Although Conspiracy Meow! headquarters is in a relatively remote portion of the U.S., it was still surprising when two polygamist survivors came into the purview of this publication. There are many cable TV series detailing the lives of polygamist practitioners, Escaping Polygamy, Sister Wives, and My Five Wives to name a few, however, it is another experience altogether to hear firsthand how these sects exist and operate under the societal radar. Through means of constant relocation, methods to avoid mandated reporters, and efforts to collect nontaxable revenue, it is no accident that these sects have evolved to thrive while in hiding. This is the story of how two polygamists made it out of their restrictive life and into the world on their own and in spite of great difficulty.
The first point to cover in this story is the terror that these two had to overcome to even be willing to venture away from all that they knew to simply be able to live freely. From birth members of these groups are constantly conditioned to fear and avoid all outsiders and question nothing. To be expelled from their community is to be left in a place they know little about and are truly on their own. Imagine starting out in the world with no formal education, only the clothes on your back, and no record of your existence. In the case of the two in this situation, the fear of the unknown was less a problem than the direction they knew they were being forced within their own community.
From a young age, the female in this story Megan (*not her real name) had been living for some time in the Midwest. It is difficult to sort out how many times her family had moved before this and if they still live where she last knew of their whereabouts. Apparently, her father one day received a call warning him about a police investigation that would affect him (it is unclear if a family member warned the father or an outsider). The father being a man of limited means from his under the table earning power, reached out to their network members (spanning the entirety of the country and likely further) and was financed to move west onto a property in the mountains. The effort was a success for the father who managed totally to avoid police involvement, as he disappeared untraced like so many others.
In the western mountains, their lifestyle continued. Her mother was all but chained to the house while the males of age move around society more freely. As Megan grew into a teenager it was decided without her consent or input, that she was to marry a much older man who had many wives already. Her parents began to isolate her more and more in order to coerce her to agree to marry the man who repulsed her. He was the only human contact she was allowed for weeks on end. As cruel and controlling as this tactic was it eventually also lead to her liberation. When Megan was alone for so long on those days, she found a kindred soul who also was disenchanted with their way of life. He was another teenager from her community who was unwed. He would stand outside of her window while she was locked inside and offer her the much needed emotional support she lacked.
Their friendship became a pact and they ran away together knowing Megan had little time left before the isolation method her family had been using was replaced with something more forceful to exact her compliance into a forced marriage. Time passed and they established themselves in a place they had never really been introduced to. Eventually, they married and settled into a comfortable life. Theirs is a happier ending than many.
There are some specifics about these sects that are worth mentioning. One being that unrecorded births are all too common. When a mother in this community gives birth, they do so at home and there is no documentation of the child. An unassuming person would not see the danger of this, but when a person is not documented as existing, it is also not documented when they die and it would be difficult to follow-up on murder if the victim was never known to have lived to begin with. Another alarming aspect of a sect like this is the radical beliefs held by members as a norm. Many of these communities believe the blonder and more blue-eyed the more "pure" the person is. This appalling ideology combined with an already shallow gene pool makes for some very sick babies and children who are not permitted to receive medical treatment for congenital conditions.
Another area of concern regarding these factions is the untaxed revenue that these communities survive off of. Many operate under a "bleed the beast" ideology, which encourages white-collar crime to finance their life on the lam. Victim's rights seem to go the wayside when institutionalized crime has so little funding for an investigation. It is often because sects like this are still treated like religions and not the criminal organizations that they really are. No one should have immunity from mandated reporters or health and well-being protection yet selective enforcement and lack of follow up have enabled polygamists to carry on their lifestyle right under our nose. In this case, it was a short drive away.