Escaping Polygamy- A World of Othering

Escaping Polygamy is a docuseries that follows 5 women who escaped from the Kingston polygamous organization, also known as The Order. These women have dedicated their lives to helping other individuals escape Polygamy. One of the most eye-catching aspects of this show is the portrayal of the polygamous organizations the women go up against. Between the two main cults explored in this show, I will talk about the FLDS polygamous cult.

FLDS stands for the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It’s run by Warren Jeffs (currently serving life + 20 years for statutory rape of 2 ‘spiritual wives’, ages 15 and 12) who believes to be the Prophet and the key to reaching the Celestial Kingdom. One of the biggest takeaways from this show is just how isolated members from the FLDS are, and how they do everything they possibly can to keep it that way. Members who have left the organization are referred to as Apostates and aren’t allowed back to see their families. The FLDS refers to everyone outside of the religion as Gentiles. From the FLDS perspective, they are the One and everyone else is the Other. 

The FLDS not only Others the rest of the world, but they also Other their own members. The FLDS, as per the show, is notorious for separating families and sending away family members to ‘repent’ with no explanation. This is one of the many ways the Prophet maintains his power and control over the organization. One of the episodes in this show is about a woman named Lizzy. She was deemed ‘unworthy’ by the Prophet, so her daughter was physically taken away from her and sent to live with another family. At the time of this episode, Lizzy hadn’t seen her daughter in 3 years, had no clue where she was, and Lizzy herself was sent to a house of repentance (an isolated house in the middle of nowhere) to be left alone for months. This is Othering. The show tracked Lizzy down after it was contacted by one of Lizzy’s concerned friends who had escaped. 

Now, there is another perspective to discuss here. Just like how the FLDS Others the rest of the world and their own members, this show Others the FLDS. Docuseries are typically made to educate the general public on a specific topic. I, as someone who had no prior knowledge regarding the FLDS, was taught by the show that this organization is dangerous and infringes upon basic human rights. From the perspective of the show, everyone else is the One and the FLDS is the Other. While the FLDS literally isolated their members from the rest of society, this show figuratively isolated the organization from the rest of mainstream society. 

From the FLDS Othering the rest of the world and their own members, to the show Othering the FLDS, Othering is at the root of this docuseries. After watching this show, I was able to formulate an opinion regarding the FLDS and polygamous organizations in general. But I question how much of my opinion was formed as a result of the show’s Othering and portrayal of polygamy. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *