TLC’s Sister Wives premiered in 2010, and the polygamous Brown family has gone through a lot of changes. However, it seems the family patriarch, Kody Brown, will never shy away from defending his beliefs. Scroll down for everything we know about the Sister Wives family’s religion.
What Religion Is the ‘Sister Wives’ Family?
Kody and his polygamous family – including wife Robyn Brown and ex-wives Meri Brown, Janelle Brown and Christine Brown – belong to the Apostolic United Brethren (AUB) — which is a sect of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS) or the Mormon religion that allows followers to practice polygamy. Kody was previously legally married to Meri, but the pair divorced in 2014 so he could legally wed Robyn to adopt her children from a previous relationship. Following their divorce, he and Meri remained spiritually wed until they announced their split in December 2022.
The AUB is considered “the more liberal branch of the Fundamentalist movement,” according to religious scholar J. Gordon Melton, the author of Encyclopedic Handbook of Cults in America, as they allow members to have sex without the strict purpose of procreation.
What Has Kody Brown Said About Polygamy?
As Kody previously said, “Love should be multiplied, not divided.” And the family sure has multiplied — Kody is a father to 18 children and a grandfather to five. While Kody himself felt a “divine calling” to practice polygamy and he and his wives raised their children as part of their religious sect, he revealed that he doesn’t think any of his children would be part of a polygamist relationship in an episode that aired in March 2020. As of now, all of his married and engaged children are in monogamous relationships and plan to remain monogamous.
“I think the majority of them are oriented towards Christianity,” he told TLC. “I wanted to advocate faith for my children, but I’ve really set it in their place to make their choices about God and religion.”
Despite seemingly being steadfast in his beliefs, Christine’s aunt Kristyn Decker exclusively told In Touch that she believes Kody forced “himself to believe” in polygamy.
“I think that’s how it is with most men. I really do. They believe that they have to,” Kristyn said in November 2022. “I saw that in several of my brothers and that it was really heartbreaking to them to not be successful. And so, I guess to a great degree, maybe Kody really is feeling like a failure.”
Unfortunately for the family, polygamy is illegal in all 50 states. However, in 2020, polygamy was decriminalzed from a felony to an infraction in Utah.
While the Browns used to reside in Utah — a state whose population is nearly 50 percent Mormon — they lived in fear of being arrested because of strict anti-polygamy laws that were in place at the time. In 2011, they relocated to Las Vegas so that they wouldn’t have to hide their unconventional lifestyle.
“We did not know how aggressive the district attorney would be, so we didn’t want him finding out that we were leaving the state,” Kody said in a 2015 interview. The five adults and 18 children were forced to pack up their belongings in just three days.
Kody explained that the decision to move was a difficult but necessary one. “There was an immense amount of peace that we felt in arriving to Las Vegas,” he added. “It was like, ‘Okay, this is our new home and here we believe we will experience freedom.’”
While Las Vegas may have been more accepting of their practices, the family felt like they were growing apart while living in four separate rental houses. In 2018, Kody decided to uproot his brood again with a move to Flagstaff, Arizona. The family planned to live collectively on their Coyote Pass property, however, following his split from three of his four wives, it’s unclear what the polygamous patriarch plans to do with the vacant land.
Scroll down to see the entire Brown family then versus now!