Boys Cast Out by Polygamists

Anyone who watches Big Love realizes that one of problems with polygamy is that young boys are thrown out so that they won’t compete with the older men for teenage brides. The New York Times reports on efforts to help boys who have been cast out. Besides those who are cast out to avoid competition for brides, many are cast out for “sins” such as watching movies. They start with this example:

Woodrow Johnson was 15, and by the rules of the polygamous sect in which his family lived, he had a vice that could condemn them to hell: He liked to watch movies.

When his parents discovered his secret stash of DVDs, including the “Die Hard” series and comedies, they burned them and gave him an ultimatum. Stop watching movies, they said, or leave the family and church for good.

With television and the Internet also banned as wicked, along with short-sleeve shirts — a sign of immodesty — and staring at girls, let alone dating them, Woodrow made the wrenching decision to go. And so 10 months ago, with only a seventh-grade education and a suitcase of clothes, he was thrown into an unfamiliar world he had been taught to fear.

Others have been cast out for attending public schools. The article ends with this story:

“I was a good boy, working 13-hour days,” he said. But he had been raising questions, especially after his father’s four wives were assigned to other husbands. Then Marc got caught driving to a nearby town to watch a movie.

One evening as he was making a chicken sandwich, he recalled, “My two older brothers came and said that because I’d gone to the movies, Warren said I’m out.”

“I went into my bedroom and my mother was already packing my things, and crying,” he said. “That night they drove me to a relative’s home in St. George.”

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