Our mission is to connect individuals who have left polygamy to resources in their communities and provide assistance for their journey to the outside world. We award scholarshipsfor education toward a GED up to a bachelor level degree, including trade-skill certificates. We believe education is a key difference in helping those from polygamy toward a successful self-sufficient future. Hope After Polygamy is founded by women who left polygamy and have firsthand experiences of the barriers faced by those transitioning out.
YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS GIVE HOPE TO THOSE WHO HAVE LEFT POLYGAMY
Polygamous communities are complex. You do not have to actually get to the stage of being/having a plural wife to experience the systemic oppression of polygamy, and heart-wrenching journey of escaping. We were born into the system of polygamy, or better said, the cult of polygamy. We were groomed from infancy that polygamy was our way of life. Many of us were one of many children to a father with many marital relations. Some families live with all the wives and children, some are spread out with each mother in her own home. Each family or group practices polygamy in its own unique way, with the common thread that polygamy was our religion, it was our way of life. We had no other options for our futures, but to participate in the polygamous system we were born into, or escape. Some of us do become/have a wife before we escape and some of us get out before we’re betrothed. Nonetheless, the escape for everyone comes with an immeasurable amount of loss. We lose our family, friends, futures, birthrights, worthiness, identity, salvation…. everything! Yet, each of us can tell you that it is worth it!
Michelle Michaels is a strong-minded woman raised in the Kingston Order, with a very unique story. Michelle was one of the fortunate girls allowed to receive an education. However, many people in polygamy, especially women, do not earn an education without stipulations. Michelle was no different. Like most of the Order children, she attended the Order's school, Ensign Learning Center, for her elementary years. She was taught only by school teachers who are members of the Order community. She attended school with other children from polygamy. Michelle recalls knowing for years that she would leave the Order if "things did not change" when she became older. She kept her head down, avoided whatever punishments she could, and observed the world around her, figuring out how she could survive. Michelle was further blessed to pursue her college education without having to be married; however, this came at a cost. She was not allowed to pursue the degree and education she desired for her own career. In fact, she remembers her father telling her that her dreams of becoming a school math teacher were “stupid” and “would not help advance the Order.”
Representative Walt Brooks presented H.B. 343 to lawmakers in the 2018 Utah legislative session with intention to amend the youth and child welfare laws, and succeeded with a unanimous vote in the House (Davidson & Carlisle, 2018). There have been speculation that these amendments singled out a specific religious group, but they do not single out any specific religious or cultural group. Instead, they protect ALL children in Utah, regardless of their religious or cultural group. Brooks was quoted saying, “We’re a family-friendly state, so we want them to be with families, but not if the family is going to hurt them”(Associated Press, 2018).