SALT LAKE (ABC 4 News) – Not all polygamists live in walled compounds or wear dresses. Many live among us in normal neighborhoods and wear normal clothes.
Anne Wilde is one of those women. She said the bond between sister wives is a good thing. She is dedicated to educating others about plural families and their culture.
“This would have never happened several years ago because we were afraid of the risk,” Wilde said.
But times have changed and so have the people who practice polygamy.
Wilde said there are many families in the Salt Lake area living among us, but living in silence.
“By far the majority wear just regular clothes like everybody else,” she said. “You wouldn't know if you were sitting next to us on the bus or at a movie.”
Wilde was married for nine years in a monogamous relationship. After a divorce, she remarried into a plural family. She was a sister wife for 33 years, until her husband’s recent death.
Wilde said the TLC television show, “Sister Wives,” is a good example of a family making it work in modern day society.
“I know the family well and I think they're doing an excellent job,” Wilde said. “I'm amazed at how open they are just telling everything.”
The 75-year-old is committed to teaching people about polygamy to break stereotypes.
“If we do not change the perception of this lifestyle, they [the government] are going to continue to pass worse and worse laws against us,” she explained.
There is diversity among polygamists. Wilde roughly estimated that of about 38,000 people who believe in “The Principle,” less than half live in polygamist families. She said it is a lifestyle that is fulfilling and empowering.
“Hey, this works for us,” Wilde said. “Please don't criticize us for forming a family. We are not breaking any other law, we're tax payers, we're not abusive to our children, and there's no domestic violence.”
Wilde is the co-author of the book “Voices in Harmony” and co-founder of the non profit organization “Principle Voices.”