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How to Be a Sister Wife

In 1890, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints disavowed polygamy. But a small number of men in Mormon fundamentalist splinter groups take on more than one wife, and these co-wives call themselves "sister wives." Do you have what it takes to share a husband? These guidelines will help you decide.


  • Step 1: Be good at keeping your lifestyle a secret. In some states, a man can be found guilty of bigamy through cohabitation with a woman other than his wife, even if he hasn't signed marriage contracts with them.
  • Step 2: Don't even think about bringing home a cute "brother husband." When it comes to plural marriages among breakaway Mormons, the guys have all the fun.
  • FACT: One study estimates that polygamy is practiced by 37,000 Mormon fundamentalists in Utah and Arizona alone.
  • Step 3: Respect the pecking order. The first wife usually wields the most power in the household, the newest wife the least. The husband has ultimate control over everyone.
  • TIP: Because only one woman can be the legal wife in a polygamous marriage, the women who are wives in spirit only often apply for public assistance as single mothers.
  • Step 4: Enjoy taking care of children. Assuming you have no fertility problems, you'll be having a lot of them; birth control is frowned upon -- if not downright forbidden -- among Mormon fundamentalist groups. Plus, you'll be helping to take care of your sister wives' kids.
  • Step 5: Prepare to be strapped for cash if you want to be a sister wife. Lots of children means lots of bills, and in very traditional polygamous households, wives don't work outside the home.
  • Step 6: Get over any jealousy issues you might have. To be a sister wife, you must accept that not only will your husband be having sex with other women, but bringing home new, younger wives.

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