believe that there are a lot of second world countries that allow plural marriages. The United States of America is one of the only countries where plural marriage is a taboo. I honestly feel that God loves them anyways. As long as you believe that Jesus came to die for your sins and you love God with all your heart then that’s all that matters. God is big enough for all of us.

    • http://starcasm barb

      if consenting adults wish to live a poly lifestyle then they should and raising children is secondary. there will be children choosing to live this way and there will be children choosing not to live this way. it is a personal choice and those opposed should not judge others.

    • jeff

      I think these folks are awesome. I belong to the Methodist faith. I don’t understand the different forms of the LDS faith, but I do understand love , family and community. Live and let live. Pay attention. There are some good lessons to be learned from this family as opposed to what another poster has suggested. My faith or anybody elses faith is no business of the government our Constitution makes that clear. I would be honored to have these people as my neighbors.

      • Cailin

        The Browns seem to love God but I think they are going about their faith in the wrong way. They seem to be nice people. I can’t imagine Jesus condoning this. No offence but the Methodist Church is the most liberal of Christian denominations. Gay ministers etc. That would never be allowed in most Christian churchs.

    • Emily

      Throughout history, there have been laws which infringed on reasonable rights of citizens. If those laws had not been opposed, freedom would not exist. I don’t personally buy into the polygamy thing (although I have to admit there are days when I wouldn’t mind a sister-wife or two), I don’t think it is right for the government to try to tell these people how to live their lives. Marriage is a sacred covenant. For religious people, it is a religious ordinance. How can we tell others how to practice their religion, in a country that was formed based on an ideal of religious freedom? I say the state needs to back off and let them do as they will.

    • Brianne

      I agree that the Brown’s are a loving family and should be able to practice their faith without government interference. The government shouldn’t control marriage–it is a relationship between adults and if they wish, God. I find the Browns refreshing. It is evident that they love each other and their family. If the children are in a loving family then no one should try to interfere. What bothers me is that many people accept, if not cheer on Hugh Hefner, for his 3 young playmate girlfriends, but a man who loves his wives and takes care of them and the children is persecuted and called a disgusting, sex-obsessed creep. They should be able to practice their faith without fear.

    • Clinks

      I have watched the first series. I find Mormanism and its offshoots facsinating. They seem to be a happy and loving family, although Meri & Kody’s firstborn seems to be quite embarrassed by it. As usual it’s a male dominated society, not much equality, how come a woman can’t have as many husbands? Kody is egocentric. Having just read the ’19th Wife’ and ‘Escape’ by Carolyn Jessop, these religions are very dangerous and twisted, thousands of people brainwashed, scary but if that’s what your born into, it’s hard to think outstide the box.
      I think Kody is slightly deranged, even though he comes across as the family man which he is in certain ways. I would say most of their kids shall grow up confused, questioning their upbringing. I think as a woman I would have feelings of inadequacies and low self worth if I was in a plural marraige, especially as the first wife. Love makes the world go round, but what’s wrong with these greedy men who seem to be only thinking with their d!cks. Kody is having his cake and eating every bit of it. Good luck to them and yes he is a religious Hugh Hefner who is a pathetic dirty old man.
      Each to their own, if he can support this lifestyle financially, then I don’t see the problem of having a legal wife and spiritual wives as long as all are happy and not controlled.

    • Clinks

      I have watched the first series. I find Mormanism and its offshoots facsinating. They seem to be a happy and loving family, although Meri & Kody’s firstborn seems to be quite embarrassed by it. As usual it’s a male dominated society, not much equality, how come a woman can’t have as many husbands? Kody is egocentric. Having just read the ’19th Wife’ and ‘Escape’ by Carolyn Jessop, these religions are very dangerous and twisted, thousands of people brainwashed, scary but if that’s what your born into, it’s hard to think outstide the box.
      I think Kody is slightly deranged, even though he comes across as the family man which he is in certain ways. I would say most of their kids shall grow up confused, questioning their upbringing. I think as a woman I would have feelings of inadequacies and low self worth if I was in a plural marraige, especially as the first wife. Love makes the world go round, but what’s wrong with these greedy men who seem to be only thinking with their dicks. Kody is having his cake and eating every bit of it. Good luck to them and yes he is a religious Hugh Hefner who is a pathetic dirty old man.
      Each to their own, if he can support this lifestyle financially, then I don’t see the problem of having a legal wife and spiritual wives as long as all are happy and not controlled.

 

Advertisement: