WHO ARE WE AND WHY?
Our nonprofit will be a value to those who have left polygamy looking to improve their lives, and donors looking to improve their communities. One of the fears commonly instilled among individuals from polygamous groups, like ourselves, is that we will not succeed in the outside world. Fear of failure, not knowing how to succeed, and fear that God will be working against us when we leave are all reasons why many of us are so hesitant to take that first step into the outside world. The journey is hard, many are still striving, many have succeeded, many still struggle, and many have fallen. We are establishing this nonprofit in hopes of providing an extra resource, a key element to help those on this journey find success.
Life in polygamy is complicated; many have experiences ranging from positive to negative. Not all polygamous groups are created equal and further still, each family is unique within the different groups. There are independent polygamists, those who are part of a large group of polygamists, those with a prophet, those with a leader, those who receive their own revelations from God, etc. The definition of polygamy may be the practice of having more than one spouse at the same time (Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary, 1999), however, it is diversely practiced and resources need to be unique to each individual’s needs. Polygamy is illegal in the U.S. and "forever prohibited" under Utah's state Constitution.
It is common for those within groups to be oppressed or to experience abuse of some kind, but that is not always the case. Because of our unique experiences in polygamy and the experiences of many people we have known and helped, we know that this nonprofit needs to exist as another resource for those who are leaving polygamous groups and families. Although the founders of Hope After Polygamy have all left polygamy, we acknowledge that we each left a completely different situation. Some of us were teens when we left, some of us were mothers, some of us left without our families, and others with our families. We each had different support, different resources, and different experiences on our journeys. These individual experiences helped fuel our passion to create resources we wish existed for us. We know bringing our unique experiences together can help us build a nonprofit that will provide resources for those leaving polygamous groups.
WHAT ARE OUR GOALS?
We are passionate about this nonprofit. We know there are other nonprofits that focus on polygamy and Hope After Polygamy will be another key element alongside other existing resources to help those leaving polygamous groups find their independence. In its first stage, Hope After Polygamy is focused on education and scholarships, to help those who are leaving or have already left polygamous groups and families obtain higher education. Through each of our personal journeys, we have found strength and success in knowledge and education. Knowledge is power; knowledge provided us the strength and hope that we want to pass on to others. Knowledge is something that was deprived from many of us growing up in polygamist sects. Many children are groomed to say and do what the church leaders teach such as, marrying as young as possible, having as many children as their bodies are able, disown family members, break up their families, and lie to the outside world. Some are not allowed to continue their education beyond a certain grade level, and some have their finances controlled. Some are taught different things about the world that are not true, but are not taught how to research or discover the truth for themselves.
When leaving these groups, each person is faced with a flood of decisions that have to be made right away, while their life is in a state of crisis. Knowledge and education are very important to help these people find success in their journeys. If you are someone who left polygamy and are seeking higher education, go to our scholarship page and apply. We are excited to begin awarding scholarships for the 2018 fall semester.
Furthermore, we will organize and link those who have left polygamous groups to life skills resources. These resources will focus on a variety of areas such as financial skills, job skills, social skills, parenting classes, stress-management, mental health care, and more. We do not want to reinvent the wheel for resources that already exist; we will act as a middle ground and offer a list of ”Hope approved” resources that individuals can access and empower themselves toward self-determination on their journey out of polygamy. If you are one of those existing resources and you are reading this post, please reach out to us so we can add you to our list.
These resources are intended to provide further education and tools to those individuals in a crisis situation leaving polygamy to find greater success in the outside world, and become productive members of society. Helping these individuals be successful will not only contribute to the society in which they live, but also provide further resources for those in polygamy to reach out to their successful family members and new friends as a life-line.
Hope After Polygamy founders have each left and escaped polygamy. We will share polygamy in the news, we will share success stories, we will share resources. Follow us on social media whether you are from polygamy or not, and please support us as we set out on this new journey to share our resources with others and help them on their journey out of the tragedies of polygamy.
**We have to address this because so many ask about a safe home, our focus is not to provide a safe home at this time. If you do need a place to stay, we may be able to put you in contact with a resource who can help. Contact us or check out our resources page. If you are not safe, please call 911.**