Sister Wives: Love Should Be Multiplied
This is the first article in a series exploring the entire Sister Wives TV show.
“I like marriage. And I’m a repeat offender.” — Kody Brown
If you were to look at my YouTube channel, you’d find out three things about me:
- I watch a ridiculous amount of reality TV.
- I’m deep in the anti-MLM community.
- I’m absolutely fascinated with fundamentalist religions and cults.
Lucky for me, and you reading this, the first reality show I ever watched religiously (lol) incorporates all my favorite things. That show is Sister Wives.
Recently, Sister Wives has come back in the media headlines because of some things happening — of which I won’t discuss yet because this will be a #spoilerfreezone. While I’ve watched this show for the decade+ it’s been on, and rewatched from the beginning a few times, I decided I’m going to do a start to finish rewatch again, but disseminate and talk about it for the masses to read. (I can’t stop with the religious puns apparently).
And so, welcome to the first of many articles on Sister Wives. Let’s start with Season 1 Episode 1: “Meet Kody and The Wives.” This premiered on TLC on September 26th, 2010.
We meet Kody Brown as he drives home from work in his convertible. The house, while looking ordinary on the outside, inside actually is made up of three separate apartments; one for each wife.
His first wife, Meri, has one daughter, Mariah. It’s clear that Meri has tried to have other children, but has been unable to. She works and is going back to school to get a degree in psychology, to hopefully work with at-risk youth after she graduates. Meri was raised in the Mormon church, and her father had multiple wives.
His second wife, Janelle, has six kids: Logan, Maddie, Hunter, Garrison, Gabriel, and Savanah. Janelle works long hours, leaving oldest son Logan to take care of the kids in the morning before school. She was also raised in the Mormon church, but came from a monogamous family.
His third wife, Christine, also has six kids: Aspyn, Mykelti, Paedon, Gwendlyn, Ysabel, and is currently pregnant with Truely. Christine takes care of all the kids during the day, homeschools the younger ones, and every kid seems to adore her. She was raised in the Mormon church as well, her father had multiple wives, and she always wanted to be the third wife when she got married.
All the kids get along and don’t treat each other differently based on who their biological mom is. Everyone prays together, they eat a lot of meals together, and they seem to genuinely care for each other. A lovely thing to see in such a large, and unfamiliar familial situation for most viewers.
So now that everyone’s up to speed on the family, let me give you a brief overview on their religion, since that obviously plays a major factor in the formation and continuation of the Brown family.
The Brown family are fundamentalist Mormon. There are many sects to the Mormon faith, and LDS (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) fundamentalism gets its roots from Joseph Smith.
Without getting into too much detail here (because we have many many more episodes to cover, which will dive more into their religion), Joseph Smith was the one who had the first plural marriage in the faith, started “sealings” in the temple, and also believed and preached about eternal marriage. Also notable to mention here is that the Mormon church declared the end to polygamy in 1890, but the fundamentalist sect, no longer allowed in the Mormon church, still abided by and followed the teachings of Joseph Smith’s ideas and practice of polygamy. I think that’s a solid, extremely basic version of the Brown’s religion. Again, I don’t want to get ahead of the exposition of the series, so I’m keeping it short and sweet for now.
This whole first episode leads up to the big family meeting at the end of the episode. The entire Brown family gets together in one room to hear Kody tell them that he’s officially courting Robyn. The kids generally are okay with it, with the older kids clearly trying to process through what a fourth wife would mean to the family dynamics, since no new wife has entered their family since before any of the kids were born. It’s hard to read what the wives feel, as they are maintaining their composure (this is part of their religion, after all).
So what happens next with this family? How do MLMs play into this at all? Who is Robyn?
All will be answered in time. See you in the next article.