POLYGAMISTS

 

Today we are going to be looking at a fringe religious group with unusual views and practices. This is an important film because it allows us to hear members of such a group presenting their views in their own words. Some of the questions we need to consider while watching it are as follows:

 

Why are people interested in this group? What is the appeal to the media? Why was the film made in the first place?

 

Is this a cult? If so, what makes it a cult? If not a cult, what should we call it?

 

Are these people Christians? If not, how would you characterize their views?

 

How do these people compare with the customary image of cults and cultists?

 

Are people comfortable with the deviant or unusual aspects of the life? How do they justify these?

 

What benefits (personal, intellectual, psychological, social) do group members get out of this set-up?

 

Do they believe they are following a higher law? What law? How do they know they are right?

 

What do they think about the rest of the world? What do they believe others are missing or getting wrong?

 

In your opinion, does a group like this stand a good chance of enduring, or does it have flaws that are going to pull it apart?

 

Is the group likely to succeed in drawing others in? How about socializing children into the group? What do we learn about how these people are recruited/converted?

 

A common criticism of groups like this is that they are exploitative of women: based on what you see in this film, is that a fair criticism? Are there advantages for women as well as drawbacks? Put another way, why do the women put up with the set-up?

 

APART FROM THE ISSUE OF PLURAL MARRIAGE, how similar or different are these people from the American mainstream?

 

Again apart from the plural marriage issue, do we pick up any other hints of unusual or "deviant" ideas as people talk?

 

What problems do these people face interacting with the mainstream world?

 

If you were making a film like this, what other questions would you like to ask any or all of these people? (Please note, "How do I join?" is not an option).