“Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose”

“Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose”

I wrote this on Mother’s Day  2017 after reading a blogpost about some women and children from the FLDS  polygamous group being evicted for not paying their taxes.  (I don’t know the More »

Why I went MIA from my writing post

Why I went MIA from my writing post

In 2016, I went missing in action when I deserted my Monday school blogposts. This was not only due to PTSD (post-polygamy traumatic stress disorder), I was trying to find employment, and transition More »

Monday School Blog: GPS to Heaven, please

Monday School Blog: GPS to Heaven, please

Welcome to Monday School!  This is where you don’t have to dress up or get out of bed. Besides being a self-ordained female teacher and believing that females can also lead, there More »

The Art of Communication: A Messy Work in Progress

The Art of Communication: A Messy Work in Progress

Say what you mean and mean what you say, or maybe just keep your mouth and keyboard shut. That is what I have learned this week. The meaning of words can often More »

 

Pushing for Personal Integrity with Derren Brown

Last week I watched Derren Brown, a mentalist and illusionist on a YouTube video Pushed to the Edge.  Brown’s pseudo-experiment was taken to the extreme; his goal was to take people to the very limit — to find out if they would kill.  His production spared little expense.

According to Brown the crucial point of his show was to demonstrate “how readily we hand over authorship over our lives every day and the dangers of losing that control . . . how someone can be easily influenced, and also how a person can influence others.”

That’s what this writing is about.

During the show there were three separate incidents where a participant was talked into pushing an innocent man off the edge of a high-rise building.  Only one out of the four participants refused to push the elderly gentleman off the edge.  One of the shocking results of this experiment is that it only took about an hour for each participant to be persuaded to kill (fortunately, it was an actor being pushed off the building with ropes and not a real person).

The Push Darren Brwon copy

How does this happen?

As I watched this YouTube video, I thought about all the male leaders in my life, dead and alive, who led me into danger, and didn’t give a shit about whether they hurt me or not because their end justified the means.

Similar to Derren Brown’s instigator in the show (it could have been a real psychopath and/or sociopath), these individuals find susceptible victims and determine how best to manipulate them.

What every human has in common, the function of behavior, is to either get something or escape something.  It is that simple.  A sociopath studies the unsuspecting victim and what she wants, or what she wants to avoid.  (I was an easy target who had never been taught the warning signs of a predator.  I wanted love, acceptance, and family.  I also wanted to avoid hurting others, lessen conflict, avoid damnation, etc.).

During my days as a Mormon, and in my intimate relationship with my husband as a plural-wife, I never knew about religious abuse, or heard the phrase “personality disorder”.  In church we never discussed subjects such as group-think, conformity, patriarchal cultures, domestic abuse, sexual assault in a marriage, or the importance of boundaries and critical thinking skills.  If that had occurred, no one would have attended Sunday School.

Here’s my Monday School blogpost:

First of all, since sociopaths don’t change, and most often their followers are content dangling by a string (until it snaps), this blogpost is not for them.

puppetmaster

Education can only help those people who want to be helped; it is also best served before the manipulation process begins. That right there is the key. It is extremely difficult to regain power once it is given away (or stolen), and it takes years to heal from the trauma.

victim mindset

 

How compliance works from “Pushed to the Edge”:

My visual aide this morning is “Pushed to the Edge” (it is worth watching, even if you cringe wondering about ethics and if the participants were fully compensated for their part).  

Derren Brown held a compliance test to find out who was the most impressionable; he explained that “the more socially compliant person the more they will look to others for a sign to behave.” (Sociopaths look for a person they can manipulate and control).

  • Once Derren Brown had his “follower”—someone he knew was easily influenced, he created a situation where the “leader” asked the follower to do something uncomfortable and each task became increasingly more challenging. (A sociopath creates situations to reel his victim in and his requests become greater until he has achieved what he wants).
  • The follower (or pusher) was in a lower status position, and this alone influenced the victim’s decision-making. (A socio-path puts himself in a position of authority because it gives him more influence).
  • Each time the follower was involved in something unethical; it created a stronger bond between him and his leader, and among the group. (A socio-path cements his relationship by holding something over someone. This is also true of a community of followers; they love to find favor with the leader even if it means tattling on each other).

There were also other examples of manipulating and compliance in Brown’s show—the instigator/leader brought in influential people, such as celebrities, for validation. (Sociopaths always use other people to help influence). Subliminal words and messages were used like “it needs a push,” “push into action” – which ultimately helped solidify pushing someone off the edge of a building.  One of the participants had the same surname as someone in the group (fictitious or non-fictitious commonalities such as a name, ethnicity, religious background, birthplace, family members and friends etc. help bond the victim to her perpetrator).

Derren Brown’s message: “This experiment wasn’t about who pushed, and who didn’t.  This was designed to make the participants act in a way that went away from their decent values, morals and personalities.  The point is we are all profoundly susceptible to this kind of influence whether it is driven by our peer group or an ideology.  It is like we are handed other people’s scripts of how to live our life to achieve their ambitions and beliefs.  But by understanding it, by understanding how we can be manipulated, we can become stronger.  We can say ‘No’.  We can push back.”

Even if humans were raised the same, had the same personalities, same IQ level, same experiences, no two people are the same.  Besides that, it’s illogical playing the blame game, because it doesn’t help.  The only change people can make is by taking accountability for their own actions.

One of Derren Brown’s four followers, who was compliant throughout the entire experiment until the very end, and who did not push the elderly man off the building explained, “You can’t always live your life on guard because then you live your life constantly on edge, which is not a good way to be.  But when certain situations present themselves think about it before you act on it and ask yourself what am I doing? ”

Stanley Milgram, a grandfather of social psychology, who created a somewhat similar experiment said, “The social psychology of this century reveals a major lesson: often it is not so much the person a man is as the kind of situation in which he finds himself that determines how he will act.”

Derren Brown’s experiment, and what individuals did on his show, went far beyond what I ever experienced.  I am fortunate to be alive and well.  In case you want to know (this is me bearing my testimony):  Although I avoid religion, and people who do all the thinking for me, I am not cynical. I now pick the right friends and associates. heart

Best-wisdom-quotes-collection-002

 

The Art of Communication: A Messy Work in Progress

Say what you mean and mean what you say, or maybe just keep your mouth and keyboard shut. That is what I have learned this week.

The meaning of words can often be misunderstood because of the gap between giver and receiver.  Sometimes we forget who are audience is, especially when we can’t see them in front of us.  Words can be hurtful, spiteful, manipulative, half-truths, educational, loving, insightful, and everything in-between.

I have a love-hate relationship with words.

This morning I woke up and opened my Facebook, and the first thing I saw was a post from one of my children with the words “Good! Kill those Mother Fuckers!”

I am not so keen on swear words or killing people.  Yet, his words paled in comparison to the shock of finding out the night before that my daughter was going to be baptized into the LDS Church this month.  I didn’t even know that she was interested in joining the LDS Church until this month.  Not even a week to brace myself after learning about the LDS Church, and their new policy to disallow membership for children of gay parents.  I had just been telling a friend there should be public policy created for ALL children of religious parents protecting them from baptism, and here I was changing my own law to include preventing adults from being baptized.

My daughter, and our conversation, went from several jokes back and forth to acceptance.  We realized  that in the end; we are both going to do what we want, so we might as well love each other in spite of our differences.

same bird

Earlier in the day, I had read a threatening e-mail, and watched a video full of lies about me from former polygamist husband #2.  The experience was a mixture of being slightly entertained by watching an actor perform, worrying about malicious intent and terroristic threats, and wondering how much I could win in a law-suit for slander.

To say the least, there have been many mixed emotions within the last 24 hours, and that is where my artwork at the top of this blog post entitled “Words” fits in.  It was created from pieces of earbuds that I found.  During the creation process of bending down on all fours, working with unruly wires, I was reflecting on the theories of B.F. Skinner, and Ivan Pavlov.  These scientists were behaviorists who claimed behavior was a result of negative and positive conditioning (not whisperings or promptings from the Holy Ghost, or Satan; real live human-beings conditioning through the use of actions or words).

This is what happened.

A couple nights ago, my family walked through the front door after a nice evening together.  I immediately noticed two different earphones, with wires completely ripped apart, it was like viewing severed body parts in a double homicide. Panicking, I told my youngest daughter, “Oh no, Misty got them again!”

I quickly hid the electrical appendages behind the television screen before my boyfriend saw them.  This was not the first time our cat had destroyed John’s earphones.  It started out very innocent with a young kitten chasing a string, which gradually resulted in every pair of earphones that were not put away to eventually be destroyed.  (As a mother, it made perfect sense).  Trying to re-train Misty by using feathers, instead of strings, didn’t work because of the prior conditioning.  In fact, if anything, we probably trained her to start chasing birds.  Besides the expense of buying new headphones, I also noticed my boyfriend’s anger escalating with each new chewed pair of ear buds, and gnawed cell phone cord.  So, I wasn’t certain how to deal with the situation.

Since 2007, I have had a boyfriend that has told me to say whatever is on my mind, and so I do.  It has been very therapeutic to be able to speak freely, and for him not to be offended.  Of course, in the public world, it is a different audience, so I use a slightly different communication style.  The not sharing the truth is what made the chewed ear buds situation so uncomfortable.  I didn’t tell him what happened because I feared he would threaten getting rid of our cat, and then I would have to get rid of him.

The worst part about this scenario is that my daughter watched me being intimidated by my boyfriend.  Why else would I hide the strings of air buds, besides waiting until better timing (which I did, the next day after he had a good night’s sleep and a cup of coffee).  I was concerned that there would be some sort of confrontation, and negative repercussion.

The next day, I opened my purse and pulled out all the wires—his only words were: “Those aren’t mine.”

Sometimes I make words become bigger than life.  I don’t recall my boyfriend and I ever expressing anger towards each other.  Yet, similar to Misty, my past experiences often intersect with the present, and I am easily affected by them.

For example, every time I see a white paper pinned to my door the first thing that pops into my mind is a “Three day Quit!”  Whenever I walk into the Dollar Store, especially during the holidays, it reminds me of a panicked time trying to stretch dollars for my children.  There are certain e-mail addresses that bring with them a sign of doom.

I can change some of my negative perceptions and behavior by creating positive ones.  Sometimes this means staying clear of negative situations altogether — delete buttons, trash, junk, unsubscribe.

Leaving negativity

Personally, I get along better with people who talk straight, and who don’t have hidden agendas.  I can’t stand being around control-freaks.  There are some people that are purposely unclear because their words, or lack of words, can be a form of manipulation. Often religious leaders, business people, public-relations persons, and advertising companies use the strategy of withholding information to close their sale.  Sometimes personal conversations go this route.

IMG_2783 (6)

Recently on a plane trip the lady in D23 said, “Ah-um, you might not be aware of it, but the open window shade is causing a glare.”

I really didn’t understand what she was saying.  I figured it was probably her way of saying, “Shut the window blind.”

“I can close it,” I said, half-way asking.

As I closed the rectangular window shade, I thought, “Why wasn’t I more direct?  Why did I use the same rhetoric?”

I could have easily been more explicit by asking her what she wanted, and I probably would have felt better about myself, if I had asked in a robotic voice, “Do. you. want. the. window shade. shut?”

What made this situation uncomfortable was the lull in conversation, the mixed messages, and the irritated “da” expression on the woman’s face.  I wasn’t aware that the open window shade was causing a glare because it wasn’t causing a glare for me.  (Our eyes are different, our perception is different, and it is impossible to read a person’s mind.)

So, here I am this week, like every week, perplexed with words realizing that communication is an important part of life, and there is no way around it.  Talking to my animals is not good enough.  Even if we are dead, words live on, and if we don’t tell our story, someone else will.  By the time it has passed on from person to person, it is no longer an authentic history, it is just hearsay.

 

 

 

Why a Personal Website Now? My Recent Experience with a Cyber-Bully in Utah

 

Reality Quest — the beginning

11-1-93 Reality Quest One -photo copy

Reality Quest

“Reality Quest” are newsletter writings from my former spiritual husband Chris, aka Christopher Nemelka, during 1993-1994 (possibly 1995).  Forgive me for using the word “spiritual” — it’s a bit confusing. I don’t know if I believe in things spiritual. However, I do not know what other word to describe our relationship when there was nothing spiritual about it: 1) We were never legally married  2) I was Chris’s third plural wife 3) now I realize our relationship was based on fraud. (Yes, the word “spiritual” seems rather fitting–illusionary?)

I believe there are many things that we don’t understand, and it is convenient to use terms like “spiritual” to describe them.  Could it also be that some of the attributes that we possess as  human are qualities that we don’t understand.  Instead of waiting for science to explain it, we get impatient (faithless) and start creating names for these experiences such as “gifts of the spirit”?  Maybe these experiences or attributes are merely a sixth sense that humans have developed in the process of evolution, or scants of our early ancestry that have remained with us — perhaps in the same way as our animal friends use their keen senses.

Right before (and I am talking about the night before the Northern California fires broke out) I had a vivid dream of a fierce fire which I saw start at one end, and travel to the next end within seconds.  I woke up from the dream, and told my boyfriend (anyone can ask him if I am telling the truth).  What really made an impression in this dream was how BIG and FAST this blazing fire could travel.  The scene wasn’t pine trees like here in California where I live; it was a field, so it wasn’t as if I was seeing a California fire.

Do I have a gift of seeing into the future? I don’t think so. Some might say I do.  However, it could have been that it was a coincident, or maybe I heard the word “fire” that day and it stuck in my mind before I went to bed and became part of a subliminal message making its way into a dream.  Perhaps the fires had already started earlier and I smelled something (those instincts), or I felt the dryness from the drought in the air, and it reminded me of a fire.  Maybe I was hungry before I went to bed thinking about S’mores. It could have been my PTSD acting up because the fire scene was in Moab, Utah, where I once lived as a Mormon fundamentalist.  I hate to include this detail, but in the dream, I was several miles from the Rockland Ranch (a sandstone cave) where I lived.  This is where I saw the fire start, and (some of) the people there died, including children.  Could the tragedy of these polygamous families dying in my dream be related to the horrible recent flashflood tragedy in Southern Utah, and women and children dying there (close to the same time the fires in Northern California took place)?  Was there a correlation? Or was I  getting my visions mixed up? Was I not using my Seer Stone correctly?

The next night I saw streams of futuristic planes (unlike anything I have ever seen, sort of like large missiles with wings–I didn’t see any side windows) flying through the air into the United States, EVERYWHERE, and Russian civilians getting out.  These Russians were also arriving on railway. I looked around at the people next to me, and it was as if  everyone was sleepwalking–no one noticed them, or cared.  When I started making a holler, another person next to me took notice.  It was as if our government had already given approval (or had no power to stop it), and then I woke up.

After my experiences within religion, I no longer put ANY credence in these types of dreams as being a spiritual manifestation.  If I gave this power to an entity how would I know if it was a good one, or a bad one–an angel’s warning, or Satan deceiving me?

These doomsday dreams are not going to motivate me to do more good in the world.  Certainly following dead prophets (or any profits!), extrapolating scriptures, visions, dreams, prophesies is NOT going to help decaying neighborhoods, feeding the hungry, housing the poor, and bringing water to the thirsty.

I never wanted to tell anyone about these dreams, and here I am sharing them. Am I being used as a pawn in some greater plan?  Am I fulfilling Chris Nemelka’s “Marvelous Work and Wonder?” Damn the bad luck! Or, is it true what some Mormons are saying that September 28th will be the beginning of earthquakes along with the “blood moon” and “days of tribulation”. (I hope not — I have a 5K marathon that day! I wanted to get out of it — but, this would be taking it WAY too far!)

Before I start posting “Reality Quest(s)” of Chris’s (that are mine) — I can see the future now!  I realize that my former “spiritual” (fake) husband will use whatever I post and write to his advantage — let me warn the readers: Beware.  Christopher Nemelka has some of the most powerful leadership qualities that a human can possess, and he knows it.  Never put your faith in a human! (or ALIEN!) That is my message, and I believe that was his before he got lost in his ego.  The reason I wrote “alien” is because Chris wrote in his first Reality Quest over twenty years ago, “. . . perhaps he’s [Christopher] not of the same species . . .”

Hmmm . . . come to think of it.

There have been many species of men like Chris who have walked the earth.  I believe there are certain qualities that both he and Joseph Smith share that make them unique, but  I do not believe these are quality character traits — they are defects, or more commonly known as a personality disorder.  I am not a psychologist, yet I have studied enough to know that many cult leaders fall into the category of a sociopath.  (Here is a link from the Exit Support Network for more information about this personality disorder).

Chris and I parted ways, and I moved to Grass Valley, California, and on September 20, 1993 he wrote me and told me that he hoped this manuscript (that he would send in newsletters) would help me “and anyone else who might be interested search for the truth.”

These are his truths (or lies). I am posting them because many individuals follow his “message” and I’d also like to set the record straight regarding rumors about me.  Perhaps someday these individuals/followers of his message will realize that they have wasted their life chasing a rabbit down a dark hole.  Listen to someone who fell for his joke:  Move on.  Get out there and make some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and feed the poor. Close your wordy-MAWA books and play ball with your children.  If you want to “gain a greater perspective of the origins of life” take opiates they work much faster! Don’t waste your time trying to figure out what the dead tokens mean in the temple — No ADVANCED being cares.  These are all diversion tactics.

Perhaps if some of these individuals looking for eternal truths begin to look at the bigger picture, and connect the dots, they will realize MAWA has nothing to do with separating the messenger from the message.  No higher power, or intelligence, would want ANY of us swimming in circles spending our whole life figuring this out or reading books  trying to figure out dates when the world will end, and attempting to know the “mysteries” when they are a MYSTERY. The meaning of life is right in front of us.

WAKE UP FOLLOWERS DON’T GET BURNED!

I will post the Reality Quests that I have in my Document section according to dates, so that you may continue in your folly — or finally decide to get rid of the shackles or “WORDS” that often imprison us.  My prayer is that you may become the savior of your own lives. (I will black out content that would expose family members, and protect irrelevant family history.)

 

 

 

I Love My Body!

Journal Entry from 25 years ago — “Let me go!”

I have neglected “Vickie’s Grin” for way too long. A writing block occurred after seeing the tagline “Embracing my polygamist past!” on my website. (I even included an exclamation point, as if I was really excited about my past–Whoopee!). I took it down.

Maybe I was having an embracing-moment when I started this website, but like plural marriage, it didn’t last long.
It soon became apparent that embracing my past living polygamy wasn’t entirely true. I hated my Mormon fundamentalist past; it had controlled my life, wasted my time, ruined my children’s life, left me financially destitute, and to top it off, all my efforts in Utah helping others leave polygamy was sabotaged by certain public officials, including the former Utah Attorney General’s Office under Mark Shurtleff. (Don’t I sound like a victim?)

After daily events and reminders of my past unexpectedly crept up on me, I melted into a depression. It became obvious that I still held resentments; I wondered why I had created a website in the first place, and how I could possibly write anything positive, and remain honest. (Embracing and resentment don’t go well together).

Since then, I have learned a couple things about this website: 1) It is very difficult to be both in the moment (which, for the most part I love), and also revisit the past, which I don’t love. PTSD explains some of it. Besides that, there is an uncomfortable chasm that exists between these two polar opposite time zones which seem light years apart, and it can be unkind. I prefer living for today. 2) A person can embrace their past and simultaneously hate the abusive actions of others; they can advocate, bitch, complain, and fight against a particular abuse without so much as a pause, so others do not have to go through it.  This is where I would like to be.

(Btw: Thank-you to the cult survivor who sent me this photo of the three little girls! I have been holding on to it for weeks because it is so appropriate).

Lately, I have had some personal experiences that have helped me realize how fortunate I am for my past.  In spite of all the negative consequences due to my former religion, which I would not wish upon anyone, there have also been positive outcomes that have occurred from my years in Mormonism and trying to find an escape route leading out of the Mormon maze of madness.  Finally, I am finding my way home “in a 1000 different ways”!!  I can do this!!  And, I am putting my sub-title, tagline, topper, or whatever it is called back up as a way to give myself a hug!!  (The fact is I have not been able to write a book, so this website is it).

Recently I was asked by a non-profit organization in California, “My Sister’s House” to speak to the media about my experiences involving Human Trafficking. I figured the organization wanted me to talk about my experiences helping others who were trafficked into polygamy, until I realized that wasn’t the case. They wanted my story. Most people think human trafficking is moving females from one place to another for commercial sex, yet there are many forms of human trafficking such as migrant workers.  As far as polygamy and human trafficking women and young girls are often moved across state and national borders for the purpose of forced marriage, and members of polygamous groups, including school-age children, are often used for the purpose of slave-labor. It doesn’t stop there. Recruited women through coercion, deception, abuse of power or vulnerability, or fraudulent means (such as scriptures or using religious propaganda) for the purpose of sexual exploitation, involuntary servitude, servile marriage, debt, bondage or slavery is human trafficking.  Today’s Mormon polygamy is another form of modern-day slavery.

I would have never lived polygamy (the emotions of sharing a spouse is similar to the emotions of being cheated on–not fun!), if I wasn’t recruited by my husband and others through coercion and fraud.

The climax of this blog post is a journal entry that I wrote 25 years ago on October 3, 1990 denouncing my polygamous marriage vows, as I was trying to extricate myself from my eternal marriage. Back then, I had not heard of anyone leaving polygamy without horrific consequences.  The date is written at the bottom of the second page, yet the date doesn’t seem to add up. Or, does it? According to this date, my former husband would have only been married to his second wife a couple years. (Maybe I left sooner than I thought–a kudos to me!)  The Morrisons’ whom I mention in the journal entry are my (former) sister-wife’s family members who attended and officiated the marriage ceremony.

As I read this, I was grasping at straws.  It took me a long time to finally unravel the religious indoctrination, and understand the psychological processes that occur under these types of conditions.  It also reveals that I am not unloving or vindicative–I just wanted out!

Unfortunately, because I am trying to make up for “stolen” time this website and its blog posts are going to be a hit and miss thing. Life is calling, and I have yet to write 2nd Plural Marriage: Part Two!

2nd Plural Marriage: Part One

This is a blog post introducing a new page I wrote for Vickie’s Grin that can be read here 2nd Plural Marriage : Part One This edited cover of “Are You My Mother?” by P.D. Eastman is symbolic of my l-o-n-g  d-r-a-w-n out identity crises involving Mormonism.

Have I finally found myself? Yes, I do believe I have!

It is backwards to tell my story beginning with the second spiritual husband first – yet, my past is backwards, and in the thick of all the backwardness, I keep hearing my former sister-wife #2 telling me wife #1 — “The first shall be last, and the last shall be first.”

So, does it really matter where I start?

Here is one more reminder in case you forget that the only reason for this short blog post is that there is a longer, more informative, better writing if you click right here > 2nd Plural Marriage: Part One

Utah’s Past Lives On: The Wheels on the Bus go Round ‘n Round & I Got Off!

This is a rough draft for an English assignment I wrote 17 (!!) years ago, entitled Utah’s Past Lives On.  No wonder I need this website.  It’s time to post this junk in my trunk!

Although it is only a rough draft, it relates very much to the editorial I submitted this week to the Salt Lake Tribune (minus the current events). It is definitely a must read for anyone interested in early Mormon teachings about polygamy, and who isn’t turned off by all my MisStakes.  If you know where to find any of the missing references, please let me know.  I’d like to finish it one of these days.

A reply for NankerPhelge7, who commented on the op-ed that went to my e-mail:

I am not “throwing millions” of you who reside in Utah “under the bus.” There are wonderful people who live in Utah, yet, as a state — rampant abuses continue in polygamy, only certain individuals are sitting in the front of the bus, and only male drivers are driving the bus. I never said “everyone” in Utah is guilty of this scenerio — just those who are supporting it.  Oh, and that I get the willies going back to Utah.

Here are a few of the quotes from “Utah’s Past Lives On”  from my past life in Mormonism.  Wait! I can’t choose which quotes, they are all good!  Read more here Utah’s Past Lives On .

My Story “Flight From Polygamy” from 1996

This is first time my story was published in 1996, and the article that motivated 20/20 to travel to Utah and interview my former family members, and myself.

This article tells about how I got into polygamy, and how I got out.

Letter to Utah Attorney General Supporting Appeal of Decriminalization of Polygamy

In 2014, I wrote a letter to Utah Attorney Sean Reyes in support of appealing the Brown polygamy case which decriminalized the crime of polygamy.  I gave factual examples of the pervasive abuse and sent books with terrifying true accounts as well. These stories were not the exception – they were the norm.