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JOE JESSOP


SHORT CREEK, UTAH – One man in Utah bets that his family tree is bigger than yours!

Joe Jessop, 88, is a cowboy from a small town in Utah and a loyal husband – to five wives. “I’ve had a blessed life,” the polygamist said. “I wouldn’t trade places with anyone,” he told the National Geographic in this month’s issue.

Jessop has fathered 46 children with his wives. His children in turn have blessed him with 239 grandchildren. That’s a very impressive family tree.

Jessop is a pillar of the controversial Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS). The church’s prophet, Warren Jeffs, was convicted for officiating at the “marriage” of a 14-year-old girl.

“My family came to Short Creek for the same reason as everyone else,” he told the magazine. “To obey the law of plural marriage, to build up the kingdom of God.” There are currently about 6,000 FLDS members living in the same town as Jessop.

The wives are the cornerstone to the whole family. The FLDS community is one in which wives may live in different wings of the same house. “Although each has a primary responsibility for her own children, one wife might manage the kitchen, a second act as a schoolteacher, and a third see to the sewing,” said the magazine.