The Polygamists

In the February issue, National Geographic magazine takes a in-depth look at the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), who still practice plural marriage. Pictured is the family of Joe Jessop, who has five wives, 46 children, and 239 grandchildren.
Members of the faith describe the life that the Jessops and other founding families have built as idyllic, one in which old-fashioned devotion and neighborly cooperation are emphasized and children are raised in a wholesome environment free of television and junk food and social pressures. Critics, on the other hand, see the FLDS as an isolated cult whose members, worn down by rigid social control, display a disturbing fealty to one man, the prophet Warren Jeffs—who has claimed to be God's mouthpiece on Earth.

To spend time in Hildale and Colorado City is to come away with a more nuanced view. That view is revealed gradually, however, due to the insular nature of the community. Many of the oversize homes are tucked behind high walls, both to give children a safe place to play and to shield families from gawking Gentiles, as non-Mormons are known. Most residents avoid contact with strangers. National Geographic was given access to the community only on the approval of the church leadership, in consultation with the imprisoned Warren Jeffs.


(image credit: Stephanie Sinclair)

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Manpace, cash benefits are rare these days. Most government welfare comes in the form of food stamps and Medicaid. The article you linked says that plenty of people in these counties USE these programs, but they don't commit FRAUD by lying about eligibility. Unmarried women who can't work because they have young children are eligible for benefits. That's not fraud, but whether it's RIGHT fuels the argument.
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"Do they really support their wives through welfare benefits? Just curious."

I think it's the conventional wisdom, but perhaps my assumptions are not as valid as I thought.

Anecdotally: I remember going to the grocery store in Hilldale ten years ago or so and seeing WIC instructions at the checkout, and the gal in front of me using food stamps or WIC something or other instead of cash.

The question is, do the multiple wives have any benefit from the government not recognizing their marriage? Even though they have husbands, they are accounted as single mothers, when they really don't fit the definition.
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Do they really support their wives through welfare benefits? Just curious.

The 'One Cubic Foot' article in this issue of NG is actually why I bought it (& it's neatoramaworthy):
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