Monday, December 29, 2008

Close Encounter

We have been visiting for the past few days in southern Utah. Today we went shopping at Walmart and I saw some polygamist women. My son had never seen polygamists before, so I quietly pointed them out to him. He questioned how I knew they were actual polygamists. I told him that I lived and worked here when I was a young adult, and I had become familiar with them then.

My son was quite surprised by the women he saw. But the look on the face of one of the women was like she thought we looked odd too. We didn't really exchange any words, and we didn't make eye contact. They soon moved to a quicker check out line. I have to admit that part of me would like to sit down and talk with them and ask them questions. I have always heard people with physical handicaps say that they wished people would ask questions rather than stare, so I wonder if the polygamists feel the same way. I for one would love to talk to them, but I don't know how they would take it.

After we checked out, I stopped to go to the restroom, and sent my oldest kids out to the car. When I got in the restroom, I saw that a couple of women were standing waiting in line. One of those women was an elderly polygamist woman. I was so surprised at the difference between her and the two women I had just seen. This older woman smiled at me and made eye contact. She had a long red braid. I wanted to compliment her on her beautiful red hair, and also on the fact that despite being older than me, she had much less gray hair. But once again, I know that my inquisitiveness might be more than they can take, so I didn't talk much. I did speak to her a little.

She had two little boys with her. One of them couldn't have been more than 7 years old, but he had a nice leather sheath with a big pocket knife inside hanging from his belt. I was standing drying my hands under the electric dryer and as one of the little boys was coming up to wash his hands he pointed towards me and said, "That's the one I want to use". I smiled and said, "Yes this is the good one!" (referring to the electric dryer.

I may not agree with their lifestyle, and we may be universes apart culturally, but something about that old woman's warm smile made me wish that I could talk to her more. I wonder if they feel the same about me.


Nene said...

I think you should have made a comment to them. They are people like us who don't mind friendly people speaking to them. When I arrived in Ireland, after we went through customs and got our luggage I went in to the ladies room. As I was drying my hands, a French lady was drying her hands at one of the other machines. Her little girl was terrified of the hand dryer and wouldn't come up to it but stood there with dripping hands. Her mom kept trying to coax her but she wouldn't budge. I looked at her and said, (rubbing my hands together) :Ah! It's nice and warm!) The mother said something to the little girl, she looked over at me and s-l-o-w-l-y walked up and put her hands under it. I just smiled at them and left.

Inside Stories said...

SInce my DIL is from a polygamist family, I have met several of them. I am sure it depends upon the individual, but the ones I have met do NOT want to talk about the polygamist part of their lives, and their husbands don't want them to either. Part of it is the persecution that group has been having lately. But the more I meet these women and see their lives for myself, the sorrier I am for them.

Max said...

Hi D!

I am so glad you wrote this article!! I always wanted to ask your opinion on this polygamy issue...I understand that not all mormons follow this; but what is your opinion on it?

You are so kind, D...I think you should have complimented the lady on her beautiful red hair, perhaps she would have liked it!

I have seen a documentary about polygamists from around the world, on CNN, and there were some polygamist women (from Utah) and I liked them for they seemed strong and organised.
All I say is: as long as one is not forced into being in such situations, if one is happy...who am I to judge?

Excellent article and I hope you are having an excellent time :D!

I would also like to thank you for a magnificent blogging year! Thanks for being a regular reader and a good friend! I wish you, and yours, a Happy New Year :D!!!


JJJ said...

You worry about what others "might" say too much. should of just asked, worst that would of happened is they said, " i rather not talk about that " or something along those lines.

I also find it interesting that even Mormons seem to have that "afraid" to talk to other Mormons even if the only difference is being fundamental or not.

I still cant understand how most of the religions in the world believe in One God, and that god stands for the same things, Yet do to a few passages, or a few different translations or interpretations. That suddenly everyone that does not believe in that one or two certain things is suddenly not a Catholic,(or what ever) but some "Kind of" Catholic.

Religion is suppose to bring people together, not isolate and label. But maybe i just don't grasp that cause i am not religious.

But you still should of just asked, how else to learn about other people then from them themselves and not what you are taught or told.

(just like the American Indian history differs from what most people are taught.)

JJJ said...

Oh and on a side note, I agree D is such a kind person, after all she still talks to me after three years, and that can be hard to do!!

Max said...


LOL LOL LOL "I agree D is such a kind person, after all she still talks to me after three years, and that can be hard to do!!" :)!

Happy New Year to you, from Portugal!!


Liberty said...

I am so glad that you wrote this article on your blog. I am a polygamist from Southern Utah (altough, from the description, not part of the same group as the ladies that you met). I am always encouraged by those who stop to talk, or comment, etc. It gives me a chance to interact and alleviate some of the "fear". There are so many steryotypes about polygamists and most of it is because there is so much unknown. Our livestyle isn't really so strange and I love being able to explain and communicate with those that are curious. Thanks again. I think things like this are wonderful.

Much Appreciation!!!