Excerpts from The Daily Harem, Utah’s polygamy newspaper, written by polygamists, for polygamists. (Circulation: 100 households/500,000 readers.)
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Tom Green’s Wife Has Another Child; Green ‘Didn’t Even Know She Was Pregnant’
GREENHAVEN — Tom Green, on trial merely for practicing the religion God gave him, said Thursday he was “surprised” one of his five wives, LeeAnn, had given birth.
“Another one?!” he said, exasperated. “Crap O’Friday, I didn’t even know she was pregnant.” Green then asked for assistance in remembering “which one is LeeAnn.”
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Jensen Family Breaks Softball League into Jensen West and Jensen East Leagues
JENSENHAVEN — LeGreat Jensen announced Thursday his family’s softball league, populated entirely by his children and coached by his wives, would split into two leagues effective next season.
“When (first wife) Karynne and I first got married, we joked about having enough kids to start a softball team,” Jensen said. “Well, that didn’t take long. Between her and the sister-wives, we had a softball team inside of three years.” Since then, Jensen has had enough children to create 14 softball teams, with several kids still warming the bench. With the birth of MayTenth Jensen last week, the patriarch decided it was time to split the league.
Inter-league trading of players will not be permitted, but inter-league marriages will be.
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Dear Miss Manners: I am a 13-year-old girl, and I recently married my uncle, who is, I don’t know, like 50 or something. I did this of my own free will and choice because I love him deeply and desire my womb to bear the fruit of his loins so that we may populate the Earth with righteous seed. Also, he promised me some candy.
At the wedding ceremony, one of my bridesmaids, who is both my sister and my aunt, wore her hair up, with the use of hair-spray and other styling products. She also failed to wear the standard gingham dress, choosing instead to make a mockery of the occasion by wearing a provocative number such as one might see in the worldly magazines, which revealed several inches of her calves and other naughty parts. My mother, who is also my granddaughter, was appalled and thinks I should have said something. However, my brother, who is my step-niece, says I was right to remain silent. What do you think?
Dear Reader: Miss Manners is glad you did not ruin the occasion by causing a scene. Surely the ruckus your sister-aunt caused by going against standard polygamist dress and grooming standards was enough commotion for one sacred, holy event.
Quietly take your husband-uncle aside and ask him to take your sister-aunt behind the woodshed and thrash her to within an inch of her life. This should be done until she is blue, or blue-black.
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ALSO IN TODAY’S PAPER:
– Local Professor Tries to Diagram Family Tree; Head Explodes (A2)
– Man Marries Fetus (A8)
– Survey: Residents Consider Same-Sex Marriage a ‘Weird Abomination’ (B2)
– New Polygamy Musical ‘Manifesto, Shmanifesto’ Opens at Halehaven Center Theater (C5)
– Man Marries Self (A4)
– Local Teen Ejected from All-You-Can-Eat Restaurant for Having Plurality of Muffins (A10)
– Man Reduced to Microscopic Size, Injected into Bloodstream, Marries Flu Virus
– Birth announcements (B16-50)
Tom Green (the polygamist, not the MTV monstrosity) was on trial in May 2001 for bigamy -- the first such trial in Utah in a half-century. He freely admits to being a polygamist for religious reasons, and he is one of many in Utah.
Polygamy has been against the law in the state for more than 100 years, but it's not prosecuted often, largely because it's difficult to prove. None of the marriages are official, legal ones, and it's hard to prove that someone is living together enough to consider them "married" -- let alone prove that someone is doing that with several women at once.
The polygamists tend to live in their own compounds with names like Greenhaven (Tom Green's place). They mind their own business, and most folks have a "live and let live" attitude -- except that polygamists are notorious for marrying girls at very young ages, and reports of abuse in the very strictly patriarchal societies are rampant. They tend to marry within the family, too. That's where folks get upset, naturally.
Tom Green's defense was that while he was at one time legally married to each of his five wives, he also divorced each of them before marrying the next -- to avoid the legal repercussions of being married to more than one woman at once. The prosecution's tactic was to prove that one of the wives was a "common law wife" -- that is, that he'd lived with her long enough to consider her a legal wife. And once she's proven to be his wife, they just had to prove he'd cohabited with other women while "married" to her.
Tom Green was convicted the day this column appeared. He was sentenced to up to life in prison and in 2004 was granted parole effective in August 2007.
The Tom Green trial was a huge deal. It was seen by many as an attempt to sweep some of Utah's unpleasant underbelly under the rug before the 2002 Olympics -- sort of a message to the polygamists, "Don't embarrass us in front of the company." And of course those who believe polygamy should still be practiced for religious reasons (the LDS Church renounced it in 1890 and excommunicates those who practice it, including Green) came out of the woodwork, seeing this as their grand opportunity to state their beliefs for all the world to see.
I considered several different options for a polygamy column and finally hit on this one. I think the Miss Manners segment is the one that first occurred to me, and then I decided to do a whole polygamist newspaper. The "Daily Harem"/Daily Herald joke confirmed to me I'd made the right choice.
Some notes on the jokes: Tom Green's wife LeeAnn really did go into false labor on the first day of the trial. She was not due for another month, however, and did not have the baby early after all.
The name MayTenth Jensen is a reference to a joke I never got around to making -- that after having a billion kids, you'd start running out of names and start naming them after the day they were born on.
"This should be done until she is blue, or blue-black" (which is very nearly tasteless, but which I find very funny) is a reference to how Miss Manners' newspaper column ends. It advises people with etiquette questions to write them on writing paper "in black or blue-black ink."
The name of the musical "Manifesto, Shmanifesto" refers to the announcement known to Mormons as "The Manifesto." It was issued in 1890, and it's the statement to the church that no new polygamous marriages are to be entered into from that time forward. Polygamists, obviously, ignore The Manifesto.
This was quite possibly the most popular "Snide Remarks" column to date. The comments at the Herald Web site were almost universally positive, apparently even from people who normally hated me. Many fans also expressed fond feelings for it. I guess I finally found the one thing Utahns can all agree on.