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.
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!
Planning our first event was exciting and scary at the same time. We were so excited to take the next step for Hope After Polygamy in establishing itself as a nonprofit and give out the first Hope After Polygamy Scholarships. We were all in new territory as founders of this nonprofit, but our hearts were in it to give what we could and make it all come together. We’d teeter into worries wondering if anyone would even come, you know all the worries you have when planning a big event. As founders we do not take any income from the nonprofit, so we have each been juggling our personal day jobs while establishing and planning the event. So to say the least, we were very nervous about it all coming together. We were certainly not prepared for the insurmountable support that came in that night. We over sold our event, having to close our ticketing, and we made enough to give each of our scholars $500 or more to begin or continue their journeys into their education after polygamy.
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).