Monday, September 29, 2008

Secrecy

My last post resulted in a lot of comments and I just now read through all of them. I was away for the weekend, with Mr.Hubby and 4th, visiting some friends - who know about our lifestyle and are on the same path in terms of faith but are not polygynous themselves. It was a nice time, though 4th started squeaking again - I have a new nickname for her.. you know how Barb in Big Love is called Boss Lady by Nicki.. I call 4th Boss Baby now..

The comments on my previous post came dropping in slowly on my cell during the weekend and I read some when I had the chance, others I read now. Donald, it’s strange that we are that much on the same page without even knowing each other. Thank you for the elaborate comment, you said what I was thinking when reading anonymous’ words.. I am always pleasantly surprised when I find out I have male readers – and then to find out I have great male readers – even nicer.

Secrecy, I have mixed feelings about living in it, but I fundamentally disagree with the notion that it is by default wrong – for many different reasons…
In our particular case 1st’s kids are even demanding it from us. They have loads of friends and are the popular kids in school so they demand that our lifestyle be a secret. They do not want to be ridiculed, out casted or isolated because of this.

Someone asked whether we are confronted with social isolation – no we are not, though I think we would be, were we open about it. We know different families that live in polygyny, though all of them are far away and we meet them once in a while. Everyone has their own way of dealing with it. One of these families also consists of four wives and many children. They have chosen to be honest about their lifestyle, and that has come with consequences. They have had family members break all ties, they have been rejected by neighbors, they have had difficulty finding jobs. The kids are happy I would say, but they have only each other. They are a bit like hippies in mainstream society - everyone looks at them funny. It works for them they say, but 1st does not want this lifestyle, 1st’s kids do not even want to consider it, and I really wonder whether that would be that much better.

Honesty can be selfish sometimes. Sometimes we want to be released from this burden of secrecy and then it seems so much better to just tell the world. But is it worth the pain I would be inflicting on my relatives? Telling them about this would be like dropping a bomb.. is that really in their benefit, or in mine? Is it really in our kids’ benefit if they can tell honestly about daddy having more wives? Will they not be faced with much bullying if we allow them to be honest? Will they resent us for not teaching them to keep it to themselves, for not telling them the truth about how the outside world thinks of us?

From a religious perspective, I also don’t agree with the notion that we need to be honest all the time. I dislike religious debates, and I’m writing this with some hesitation, since I foresee tons of comments with quotes from religious texts, debates between readers and the like.. but I will write my point of view anyway. If you pertain to an Abrahamic religion you will know that the Jews kept their faith in Moses a secret under the rule of the Pharaoh, that the Christians kept their faith a secret during the Roman empire, that the Muslims kept their faith a secret while still living in Mecca. Abraham himself said that Sarah was his sister when they entered a foreign kingdom, out of fear of being slain. All of them were practicing their religious beliefs openly when they had their own societies, their own rules and regulations, or were in an environment which was accepting of their faith.

Were we living in a society in which polygyny was normal, or even allowed, there would be no excuse for keeping secrets, I agree with that. However in this society, it’s naive to claim all should be in the open. Donald was right when he said “If 'Anonymous', who claims to 'have nothing against plural marriages', can judge your lifestyle with such venom, I can only imagine what comments you might get from someone who does have something against it!” That’s also my reply to anonymous – your comment just affirmed my belief that keeping this lifestyle a secret is better – is protective of my family – though it’s hard.

I hope to work towards informing and being open to a few close family members of which I expect acceptance. Maybe not about polygyny at first, but at least about Mr.Hubby and then maybe work towards being open about polygyny someday. I’ll talk about this with Mr.Hubby and with my sisterwives, since it involves all of us eventually. Still the challenges with the kids would remain.. it’s just hard.

13 comments:

Donald said...

3rd, you're most welcome! Actually, I'm blown away by your kind words. Wow, I feel like part of the family already! :)

Dale Kemp said...

I just wanted to let you know that I've been following your blog for a while now and I really enjoy it.

I've recommended you to all of my online friends at FACT (Father Abraham's Children Together)

http://groups.google.com/group/fatherabrahamschildrentogether/browse_thread/thread/208911a641899cd2?hl=en

I've also linked to your blog from mine. You are now listed under "My favorite people" section.

http://dalekemp.blogspot.com/

Now for my comments on Secrecy. The problem isn't with you or your family. The problem is with the world but the world will never change if everyone in plural marriage keeps it a secret.

I hope that one day you and your family will no longer have to fear the isolation and/or persecution that keeps you living in secret.

3rd... said...

Thanks Dale! That's awesome of you!!

This really got me thinking: "but the world will never change if everyone in plural marriage keeps it a secret".
It's true.. very true..
Thanks again..

new#3 said...

I understand your feelings on this topic 3rd. Hubby's whole family knows and always has. Of course his nieces and nephews adore him and anything he does is cool with them. They don't hide it from their friends either. I've come to the point where I would like to shout it from the rooftop but I've also noticed how few friends #1 and #2 have.
In my former life before I moved across the country I had many friends and acquaintances who I miss now. But when I think about the fact that they wouldn't approve of my lifestyle, I miss them less.

Dee and Elijah Sue said...

Every family is unique and has to live their lives in a fashion that is best for them. I could never dictate/advocate for someone else, because I am not in their shoes.

My family has been very open about who we are--until I started working for the DoD, that is. I can't really be ME at work, because I have to hide the fact that I am in a plural marriage.

I HATE it. But for now, it is what I have to do. My friends, relatives, and the community all know who we are and we haven't received any grief over it from anyone, tbtG.

We NEED my paycheck--couldn't afford ES's scripts without it. And I need the insurance coverage right now, as I have a few health issues I need to deal with myself and could never afford the care I need otherwise.

So for now, I stand mute. It doesn't change who we are. It is just the right thing for us right now until I can find another job where I can be open about who I am and not jeapordize our income.

(btw, "Boss Baby" made me snort my milk up my nose-too funny!)

Bottom line: Doesn't matter what any one of us thinks out here in cyberland. None of us have to live your life. Only you know what is best for you and your family. 'nuf said...

hugs,
~D

Dee and Elijah Sue said...

Just an observation....did you ever notice that the ones who like to "stir the pot" are the ones who post anonymously?????

Just saying...

I am all for supporting one another and lift each other up, no matter if we are single, monogamous, polygamous, heterosexual, homosexual, bi-straight-gay green, blue, white....

~D

Anonymous said...

It's cyberland - the ultimate in anonymity so whether you use your real name, an alias or anonymous it's all moot. Your claim that "pot stirrers" are afraid to use the "real" names for fear of identification falls short of any logic. Anonymous is no different that "3rd" or "new#3"...none of them reveal an identity.

You claim to be Dee and Elijah Sue, but there's no way any of us can verify it and why would we want too? It's irrelevant.

Considering how concerned you are of being found out about being in a plural marriage in regards to your job security, I'd actually be surprised if you are using your real names. Though on the other hand you do have your pictures posted on your website with the details of your marriage so maybe you are using your real names.

Aren't you concerned that someone you work with may stumble upon your website and find out about your polygamous marriage and let the cat out of the bag?

Dee and Elijah Sue said...

At least with an alias, we can differenciate betweeen the posters. You could call yourself Minnie Mouse--at least we could differentiate you from another "anonymous". btw, I never said anything about using "real" names...most people don't here in cyberland. But they come up with SOMETHING that differentiates them. Bud, ES and I use our real names. But that is just us.

There could be three different anonymous's posting, and how are we to know it isn't just one person? Then things get all muddled and twisted and hard to follow...

It has just been my observation that usually the "pot stirrers" are the ones who choose to post as "anonymous". That was all I am saying.

Bud, ES and I were already open and posting long before I go the job with the DoD. I can't put the cat back in the bag, nor would I want to...

And yes, there is always a chance that someone may stumble upon our blog, and I will be out of a job. But that is way different than me going up to the commander and saying, "hey colonel, guess what? I'm in a plural marriage!"

We are not "yell it from the rooftop" people--do monogamous people yell "I am monogamous!" from rooftops? We just don't hide who we are. Does that make sense?

This is the 1st time that I have been put in a position where I couldn't take my family picture to work and put it on my desk. I talk about ES all the time, but she is my "sister", not my "sisterwife". Everyone knows my "sister" lives with us, and that she has been through the trauma of loosing her leg.

I suppose anyone who is just evil could sabotage my job. But we would find a way to get ES her meds until I found something else, and my own health issues could be put on the back burner until I found employment elsewhere (and hopefully, with affordable insurance).

Thank you for your concern, though. I appreciate it. It obviously IS a big concern, but for now, one we have to live with unless I find a better job (not likely in this area and in this troubled economy).

~D

Anonymous said...

Dee & ES

While reading your post (and thanks for replying) it occurred to me that all the things you do to hid your plural marriage from your employer and co-workers reminds me of how some Jews hid their religion during WWII to avoid detection by the Nazi's. The lengths you go to to hid your polygamous relationship just seems extreme to me with the discrimination laws this country has in place today.

3rd... said...

hi D, thanks for the sweet words.. :)

Hidden Sage said...

There's a difference between being honest and confessing.

Diana said...

I found your blog while I was searching for information on Arabian customs as my fiance is working in KSA and I will be traveling back and forth from the U.S. frequently. I am fascinated with your lifestyle!

I feel strange leaving comments on the Muslim blogs that I find as I am a Christian and it almost feels like I am being a voyer! So if it feels awkward to you as well, please let me know and I will not do it again.

With that said, I don't think I could be in a plural relationship. I know that I would be so extremely jealous of the other women that ... well, I don't know what I would do, but it probably wouldn't be pretty :P

3rd... said...

Diana, welcome! Of course I don't mind you commenting - otherwise I wouldn't write here or I would just turn off the commenting feature.. :) I get a chance to be honest about my life and vent a bit. And you've got online entertainment.. works for both of us. LOL