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Letter to the Editor: Different cultures

By KEN LARSEN
Salt Lake City

Dear Editor,

Do you think if we could find 18 women who claim they suffered rape, incest and violence in monogamous communities, we could write their stories and publish it in a book titled, "The Abuses of Monogamy?" Different cultures probably have different crime statistics.

Does that mean the police should arrest and punish cultures, rather than criminals? If we're going to judge polygamy as a life-style, we will need to look at most of the world during most of its history.

The problems in closed, cult-like unpopular communities today do not justify any judgment of the free practice of polygamy by consenting adults. I think a brief look at history would justify the conclusion that the practice of polygamy is not the source of the victim stories in "God's Brothel."

A more likely source might be my belief that it is almost impossible for a man to hold the authority and trust of a prophet in such a "cult" society and not be corrupted by that absolute power (David Koresh, for example). I think there are even some possible examples of Joseph Smith's battle against that corruption.

I'm not saying the faith and structure of the community is the source of the problem. I'm only saying history shows it is many fold more likely to be the source. Legalizing polygamy, and giving legitimacy to extra wives and children, would open some of our closed communities, and make it easier for the law to protect victims and punish criminals.

In my opinion, more legal and social oppression, such as the recent ratification of Amendment 3, will only increase the incidence of abuse, and decrease the ability to investigate such crimes. We cannot help where we are not trusted, any more in a polygamous community in Utah, than in a polygamous suburb in Iraq.





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