There's no telling how many stories have been written this week about the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but it's probably a fair assumption that the words "polygamist sect" have appeared in most. That's not good publicity, especially as revelations from Eldorado become more disturbing, for the 50,000 followers of the consenting-adult polygamy movement, otherwise known as Christian polygamy.
So, Mark Henkel, who calls himself the National Polygamy Advocate, wants to make two things clear: Polygamy is good; the FLDS is bad. Henkel started the TruthBearer.org organization about ten years ago to promote polygamy through the Internet.
"Just because [the FLDS] happen to be involved in polygamy doesn't mean they're a leader of the polygamy rights movement," Henkel says. "We've always rejected the underage marriage and the arranged marriage and the incest. We've always rejected [the FLDS] too, but that doesn't get told."
And if the FLDS has to be aligned with some group, Henkel wants it to be the Mormons.
"If you were to lay down the commonality of what the FLDS believes, and what mainstream Mormons believe, and what [Christian polygamists] believe, you would find 99 to 1 more in common with the Mormons," Henkel says.
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According to Henkel, a typical Christian polygamist family starts like this: There's an abandoned single mom. She had an abusive ex-husband. Then she meets a family of really good people. They become friends. The married couple, because the marriage is so strong, wants to bring aboard the single mom as wife number two. Or three.
"Christian polygamy is about a man growing up and really loving his wives as Christ loved the churches. This is not a tyrant, this is not a man looking for flesh," Henkel says. "[The media] wants to make it all about sex with underage girls. You know, 'Underage girls forced to have sex and that's what polygamy is about!' That's the image that's going forward. Every report that says that is committing a lie by omission."
If you want to know more about Christian polygamy and the polygamy rights movement, go here. But you better learn quick, because Henkel predicts that polygamy will be accepted by mainstream America in about ten years.
"We are the next civil rights battle, because we're speaking truth to power," Henkel says. "We know we are going to succeed in freedom." – Paul Knight