I remember very vividly being proposed to by a man 20 years older than I, and who already had 3 wives and many kids.
Here I was in high school, dating my high school sweetheart. I was happy. My boyfriend and I talked of marriage, but knew we had to wait until we graduated, and could afford it.
He knew a lot of my past and still accepted and loved me unconditionally, and kept my wishes of never telling anyone of my past. I kept it a secret from everyone. I did not want to be judged, I just wanted to be accepted. He was raised in a LDS home, going to church weekly, and parents married in the LDS temple, but he never judged me.
I was raised in a church that was a break off from the LDS church, with parents living the law of consecration, and plural marriage, aka, polygamy. My dad took on 2 other wives, because that is what the church wanted him to do. We attended church at different member's homes. One of the homes we lived in when I was young, was in Provo, Utah and had a very large office. This office was turned into our chapel. How weird it may have looked to have pews in our house. I guess it was a good thing we were home schooled and did not have any friends.
Our family attended church weekly, held family home evening every Monday, said family prayers every morning and evening together. We knelt on the floor in a circle, and held hands for our family prayers. Most of our family traditions were just as my boyfriend's family growing up. So technically, we grew up the same, but so very different at the same time.
My dad died of cancer when I was 15 years old. I was very close to my dad, and always struggled with what is right and what I really believed to be right. My dad was so smart and knew his way around the scriptures so well, and could not prove polygamy to be wrong. My dad studied all the time, and researched everything. It was hard for me to not believe my dad's beliefs were correct. But I struggled with it often.
After my dad died, my mom lost control of her 5 kids still living at home. We all stopped going to church, except my mom. She was devoted, and this was all she knew for 12 years. Her friends and support group were all there, plus the church kinda owned us. I'm sure it was hard for her to walk away. Other families that tried to leave were shunned by everyone. My mom did everything she could to maintain our family of 5 that was left living at home.
When I was 17 or 18 my mom told me that Joe (this is not his real name) wanted to talk with me. I knew Joe well, and his 3 wives. I knew him as a church member when he was a young man coming to our home for church. He later married three sisters, my "cousins". My dad was married to their mom, so we called them our "cousins". I used to babysit for joe and his first wife when they had their first few kids. After some odd years, he ended up marrying all 3 of them and having more kids.
So when my mom told me of him wanting to talk with me, I was curious, but not weirded out at all, at least not yet. So I met Joe and his first wife at a little park by my house to talk. We sat down at the picnic table, and he proceeded to tell me that my dad had come to him in a dream and told him he was to marry me. Now this freaked me out! I was torn. I didn't know what to say, or do, or how to act. I already had a boyfriend, who I adored and loved and who treated me like a princess. I don't remember what I said, I was probably dumbfounded, and told him I would think about it.
When I got home, my mom was in the front room on the phone with him. She told him she would talk to me and let him know the answer. She asked me what I thought about it. I didn't know what to do. All I remember was not wanting to marry this old man. I did not want to share my husband. I wanted to be with my boyfriend, and no one else, but at the same time, make my dad proud. I wanted to do what was right, even if it meant for me to be unhappy. I wanted to go to heaven. Clearly with my dad already being in heaven, he would not lead me astray by having me marry the wrong person.
Now in my confused, lost, sad, and perplexed state, I called my boyfriend and talked to him about it. I didn't know what to do. I wanted to please my dad, and do the right thing. I remember very clearly his words, "Does it give you a good feeling or a bad feeling? Good feelings are from God, and bad feelings are of the Devil." These words made all the difference to me. He never judged me, but he did hate this guy for trying to marry me, and deceive me. Me, an innocent girl, and him an old man with 3 wives, and way to many kids.
I don't think I ever gave my mom an answer, and she never asked me about it again. I asked her about this situation 15 years later. I asked her what Joe had said, or how it all went down. She could not remember, but she did say that living this life was never easy and she would never try to push any of us into it if we did not want it. She left all of us to choose what we wanted, and believe what we felt right.
My mom has since left that church and moved back to the LDS church. I don't know what she really believes in, but I think she is much happier with the LDS church. And me, I married my high school sweetheart. I still question what is right, but I am comfortable, and I believe I am a good person, and I treat people right. All that's what matters to me.