Category Archives: LDS Church

Mormon Polygamy: No More Marathon to Heaven

 

 

 

 

I recently participated in a 5K Break Free Run in my hometown to help combat human trafficking. This year’s theme was: “STRONG.” There were posters along the paved pathway with messages such as – “Stand up have a voice stay strong,” “An educated child is a strong child,” and “Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its hope for the future.”

A few years ago, I entered the same Break Free Run and thought then, as I do today, “More education needs to be made available about coercive polygamy – a form of modern-day slavery.”

Participating in the run this year inspired me to be STRONG and share some of my experiences being recruited and coerced into polygamy. Certain criteria and elements that define human trafficking are also found in Mormon polygamy. The main difference is that polygamists use family members and friends to help recruit polygamy prospects, and religion to get away with it.

Beneath my Break Free Run shirt, I wore a “Hope” shirt, representing my love and support for children and women who have suffered at the hands of Mormon Fundamentalist predators. These victims and survivors have been used as sex objects, birthing machines, domestic slaves, child laborers, exploited workers, collected and sometimes traded among polygamists.  If it seems unreal – I assure you, it is a reality.  That is why, last week, it was meaningful being united with a group of people running to end human trafficking (coercive polygamy was not mentioned, so that is why I decided to write this blogpost). 

This year, I stayed behind runners and took my time while memories flooded back as I was reminded of another marathon I ran: a marathon to heaven. I had been taught that in order for me to attain the highest degree of heaven, I would need to “give” my husband another wife. If I didn’t obey all the laws pertaining to polygamy, and make it to the celestial finish line, I would be destroyed, and my children would be given to another mother on the other side. (Only the righteous are blessed to remain as families forever).

As a child who wasn’t sealed in the temple to her parents, an eternal family meant everything to me. A devout member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I met my future husband at Brigham Young University. At eighteen years of age, I was sealed in the LDS Temple for time and all eternity to my twenty-five year old eternal mate. After we had our second child, our path began to diverge from the mainstream church. My husband begun having doctrinal questions, and he met others who provided hidden (or what some members consider “less revealed”), LDS history. This is when our marriage started to take a drastic change.

I had learned about polygamy in seminary and was told it was an eternal principle revealed to Joseph Smith, and would someday be lived again. I revered my pioneer heritage, and believed following all the laws of God was essential. Although adamant that polygamy could not be lived in today’s society, I also believed that I was supposed to follow my husband. I was married in the Mormon temple in the early eighties when marital roles were more rigid; my husband worked outside the home, and I worked inside the home raising our children. During the LDS temple ceremony, I was told to follow my husband as he followed God (I made my temple covenants to my husband whereas he made them to God). As my husband taught me church doctrines from early Mormonism, I became very confused because of all the contradictions.  I remembered the covenants I made in the LDS temple.

My husband explained to me about the Manifesto and how the Mormon Church abandoned polygamy in 1890 because President Wilford Woodruff feared losing church property and not gaining statehood, or being popular with the world (another contradiction of God). He explained if President Wilford Woodruff had remained faithful, God would have fought his battles. My husband told members in our LDS Ward that he would give a thousand dollars to anyone who could find a revelation from a Mormon prophet after President Wilford Woodruff signed the 1890 Manifesto. (In his mind, the lack of any new “thus saith the Lord” revelations were a sign that the heavens had withdrawn).

Line upon line, precept upon precept, I was recruited to live polygamy by my former husband, his friends, and Doctrine & Covenants 132. I use the word “recruited” because under normal circumstances, I would never have allowed my husband to spiritually marry and have sex with other women. I grew up in mainstream society where monogamy was the norm, not polygamy.

Eventually, I was moved to a desolate area with other Mormon Fundamentalists and lost contact with my family, and much of reality. My husband gave me religious books to read that prepared me for my submissive role as a plural wife – we would argue, I would apologize, and the cycle would repeat itself – something he referred to as “slipping”. (He called opposing his leadership “spiritually fornicating” which I sometimes did commit.)

Clearly, I had no idea what to expect when my husband spoke of living polygamy. It was unsettling; I had so many reservations. But, I also believed that my role was to follow my husband, as he followed the laws of God (which, to me, included Mormon polygamy and celestial marriage). My husband promised that when he took a wife, he would be careful of my feelings.

During my experience of living polygamy, there were many times it felt as if I was running on a never-ending treadmill that was going way too fast. Once I jumped on I realized I was on a fast track, with no way off. Mothers have nearly ten months to prepare for giving birth to a baby, yet I was only given a couple weeks to get ready to deliver a new bride to my husband.

The role of the first wife was to place the bride-to-be’s hand on his during the wedding ceremony – which I did.

Before their engagement, my husband, who was fourteen years older than the bride-to-be, asked me to write letters demonstrating my acceptance of polygamy – which I did.

Men often expect their wives to become their greatest proponent in polygamy. Turning to them for help in recruiting more wives. Victims often turn, and advocate polygamy. They do whatever it takes to secure favor in the heart of their husband.

As the first wife, I was ill-prepared for what I would experience living polygamy. There was no training manual. No road map, no sign posts along the way, and no role model to follow. (That should have been my first clue.) Not even a small Dixie cup of unpolluted water to quench my thirst. I was on my own; it felt as if I was running in the dark, not knowing where I was going – “If only I had more FAITH!”

Quitting a marathon to heaven was not an option for a die-hard, like me.

I tried steadying myself with fasting and prayer; bracing myself with more priesthood blessings and scripture reading. Although the LDS temple had taught no light-mindedness, there were many times when I’d question why I was living polygamy. It just didn’t make sense.

My husband told me stories. We laughed at the first-wife who was so angry at her husband for living polygamy that she froze to death on a rooftop. I assured myself, “I would never be turned into a pillar of salt, or freeze to death.”

I wrote affirmations to be a better wife, and posted them on my kitchen wall. I was constantly trying to be obedient and maneuver away from Satan. Seemingly small things were often the hardest to bear: Losing a helpmeet and father for my children because days and nights were evenly divided between plural-wives; watching ½ my husband’s clothing being moved out of my bedroom; arguing which plural-wife would “give” the next wife; my husband deciding to stay over at my sister-wife’s house when he was sick because it was less noisy (I thought I was his only “helpmeet”); my husband arriving home from travel on my sister-wife’s night; sitting in the backseat of the car with the children as my sister-wife sat in the front with our husband; having sex after or before his other wife; all living together and a lack of spontaneous affection; feeling like a number instead of a wife; the saga of deciding where to have holidays; wondering who my husband thought about when he watched a “happily ever after” love story; his wives allowance secretly divided; skipping an anniversary day because he was with his other wife; so many birthdays and rotating nights and chaos; husband being heavily influenced by my sister-wife or her family; husband not being around when I went into labor because it was my sister-wife’s night; often feeling like both a single-mother and mistress but never a partner . . . the list felt endless.

I did not understand why plural marriage was so difficult when I believed it was a true principle of God, and loved my family; including my sister-wife. I certainly did not want to be weak or insecure in my marriage. So I pushed on, believing that faith and obedience would propel my weary mind and body. I did not want to die of a broken heart, so I convinced myself that not being destroyed would be worth it. And when my sister-wife told me, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first,” I kept running.

After a couple years of nearly running myself to death, while my husband ignored the needs of me and my children, and the treadmill kept getting faster with mention of getting another wife (something he referred to as needing a “quorum” of wives to help our marriage), I came to the conclusion that either: 1) I wasn’t celestial material or 2) My husband wasn’t living polygamy correctly.

I finally decided that if this was heaven, I’d rather be happy in hell – and I took a flying leap!

Jumping off the Mormon polygamy treadmill was worth the ALL the risks.  Today I am grateful that my children and I are safe. I never froze to death or turned into a pillar of salt, and I haven’t grown (anymore) horns. I am much happier. We are much happier.  It has taken me decades to understand the manacle machinations of Mormon polygamy.

Every human deserves happiness, and to be treated with dignity and respect.

Unlike the marathon to a polygamist heaven, the “Break Free Run” was not a straight and narrow path, and it did not matter how fast or slow I ran because we all crossed the same finish line. Even if someone couldn’t finish the 5K, she would not be disqualified. The sidelines were filled with supportive cheers, colorful tape, posters, and small Dixie cups of fresh water. The mini-marathon to help end human trafficking was about creating a safe haven on earth.

Like others who have recently stood up against sexual assault and harassment within religion, I believe LDS doctrine played a part in grooming me to accept polygamy. The religious teachings from my youth taught me that my role as a female was to look to a male leader, and be submissive to my husband’s priesthood authority, which, combined with the early teachings of the church, convinced me that polygamy was required of God.  Presently, the LDS Church is doing more to educate its members about Mormon polygamy history, and leaders excommunicate members who practice polygamy on earth.

Polygamy is one of the most accepted forms of human right violations against women and children in the world. More attention is finally being given to victims of sexual assault in our country. Now it is time Mormon men, who have used their position of power and authority within religion to sexually exploit women and/or children, must be held accountable.

Human Trafficking:
The United Nations Article 3, paragraph (a) of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons defines “Trafficking in Persons as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.

 

Warning: Keeping My Portals Shut

I remember as a child singing a beloved Christmas song, the lyrics went something like this: “Open ye portals, I pray for the love of heaven, open ye doors for a poor woman waits outside…”

The song was about the birth of Christ. As a child, I loved hearing this song.  Afterwards we would take turns with relatives reenacting the first Christmas hoping to play the part of Mary and Joseph.  Then, we’d listen to early Mormon stories about pioneer ancestors.  I never imagined that some day I would be pioneering a new way for my children to view mortality.

Although I don’t know the title of this song, it still comes to mind because of the story behind it.  Motherhood, mother’s helpmeet, the portal of life; a symbol of love and salvation (“preservation or deliverance from harm, ruin, or loss”).  Life is meaningful.

 

 

 

 

 

Today the miracle and innocence of a naked baby contrasted with a trail of religions and temples

I do not know if there is a portal to heaven, or if there is a god who hears my prayers. Even if there was, I imagine that my prayers are unnecessary because God knows everything about me including what is best for me before I pray.  As a mother whose children often pleaded for something they wanted, I doubt God wants to hear another pestering prayer.  It just doesn’t make sense to me. Worse is the thought of deserving children whose prayers are not answered. My prayer would be that God answers their prayers first.

I am more than happy to let go of a real or made-up portal to heaven.

Life should be esteemed as sacred as a portal to heaven

This year, I am going to take more control over the time and energy I exert, and the time and energy used by those objects or individuals trying to side-track me, and make their way into my life.

This blogpost is about controlling what or who I allow to enter my portal.  I define portal as a doorway into my personal space, which space should be considered my heaven on earth. My peace and happiness.  I may not be able to control certain aspects of my life, but I can take more control over intruders, and potential intruders.

Recent intruders have been trying to finagle their way into my personal space through open portals.

I Do Not Know Why I am being Routed Through Utah

I recently noticed my computer was acting odd.  I accessed a program that showed each DNS address coming from SLC, Utah, to my IP address. The number of queries coming from Utah were 972, 1032, 836, 1013 782, 925.

This means that someone from Utah may be trying to gain access into my information. I have security set up, yet it will never be enough for a good hacker.

If a computer is not protected an unscrupulous person from anywhere can turn on a camera or microphone without the victim’s knowledge, besides gathering all their personal files, including passwords (e.g. Putin’s cyber-army).

There is no reason that I know of that my DNS is being routed to Salt Lake City, instead of Fresno (where it should be coming from).

I have double checked my computer portals for security.

Fake Anonymous

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fake Anonymous needs me

Last night I decided to shut all portals to anyone contacting me about my ex-spiritual polygamist husband CMN, unless there is (what I believe) a legitimate reason.  Not a legitimate excuse.

I received another e-mail this morning.

Due to my former experiences helping victims of polygamy-abuse, I do want to extend myself to others who may need assistance.  If you need help, please contact me privately.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • If you are suicidal contact a confidential suicide hotline. You can also message me on Facebook. I may be able to connect you to specialized services.
  • If you are being threatened, bullied, intimidated, isolated, or exploited get help from a domestic abuse hotline.
  • If your Messenger tries to play the divide and conquer game “Us” against “You” – get help. This is a common strategy used by an abuser.  Find help “outside” his support group.  Contact a victim’s advocate.
  • If he has publicly or privately humiliated or shamed you, in any way, it is a form of abuse.
  • If he uses fear tactics such as making you feel guilty for going along with something illegal or unethical he has done, or lured you into, do not let him make you feel guilty through association. It is a way to pull you in closer, or test your loyalty. Get out it will only get worse.
  • If he uses anything in your past, anything you have done to intimidate you, or if he spreads rumors or falsehoods about you it means he is angry and losing control. Do not be intimidated.  Get help immediately. Do not be sucked into his vortex.
  • If you have been a witness to illegal activities report it to law enforcement.  Ask for a victim’s advocate.
  • If you have seen your messenger do any of these things to others in the group take note, it is a sign of his true character. You are empowering him and supporting abuse.
  • Prepare for your escape and protection by getting help.

(The above may or may not apply).

I believe in freedom of religion. I do not believe in freedom to abuse others.  Deception and fraud are not protected under “religious freedom”.

I was a victim of CMN – so I am speaking from personal experience.  (I am familiar with many of the tactics above).

I do not believe CMN is a “Messenger” any more than I am, nor do I believe that the Humanity Party is the answer to solve our world’s poverty problems.  I will explain more in later posts about what I believe could be one of the answers to poverty.

I certainly hope no one would take someone like CMN seriously.  A leader? A humanitarian? Feed the hungry and take care of the orphans? CMN still owes back child-support to me.  He has never made amends.

I will open my portal for those individuals who message me on my Facebook, or Vickie’s Grin who need help.  I have already received anonymous messages, and will help whenever possible. Otherwise, I am closing my portal to those who are harassing me.

If you are a believer and happy, this message is not intended for you.

Coach Tricia      

“Tricia, Tricia, Tricia –

Do you really need to keep texting me to join your new fit challenge?  Besides the recent e-mails, I received two texts in one week. I was the woman who joined your fitness challenge last year and then quit before the challenge ended. Besides being a terrible challenger, I would have NEVER thrown money into the pot for your top weight losers had I known you would constantly be promoting Herbalife after joining.

Chanting for a Herbalife chaser is hitting rock bottom.  The only positive was my sister winning a pot of money without buying your Herbalife.  Please be more honest.

I am shutting my fitness portal to Coach Tricia, and all other promoters, by blocking unwanted numbers and email addresses.

Mormon Missionaries

This Christmas season while I was at work, the Mormon missionaries came to our door while I was gone.  Unbeknownst to me, they were invited back and shared a movie with my daughter.  The sisters also invited my daughter to a live nativity with a reminder: “World-wide day of service is December 1st”.

I would not have minded my daughter getting some education about, or from, the LDS Church with my knowledge.

I have shut that portal.

Billboards and False Advertising 

When I drive home from work I pass one of those “Come visit Moab” billboards.  I pass both the Moab billboard and the Scientology billboards.  Several billboards.

The reason why the Moab sign negatively affects me is because of unresolved issues when I was living in Utah, including Moab where I was groomed for polygamy. The geographical beauty doesn’t take those memories away.  It is my former connection with cults, and knowing that innocent people in Utah are being deceived by the appearance of something that looks wholesome and inviting, and yet, is harmful.

The billboard and signs on buses advertising Utah symbolize the machination of something attractive on the outside and rotten in the inside.

Recently one of my nieces was being sneakily recruited by her own boss into Scientology. She had no idea the professional business was also a lure until after being invited to Florida (Scientology headquarters). The communication teaching, and Scientology photographs posted on the wall is easy to miss when you aren’t looking. Luckily my darling niece figured it out.

I wasn’t so lucky before being recruited into Mormon Fundamentalism.

Since it is an impossibility to control pesky signs, and because I want others to have their freedom of speech, I am closing the portal to these uncomfortable messages.  Instead I stick in a CD to the musical “La La Land” and lala those billboards away.

I am now attracted to “cities of light”.

Intruders

This blogpost was intended to give examples of some recent intruders, something my daughter would say – “first world problems, Mom.”  Partly as a written and visual reminder to myself.

There are many more important problems in the world than learning time management and how to control my day. Unfortunately, without religion, and someone leading me this is my life – learning to take accountability and control of my day.

Fortunately, I got this handled!

Intruders are not only people they are material items, emails, paperwork, phone calls, re-runs on television, too many of the same cute animal videos, and other distractions. THINGS that often do not give back. They are not only intruders they are feeders who suck the life and energy out of me.

I am shutting my portal to these costly interferences and creating a situation where I am naturally drawn towards something of value, instead of something less valuable.

It really does take a plan

Religion and religious leaders have used similar strategies to control people.  The problem is that the religion dictates the plan of action instead of the individual. If a person doesn’t fit into the mold of that religion or dictator, it is harmful to stay.

This reasoning, each person being unique and not always able to fit into a pre-prescribed role, is why I know the Mormon Church is false.  For example, should a woman who suffers from mental health issues be forced to give her husband more wives and told she will be destroyed if she doesn’t live polygamy? Of course not.

My great-grandmother, raised in the Mormon Church, immensely faithful and active to her religion and husband, nearly died with her four children. The pressures were too much.  As I read through old letters, not only did she suffer from anxiety, she was a perfectionist.  I am so glad someone helped her and her children off a railroad track that ominous day.  Although she spent the rest of her life in a mental hospital in Provo, Utah the baby she held in arms that day, my Grandmother, was loved and well-cared for by relatives.

“Hey, Mormon God, how does that scenario fit into you plan of salvation?”

Could my great-grandmother have stood the test of polygamy, if she was Emma Smith?

Closing portal.

Working on my plan

Some people believe this life is destiny; foreordination or predestination or the perfect formula of what was and will be.  I believe this life is about choices, and the more educated we become the better our choices.  Better choices and action can lead a person to a healthier life.

I have been shutting the portals lately in my life, trying to prioritize.  For the next few days I am going to be working on an individual and family mission statement, and the portals I want to open.

 

 

Moving Forward! Step by Step

Last blog post, which was posted on February 8th,  I excused myself for having a “Monday Meltdown”.  Something occurred that left me unable to write, and I was like a deer caught in headlights.  No longer able to fight and no longer able to run, my words came out in mish-mash sentences.  Other times I was hitting the delete button.

fight-or-flight

So, here I am, no matter what time it is on Monday, I am breaking a 10 several week non-post fast and writing for my Monday School. (Actually, this blog post was first published into cyberspace on April 19th 12:01 AM Tuesday, yet I never posted it on Vickie’s Grin Facebook because it wasn’t quite finished. It still isn’t.)

Similar to all my blog posts,  I reserve the right to add content and make changes, as I see fit. This is a work in progress — not a work “engraved in stone.” I will add more detail later and post these updates onto my FB page.

Have you noticed that Monday School Blog is starting to resemble something more like a pilot program? I have.

In the world of Mormonism, if I was a Sunday School teacher, I would have been released from my calling for not being prepared and coming to class. In the business world, I would have been fired by my boss for not showing up. In my world of healing from Mormonism and polygamy, I am learning to take it easy and forgive myself.

For several weeks. I thought about simply telling my story in one-line sentences on pieces of paper, like others do in social media who believe they have been wronged.  That way I would be done with it.

After re-thinking, Mormonism and polygamy deserve an entire website of their very own.  Polygamy is not only a Utah problem, the majority of the world practices polygamy.

A very good case can be made against polygamy. And, what better time to write (this will be a learning experience for me, as well) when Kody Brown & plural wives have just announced that they are taking their polygamy case to the Supreme Court.

The only exception: No Monday School blog days will occur whenever my health, or the health of a family member, needs attention. (That could mean physical or mental health).  It could also mean that I am on vacation, and doing preventative care.

Taking a nature walk.

Now what led up to  “Monday Meltdown” and why did I disappear from my calling as Monday School teacher?

(to be continued . . .)