And why would we be surprised?
We have Medical Tours where travelers combine a few days in a luxury hotel and first class beaches in Thailand, while getting a hip replaced or heart by-pass surgery.
Then we saw Fertility Tours where women travel to Cyprus and beyond to sell their eggs for big bucks, and see the sights in the process.
And now, according to AOL Travel there’s a new four-hour tour into Colorado City, Arizona to learn all about polygamy.
The “Polgamy Tours” fetch up to $70.00 a person for a look at this polygamist community on the Utah-Arizona border.
Apparently there are many takers of the tour. Tourists throughout Europe (especially Scandinavia) and the States are eager for a peek behind the curtain, and into the lifestyle of polygamists.
Reuters reports that the “Polygamy Tour” is led by Richard Holm, a one-time practicing polygamist who once had three wives.
Holm guides the tour through the dramatic mountains and pink rocks while the community’s kids play in yards, families picnic and “teenage boys gallop their horses away from the guests.”
It happens that Colorado City, Arizona, is the headquarters of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) one led by Warren Jeffs who was arrested for arranging child-bride marriages.
FLDS is a breakaway from the mainstream Mormon church (Church of Latter-day Saints) which renounced polygamy a century or so ago.
Apparently FLDS men get around the law against polygamy by legally marrying one wife and taking other wives as “spiritual wives.”
Reuters reports that even as the women in “old-fashioned braided hair and pioneer dresses” shoo the kids away from the staring tourist, they are becoming accustomed to the visitors and are more friendly, as they realize many on the tour are there to learn and not to gawk.
Presumably, they also welcome the additional revenue into the community.
Holm is quick to point out the tour does not promote polygamy, but, in his words, it’s a look inside the culture…an insight into a lifestyle.”