Daughters of Zion: My Family’s Conversions to Polygamy by Kim Taylor

A memoir by a girl who grew up in a Mormon sect practicing polygamy that spawned a feud between brothers that became a massacre.

In Daughters of Zion, Kim Taylor really made me understand the inner life of a girl who would accept polygamy. I really appreciated her honesty and candor in portraying the spiritual abuse she suffered and how she never questioned what was going on around her. She also showed the positive side of growing up in a tight knit community, where she grew up with dozens of friends just like her.

The most powerful scenes in the book involved Kim’s coming to terms with polygamy. For example, she’d been courted for years by one of the leading men in the community–and didn’t quite know how to handle it when one of his sons came courting as well. She came close to becoming the new wife of yet another older man, only to decide that polygamy could never be right for her. In all of this, Kim managed never to slander any of the men, even as she criticized the way they led their flock astray. She seems genuinely grieved that the men she trusted and the boys and girls she grew up with could make such deadly choices. Perhaps this is why the story doesn’t seem to come together completely–there were a lot of blanks that I had trouble filling in–but I don’t think she set out to write a history per se. I would’ve appreciated a timeline and a family tree to help keep everything straight, but the emotional content was solidly done.

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