I'm not a slave to polygamy
The Spectrum
October 20, 2006

In response to the article, "Polygamy needs federal probe," I cannot in good conscience allow such untruth to stand uncontested. Anyone who knows the story of the 1953 raid, the story of Vera Black, the stories of polygamous families torn apart by political office seekers and self-righteous do-gooders knows that Utah and Arizona were not dragged kicking and screaming into the fray. I was raised in a polygamous family in Colorado City during an era when we were trying to put our lives back together after the devastation of the 1953 raid. We learned to keep our mouths shut in order to protect our families and the homes we loved. Because that was our habit, we have not spoken up in protest when vicious lies have circulated about polygamy. We who have been still in the midst of the storms of accusation and lies are the victims whose voices have not been heard.

The voices that have been heard are from a few people who have suffered abuse in polygamous households, much like many children in monogamous household have suffered. They claim that polygamy did it. Any sane person knows that marriage does not commit the crime. People do. They have become emboldened by our lack of protest. No lie is too bold, such as, a "graveyard for murdered children and a death rate of 50 percent of children." There is hardly a shred of truth in that whole article. Such claims are insane. If it were even remotely true, you know the law would be swarming all over it. Such people are crusaders who would incite a frenzy to destroy the very lives of those whom they claim to be trying to save, the children of polygamy.

One person's story of abuse is just that. It is an individual story. I cannot heal the hurt, but I refuse to claim the story as my own. Compared to many monogamous children, my childhood was a heaven on earth. The greatest abuse I have suffered in my lifetime is the fear and anxiety brought on by ignorant, hateful people who did not know me but hated me for the thing I cherished most, my family. No number of law officers could have given me the safety and security I felt within my own family and community.

I am guessing that the writer has been unsuccessful in applying for control of some of the Safe Passage grant money. Her article sounds like "sour grapes" to me. She obviously knows too little about the Safety Net Committee to make the kind of judgments she does. I have sat in many of the Safety Net meetings and I can tell you they are not a forum set up to legalize polygamy. Nothing could be further from the truth. We know there are some very wonderful people on the committee and there are others who carry the same spirit as those who used to spit upon us in the streets. One of the greatest accomplishments of the committee is that people are coming together to talk with understanding and some reason, which is unprecedented in our lifetimes.

We are not slaves of our religion or lifestyle. If there are those among us who desire otherwise we say, "Go, and God bless." As American citizens we cannot sit quietly by while the crusaders of hate try to oppress us and deny our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Now that Rosa Parks has departed the bus, we owe it to our posterity to move forward.

Marlyne Hammon is a resident of Centennial Park, Ariz.