Explainer

Sister Wives: What religion are Kody Brown and his wives?

Janelle and Meri Brown of Sister Wives
Kody Brown and his wives practice polygamy as members of an offshoot of the Mormon church. Pic credit: TLC

Sister Wives star Kody Brown has gained fame and notoriety as a polygamist with multiple wives.

Although Kody has only three wives since Christine Brown left him last year, he is still a practicing polygamist, spiritually married to Meri and Janelle Brown and legally married to Robyn Brown.

Polygamy is rare, with only about 2% of the population worldwide practicing plural marriage.

With the growing interest in polygamy sparked by TLC’s hit show Sister Wives, viewers are curious: what religion do Kody and his wives practice?

Kody grew up in a fundamentalist Mormon upbringing. He didn’t explore polygamy until his father, William Winn Brown, felt called by God to explore plural marriage. Kody followed in his father’s footsteps and decided that after marrying his first wife, Meri, they would add more wives over the next 20 years.

Kody and his three wives are members of the Apostolic United Brethren (AUB), an offshoot of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS), or Mormon religion. Christine admitted this season that she’s no longer affiliated with the family’s faith. Although Mormons once practiced polygamy, it is currently outlawed by the LDS church.

Sister wives star Kody Brown and his wives belong to the Apostolic United Brethren (AUB)

When Sister Wives viewers first met the Brown family, they were still living in Utah, where nearly half the population practices plural marriage. In an effort to avoid prosecution for their polygamist lifestyle, Kody moved his super-sized family from Utah to Las Vegas, Nevada. However, polygamy has since been decriminalized in Utah.

None of the Brown family’s children practice polygamy

Of the Brown family’s 18 children, so far none of them have chosen to follow in their parents’ paths and enter into plural marriage. Four of the adult children are married, all monogamously — Maddie is married to Caleb Brush, Mykelti is married to Tony Padron, Aspyn is married to Mitch Thompson, and Logan is married to Michelle Petty.

Although Christine once celebrated polygamy, she now identifies as a monogamist. Recently, Christine’s aunt, Kristyn Decker, who formerly lived a polygamist lifestyle like her niece, spoke about polygamy and shared that plural marriage is often “coercive” and noted she’s “so glad [Christine got] out of there.”

These days, however, Kody’s actions have many Sister Wives fans questioning whether he still advocates for plural marriage. With Christine out of the picture, an estranged marriage with Meri, and rumors that he and Janelle have split, it appears as though Kody and Robyn are living a monogamous lifestyle… something Sister Wives fans have speculated Robyn has been plotting since she joined the family.

Sister Wives airs on Sundays at 10/9c on TLC and Discovery+.