ST. GEORGE —The highly anticipated sequel to St. George News columnist Ed Kociela’s first book on polygamy is now available through Amazon.com.
The book, “plygs2,” completes the story of religion gone awry in the dusty barrenness of two small towns located along the state line between Utah and Arizona.
Like his first book, “plygs2” is a fact-based novel based on Kociela’s 21-year career as a Southern Utah newsman.
“This book is the finalization of the story about a family torn apart by the demands of a demented prophet who controls every aspect of their lives by demanding they follow his word or face eternal damnation,” Kociela said. “Like the first book, ‘plygs2’ is also about love, lust and greed and the heartbreaking loss of innocence that test my characters’ courage and will.
“The first book was a primer on the lifestyle and beliefs of a group of fundamentalist Mormons. This one pulls back the layers and exposes the vulnerabilities of a family forced to choose between its religious beliefs and belief in each other.”
“Plygs2” also deals with the fate of a fundamentalist prophet, wanted by authorities in three states for vicious sex crimes against children he took as brides.
Kociela said he hopes the book will shed even more light on a subject that is far more complex than a man taking multiple wives.
“Some people shrug it off and say that consenting adults should be allowed to live whichever lifestyle they choose,” he said. “While I believe that is true, there is a subtext that often goes unrecognized in these fundamentalist groups. This is not simply about a man taking multiple wives, it is about an indoctrination, from cradle to grave, that allows for massive amounts of welfare fraud against the federal, state and local governments; the elimination of women’s rights; the racial and sexual bigotry practiced in these communities; and, foremost, the sexual abuse against the children trapped within these cults.
“For whatever reasons, we have seen how society in general has turned a blind eye to the problem, including government law enforcement officials. In the state of Utah, we have witnessed two successive attorneys general who publicly stated that they would not enforce the state’s statutes on bigamy and polygamy. Why? Is it because of their close ties to the founding principles of Mormonism? Is it because of lucrative campaign donations? Or, is it because they just don’t care?
“I can’t answer that other than to say that both of those attorneys general were subsequently charged with serious crimes and are no longer in public service.”
This is is Kociela’s third book. After penning “plygs,” he wrote “It Rocked: Recollections of a Reclusive Rock Critic,” a memoir from his days as the rock critic for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner.
“I enjoyed writing that book and revisiting the times I spent with amazing artists like Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, my friend George Harrison and so many others,” Kociela said. “I needed a little diversion after writing my first polygamy book and ‘It Rocked’ provided that. It gave me a break before delving back into the dark side of cult religions.”
Previously, Kociela’s play “Downwinders” was selected for a week’s worth of readings as part of the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s “Plays in Progress” series, now known as the “Great American Playwright” series. He has also written two screenplays.
“I’ve got a couple other projects on the table,” Kociela said. “They’re very different from the breezy rock book, but with societal impacts as strong as the polygamy books.”
The book can be ordered online.