"We hear about this a lot," Dr. Phil says of media reports about plural marriage, "but we don't get a real inside view to see what it's really about."
"This isn't some free love compound," defends Joe, husband to Alina, Vicki and Valerie. "It's actually very traditional, but people still find it offensive."
"I feel like we're fighting for the rights of all people who want to live this way; just to have the choice," Vicki says.
The Dargers are authors of a new book about their life in a plural marriage titled, Love Times Three. They join Dr. Phil onstage.
[AD]"Everyone is hugely curious about this," Dr. Phil says to the foursome. "You understand that. That's why you wrote the book. You welcome the curiosity. But this is [still] criminal behavior, right? Polygamy is against the law."
"Yes. It's a third-degree felony in the state of Utah," Joe answers. "It's scary."
"This [show] is being watched by millions of people. I have a personal relationship with the Attorney General of Utah"" Dr. Phil quips, before being interrupted.
"Well, I'm leaving!" Valerie interjects, jokingly, pretending to get up from her chair.
"So, why now?" Dr. Phil asks.
"We feel like the time is now. The climate is ripe for it," Joe responds.
Dr. Phil tells Joe and his wives that he's aware that they each have grandfathers who went to jail for polygamy.
"Yes. So our parent's generation grew up with this idea that you just keep your head down. We'll have a truce with the state because they can't throw us all in jail. But all it does is it marginalizes a whole society."
Dr. Phil tries to clarify how Joe, having one legal wife and two nonlegal wives, could be committing a criminal act.
[AD]"Actually, [the state] controls the language," Joe describes. "It's a free speech issue. If I call them mistresses, it's fine. The law says that if I'm married to, or purport to be married to more than one woman, it's a problem. The word 'purport' is a key part of the law. Calling Vicki and Valerie a wife is the problem."
Joe, Alina, Vicki and Valerie all say that they come from large families that practiced polygamy. Their story is also rumored to have inspired the hit HBO series, Big Love. They agree that there were some very real similarities, but that it didn't capture their experience entirely.
Dr. Phil quizzes Joe and the women about how their life is different than the way plural marriage is typically portrayed in the media.
"What we hoped for people to understand when we wrote the book is the difference," Alina says. "For instance, we don't belong to a church. We are Independent Fundamentalist Mormons. We practice our faith at home."
The group also discusses their feelings on expanding their family. Alina says that while she is open to a fourth wife, Vicki has reservations and would only agree if it's right.
"I'm very open to the possibility of another wife joining our family," Valerie says. "But it does have to be that perfect fit."
Vicki says her twin sister, Valerie, married Joe at her idea. "She had come out of a bad situation," Vicki explains. "And I really had this strong love for her. I felt like I had something really good and it was fine to be a part of that. I know that sounds weird to everyone."
"I grew up with three sisters, and I felt ganged up on a lot," Dr. Phil says. "Do you ever come home and snap?"
"Sometimes, I feel like I'm surrounded by estrogen, and I don't know how to get out!" Joe says with a laugh.
"How to keep from having a favorite?" Dr. Phil asks. "Do you have a favorite?"
[AD]Joe says it's much like children. "I don't have a favorite child, and I don't have a favorite [wife]. I love them all," he says. He adds that each wife adds a different and special trait to the marriage and to the family.
Vicki says that when she first married Joe, she was jealous of the attention he paid to Alina. But Alina explains how they handle those issues: "The key for us is communication, trust and respect. At the end of the day, [we] come back to why we are here."
The Dargers discuss their nightly rotation.