‘Plygs,’ a fact-based novel by southern Utah journalist

ST. GEORGE – STGnews* columnist Ed Kociela examines the world of polygamy in a new book now available through Amazon.com.

His book, “plygs,” is a fact-based novel based on his 17-year career as a southern Utah journalist.

Book cover (partial), “plygs,” by Ed Kociela, released July 22, 2012 | Image courtesy of Ed Kociela

“This is a story about how some people will do anything in the name of religion,” Kociela said. “It’s about love, lust, and greed and the heartbreaking loss of innocence.”

He said although polygamy has been a part of the Utah culture for many years, the modern-day effects are still relevant politically, socially, and, most importantly, morally.

“I really don’t care which religion people believe in or what consenting adults do with each other or to each other,” he said, “but when innocent children are brought into it, the picture changes dramatically. Some of these girls who are placed into marriage should still be playing with dolls instead of raising babies of their own.”

“As the parent of a blossoming daughter, who was raised in a place where polygamy is a part of the culture, it breaks my heart to think of other young girls and the lives they missed because they were trapped in a religious culture that would not only deny their childhood, but womanhood and individuality as well.”

The societal effects, he said, are equally distressing.

“I don’t see how public officials who are so determined to run undocumented workers out of the country can sleep at night when, on one hand, they are going after a group of people who they insist are a burden on the system, while turning a blind eye to another that flaunts the fact that they are ‘bleeding the beast’ by fraudulently collecting food stamps, health care benefits, and other forms of welfare.”

Politically, he sees particular relevance.

“Look, we have two presidential candidates who come from a polygamous background,” Kociela said. “One acknowledges it while the other tries to distance himself from his roots. An elected public official’s religion and heritage do, whether we like it or not, become part of the greater issue and an honest examination of their beliefs — religious as well as cultural and political — is not without reason. I want to know who they are, where they come from, and what their values system is based on, and obviously, voters do too, otherwise there wouldn’t be so much discussion about it. Is that fair? You have to make your own decision about that.”

This is not Kociela’s first step into the creative arts.

His 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.

This was, he says, a much different challenge.

“There is an emotional attachment to every creative project,” he said. “This one? It captured my soul. Over the years, the emotional impact of meeting people from this culture and seeing how their lives were shattered tugged at my heart. Finally, about a year and a half ago, I started capturing the words that had been strung together in my mind and arranged them into this book. I purged some emotional demons in the writing of “plygs,” while at the same time, creating some newer, darker ones.”

The book is currently available only in online form.

“We talked to some people and weighed the options of searching for a literary agent and publishing house, but the thing is, I have seen what has happened to the arts since the ‘corporatization’ of the music, film, television, and book industry,” he said. “Add that to the true independence of self-publishing in a timely manner and the savings that can be passed on to readers whose wallets may have thinned in this downtrodden economy, but whose appetite for new books has not. The online world solves that problem. There is also an immediacy and intimacy involved in this medium that cannot be denied.

“Plus, I am a huge believer in the revolution of ‘new media,’ as it is called. We see the traditional vehicles for communication falling by the way as more and more people turn to the Internet for news, research, and entertainment.”

“Plygs” is available in Kindle edition on Amazon.


* Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist with St. George News. His book, subject of this article, is his own independent of and not a product of St. George News.

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  • Alvin July 25, 2012 at 7:01 am

    Whats with the photo of the LDS Tabernacle on the cover of a book called “Plygs” ??? Why not make a short drive and take a photo of the Hilldale-Colorado City area? If the book is about current issues surrounding the “plygs”, why is he trying to give the audience a skewed perception of the content by placing the Tabernacle on the cover. Maybe that’s the only photo he could find from his computer in Mexico.

  • Ed Kociela July 25, 2012 at 7:35 am

    The Tabernacle was designed and built by polygamists. It is a representation of Mormon ideology past and present, which is prominent in the book.

  • Murat July 25, 2012 at 9:29 am

    I’ve noticed that the plygs are very judgmental, which is why I choose to give them a dose of their own medicine. Whenever I’m puttering around Wal Mart and encounter some I always make it a point to say something, such as, “you’re the kooks who look to a pedophile for spiritual guidance, aren’t you?” Or, “Hey, it’s not the 1800s anymore. Can’t you find some clothes that aren’t so damn ugly?” Things of that nature.

  • Murat July 25, 2012 at 9:34 am

    If you want to sell/distribute more copies, you might consider investing in an all-out Kingdom of God cover set on Kolob with Jesus, Joseph Smith and his bevy of wives, pastures full of child brides, etc.

  • lissa July 25, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Murat, it says the book is based on fact. FACT. Whether you want to accept it or not, the modern LDS church did practice polygamy. The tabernacle was built when those beliefs we’re still being practiced. In order to be accepted as a state, they had to agree to stop polygamists marriages.
    Ed’s columns are always insightful and I would expect nothing less with this book. Good luck, Ed!

  • Murat July 25, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Also, regarding the statement that Mr. Kociela has written two screenplays, I refer to the words of two very successful screenwriters, Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant: If you don’t sell it, it’s not a screenplay. It’s a stack of paper for the recycling bin

  • seriously? July 25, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Wow………I am in awe of your ingnorance.

  • seriously? July 25, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    Just to clarify…previous comment not about article.Only to Murat.

  • lissa July 26, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    From Murats above comment “I’ve noticed that the plygs are very judgmental, which is why I choose to give them a dose of their own medicine. Whenever I’m puttering around Wal Mart and encounter some I always make it a point to say something, such as, “you’re the kooks who look to a pedophile for spiritual guidance, aren’t you?” Or, “Hey, it’s not the 1800s anymore. Can’t you find some clothes that aren’t so damn ugly?” Things of that nature.”
    Way to be a good example! Child marriages are wrong, I can agree with you on that. However, your statement implies that you do not like to be judged, but feel justified judging them. About their clothes of all things. Who the hell cares what they are wearing? At least they aren’t dressed like hookers!
    Most of them know no other way of life, this is acceptable to them. Do I agree with it? Not at all. Do I think that the pedos should be put in jail? Certainly. But this book is about the history of Mormons, past and present. My husband’s great grandfather was a polygamist, and the church condoned it. It drives me nuts how LDS people now will look down their noses on people who are living the same way their ancestors did not too long ago.

    • Murat July 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm

      A couple of things. First, I don’t like your double standard. You take issue with my criticism of plyg dress style, and denigrate hooker fashion at the same time. Some hookers actually have highly evolved, elegant tastes in clothing. Second, I’m not LDS. I chastise the LDS as much as I do the FLDS, Christians, Muslims, iPod freaks and others.

  • Not a Mormon July 27, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Where to begin? First off, I’m glad you used the tabernacle since the ‘plygs’ as you call them are practicing what the original mormons also believed and practiced and did not change for convenience sake and make excuses by calling it ‘god changing his mind’.
    Secondly, is the title intended to be offensive, judgmental, and bigoted, or is it bringing to light the hatred of ‘regular’ mormons in St george directed towards the polygamists on a daily basis? As a non-mormon not from Utah but currently living in this god-forsaken hell hole pretending to be part of the rest of America, I find it hilarious to see how much disdain is directed toward the polygamists by the local yokels here in St. George. Don’t get me wrong, polygamy as practiced down in colorado city is absolutely a cult and a dangerous one at that, but so is ‘regular’ mormonism. It’s the pot calling the kettle black as far as an outsider is concerned when the folks here call the polygamists ‘backwards’.
    Think about this: Utah is the Colorado City of America.
    And for the record, I am interested in reading this book for more ammunition against mormons and utahrds in general.

    • Kelli July 28, 2012 at 5:51 am

      Hey Not a Mormon, why do you stay in Utah? I used to live in Florida, and hated it for reasons too numerous to list, so I left. Are you hoping to leave here?

      • Not a Mormon July 28, 2012 at 8:43 am

        Ideally, yeah, I would leave, however it ain’t in the cards, so I’m embracing my fate and am working with illegals and normal Americans to outbreed and water down the nonsense here. We’ll retake Utah for America eventually.

  • Not a Whiner July 28, 2012 at 8:11 am

    One of the great things about this country is the Freedom of Speech and the many forums that allow us to speak our minds. With this freedom comes the responsibility and respect of others to do the same. Although I don’t agree with those who speak out against somebody’s religious beliefs, they should at least allow others to practice “their” 1st Amendment Right to do the same. That’s the main crux of this freedom. You can’t hog it all for yourself and not give this same freedom to others. It just doesn’t work that way. I really don’t think the Mormon religion is hurting anyone to the point where they have to lash out at them to try and feel better about themselves. And to be quite honest, there are way to many things out there to whine about other than what someone decides to believe in.

  • Wyatt Dockerley August 8, 2012 at 8:50 am

    The LDS discontinued practicing polygamy to become a State. But has the LDS officially stated that it believes polygamy is wrong? (I doubt if they would ever say that it WAS wrong since that would cast doubt on their founders). If they now say it is wrong and if they are active in condemning it wherever it is practiced and if the law in “mormon areas” prosecutes polygamists, then we should not criticize them for their history but support them in their current practice.

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