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|Length:||58 minutes, 40 seconds.|
|Released:||April 23rd, 1990|
They call it "The Principle." It is a lifestyle that has long been besieged by government and vilified by the general public. But to an estimated 20,000 men, women and children in the Mountain West it is an attempt to live according to what they believe is "a higher law."
Laymen call it plural marriage. The law calls it polygamy. And in the eyes of a dubious general public, its practitioners are seen as criminals, cult figures and threats to traditional American values.
A Matter of Principle: Polygamy in the Mountain West examines the lifestyles and beliefs of practitioners of plural marriage. Produced by Ken Verdoia, the program explores polygamy's historical, religious, sociological and legal roots.
Traveling from Utah to Arizona to Montana, the documentary traces the historical roots of polygamy by drawing on noted historians and scholars to closely examine its growth and practice.
The program also looks at violent crimes in Utah connected to the polygamist community, examining such figures as Ronald and Dan Lafferty, brothers who were convicted of killing their sister-in-law and her child when she refused to become a polygamist. It also explores incidents like the police standoff in Marion, Utah where polygamists held authorities at bay for more than a week after bombing a Mormon Church.
A Matter of Principle enters a realm where historical religious views conflict with contemporary legal thought, allowing viewers to decide for themselves whether polygamy constitutes a simple exercise of religious freedom or a dangerous challenge to the morality of American society.
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