Updated 15 January 2012
The School Board at Horseshoe Bend, Idaho, has placed School Superintendent John Cook on administrative leave for “personal reasons”. What those reasons are may be something to do with Boise resident Don Reiman’s decision to go public with a letter stating his 30-year old daughter Jana is in a polygamous relationship with Cook, though no marriage licence has been sought. Find the rest of the story here, along with video at KTVB.
“This is not easy to step up and essentially be exposing my daughter as a polygamist but sometimes it’s hard to do the right thing,” said Reiman.
The ‘right thing’ in this case includes exposing the detail of a private letter from his daughter detailing the relationship and the developing attitude of Cook’s first wife to what the Bible had to say about polygamy.
This story demonstrates that polygamy is not just an issue within closed Mormon communities that have lived that way for the past 100 years, and the extreme reaction of the father in this case perhaps betrays the real concern of many who wish to proscribe the practice. It isn’t just a discussion about whether consenting adults can form their own preferred relationships – what if it’s your son, your daughter, your husband, your sister, etc. This brings the unfamiliar uncomfortably close to home for many.
But we may also ask, if Superintendent Cook had left his wife in order to cohabit with Miss Reiman, or merely had an extra-marital affair with her, would this be a story for the local media, or any business of the school board? If not, does that mean that these people are suffering harassment in their employment, unwanted press attention and family bitterness because Mr Cook remains committed to his first wife? And what kind of society is it that lets adultery and abandonment go unpunished, while penalising commitment?
Update: 13 January 2012
The complainant, who is the father of his second wife, has admitted that no laws appear to have been broken. Despite this, Superintendent Cook has resigned. His ‘first wife’, who Is alleged to have accepted the polygamous situation, is currently listed as support staff in the district, with the ‘second wife’ listed as a substitute teacher. See more here at the Idaho Statesman.
Here is a video at KIVITV and a record of a flat denial by John Cook that he is a polygamist. It appears this is not so much a denial of simultaneous plural relationships, but simply an assertion that they are not both legally recognised, and therefore no crime is committed.
Fox9 news coverage adds that Don Reiman, father of alleged second wife Jana Cook, has not spoken to his daughter in years and his information comes from a December letter from her to her sister.
Update 15 January 2012
The Republic adds that John Cook allegedly lives with his two wives at a ranch outside horseshoe bend, and that Don Reiman approached the school board having first failed to receive support from the County Sheriff, the County Prosecutor and a local private lawyer.
Both sides appear to be directing people to the Bible, but what does the Bible say about polygamy? Judge for yourself- for pointers, visit the Christianity section, especially the article Objections to Polygamy from Christians.
Relevant Videos on the Bible and Polygamy
1) The ‘Adam and Eve’ Defence
Some people say “Adam was given Eve as his wife. He was given one wife, not two or three or four. One wife was enough for Adam. One wife was what God intended. Marriage today should be ‘as it was in the beginning’. If God had wanted Adam to be a polygamist he’d have given him more wives.”
This is now examined on an internet video presentation that lasts less than 5 minutes. Here are the links for YouTube and the HD version on Vimeo. If you like them, don’t forget to tell your friends/social networks, and it will encourage us to produce more.
Here is the Vimeo HD version embedded:-