While Eve and I were on our book tour, we stopped for a time in Salt Lake City. Our host was a poly organizer and community leader who also had a degree in mathematics (which is, like, one of the hottest things ever, but I digress).
She introduced us to Salt Late City’s poly scene, which is amazingly rich, dynamic, and cohesive. We’d expected to see strong, thriving poly communities in places like San Francisco and smaller, more fractured communities in conservative places like Salt Lake City, but what we saw was exactly the opposite…in places where there’s a lot of negative pressure on the poly scene, it seems the communities form strong bonds and deep roots. Places like Portland and San Francisco, where it’s almost impossible to swing a cat without hitting six or seven poly folks (not that I recommend swinging cats, mind you), there’s less need for support, so the communities tend to be more splintered and less cohesive.
I was extremely impressed with the Salt Lake City scene. So I was amused when, in a conversation online about polyamory, someone who’s clearly not all that keen on the idea said “You’re sick! Go move to Utah!” I wanted to tell her that the Utah poly scene is in fact pretty amazing, though all in all I would much rather live in a place like Portland, where the general culture outside the poly community is more egalitarian. The mainstream LDS church may have distanced itself officially from polygyny, but in those corners where it’s still practiced, it’s very much an all-you-can-eat buffet for men, while women are expected to remain faithful to their one and only.
If I were of a more cynical nature, I might suggest Joseph Smith personally benefitted from that particular arrangement, and might, were I of such a bent, even go so far as to say that when the pronouncements of God benefit the prophets, it’s reasonable to ask whether we’re hearing the voice of God or the prophets. But that’s a blog post for another day.
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