The Dargers, the polygamist family that says they inspired HBO's hit show "Big Love," take readers inside their unconventional world in a new memoir, "Love Times Three: Our True Story of a Polygamous Marriage."
To Joe Darger, his three wives, Alina, twins Vicki and Valerie, and their 24 children, they are just like any American family -- except for a different family structure.
"It's very much part of our culture. It goes back six generations for me. I had a very positive experience growing up," Joe Darger said today on "Good Morning America."
Entering into a traditional, monogamous marriage would "have been a much easier choice," he added, but when "two loves just come together at the right moment…it was just meant to be for me."
More than 20 years ago, Joe married wives Alina and Vicki on the same day. Joe and Alina had seven children and at the same time, Joe and Vicki had another eight. A third wife joined the family when in 2000 Joe married Vicki's twin sister, Valerie, and they had another four children – not to mention the five kids Valerie already had from a previous marriage. Between them, this blended family of one husband and three wives shares responsibility for 11 boys and 13 girls.
With so many mouths to feed, the Dargers spend up to $700 a week on groceries. Everyone is required to pitch in. At around age 10, the kids start to do their own laundry and take on other household responsibilities to keep this well-oiled machine of a family running.
Independent Fundamentalist Mormons, the four parents detail their lives with three spouses, three master bedrooms, two dozen children, how they keep it all together, and the relationship challenges that ensue.
The women admit that jealousy is part of human nature and they can't help but feel pangs at times, but they lean on one another for support and dig deeper into their faith.
Each of their individual relationships with Joe is a private one.
"If it was about sex, I'd have mistresses. It's a much easier way," Joe said. "Easier than making a commitment to a family. …It's not about that side of it. It's about us creating a family."
In the state of Utah, where the Dargers live, polygamy is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five year in prison. The Dargers have decided to come forward to paint a different picture of polygamy than that broadcast by Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and raise awareness about their lifestyle and loving family.
Joe Darger said getting arrested as a result of the book is a "big concern."
"It's a reality that we're faced with," he said on "GMA." "The reason we need to be able to speak out is that all we see are the negative portrayals. And if we don't look at the opportunities that are out there for us to live in this country and be free, and speak up in that way, then our rights are going to be taken away from us."
Read an excerpt from "Love Times Three" on the following page, then check out some other books in the "GMA" library