A Conversation With an Alleged Criminal: Polygamist Joe Darger on Faith and Freedom
Editor’s note: The following is a lightly-edited transcription of an interview with Utah polygamist Joe Darger, conducted on March 28, 2013.
Libertas Institute: For the benefit of our readers who may not know who you are, please explain who you are and why your story is important.
Joe Darger: My name is Joe Darger, and I published a book along with my wives, and co-author Brooke Adams, titled Love Times Three. It’s our true story of a polygamous marriage. I have three wives and 24 children all together. I’m a strong advocate for the decriminalization of the polygamous culture and plural families.
LI: Many people who have seen you in the news, or the cover of your book, observe that you and your wives don’t look like polygamists they’ve seen in the media who are part of the FLDS. Why is that?
Darger: It’s a natural tendency to judge everybody on outside appearance. We make strong judgments on what a polygamist looks like, and many don’t understand that there’s huge diversity in the polygamist community. One size doesn’t fit all. Even the FLDS didn’t quite dress the way they do now until Warren Jeffs took over, so even they became more extreme.
One of the first things that has been helpful in shifting paradigms is people realizing “Oh, you look like us!” The reality is, even if we didn’t look like the average person on the street, I don’t think people are that far different. We’re all people.
LI: So is the way you dress, looking like the average American, a strategy to assimilate? Or is that just part of who you are?
Darger: The way we dress is a part of who we are. Because I’m what’s called an “Independent Fundamentalist Mormon,” (the label that’s put on me, even though I don’t like the term “fundamentalist”)… we don’t belong to any particular church. Hence, we don’t have any particular dress that we’re trying to fit in to.
A lot of the differences in dress amongst the communities aren’t doctrinal, they’re more cultural. We’re very much part of mainstream culture in many aspects, but we’re not restricted by any religious dictations on how we dress. Other than for us, we’re conservative, and we believe in being modest and are traditional that way.
LI: Do you consider your polygamous relationship a commandment from God, and if so, do you believe that it should be accepted by the government on a First Amendment basis with respect to freedom of religion?
Darger: Absolutely. I think the main argument, and the argument I think most polygamists would just as soon appeal, is the freedom of religion argument. That aspect, since I was a child, just did not ring fair to me—that I could believe what I believe, but I couldn’t practice what I believe. That just is inherently unfair to me.
I should clarify that what we think is an important and very sacred part of our beliefs, we don’t feel is a commandment for everyone. It never has been a commandment for everyone, and even my own children, I don’t expect them to all live the same way. It’s a very personal conviction that comes with a very personal connection with your higher power.
But it is a very sacred part of my faith—I wouldn’t be doing it if it wasn’t. That can’t be understated. Having said that, that argument alone doesn’t always hold true in our desire, in that there’s a lot of people that will name religion for things to do that are harmful to people. And that’s the argument that gets used against us, that somehow polygamy is inherently harmful.
I think we’ve demonstrated, though, that if one family is not harmful, why should we be targeted? The Constitution was set up and designed to protect the liberties of the few. The crux of our argument, for me, is always the freedom of religion. But other rights have been encroached upon, such as our freedom of speech and freedom of free assembly. It goes back to the 14th amendment and our due process, and the whole Lawrence v. Texas argument comes in. Once we start going down that road with the Constitution, then we fall under that. That’s why it’s very natural for us to say “Wait a minute, you can’t say that consenting adults can do whatever they want in the privacy of their own bedrooms, and not have that apply to us.”
You can’t say that consenting adults can do whatever they want in the privacy of their own bedrooms, and not have that apply to us.
As far as free speech, this is one thing that many people don’t understand. The law in Utah reads that if I “purport to be married” I am committing a felony. By simply labeling my girlfriends or concubines or whatever a “wife” (because in my own religious ceremony I claim them as wives, and have children with them, and purport as such) that is a crime. So it becomes my speech. And anytime the government attempts to regulate your word—everything happens in words. Our very country was founded because we declared it so. It’s the very element of a free society, to be able to speak freely, because from there you can create anything. Once they take away your power to use labels, such as to call yourself married, then you’ve given up that basic element of expression.
LI: You said earlier that people might refer to you as an “Independent Fundamentalist Mormon” but that you’re not part of a church. Do you attend worship services, or call yourself a Mormon?
Darger: Mormons get very defensive saying (about polygamists) “they’re not Mormon!” Well, yeah, I’m very Mormon. I call myself more of an “orthodox Mormon.” But I’m a Mormon in doctrine, in faith, in theology, in culture. I’m just not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I never have been, and if I was I would be excommunicated.
That said, my son is about to go on a mission, and we’re very supportive. We look at the church as “the true church”—even though they won’t let us be a part of it. We feel like the church is just not living all the doctrines, and if we want to fulfill and live the higher part of the doctrines. The church has elected not to, for, originally, fitting in for sake of the law of the land.
So I’m in a conundrum. If I have multiple women come to me and say “I want to be called by thy name,” as Isaiah said would happen, I’m in a tough spot. Do I say no, or do I do that? It was a very personal and difficult decision. I actually attended LDS church services growing up, was involved in the Scouting program, went to primary and sacrament meeting. I very much considered joining the church, even growing up. So yeah, I very much consider myself “Mormon.”
I don’t like the term “fundamentalist Mormon,” although that is a term even the early church and newspapers applied to Mormon polygamists… so it’s kind of an acceptable label, if you will. But now, with Warren Jeffs and his association to fundamentalists, it’s become very extreme and doesn’t really fit my label very well.
LI: What are your thoughts on members of the Mormon church once opposing the government’s involvement in marriage, and now openly inviting it through laws like CA’s Proposition 8?
Darger: It’s interesting… I get very frustrated. I have a lot of good Mormon friends, and they’re well meaning. They’re trying to stand on principles of their moral values, but they lack a very good understanding of their history. Whether they agree with me living polygamy now or not, they need to accept and understand their history, because it’s a very important part of why we are where we’re at.
I do find it ironic that the very thing that the church faced with the government trying to dictate to people who they could freely associate with and be with, they’re now advocating, and I think it suffers from some hypocrisy quite honestly.
The federal government inserting itself into marriage had a lot to do with polygamy. The Supreme Court ruling on polygamy was one of the first times the federal government got involved in that element. I do find it ironic that the very thing that the church faced with the government trying to dictate to people who they could freely associate with and be with, they’re now advocating, and I think it suffers from some hypocrisy quite honestly.
Our position has always been that we don’t want the government to give us the right to be in a polygamous marriage. We’re fine not being in a legal marriage. We just want to be decriminalized. The danger is, is when the government comes in and starts telling me “yeah, you can have multiple marriages,” they’re going to tell me who I can and can’t marry, they’re going to start regulating my marriages and my life even more. So in reality, we need to un-involve ourselves from the marriage business and allow people to freely associate and contract with whoever they want to.
LI: Hugh Hefner is famous for having many live-in girlfriends who come and go over the years. Are you frustrated that arrangements like his are legal and that yours is not, or that society supports and likes his arrangement, but not yours?
Darger: That very much frustrates me, and we’ve used that example many times. It’s almost looked up to with admiration somehow. You know, here’s an older guy in his 80s with a bunch of younger girls. Just because they’re over 18 doesn’t make it somehow acceptable that they’re not being exploited any more than anyone else is. But for some reason that’s okay, we can turn a blind eye to that, and yet someone like me becomes morally repugnant. That kind of hypocrisy in society is very frustrating.
But as long as you have the Warren Jeffs persona, I get it. That becomes such a negative stereotype, and at the base of what’s repugnant about that type of relationship. As long as people associate polygamy with Warren Jeffs, then that’s going to be the public relations challenge. That’s why we continue to educate.
I think society owns some kind of responsibility for their impact on allowing someone like [Warrent Jeffs] to have that kind of impact and control on people.
Unfortunately, there’s very few of us who are willing to do what I’m doing, even though I’m in the majority, because the state has so effectively said: “don’t use your voice. We’re not going to prosecute you unless there are other problems”… and one of those “problems” is going public as the Kody Brown case demonstrates.
So, the effect of that is you bring up a whole generation in fear, secrecy, and mistrust of government and of the outside. It’s really exacerbated problems, like a Warren Jeffs. I think society owns some kind of responsibility for their impact on allowing someone like him to have that kind of impact and control on people. You can’t just say they’re all blind. There’s a history there of being forced to mistrust anybody other than the leadership, and then embedded in their doctrine is this idea of an infallible leader… that’s a bad combination.
LI: How would you describe your personal political views?
Darger: Politically, I’m very much involved w/ the Republican Party here in the state. I’m conservative fiscally in most respects, and that party is where I can get the most done. But if you were to line me up based on my views, it’d be more of the libertarian perspective. We’ve done a lot of national interviews and I was often asked if we supported Romney. The assumption is that he’s Mormon, so we’d support him because of that connection. Yeah, there is polygamy in his roots, but Obama has polygamy in his roots even closer! Also, I think Romney is more likely to distance himself from us, and that proved itself true.
Where we aligned was more with Gary Johnson, because he came out and said he’s okay with polygamy. The idea that people should be left alone, the idea that the government should leave us alone, very much resonate with us. I think the Libertarian Party itself will continue to grow—you look at the decriminalization of marijuana, for example, and that’s something they brought up a long time ago which is catching on; they were ahead of their time.
I think they’re going to find, as we look at the fracturing of our two party structure, some of those principles in the libertarian movement resonate more with people. We need to minimize government intervention, and I think it speaks to me so much coming from where I have. I have a mistrust of government, not just because they’re not allowing my freedom of religion, but seeing government power actually abuse and oppress.
Even the Mormon people can look back and see how the federal government, clear back to Lincoln’s time, was oppressing people. We need to better safeguard against that.
LI: If you had to classify the political views of the polygamy community in general, would it be slightly libertarian because of their inherent distrust and fear of government?
Darger: I think so. I had a national reporter wonder why polygamists were so conservative, suggesting that we should team up with Democrats who are more “our party.” I said: “Really? They hate religion.” He recognized I was right. There’s really no party we feel at home in. But yeah, I would think we’re more libertarian ideologically… again, we’re fiscally conservative people, but even though many will say they disagree with gay marriage or a lot of things morally, because of their history they simply want to be left alone. We dont’ want to insert ourselves into somebody’s else’s lives, and vice versa.
LI: In a recent interview you equated the government’s criminalization of your relationship as persecution, saying that “it’s morally wrong, it’s ethically wrong.” Why do you believe that?
Darger: Criminalizing us as a people and as a faith goes against all of the foundations of what this government was established to be about. Government has used its power to persecute us—more than simply prosecuting, which is the ultimate persecution, when government uses its powers to lock you up as it did my grandfathers. They were thrown in prison for seven years in one instance. My parents grew up with that; that fear was real. They went without a father. My dad went on the run, his mother died at the age of 12 in the deserts of New Mexico hiding from law enforcement.
That persecution complex is very real. You can’t tell me that that’s morally right, or that it’s even done any good.
When I say “persecution” I mean it. I see the trauma of a people that has suffered, and the fear that even I grew up with. I saw it first hand, which led us to go public, when our daughter died. I watched the government turn on us, simply because of our last name. The facts came out later on, but when they saw her last name and knew it was a polygamist name, their whole investigation changed and the assumption was that we were unfit parents and had been medically neglectful. Ultimately it proved to not be true, but that’s the type of persecution that we live with every day.
I have people come up to me all the time, family members and friends, approach me asking if I’m okay—they don’t understand why I’m being so public. That persecution complex is very real. You can’t tell me that that’s morally right, or that it’s even done any good. We’ve had this policy for over 100 years. It hasn’t stamped out polygamy. It hasn’t changed anyone’s beliefs. It’s just taken away the expression of our beliefs—a fundamental right that we should have in this country.
LI: You shared some examples of persecution by the government in your own family. What was your response to the invasion of the FLDS “Yearning for Zion” ranch in Texas. Does such a heavy-handed response concern you as it relates to government enforcement of anti-bigamy laws?
Darger: It was interesting watching that. The YFZ Ranch really re-visited trauma. My own mother-in-law was in the raid in ’53 when the government came in. She happened to be visiting Short Creek, Arizona, with her mother. They were rounded up and sent for two years to Phoenix, simply because they were there at the wrong place at the wrong time and had family members there.
So having to revisit that kind of trauma—I saw her literally go into shakes—brings up the fear that even my own family has had… how could the government do this? 400 children! And then I saw the media frenzy, and everybody jumped on that. It was sickening to watch how easy it was for people to say that the raid was okay.
I never had any doubts that Warren Jeffs was a bad person. I had seen first-hand through interactions with people down there enough to know that something was wrong. But I understood where it came from, and I knew that the raid was going to make it worse.
To be able to speak out against that was tough, and nobody was doing it. One of the reasons we went with Brooke Adams to write her book is that she was the one journalist who had studied the issue well enough to know that things weren’t adding up. When they started talking about broken bones among the kids, for example, and people jumped on that to claim that they were abusing their children. Their rate of broken bones as a percentage among the kids was far less than the societal average! But when you have 400 kids they can say “oh look, 12 kids have broken bones, something must be going on.” It was absurd to see the frenzy.
Unpopular groups are demonized too easily. Democracy can be scary when it turns into a mobocracy.
What scared me was the power of the government—what they can do. I mean, there were federal tanks on that raid! People don’t talk about that. There were federal resources put into that raid, which is totally wrong and should not have happened. Utah’s own Attorney General was involved, going down to Texas, again trying to wear the white hat and go against a bad person. But when we sacrifice our liberties, and we sacrifice principles, with an “ends justifies the means” approach, look out. America needs to wake up—in this circumstance or any like it, such as the Japanese during World War II. Unpopular groups are demonized too easily. Democracy can be scary when it turns into a mobocracy. That’s what happened in that instance with the FLDS, in my opinion.
The government used all that evidence to go after Warren Jeffs, but they could have got him anyway, and they could have done it in a way that would not have increased his power. In doing it the way they did, the government gave him even more credibility. His own followers became more blind to the evidence of him being corrupt, because they can’t trust anything from the outside when they use tactics such as they did. How can they?
You need to realize that most of the FLDS don’t think that he was doing what he did with young girls. There’s some bad men down there, but the community itself doesn’t have the kind of values where they would approve of that. He was able to do that by keeping himself isolated as some kind of valuable leader and a prophet, and play upon the fears of people. The government played right into that.
LI: You said earlier that you’re not looking for legal recognition, for multiple marriage licenses for example. What is your political goal?
Darger: What I want is decriminalization. What I want is equal rights that any other American should have. The conservative argument has always been that gay marriage would be a slippery slope, and the gay marriage movement has always said that they have nothing to do with polygamy and aren’t as morally corrupt as we are. It’s funny how both sides, left and right, always want to argue this.
What I want is decriminalization. What I want is equal rights that any other American should have.
If you’re on the left, aren’t you for personal freedom? If you’re on the right, aren’t you for no government intrusion and family values?
Even Bill O’Reilly, once we went on his show and started talking about this, he really back-pedaled. He didn’t want me to go on the show, and only wanted my wives on who he thought he could talk over better. People don’t want to hear that! The fact of the matter is that we’re not asking for multiple marriage licenses. It’s not a slippery slope.
Whether it’s an uneasy alliance for a lot of polygamists who don’t agree with the gay lifestyle… once you go down that road and say we’re not going to criminalize any private behavior, then how can you do anything else with us? Some would say that we already have that right, but we don’t—we’re still dealing with it.
I don’t really see us as a people, wanting the government to come into our relationships. It’s not in our DNA. We’re not after licenses and benefits. We deal with estate planning by using trusts. There are ways you can deal with a lot of that. For me, the more that I keep the government out of regulating our lives, the better off I am. We just want to not be held as felons.
LI: So along with that, bigamy is a third degree felony in Utah. Whether you’re purporting to be married to somebody else, or simply cohabiting. That is worse, in state code, than things like assault, lewdness involving a child, negligent homicide, DUI with injury, and theft, all of which are only class A misdemeanors. If full decriminalization is not politically feasible, would you push for simply reducing bigamy to a misdemeanor to scale back the criminality of it?
Darger: Certainly, that would be a compromise, to save face. That would help take off the sting of it, for sure. I don’t think I’ll ever rest until it’s completely decriminalized, because to have any kind of criminal element to my faith and practice makes no sense at all. If we could get it down to a misdemeanor, that would be a good first step.
However, even to have it classified as a misdemeanor makes no sense to me. To be sure, bigamy should be a felony from the standpoint of fraud—if you’re married and then enter another marriage fraudulently (without the other person’s informed consent), that should be addressed. But simply because you purport to be married and all parties are informed and agreed, you shouldn’t have your liberty taken away. Likewise with underage individuals, there’s no true consent so that’s okay to punish.
LI: Kody Brown’s lawsuit against the state is awaiting a ruling any day from Judge Waddoups. What are your thoughts on the case in general and its potential impact on your family and community?
Darger: As much lobbying as I’ve done, it’s the LDS church mindset itself that is the biggest hinderance in the lobbying factor. It’s a long road, politically.
I don’t know where the courts are going to rule right now. But why do we keep going to the courts to fix what we as a people should be addressing? We’re throwing too much unfair burden on the courts, in my opinion. However, as it appears to be the case, the courts are going to rule on this, and I think we’ll have more action on the judicial side than we will on the legislative side. It can certainly be more sweeping if it gets up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Keep in mind that the state tried three times to get out of the Kody Brown lawsuit. They don’t want to see it. They know that they are on shaky ground. The state’s case is very weak, and the Brown’s case is very strong, so I’d be surprised if Judge Waddoups ruled against the Browns. It’ll automatically be appealed, no question. The question becomes, will the U.S. Supreme Court hear the case if it gets there? They haven’t wanted to in the past, because from a public relations standpoint it’s been a bad thing, but I think that’s changing. The work the Browns or our family are doing is helping, showing people that we should have the freedom to choose who we’re going to be with. That kind of movement is sweeping through America, and as people look at us, they can’t say “we need marriage equality!” and not look at how it applies to us. They just can’t.
LI: You noted that the state has tried to get out of the Brown lawsuit. The state’s assistant Attorney General, Jerrold Jensen, arguing on behalf of Utah County said regarding the Brown family: “They are not being prosecuted. Utah County does not want to prosecute people for the practice of polygamy, period.” Do you think the state should have laws on the books that it has no intention of enforcing? Does it reassure you that even though the state says you’re a criminal, it’s not going to punish the crime?
Darger: There is no reassurance, and this is the danger that people need to be awoken to—to the power that we give government. The whole strategy of the government is to have the law on the books to keep people in control, even though it’s unjust. They say they won’t use the power except for extreme cases… but it’s kind of like chaining up your dog, saying that you won’t beat it unless it’s really bad, but you’re going to keep the chain on.
It’s a dangerous precedent, because what the defendants essentially did, and how they tried to get out of it, is by saying that they weren’t going to prosecute anybody. But they did—they threatened that use, and that’s why the judge didn’t let them out of it. He let the state of Utah out, because Mark Shurtleff and his office was a lot smarter. They have personally told us that they will not give us the ideal test case. They knew that they didn’t want to do that.
Utah County didn’t hold the line and they screwed up. They pushed forward with their threats, so the judge didn’t let them off the hook. Why is the state defending Utah County? Because they have a vested interest in the status quo. They want to keep the control and the power, even though they say they don’t exercise it (though they do). It’s exercised every day in the way it’s used to instill fear in people like me—holding the threat over our heads.
It’s not actual punishment, but the threat thereof. A third degree felony is serious in comparison with other crimes—it’s a very big threat! I feel bad if I get a speeding ticket. I’m a law-abiding person in every other way. The threat is very real… my grandfathers served that time. They can’t say “well, we haven’t imprisoned anybody in 50 years,” because in my lifetime of over 40 years, I’ve known people who have been. Even the state tried to say that they hadn’t, but we found three cases where they have. In one case they tried to go back and expunge the record of it ever having happened.
They very much have used that power, though in most cases they haven’t because they have no just cause otherwise. The majority of polygamists are law-abiding people, even though once in a while you have people like a Tom Green who made it really easy to go after because he had child brides. But even polygamous people didn’t support him in that, so there was very little outcry in our community. If his situation would have been different, with no children involved, you would have seen a lot of people rise up to defend him.
LI: Kristyn Decker was featured in a FOX 13 story along with you, noting that she was also on the hill lobbying against decriminalization. She says that “Polygamy does not compare to the sexual liberty of consenting adults. It is not about adult consensual ‘choice.’ It is the aftermath of arduous programming.” She feels the current laws should stay on the books. Your response?
Darger: There are times when a woman leaves a bad situation and hasn’t found healing, so they hate men and they hate marriage. I think there’s a lot of people who have been through that and they want to blame polygamy for all their woes. They can’t see how anybody could be happy or informed. It’s a natural thing to feel that way, and I feel for them.
But her story doesn’t represent mine, or thousands like us. By criminalizing it, you’re not going to make it go away. That’s proven. It doesn’t work. Even Carolyn Jessop agrees with us that it should be decriminalized. If you’re that passionate about the problems, then take away the criminal element and then go make a difference. Take away the fear and the stigma. Too many people want to help people in bad situations and end up making them victims, trying to change who they are. You’re not going to help by trying to change who somebody is.
LI: In that same news story, the Speaker of the House of Representatives firmly said “no” when asked if there was any appetite in the legislature to decriminalize polygamy. How does that make you and your family feel?
Darger: It’s unfortunate that there can’t even be a dialogue, especially when the state is spending money and resources right now on the issue. If the state had any kind of sense about itself, and if legislators were forward thinking, they’d recognize that they’ll eventually lose and that they should find ways to minimize the impact, even if only to save face and take the sting out of what’s going to happen.
I have no doubt that we will win. I have never thought of this as a sprint—it’s a marathon.
It’s another case of status quo powers-that-be politics, blind to what’s coming. I have no doubt that we will win. I have never thought of this as a sprint—it’s a marathon. But when you stand on correct principle, and you’re immovable in that principle, change will happen.
LI: What benefits do you see resulting from increased media exposure—through your book, the Browns’ show “Sister Wives,” etc.?
Darger: We have spoken to tens of millions of people. The power of TV is even more than our book. With all the interviews we’ve done, there’s no question we’ve had an impact. People see a different side—just the simple sight of us gives a different light and causes a paradigm shift. It leads people to see that we’re like them.
When we start looking at any class of people as us, having that relatedness, then we can stop our stereotypes and judgements. A lot of people have had to deal with this as it relates to homosexuality or race—to stop judging by a label or characteristic. But we still have a lot of work to do as a society to put those labels aside. We need to show people that, in the end, we’re not a threat to anyone.
LI: Do you see your efforts more as educational than political?
Darger: I have always believed that it’s a two prong approach. You’re not going to effect political change until you educate people. But just to educate people without pressing on the political side is naive, too. For sure, once people understand the issue, the inherent unfairness of the issue, they get it.
The nice thing about polygamy is that it really gives people some pause to start thinking about how this whole debate has been framed and where we’re going as a country.
LI: With the U.S. Supreme Court hearing cases this week regarding same-sex marriage and millions of Americans demanding “marriage equality,” do you as a polygamist feel sidelined in the debate since polygamy has been excluded from the conversation?
Darger: Not just sidelined, but demonized by both sides. The gay movement says “we’re not that bad!” And I see the Cal Thomases of the world, the conservative thinkers claiming that gay marriage is going to lead to polygamy, as if somehow it’s worse than gay marriage. I’m like, really? We’re about as family valued and traditional as the most traditional nuclear family that they want to preserve.
It’s very hypocritical on the right to make that argument, because of this paradigm they want to preserve, it conflicts with the idea of getting government out of our lives. On the left you have these people that are so “progressive” and want acceptance of their lifestyle, who can accept polygamy except for the supposed “yuck factor.”
It was the interjection of government into marriage in the first place that has led to this. Once you let the government in, you have separate and unequal people. Asking the government for affirmation, look out where you’re going…
For them to now tell us that we’re not part of this discussion? That’s unfortunate. Sometimes I think that the white polygamist male is the lowest class of people in America. We’re at the bottom of the caste. I have an uphill battle, when people look at me and say that there’s something wrong with me.
LI: Do you think that the government should be involved at all in marriage?
Darger: No. I don’t see myself ever going to that point, even if gay marriage became acceptable here in Utah, I don’t see us asking for multiple marriage licenses. Just leave us alone. Stay out of it. I’m fine to be responsible for the children I produce.
LI: Finally, if you had the attention of the Utah legislature for two minutes, what would you say to them?
Darger: We have a history as a state of having the federal government insert itself into our business and tell us what to do. Our lands are controlled by the federal government because of polygamy, because they were afraid of what we would do. And now we as a state are doing the very thing that we were afraid of the federal government doing.
We have a history of being oppressed by the federal government, and yet we want to oppress the very people who are part of our own history and heritage. The right thing, the moral thing to do to address this problem of polygamy is to decriminalize it. Take away the stigma and deal with the problems as problems. Shine a light on the dark corner we’ve been sent to.
If we shine that light, we’ll see that there’s a lot we can be proud of, and there’s a lot we’re not proud of, and we can deal with that in a healthy manner. If we can do that, there’s a whole class of people that will become even better contributing members of society.