If only David Leavitt had made reading this newspaper part of his weekly existence, Utah could have been saved tons of embarrassment. But he didn’t, and nine years too late the governor’s brother went ahead with the Tom Green polygamy trial. The whole world tuned in to laugh. So far, Utah has been the butt of several thousand printed and broadcast jokes (less than John Wayne Bobbit, but more than Melvin Dummar), and it isn’t even over.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune (and we only believe it because the story was co-written by Kevin Cantera, who wrote for us when he had hair down to his ass), the Juab County prosecutor (kin to half of Southern Utah, thanks to his own polygamous forebears), only came to hear of Tom Green after Green made multiple TV appearances parading the polygamous lifestyle. Yeah, right. As if Tom Green is the only polygamist between Levan and the Nevada border. As if polygamy is only a crime if you tell Judge Judy.
And Tom Green did tell. He and his wives call it explaining and educating, the way they went on TV so much and talked to so many print reporters. But bragging is what it looked and sounded like. Down in Juab County where the grass doesn’t grow all that tall, you could stand on your tippy toes and see Tom Green, his wives and kids a hundred miles away, just flaunting the law like modern day Sodomites. David Leavitt didn’t even have to get on his tippy toes. He just had to look at the TV. That’s what passes for investigative police work down there, in case you didn’t know.
Had he been awake (and if 1992 had been an Olympic year and if his brother had been governor and if the church had already had it up to here with all this polygamy stuff), David Leavitt may have read our first Tom Green story nearly nine years ago. Green and his family were on our cover in August 1992 under the headline “Seven Wives for One Brother.” As a testament to the veracity of that story and the recycled puns that have emerged, just this week in Scotland, The Scotsman newspaper reported on the Green trial under the heading “Seven Brides for One Brother.” I bet that headline is knocking them dead in Dundee.
Tom Green didn’t start committing crimes on Oprah. He wasn’t that hard to find, either—same for Utah’s 30,000 other polygamists. He’s just a scapegoat. Green was found guilty of bigamy, which is like Al Capone being found guilty of tax evasion. We all know that no one else will go to jail for polygamy in Utah. Especially not David Leavitt’s camera-shy neighbors.