Mabel Finlayson Allred was a wife of Rulon Allred, leader of the
Apostolic United Brethren, one of the major groups of
fundamentalist Mormons who, since about the 1930s, have practiced
plural marriage as separatists from the mainstream Latter-day
Mabel's autobiography maintains a mood of everyday normalcy
strikingly in contrast with the stress of the ostracized life she
was living. Her cheerful tone, expressive of her wish to live
simply and gracefully in this world, is tempered by more somber
descriptions of her personal struggle with clinical depression, of
Rulon Allred's inner struggles, of tensions with the law and with
Allred's fundamentalist colleagues, and ultimately by her
forthright account of his assassination.
Emerging from this unique narrative is the portrait of a woman
buoyed by faith in both her religion and her husband, a window into
the interior life of a woman seeking a resilient simplicity in an
uncommonly challenging life.
Plural Wife, conntextualized by Martha Bradley's
introduction, gives us insight into Mabel's experience of history
during an important period of the 20th century and advances our
understanding of life ways of 20th century polygamy and the growth
of the fundamentalist movement.
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