Book review: Love Times Three

by Joe, Alina, Vicki, and Valerie Darger


In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; and in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning, the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]; and if he does not, he cannot obtain it. –Doctrine and Covenants 131:1-3

Joe, Alina, Vicki, and Val are the parents of 21 children, sharing a 5,500 square-foot home in Utah. Yes, the authors are married … to each other, living the Principle, celestial marriage, the only way to obtain heaven’s highest reward. This is a real-life inside peek at Mormon polygamy, without the sensationalism. If the only thing you know about Mormon Fundamentalists is what you’ve seen on TV about Warren Jeffs (whose coerced marriages to underage girls and sexual abuses landed him on the FBI’s Most Wanted List in 2006), then you’re the target audience of JAV&V.

Between the 25 of them, they share ten family cars. They do ten loads of laundry a day, run through 36 rolls of toilet paper a week, and consume 3-5 loaves of daily bread. (I imagine that Matthew 6:7 is a verse often quoted.) Life is complex, busy, fulfilling, and … generally quite happy, especially for the children. The most trying obstacle to their lifestyle may be the required secrecy, for polygamy remains against the law in Utah, punishable by up to five years in prison.

But this married quartet have had enough of living a white lie. Says Joe, “It’s time to end our silence, and time for us to share with the world what living in a polygamous family is really like.” So, the four of them take turns in this daring book talking about the trials and rewards of their chosen way of life.

Jealousy is one of the more serious trials, of course. Joe must carefully balance his devotion between his three wives. A carefully-planned schedule determines where he sleeps each night, who gets the next date, and who sits in the front seat beside him as as he drives. Money management is inevitably another problem in celestial marriages, when you’re trying to feed and clothe a couple dozen people. Persecution by bigoted acquaintances, often in the workplace, is a third. But life isn’t meant to be easy.

All in all, this lifestyle surely isn’t for me, but I fail to see why polygamist practices as wholesome as that described in Love Times Three don’t deserve the same respect we seem to be finally awarding to other alternative marriage arrangements.

1 Comment

  1. It’s always easier to criticize the community for the crimes of the sensational. Nice to see another side to this.

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