There are some 40,000 Mormon fundamentalists in America today, all of whom cleave to the doctrine of polygamy. But outside of what we see on HBO's Big Love and the occasional news story when a scandal breaks, what do we really know about their world?
Polygamy is a diaspora—a hidden sprawl—and in Secrets and Wives, journalist Sanjiv Bhattacharya gains unprecedented access to these communities. With charm and irreverence, he reveals a shadow country of small town messiahs, dark secrets and no end of strange and surprising stories. Polygamy's dark underbelly is laid bare—details of incest, forced marriages and hideous abuse. But Bhattacharya also finds warmth and humor in fundamentalism, and even finds himself questioning the present laws against polygamy.
More than just an expose of Mormon polygamy, Secrets and Wives is the personal journey of a foreigner, an atheist and a liberal—a stranger in a strange land—who grapples with questions about marriage, monogamy, and the very nature of faith.