Previous Event

September 24, 2006
"The Ethics of Polygamy"

by Troy Bowles

Troy Bowles grew up in a polygamous family. At age 17 he stopped participating in the religion. After spending some time in the US Navy, he returned to Utah and got involved in political activism. He busied himself writing his story and telling of the ethical problems he saw within polygamous society. In 2003 he spoke before the Utah State Senate Judiciary Committee and voiced his protests about the inactive position taken by law enforcement with regard to the common practice of arranged marriages between polygamous men and underage girls. At that time, Rodney Holm, a Colorado City/Hildale police officer was married to and had children with an underage girl.  Warren Jeffs was also living in a mansion in Hildale with several underage wives, and was the sole authority for his faction in the performance of plural marriages. Holm was subsequently arrested and convicted. Jeffs has also been arrested recently. Troy’s participation in these events led to an interest in philosophy and a change in his major from the Electronic Technology that he had studied in the Navy. He is currently in his senior year at the University of Utah, majoring in philosophy.

“There are various ethical ideas surrounding the issue of polygamy. Using stories and examples from my own experience, I will explicate these views and speculate about the possible future of the legality of polygamy in the US.”

Suggested References and Resources:
Bistline, Benjamin. The Polygamists.
This is the only book available that gives a history of Colorado City.  Some of my discussion will come from historical information I have received from Mr. Bistline.
Mormon Scripture. Section 132, The Doctrine and Covenants.
Section 132 discusses the theological background for the practice of Mormon-based polygamy. Mormon Fundamentalists refer to this piece of scripture as the authority for their practice of polygamy.