Sister Wives Meri Brown desires her children to have a different experience than her own childhood. Meri, 50, a polygamist, reveals how she and her husband, Kody Brown, and his three other wives, worked together to build a home where their children could be free to be who they want to be. Kody and his wives have a total of 18 children combined.
In a family’s home in Flagstaff, Arizona, Mariah Brown, Meri’s only child with Kody, shared how she and her fiancée, Audrey Kriss, are leaving Chicago, Illinois, and returning to Utah to be closer to family.
“I love that they have that experience of living in Chicago. And it’s just a fun and different experience,” Meri says in the clip. “It’s not something that I ever was able to do.”
Growing up, Meri “came from a different culture than what we’ve tried to create for our kids,” she says.
“Even though it was like, the polygamist culture, the culture I grew up in was: you need to get married when you’re young, and you need to have kids, and you need to be quiet about who you are, and you just need to just stay in this little box,” she continues.
At the young age of 11, Meri witnessed her father take his first plural wife. “I had a lot of years with other moms and other siblings that weren’t just from my mom. So it wasn’t out of the ordinary for me,” she said on a previous episode.
And almost a decade later, Meri married Kody — when he was 22 and she was 19 — in April 1990. Three years later, the pair welcomed sister-wife Janelle into their plural marriage, who was followed in 1994 by Christine. Most recently, Robyn joined the Brown family as Kody’s fourth wife in 2010.
Raising children in their unique unit “we’ve tried to create ‘you can do whatever you want to do’ for our kids,” Meri shares in the clip.
And when speaking to PEOPLE in 2017, Mariah spoke on the moment she revealed to her family she was gay.
“I remember thinking right before I told them, ‘If I don’t spit it out now, I’m not going to be able to,’ ” she said. “Like when you go cliff jumping: ‘If I don’t jump now, I’m not going to jump at all.’ It was one of those things, and I just blurted it out.”
And while normally, homosexuality is not accepted in the family’s Mormon fundamentalist faith, Mariah was welcomed with open arms from her five parents.
As a father of 18 kids, Kody knew there was a very good change one or more of kids would be gay.
“You come from an Old Testament religion, you are not excited that your child comes out,” Kody explained of his faith’s stance on homosexuality. “I thought about this years ago, and I made a decision,” he said. “My job as a dad is to love and respect and not to judge.”
Mariah has had the full support of her family since coming out — and they love her partner just as much.
“They’re just a good couple,” Christine says of the engaged couple in the sneak peek. “They communicate well with each other. But this is too, is it shows me how they’re in sync with each other and communicating with each other and working with each other,” she adds of their move to Salt Lake City.
“And even though Chicago may have been better for one of them than the other, they’re just willing to give and take and make it a true partnership,” says Christine.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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