Kody Brown and his four sister wives have sometimes asked audiences more questions than answers about their polygamous faith and way of life.
Kody Brown and his four wives brought polygamy into the mainstream on Sister Wives, but what should we know about their faith and their way of life? Polygamy has always been considered a taboo, and Kody and his wives have sought to show the public that they are just normal people like everyone else. Yet their religious practices are unique and are not fully understood. Here’s what we know about the Brown family religion and plural marriages.
Kody Brown grew up as a traditional Mormon, until his father felt called by God to “practice” when he was in his forties. The practice refers to polygamy or having more than one wife. Kody Brown followed in his father’s footsteps and decided to enter into plural marriages with four women. His four wives are Meri, Jenelle, Christine and Robyn, but since polygamy is not legal in the United States, he is only legally married to his last wife, Robyn. His other three marriages are considered “spiritual unionsand are only recognized by his church. Because polygamy is illegal, the Browns have left their church in Utah behind and are currently living in separate houses in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Kody and his wives Meri, Jenelle, Christine and Robyn belong to a branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their sect, called the United Brethren Apostolic Church, recognizes the Mormon Church as legitimate, but they think there is one thing the church was wrong: prohibiting polygamy. AUB is more fundamentalist than the Mormon Church, but is not the same as The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS). The AUB church has made sure to distance itself from the FLDS by reiterating that women must be 18 to marry and can choose their own husbands. The founder of the church wanted to be transparent with his community about the beliefs of the church so that their way of life was not seen as a threat, and the Browns went through the same thought process when they agreed to film. Sister Wives.
The Apostolic United Brethren Church to which all Browns belong believes polygamy is one of God’s desires. The founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, also practiced and preached polygamy, and AUB believes that Mormons should never have banned this practice and must keep it alive. Polygamy is one-sided, which means that women cannot have multiple husbands. The Brown family believe that the “gospel” calls for plural marriage to make their families stronger and help them live as God intended. Along with traditional Mormons, they believe that after death they will be eternally married to their spouses in the highest level of heaven, which is called heavenly heaven. In the case of Kody and his wives, they do not need to be legally married to be all together in Heaven, as they have each been “sealed” into spiritual marriage by their church.
When asked why they chose plural marriage over monogamy, the Brown family gave different answers. Kody said it was based on their religious tenets, but Christine said it was because of Kody himself. Robyn said she sees beauty in it and the relationship with God she creates. For AUB, plural marriage is just as important to God as anything else in the Bible, and to Kody and his wives, it’s what gives their lives meaning, even in difficult times. .
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