In 2011, the Sister Wives Blog started out as a place to talk about the TLC reality show "Sister Wives", Kody Brown and his wives Christine, Robyn, Meri and Janelle. Today we not only discuss the show, we discuss Polygamy in our society, and the public perceptions of the Mormon Religion. We discuss "Polygamy USA" and will be covering "My 5 Wives."
This blog is geared towards the adult reader, so please, no one under the age of 18 years. Thank you!
the practice of professing standards, beliefs, feelings, virtues, etc, contrary to one's real character or actual behavior, esp. the pretence of virtue and piety; falseness
(Definition from Dictionary.com and the Free On-line Dictionary)
A number of blog commenters and several professional journalists have accused Brown family members of being hypocrites. Are they? What is a hypocrite?
To answer these questions I turned to the experts. Imagine my surprise when I learned that the religion of Islam is very concerned about the subject of hypocrisy and Muslim scholars have well-defined definitions of hypocrites. Isn’t it ironic that religious figures would have something relevant to say about a family that is on TV because of its religion and won’t say that it’s because of their religion or says confusing things about their religion.
My Arabic reading skills are a bit rusty, which is why this post has taken so long to complete (and if you believe that, I have some oceanfront property in Arizona to sell you). As I understand it, Islam says that God classifies hypocrisy into 2 categories: hypocrisy of belief and hypocrisy of action.
Hypocrites who engage in hypocrisy of belief:
1.are “unenergetic” in performing the commandments and duties of their religion;
2.often don’t carry out commandments and duties that they don’t want to do;
3.carry out certain commandments and duties to show off and to be seen; and
4.rarely mention or remember God.
Do we even know what their religious beliefs, commandments and duties are other than plural marriage? I don’t, not for sure. It seems odd that we don’t see them pray much, or say grace before a meal, etc. Yes, these things can be edited out, but many times it looks on TV like those things just aren’t frequently done except in Christine’s home. I have always thought that the wives’ unique dress sense accommodated their “Garments”, although I wonder about Robyn. Haven’t we seen her wear sleeves that are too short to accommodate the Garments? Perhaps I am misinformed about the sleeve length of the Garments. It is a personal choice, I know, but still I wonder. After all, she is the wife who said they were “killing themselves to live this faith.” Regarding Victoria’s Secret, I won’t go there. Oh Lord, I just thought about it and now I need brain bleach.
Do the Browns carry out commandments and duties that they don’t want to do? We have seen what Kody and the wives told the teens about premarital sex, and it certainly wasn’t that premarital sex is wrong. Way to out Robyn for “living this faith” on that issue Madison [to be fair – are we proud of everything we did as teenagers? I personally refuse to answer this question]. And everyone has an opinion about Kissing-gate. Again, Christine refused to cross the line that she thought existed on this issue.
The teens are certainly forced to follow a dress code that they may not want to adopt (modest tops and NO BIKINIS as per Janelle). I infer from Janelle’s and Meri’s actions that the teens will burst into flames if not dressed appropriately; I observed that this applies only to the girls. The boys can dress in shorts with severely baggy rear-ends and no shirts without fear of spontaneous combustion. What a relief considering the Vegas heat. What a double standard – but more about that when we discuss hypocrisy of action in part 2.
It seems odd that the Browns might carry out certain commandments or duties primarily to show off and to be seen when they appear reluctant to do other religious things. However, they are pretty proud of their shiny celestial marriages and show them off every chance they get, and have been doing so for years and years. Yes, Christine, I am talking about you. They even sought out a TV show and a high profile court case to publicize their New and Everlasting Covenant of Celestial Marriage. As we saw on a recent episode, they are also not shy about televising a home church service, except for Mykelti, who felt it was inappropriate. Smart thinking girl! As so many others have said, how can such I-have-no-adjective-for-them adults raise such smart kids?
Finally, do the Browns frequently mention or remember God in their daily lives? I stated above that things can be edited out by TLC, but that many times it looks like it just isn’t happening, unless it is to point out that Presbyterians are sharks, presumably of the independent fundamentalist Mormon-eating variety. The kids went to church school for several years; religion would have been a part of their daily lives for a number of years. If you look at their bankruptcy filings you will also know that they “tithe”. Contrarily, while the TLC producers may control what religious material is seen on Sister Wives, Brown family members could, if they wanted to, say something about their faith in the numerous interviews they have given, or in their gazillion Tweets, or on their multiple Facebook accounts.
So I am very confused. It looks like the Browns are religious and also that they are not religious. Could they be trying to hide how religious they are?
This brings me to the second type of hypocrisy ...hypocrisy of action, which I will discuss in Part 2.
I’d like to know what examples of hypocrisy of belief you have seen with the Brown family ... or if you disagree with me. Am I just a suspicious old biddy who wants to polygraph everyone before I’ll believe them? Well, yes, but that’s because I like the comfy chair.