(S0304) This week, Kody visits his family for the first time in years, and it's a mixed welcome. First of all, it seems that Kody wasn't really raised in his faith so much as he converted at a pretty young age. He was mainstream Mormon, and he went off on his mission like he was supposed to, and when he came back, he learned that his parents had moved to a Fundamentalist church and had become polygamists. He'd apparently been thinking all along that this was a good move, and when he came home to it, he followed his parents. But all his friends, who were raised with him and thought he had the same faith as them were shocked and confused and many took it as a betrayal. A typical reaction was that he was stupid or gullible and had joined a cult.
Now, 20 years later, he's coming home for a visit with his family, and he isn't pretending that they aren't all four of his wives. Kody meets with his best friend from childhood, Ken, and the vibe seems to come down to a don't-ask-don't-tell about their religious views. Both men have very strong faiths, and now they aren't the same faith, and Ken seems to see that as more of a roadblock than Kody does.
After that, there's a meet up with other highschool friends, and some are very understanding and some are not at all, and the division is usually by gender. Most of the women are willing to listen and try to understand, and even to see the good side of the polygamist lifestyle, while the men are all "your happiness threatens our faith" and all that. This isn't what I would have expected; I mean, what guy can't see the immediate benefit of being allowed to have more than one wife? I'm sure there's an anthropological study there just waiting to happen.
Meanwhile, since they now know that Robyn's having a boy, she's picked a name, but she's not telling. Not until the credits, anyway. They wanted a strong, biblical name for him, something that they don't have already, something unusual, and they picked Solomon.
This is one of those episodes that puts you back on the side of the Browns. They're being really brave, with Kody and Meri going back to where they came from and where it sounds like they were basically herded out of, and being really open and letting people ask questions. But all they get is a lot of theological defensiveness and a certain amount of narrowmindedness from some of the people they've known their whole lives. On the other hand, they also get a lot of honest curiosity that Kody hopes will make his parents' lives easier, since they've been living under this stigma all this time while he went off and made his way in the world. We don't see much of them, and nothing at all of Meri's family, but that's got to be hard.
There was a lot of talk in this episode from these people who knew Kody before about 'tolerance', but it was pretty clear that this definition of tolerance is different from what it should be. Here, it seemed to translate as something like "I think you're entirely wrong, probably sinful and most likely going to hell, but I'm going to keep my mouth shut". Really, it should be "let's get to know what this means to you and chip away at whatever this is that's between us". It was extremely gratifying to see all the wives getting pissed off about this condescension and double-standard-ing.
And it was nice to get a break from all the drama that's been building up back home. The kids are hardly even part of this episode, Utah and Nevada are barely mentioned, and everyone pulls together against this onslaught of not entirely friendly attention. It was a vacation, of sorts, and it was refreshing of the editors to let us also be on vacation with them.
More thoughts on Sister Wives, "Defending Polygamy":
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