WHO we are...
Polygamy: What Love Is This? began as a live, call-in television talk show dedicated to the subject of polygamy and Mormon Fundamentalism, from a biblical perspective. It is a production of A Shield and Refuge Ministry, a Christian organization whose purpose is to bring hope and freedom to those who are trapped in Mormon Fundamentalism. We do this through proclaiming the good news that it is faith in Jesus Christ that brings us salvation--not polygamy! (The ministry is also heavily engaged in assisting people who wish to leave or have already left a polygamous or Mormon Fundamentalist environment.)
The television program began broadcasting in June of 2008, and for seven years it continued uninterrupted as a live call-in show on Thursday nights on KTMW Channel 20 in Salt Lake City. In July of 2015, the KTMW TV station was sold, and its format changed, making it necessary for us to fully transition to Internet broadcasting. Today, all our programming, past and present, is available for viewing on this website (see our program archive), as well as on YouTube and Vimeo, and our dedicated Roku TV channel. To date we have produced more than 350 hours of programming! We release a new episode (almost) every Wednesday.
HOW we got started...
Polygamy: What Love Is This? was developed in the wake of the April 2008 raid of the Texas raid of the FLDS "Yearning For Zion" Ranch. KTMW Station Manager Denny Ermel was moved by the plight of those trapped in polygamy, not just in Texas, but throughout the American West, and felt motivated to offer airtime on the TV station to address this issue. He approached Doris Hanson, director of A Shield and Refuge Ministry, about the possibility of her hosting a program dedicated to the subject of polygamy and Mormon Fundamentalism. He had available an hour block of time on Thursday nights that KTMW would donate to the ministry if we would actually do the work of producing the show.
For some time, ministry director Doris Hanson had been praying for opportunities to get into the homes of polygamists in the area in order to share with them the good news of Jesus Christ. But never did she imagine that it would be through the medium of television!
After much prayer--and with a bit of fear and trembling--we gratefully accepted KTMW's offer, even though none of us had ever done anything like this before. We quickly enlisted a pool of volunteers from several area churches (including Shield & Refuge's umbrella church, Main Street Church), and were trained in all the various tasks related to the show--camera operation, directing, audio and graphics, managing the call-in phone system and managing the studio floor.
In the summer of 2015, we transferred our operations from KTMW's studio (thankful for the skills we acquired while there) to a small donated space in Salt Lake City, where we continue to create new programming.
WHY a show about polygamy...
There are as many as 30,000 (and some estimates claim up to 100,000) Mormon Fundamentalists (polygamists) living in the Intermountain West, most of whom are concentrated in the "Mormon Belt" throughout Utah and into neighboring states, although there are Fundamentalist communities as far north as Canada and as far south as Mexico.
Fundamentalist Mormonism teaches the doctrines of original Mormonism, including that the practice of polygamy is the way to the highest degree of salvation. It is a lifestyle that places an extremely heavy burden upon women, children, and even the men; a burden that God never intended or wanted anyone to carry.
Our basic message is simple: God never commanded polgyamy, the Bible does not promote it, and Jesus is the only way to eternal life.
The chief goal of our program is to be invited into the living rooms of those trapped in polygamy and fundamentalist Mormonism with a message of good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, instead of through the practice of plural marriage. We also share with them that help is available for anyone who wants to escape, and how they can receive that help. (While there are some polygamists for whom telelvision and Internet access are restricted, the program is available to be viewed by the polygamists living in the areas of highest Fundamentalist concentration.)
A secondary goal of the program is to educate the general public about both the history of Mormon polygamy and its modern-day manifestations. This often involves cutting through much of the rhetoric and misinformation that surrounds this controversial subject. Why was it practiced back then? Why does it continue to be practiced today? What is the relationship of Mormon Fundamentalism to the mainstream LDS (Mormon) Church? These and many other questions are addressed each week.
WHAT we cover...
We cover a variety of topics related to Mormon Fundamentalism. We examine the subject of polygamy from a biblical perspective, but also from a historical and sociological perspective. We often share the stories of people who have come out of polygamy. Doris Hanson, the show's host, has also interviewed a number of authors and researchers and other experts in their field.
In each episode, Doris (frequently with guest co-host Earl Erksine, or other special guests) seeks to communicate the basic biblical gospel truth that salvation is through Jesus Christ, and faith in Him--and not through the practice of plural marriage, as is taught by the Mormon Fundamentalists. She also makes the services of A Shield and Refuge Ministry available to anyone who wants to escape a polygamist setting, or who simply wants to ask some questions or explore their options.
In addition, common themes are discussion of early Mormon doctrine and history; modern manifestations of the polygamous doctrine; discussion of polygamy in today's news; similarities and differences between the Fundamentalist Mormons and Mainstream (LDS) Mormons; biblical perspectives on polygamy; and lifestyle issues among the Fundamentalists sects today (abuse problems, common practices, etc.).
Viewers are encouraged to engage with us and comment--through email, Facebook, Twitter, and in the comments section on each episode's web page. It's not unusual for a viewer comment or question to prompt discussion on the program.
WHERE we can be seen...
We can be seen (practically) anywhere on the Earth where an adequate Internet connection is available. Desktop, laptop, tablet and phone, as well as any television connected to an Internet-to-TV streaming device.
We publish new content every Thursday, and all current and previous content is available on YouTube and Vimeo and on our dedicated Roku TV channel.
WHO we are reaching...
We are contacted on a regular basis by Mormon Fundamentalists who are seeking freedom from difficult situations, and are looking for help. Many of these contacts have resulted in successful "exits" from abusive and even dangerous situations; and many of these have gone a step further and found freedom in Jesus Christ, which is our goal!
We have also heard about many who have escaped on their own because of the information and encouragement that this program has provided.
We are also contacted by many mainstream Mormons.
Some of them challenge things that we stated on the program, or even go so far as to accuse us of lying, making things up, or existing only to "bash". To those people, we want to make clear that our objective is truth, and our sources are reliable (and in many cases are Mormon-published historial resources). If anyone thinks we have misrepresented the truth in any way, we openly invite dialogue (as opposed to indiscriminate, baseless accusations). By all means, check up on our facts! Correct us if we are mistaken! But don't simply presume we are lying. As for the accusation of bashing...bashing is the spreading of false information with malicious intent. We do not bash. We do challenge false teachings, we will call attention to injustice, abuse, and deception, but it is done with the purpose of pointing people to freedom. It's not about hatred, anger, or axe-grinding. Often people who accuse us of bashing are doing so simply to avoid having to weigh and consider what we are saying.
We are also contacted by many Mormons with heavy and difficult questions about their own religious system, and its relationship to the Mormonism as once delivered by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. They are seeking answers, and hope that there is life on the other end of their struggle. (We affirm emphatically that there is!)
We are contacted by many Christians and the public in general, who appreciate the balance we provide to the ongoing rhetoric that surrounds the controversial subject of polygamy.
In all, we rejoice whenever we have an opportunity to present the message of freedom from polygamy and freedom in Jesus Christ--to whomever is tuning in!
HOW you can help...
Firstly, spread the word. Let people know how to access our programming. Share our episodes and posts on social media!
If you would like to financially support the ongoing ministry of this television program and A Shield and Refuge Ministry, donations are all tax-deductible. Click here for more information! (But rest assured, no one is getting rich doing this--in fact, no one is getting paid anything. All donations cover ongoing production expenses which are significant.)
For More Information...
Please visit our ministry's website, www.shieldandrefuge.org for more information about who we are and what we do. We also invite you to www.hagarhome.org, where we share our vision for a safehouse facility for polygamist refugees. From there you can watch the film, A Home For Hagar, which shares the compelling stories of women who share their heartbreaking stories of polygamy, and their journeys to freedom.
About the host...
Doris Hanson is a former Mormon Fundamentalist, who was born and raised in a polygamist group, but escaped as a young adult in order to avoid being forced into a polygamist marriage.
Many years later, she became a Christian when she encountered the true Jesus Christ. Since then, it has been her goal and ministry to reach out to those who remain trapped in the bondage of polygamy and fundamentalism like she was, and to help spare them the pain and suffering that she endured on her search for truth and life.
Doris and her story were featured on a documentary entitled Lifting the Veil of Polygamy (produced by Main Street Church).
Doris is now a "missionary to Fundamentalists." She directs A Shield and Refuge Ministry, a non-profit, Christ-centered ministry of hope and restoration for victims of, and those seeking freedom from, Mormon fundamentalism and polygamy.
Earl Erskine, a former LDS bishop has been a frequent guest co-host of the program for the last few years, and he also has his own program which we produce out of the same space, called The Ex Mormon Files.
If you are in a polygamist situation and want out, A Shield and Refuge wants to hear from you...and stands ready to help you! Click here for confidential information on how to get help!
If you share Doris' burden to help those caught in the teachings and practices of fundamentalism and polygamy, there are many ways you can help. As a missionary, she relies on the support of people who share in her burden. If you are interested in contributing financially to Doris' expenses and the ministry of Shield and Refuge, please contact us!
There are many other ways to help, as well. Please don't hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, comments, or suggestions you might have!