This memoir offers in insider's look into another distinct and unique way of life. It is a way of life espoused by patriarchal, fundamentalist Mormons, who adhere to polygamy as a central tenet of their faith. This celestial law, often referred to as "The Principle", is what molds their lives from birth, and their beliefs make for fascinating reading.
The author was born in Utah, the home of Mormonism, into a fourth generation polygamous family in 1937. Consequently, she lived her life accordingly in that insular, fundamentalist community. The thirteenth of thirty-one children, the author chose to follow the tenets of her faith and marry a man who lived by "The Principle". She entered into a polygamous marriage with her half-sister's husband, Vernon LeBaron, who was a member of what would later become the notorious LeBaron family.
The author lays out what it was like to grow up in a polygamous household, and what it was like to be a wife, one of what would ultimately be nine, in a polygamous family. Her chronicle is one of desperate poverty, hunger, loneliness, and isolation, as she struggled to remain true to "The Principle". Most of the reminiscences take place in the nineteen forties though the nineteen eighties, when the author finally was liberated, after twenty-eight years of marriage, by circumstances beyond her control.
As with fundamentalism everywhere, women get the short straw, and the author illustrates that premise to great effect with her own life story. Those who enjoy reading about other cultures will find this book of great interest. This bird-eye view into the strange, cult-like world of Mormon fundamentalism will hold the reader captive and keep the pages of this book turning.