One Man, Six Wives and 29 Children

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September 6, 2018 by lucieromarin

I first watched this documentary on television an age ago, and spent an age thereafter trying to find a copy of it. YouTube is the bet I can do.

It’s well-made. (It’s British). It’s not salacious, and the interviewer is not hunting down a conclusion. The shock value (Man Marries Two Sets of Mother and Daughter!) is kept to a minimum. Rather, the dynamics underlying the various relationships are allowed to reveal themselves, and they are, in fact, more interesting than the shocking stuff. Part of their interest is their applicability to other contexts.

I think this applicability is only half-acknowledged by the viewer at first. It’s easy to get lost in the differences. i’d never wear those outfits, so I’d never make those mistakes, right? Back then, I believed that it was only in the deserts of Utah that a 32-year-old man would have any kind of relationship with a 14-year-old girl, and that if a 22-year-old with several children by a 40-year-old man said that everything was awesome, then it had to be – why else would she say so?

Well, you don’t need my history to know that that answer matters.

It has other points of interest on a second watching. I have to say that the girls look a lot younger to me now! Green’s glibness reads differently, as do his ready promises. The viewer can start thinking about the role of community enabling; the girls come from families and churches which give them over willingly, and teach them that this is good. Their training is clearer, as is the importance of teaching a child exactly what you need her to say, so she can say it with a smile, which, as you know, proves it’s not abuse. Recommended.

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