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"She's the cooking wife." Inside the private world of Enoch Foster and his three wives.

In 1972, Bob Foster was kicked out of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for marrying a second wife.

At the time, polygamy was illegal in Utah and he spent 20 days in prison for the crime. When he was released, he went searching for somewhere to practice his beliefs without being bothered.

He set up camp in a section of the desert on a 50-year lease in the late 1970s, where he went on to live in peace with his three wives and 38 children.

Forty years later, the community he set up is home to more than a dozen families, many of whom are made up of plural marriages.

WATCH: Enoch Foster talking to his family about marrying a third wife, on ‘Three Wives, One Husband.’ Post continues after video. 

Video via Channel Four

As fundamentalist Mormons, they believe having multiple wives is one way to reach the highest level of heaven. You cannot, in their belief, become a God unless you live with plural marriages.

Rockland Ranch or “The Rock” is entirely self sufficient and has everything a community needs – running water, electricity, internet access and a working farm. Their homes are blasted into the side of a huge sandstone rock and split into different conjoining apartments, which each house different wives and children.

They also have on site half a year’s worth of pickled and canned food, to feed the families living there, when the apocalypse ‘inevitably’ strikes. It’s a key belief of fundamentalist Mormons the “end of days” will come and there will be three and a half years of chaos.

bob Foster
Bob Foster walks along the top of Rockland Ranch. Image: Craig F. Walker/ The Denver Post via Getty Images.
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Not all of Bob's children are polygamous, straight, or even religious, and the family stresses they aren't the "cult" mainstream media makes them out to be. It's a lifestyle they choose, and family members are free to come and go as they please.

Many members of the community work in the closest town of Moab as nurses, mail delivery drivers, in banks, and as tilers, and about half are educated at the local state school. The other half are home-schooled.

There's no old fashioned clothing or forced marriages, in fact most of what they do is pretty normal. They follow fashion trends, watch the news on iPads, take piano lessons, look up pizza recipes for dinner, have barbecues and watch TV. All pretty normal stuff when you remove the fact they live in the side of a rock with multiple wives.

One of Bob's 30-odd kids, Enoch Foster, has run the isolated desert community with his three wives and more than 20 children, since the death of his dad in 2008. It's his family's job to oversee the construction of new homes and buildings in the remote desert world.

In 2017, his family featured in a Channel 4 documentary that allowed the public to get to know the community in a way they never had before. The crew filmed with the families for an entire year - everything from births, disagreements between wives, funerals, how husbands tackle Valentine's Day and date nights, and just ordinary family life.

At the time of filming, Enoch was "courting" his third wife, 25-year-old nanny Lydia Rose. We see Lydia invited to watch the birth of one his children, and hear from his other two wives about the possibility of welcoming a third woman into their family.

Enoch and his three wives gather after the birth of another child - this time by Lillian. Image: Channel Four.
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"Poor Enoch doesn't have any domestic wives," his first wife and childhood sweetheart, Catrina, tells the camera.

"He will soon. Lydia is amazing, I'm trying to convince her that she has to be the cooking wife," replies Lillian, who he married eight years after his first wedding.

As Catrina told the documentary: "Being married to a man who I felt had so much love to give, I found myself wanting to let someone else have the opportunity to share that experience." She was the one that pointed out Lillian and suggested to her husband that she join their family.

All of the wives in the community talk about finding plural marriage hard. There's jealousy, fear of not being loved as much as the other, and fights over who has had more time with their husband. They speak about how the first few years after a new wife joins is always the hardest.

They don't try to pretend that plural marriage is easy, but it's their belief that living in this way makes them kinder, open and more understanding people, and of course - brings them closer to God.

Enoch Foster and wives
Two of Enoch's wives Catrina and Lillian bring him lunch while he works on one of the communities' new houses. Image: Craig F. Walker/The Denver Post via Getty Images.
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Many fundamentalists believe it's their sacred duty to have lots of children, and Lillian and Catrina take it in turns to have children (no doubt Lydia has since joined this roster). They spend every third night with their husband in their bed.

"I never wanted to be a first wife. With a single man you never know what he'll be like. He can say a lot of good things. But is that the reality of how he is? It's pretty cool to know exactly what you're getting," Lydia told the camera crew while still deciding whether she was going to accept her boyfriend's proposal.

The documentary sees Enoch and his first two wives discussing how they feel about a third addition.

"I see yours and her relationship and it's been a stretch for me. Even just holding hands... it's a lot for me to wrap my brain around," admits Lillian.

In 2016, the family was faced with the very real possibility of a law change, that could have seen both Enoch and his wives sent to prison for five years for practicing bigamy.

In 2016, the Fosters were faced with the possibility of five years in prison for polygamy. Image: Channel Four.

There are an estimated 30,000 people in Utah living in polygamous communities, according to Associated Press. Enoch represented the Rockland Ranch community at the time in protesting against the bill.

However, in 2017, Utah passed the laws, making it illegal - and punishable by jail time - for anyone to live with a purported spouse while legally married to anyone else. The family lived under the radar for the next few years, afraid of having to move or hide should authorities choose to enforce the law on them.

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Since the filming of the documentary, Enoch went on to marry Lydia. In April 2018, the family made headlines again after one of Lillian's children, whose birth can be witnessed in Three Wives, One Husband, was killed in a house fire aged two.

Less than a year later, more tragedy for the family came in the form of a car accident that left third wife Lydia badly injured, killing her unborn child.

She broke her pelvis in five spots and broke nine ribs, with a GoFundMe set up at the time to raise money for her medical bills.

Since then, not much has been heard about the notoriously private Foster family, although we can only imagine they're celebrating Utah's most recent law change.

Two of Enoch's wives doing the family grocery shop. Image: Channel Four.

In May 2020, a bill passed the Legislature that means polygamy is not a felony crime in the state of Utah for the first time in 85 years.

Lawmakers hope the change will allow those living in such communities, and experiencing things like abuse and underage marriage, to speak out without fear of prosecution.

Feature image: Channel Four/Netflix.

Three Wives One Husband first debuted on Channel Four, but can now also now watched on Netflix. 

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