Health & Family

Polygamy is one of the few practices that still evoke genuine disgust in people. It’s a watchword for ignorance, sexual depredation, oppression of women and weird, culty outfits. But spurred on by the same-sex marriage debate and more-sympathetic portrayals of polygamists and polyamorists in our larger culture, some plural families are coming out of the shadows and beginning to advocate for their way of life.

One of these families, the Dargers, independent fundamentalist Mormons, invited me into their home to check out how they live. I report about it in the Aug. 6 issue of TIME, which subscribers can read here. The Dargers are a model non-monogamous family. They’re attractive, they dress well, and they labor mightily to provide for their 23 kids.

This helps because their setup is pretty weird: Joe, the patriarch, is married to three women, two of whom are identical twin sisters. He married one…

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