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Polygamy in the Media

Radio News Wire Interviews Founder
   After Tom Green Sentencing

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This Interview is Available on TAPE.

Westwood One's Metro Source
Radio News Wire
August 24, 2001
6:30 pm EST
Radio News Wire interviews the Founder
After Tom Green Sentencing

On May 18, 2001, a man in Utah named Tom Green was convicted in a Utah State trial of five charges:

  • one count, "criminal non-support"
  • four counts, "bigamy".

As this case had only been a trial in the State of Utah, the explicit legal ramifications were limited to that one State.

Moreover, the Founder of this ministry had been requested to give, and he granted, a radio interview on May 20, 2001, following those convictions, providing important clarifications and responses as to this ministry's positions about the Tom Green case. (That interview, though, is not to be confused with the interview below, given on August 24, 2001, following the sentencing.)

On August 24, 2001, the sentences for those convictions were handed down:

  1. "Criminal non-support", five years imprisonment
       and $78,800 restitution paid back to Utah welfare
  2. "Bigamy", five years imprisonment
  3. "Bigamy", five years imprisonment
  4. "Bigamy", five years imprisonment
  5. "Bigamy", five years imprisonment

In terms of ACTUAL time that Tom Green was sentenced to serve, the sentencing was

  • 5 years ACTUAL prison time served, for the first count
  • Four "concurrent" five-year time "served" sentences, for each of the remaining four counts

Namely, Tom Green was sentenced to only serve FIVE years in prison and paying back $78,800 in restitution to the Utah State welfare ---as the sentence for the "ciminal non-support" conviction. Because the remaining sentences of the remaining four charges were sentences to be served as "concurrently"-served five-year sentences, that means that Tom Green was NOT sentenced to serve a total of 25 years of ACTUAL time to be served in prison. Rather, those remaining four sentences, because they were to be served "concurrently", they would be considered as having been served AT THE SAME TIME as Tom Green serves the one single five-year sentence for the one single conviction of "criminal non-support".

Accordingly, the reality of this sentencing in this Utah State trial is that Tom Green had NOT been sentenced to serve ANY ACTUAL time in prison for "bigamy". Rather, the only amount of actual time sentenced to be served was for the five-year sentence for the CRIME of frauding the government, "criminal non-support". (This ministry has always agreed and publicly declared that that is undoubtedly a crime.)

The ramifications of this (limited only to Utah State trial) sentencing for those of us in Christian Polygamy, therefore, is the reality that
Tom Green was NOT sentenced to serve ANY ACTUAL time in prison for "bigamy".

And that reality goes right to heart of what this ministry had long been explaining about that particular Utah case, from the beginning. (This was also made very clear in the May 20, 2001 radio interview, where the Founder clarifies polygamy from the "baggage" of the Tom Green case.) Namely, the prosecutors would NOT have gone after that man to prosecute that case had it not been for the additional "baggage" such as the crime of "criminal non-support" and another issue of one of the "wives of Tom Green" having been his 13-year-old step-DAUGHTER at the time of his would-be "marriage" with her. That Tom Green was NOT sentenced to serve any ACTUAL time for the "bigamy" charges, as those will be served as "concurrently", further demonstrates the proof of this.

The convictions of the four counts of "bigamy" were indeed, only a matter of semantics, and not having any validity as any actual so-called "crimes". In this Utah State trial, Tom Green was sentenced to ACTUAL jail time ONLY for the true crime of "criminal non-support".

As the sentence was handed down on August 24, 2001, the media sought information from this ministry. For example, this ministry provided the necessary information to's direct request for information on how to contact the "Tom Green wives" to have them on their show which was then broadcast on Monday, August 27, 2001.

Beyond that, another example, of course, was a request for a "reaction-to-the-sentencing interview" with someone in this organization, from Westwood One's Metro Source Radio News Wire. (This "radio news wire" is a service which provides the at-this-hour "current news" reports for radio stations across the United States.)

Mark the Founder agreed to grant this brief interview. While this interview is available on tape, the following is the entire transcript of that August 24, 2001 interview.

[ Debbie: ]
Ok... Can you do me a favor and spell your name for me please

[ Mark the Founder: ]
It is 'Mark', with a 'k',    'M-a-r-k.

[ Debbie: ]
Ok, and your last name?

[ Mark the Founder (actually spelling out the full last name): ]
Is '******',   '*-*-*-*-*-*'.

[ Debbie: ]
And the name of the organization?

[ Mark the Founder: ]

[ Debbie: ]
Ok, and what's your title with the organization?

[ Mark the Founder: ]
I'm the Founder of the organization. I'm known as "Mark the Founder".

[ Debbie, with a positively friendly chuckle: ]
Ok. Mark the Founder.

[ Mark the Founder: ]
Well, basically it's not a matter of going too much about my own personal, personality as it were, because we're an organization. And the same thing about the matter of... [[pause]] We're a controversial topic so it's not a matter of wanting to splatter one's name all over the place.

[ Debbie: ]
Yeah, I can imagine.

[ Mark the Founder: ]
{{ Hearty laughter. }}

[ Debbie, also positively laughing: ]
So, tell me a little bit about your organization.

[ Mark the Founder: ]
Ok. Well, we've been around on the internet for a few years. The predecessor was a newspaper that was published up here in Maine, called, The Standard Bearer, which began in '94, and began laying down the Christian --- non-mormon --- based argumentations that polygamy was NOT the definition of adultery and fornication that was misunderstood by Christians.

And then from those argumentations, it came to the web, from that. And then TRUTH BEARER began, as an organization. And we have been growing ever since. People have picked up the momentum, grabbed the argumentation, started passing them on to others, and really has become a growing movement.

As an organization, our focus is to achieve de-criminalization. We're not so much looking for legalization, but rather, de-criminalization, because we do not recognize government actually having the authority to define marriage in the first place ---both on a constitutional basis (because the 10th Amendment) doesn't define it, and if it's not defined by anything in the Constitution, then the 10th Amendment would say that the government doesn't have the authority to be defining it. So, we're more seeking a de-criminalization of that.

Our first 'target', if you would, of trying to persuade individuals that this [[polygyny]] is true is actually conservative, Scripture-believing Christians, that this really is a Scriptural-based, pro-loving-woman matter of truth. And as we do that, it would be, in effect, "kicking out" the "first floor" of "anti-polygamy thinking" in society, because once we persuade the conservative, not the liberal but the conservative, Scripture-believing Christians that this really is truth, really is a Scriptural basis from the historic Scriptures (as well as, and that it's not even out of any of the pre-suppositions that are 'mormon', which is a whole different set of belief-systems), as we do that, then, the other constituencies who would be concerned, such as feminists, would certainly have the position that, if a consenting, adult, non-abused woman wanted a polygynous arrangement, then she should have that freedom to choose that. Cultural conservatives, once the CHRISTIAN conservatives are persuaded, then the cultural conservatives could see polygamy as a viable option for those who [[pause]] choose [[pause]], for say, single moms having more options, at least with a "proven quantity" of GOOD men, rather than being a "hamster in a wheel", working all day to pay for the daycare or the trap of government welfare, and actually with men who WANT marriage, because this is not about foolishness of the flesh, but rather about pro-marriage situations.

As we persuade these groups, most other people would be laissez faire about the issue, and could care less what [[pause]] consenting, [[pause]] non-abusive, [[pause]] loving [[pause]] adults [[pause]] chose to do [[pause]] in terms of MARRIAGE.

So that's our focus. As we do that, we are endeavoring to accomplish the de-criminalization of polygamy in our society.

[ Debbie, clearly taking it all in: ]
Okaaaaay. Now what do you think of Tom Green being sentenced to five years in prison?

[ Mark the Founder: ]
Well, he was [[pause]] convicted of four counts of "bigamy" and one count of [[pause]] "criminal non-support". Each one of those five charges comprised, actually had a five-year sentence maximum capability, that could be done to it. That means, he was facing 25 years, because it was five years maximum for each of the four counts of "bigamy" plus the additional count of "criminal non-support".

The "criminal non-support" has been a VERY, very troublesome matter for those of us in the movement to obtain the de-criminalization of polygamy, in that, if you have the basis that government doesn't have the authority in your life anyway, and you're going to USE that rhetoric, then you don't turn around and ABUSE the government through fraudulent means of welfare.

It is interesting, then, that he "got" five years. It could actually be said, he "got" the five-year sentence for the "criminal non-support", [[pause]] and the other five-year sentences for each of the four remaining counts, which were of "bigamy", he will be serving THEM "concurrently". So, in effect, he's actually not going to be serving his sentences for ANY of the "bigamy" charges, but actually ONLY for the "criminal non-support". It just happens to be WORDED that he was sentenced to five years for all of these five charges, but the four "bigamy" charges are merely served "concurrently". So, he only SERVES five years.

So, in effect, he is "getting" the five years FOR the TRUE crime of "criminal non-support".

[ Debbie: ]
Ok. Now, he's also been ordered to pay $79,000...

[ Mark the Founder: ]

[ Debbie: ] back welfare payments.

[ Mark the Founder: ]
Correct. That's part of that whole issue.

[ Debbie: ]

[ Mark the Founder: ]
That's the whole part of the "criminal non-support", of basically manipulating the system for welfare-support. All of us certainly have difficult times, and our hearts go out to anybody having that kind of a hardship, no question about it.

But going down the path of things that lead to "criminal non-support", and being CONVICTED of it, is another matter altogether.

Especially, when your foundation that, because he's actually coming from a "mormon" presupposition, which is completely different basis from the non-mormon CHRISTIAN perspective, but, he has frequently said that the government has no business being in his life. And, of course, he INVITED government in to his life through the whole welfare mechanism. And, then going on to "trash TV" after "trash TV" talk show, and more or less "thumbing his nose" out AT the State of Utah (because this was a STATE trial, as I understand it, and therefore having ramifications, basically, for the STATE of Utah, not federally), that [[pause]] his [[pause]] going on these "trash TV", "thumbing his nose" at the State of Utah, INVITED the State to look into him. And they discovered he had two basic, easily-prosecutable ---or more media-grabbing, shall we say--- "baggage".

And those two issues of "baggage" were the "criminal non-support" and the fact that, one of these women had moved into his house originally as a 4th-grade girl of ANOTHER woman he USED to be married to, and then from the age of 4th-grade until the age of 13, he is her step-father. And then at 13, he takes her as his "wife".

This is the INCREDIBLE [[pause]] problem that many of us in "polygamy", in the "advance of polygamy", would certainly NOT have ANYTHING to do. This is NOT what we would advocate.

But by having that kind of "baggage", that gave just enough media-attention for the prosecutors to go after this case. If there had not been the "criminal non-support" issue, and if there had not been the issue that he's facing with another case, another trial he's going to be having with this "child-rape" case of one of these women being 13, ---as calculatable by the fact that a child was born at 14, and just go back nine months--- if these two things had not been there, he would not have been where he is today. And the prosecutors would not have had the media momentum to go after any of this, because, at that point, all you have, is going after what ---you go into many other households, and the concept of so-called "mistresses" is supposedly something that is considered legal. [[Pause.]] And, from that perspective, they would not have gone after him, had it not been for these additional issues.

Heart goes out to the family and the children, that this is definitely a heart-breaking tearing of a family situation. But, at the same time, the "criminal non-support" has a maximum sentence of five years, he got charged with five years, and the other charges are basically being served "concurrently".

[ Debbie: ]
Do you think he deserved those five years?

[ Mark the Founder: ]
[[Pause.]] In our country, we have, obviously, laws. There is law [[pause]] that [[pause]] are about protecting individuals from harming other individuals, from breaking their rights, and so forth.

There is a difference between what consenting, [[pause]] adults, in a non-abusive situation, choose to do. [[Pause.]] And that goes to the whole issue of the archaic-ness of trying to have a "bigamy" law for consenting adults.

Of course, in this, some of the situations we see that we're dealing, actually, with 13, and 14, and 15 year old girls. THAT's a whole different argument, but when you're talking about what consenting ADULTS, in non-abusive situations choose to do, then, the whole concept of the effectiveness or enforcefulness of a "bigamy" law is not about a crime.

However, the issue of "criminal non-support", and deceptive action that fraudulently obtains welfare funds, IS, of course, a crime.

And THAT is something that, every day, there are individuals being prosecuted for that crime or similar-related government-welfare fraudulent activities. And, whatever the sentencings are for those, given whatever the States have put into their statutes for that, then that is what those States have chosen to do. And that, itself, is indeed, a crime and an act of deception that certainly does require punishment.

[ Debbie: ]
Ok. So, basically, in a nutshell, you support Tom Green's right to be a polygamist. However, you do not support the fact that he took the welfare-payments or frauded the government.

[ Mark the Founder: ]
It was more than just "took" welfare payments.

[ Debbie: ]

[ Mark the Founder: ]
I mean, it was "criminal non-support".

[ Debbie: ]

[ Mark the Founder: ]
I mean, it was a FRAUDULENT activity, which is even more than just "taking" the welfare.

[ Debbie: ]
Ok, now, does a person like this, who actually makes polygamy look bad...

[ Mark the Founder: ]
Mm-hmm. {{Affirmative.}}

[ Debbie: ]
... he brings it into a bad light

[ Mark the Founder: ]

[ Debbie: ]
Is that how you feel?

[ Mark the Founder: ]
Yes. In fact, actually, many of us have been very troubled by this because of the self-seeking nature by which it happened. Meaning, he went from "trash TV" to "trash TV", parading his family around like a "circus act", and pretty much "thumbing his nose" at the State, saying, "I dare you, come after me." Sure enough, they did.

But as he's doing that, he's doing that with the "baggage" of the "criminal non-support" and the whole 13-year-old step-daughter [[pause]] abusive situation going on there.

You may recall in 1995, well, I'm sure you recall it [[chuckle]], 1995, Timothy McVeigh thought he was "helping" what was, at the time, a growing "militia movement" [[pause]] and saw himself that way, and thought what he was doing was a positive, push-the-matter-ahead for, at that time, the growing "militia movement". But what happened, what he ended up doing, is making it a NEGATIVE, and you don't even see the "militia movement" even growing or even "happening", really. If anything, it completely backfired, and the self-seeking nature of it all completely destroyed that. And that's not what any of the folks that, as I remember reading of those things, that people in that thing, the "militia movement" that was going on back then, they weren't for what this man did.

It's the same thing that, it could be said that this, this individual self-sought these with his problems and, in effect, has run the risk of being the equivalent of [[pause]] "our Tim McVeigh", to the "polygamy movement".

[ Debbie: ]
Huh! Ok, ok,that's an interesting way to look at it. Um, I think I've got everything. Is there anything you wanted to add?

[ Mark the Founder: ]
Just simply that, [[pause]] we are an organization, we have a [[pause]] a thing we call "love-not-force" and this is not about husbands forcing wives into polygamy. We have a message that's called, "love-not-force". It's not about the fleshly foolishness. It's not about [[pause]] cruelty to wives. It's about men, in the polygynous situation, loving [[pause]] wives that wives willingly, consentingly, non-abused, make this choice and want this in their family; And what consenting, [[pause]] adults choose to do, [[pause]] governments certainly, in a situation where we're talking about marriage, all we're talking about is consenting, consentual, non-lascivious, non-abusive, [[pause]] loving [[pause]] plural marriage, and that government has no authority [[pause]] to be involved [[pause]] in what consenting, non-abusing, loving adults choose to do for marriage.

[ Debbie: ]
Ok, and whereabouts in Maine are you guys located?

[ Mark the Founder: ]
Old Orchard Beach.

[ Debbie: ]

[ Mark the Founder: ]
That's available at the web-site.

[ Debbie: ]
Are you a practicing polygamist too?

[ Mark the Founder: ]
That is not a question that we would want to be answering at this time. This has created a bit of a chill factor, throughout things, so it's probably best advised that those kinds of answers are not given, just because of the consequences that this case has created.

[ Debbie: ]
Ok, I understand. Well, thank you VERY much, Mark. I really appreciate it. You've shed a lot of light on it.

[ Mark the Founder: ]

[ Debbie: ]
I can understand a lot more.

[ Mark the Founder: ]

[ Debbie: ]
Great! Thank you so much.

[ Mark the Founder: ]
Certainly, and I thank you for contacting!

[ Debbie: ]
No problem at all. You mind if I keep your number on file, just in case I ever need you guys again?

[ Mark, being sure to leave the interview with one last "soundbite": ]
ABSOLUTELY. That's what we're here for. That's our purpose. We want, basically, we want the right message to get out there, not the "Timothy McVeigh versions". Just as you could find abusive men in "monogamous marriage", you can find "abusive men" in "polygamous marriage", but just as you wouldn't ban "monogamy" because of [[pause]] vicious wife beaters, it makes no sense to ban [[pause]] "polygamy" [[pause]] on the basis of [[pause]] individuals with other criminal "baggage".

[ Debbie: ]
Ok! Great! Thank you, Mark, I really appreciate it.

[ Mark the Founder: ]
Thank YOU, now.

[ Debbie: ]
Bye bye.

[ Mark the Founder: ]
Yep. B'Bye.


This interview is available on tape.

Final comments:

Our hearts most emphatically go out to the hurting hearts of the women and children involved in this very unfortunate case. And no doubt, it is certainly understandable that they will find this ministry's positions/responses hereto as being things they do not like. It is always heart-wrenching for any family to suffer separation, and our hearts surely do understand and even ache for that. It is for their sake, indeed for the sake of ALL families who would consider themselves as polygamous, that this ministry MUST take these positions when a true crime is committed, such as the crime of "criminal non-support". Otherwise, none us can ever really hope that one day we can indeed SUCCEED in obtaining the de-criminalization of polygamy. And that is why the ministry of will stand strong on making sure that polygamy not be connected to other side-issues.

The conclusion, therefore, of this unfortunate Utah-State (only) trial is as follows:

The prosecutors did not "target" (or "pick on") Tom Green simply because of "bigamy", nor would they have had any political backing or support with which to "go after him" if "all they had" with which to do so had only exclusively been the "bigamy charges". Rather, it is the crime of "criminal non-support" to which the prosecutors indeed did have legitimate and obligatory basis to "go after him" prosecutorially. The sentence handed down on August 24, 2001, does rather emphatically demonstrate that reality. Notwithstanding yet another pending trial in which Tom Green additionally faces, in the matter of one of the "wives of Tom Green" having been his 13-year-old step-daughter when he allegedly "married" her (as calculatable by the birth of a child she bore when she was 14), the August 24, 2001 sentencing in this first trial makes it clear: per this first trial, Tom Green will only be serving ACTUAL time in prison ONLY for the crime of "criminal non-support".

Tom Green was NOT sentenced to serve ANY ACTUAL time in prison for "bigamy".

As this organization continues to successfully endeavor to one day obtain the de-criminalization of polygamy, THAT reality is one of the key points about which we must most-emphatically point out to others, when discussing this particular Utah State trial and sentencing of Tom Green.

For more information about this case and this ministry's positions/responses regarding it, readers are also encouraged to read about another interview, Founder Clarifies Polygamy from "Baggage" of Tom Green case, which had been conducted on May 20, 2001, following the original conviction in this case.
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