Pt 22: Ma Pa, Me, and Polygamy on Parade
As you work on your memoir,
tell your story true, artfully and with courage,
writing with fidelity to your own experience
while knowing that memory is fallible.
My Ruby Slippers,
Repeating what was said in “Pt 21: Ma Pa, Me, and Polygamy on Parade, “I’m not proud of what I, my mother, sister, and others like us do/did due to our religious polygamist upbringing.
I’m sad Mother played a part in the suffering Daddy’s first wife and children went through in their abandonment when he took a plural wife — even if it was part of Mother’s fanatic fundamentalist Mormon “privilege” — nay, her obligation to break up marriages; i.e., to move in on a married man to make sure he “went to heaven” by making sure he lived “The Law of Celestial Marriage” — “the holy law of matrimony” — no matter the consequences — and no matter that the first wife would soon divorce her husband who entered religious polygamy against her will — so he would no longer be living “The Law of Abraham” anyway.
I’m not proud, either, of the part at least eight of my parents’ ten daughters played in breaking up other men’s marriages although it was in the name of their backward brainwashing’s “blessed polygamy.” Nor am I proud of my three-out-of-four brothers who became polygamists, causing themselves and their women needless suffering.
What’s more, I’m not proud of how long it took me (once I left polygamy and my authoritarian orthodox Mormon upbringing) to develop different understandings and standards when it came to not falling in love with married men, not falling for married men’s lies, and not getting involved with married men period!
While growing up, the backward idea had been so ingrained in me that the only good men were polygamist men, that, for many years after escaping polygamy, I couldn’t fully fall for nor respect a man who was monogamist — even though I wanted to and was totally against polygamy — knew its devastations well!
For too many years I couldn’t subdue — didn’t realize I needed to subdue the subconscious scripts and residual residue of my childhood’s cultural plural-marriage input. For far too long, old polygamy tapes continued playing havoc in the dark crevices of my mind, whether I liked it or not — knew it or not.
To compound the trauma of leaving a cult, it was years before I realized that to get involved with a married man was to become separated from your soul on top of all else. After much suffering and undue harm to myself and others, I finally woke up, learned my lessons, smelled the coffee, and moved on. Now there’s no way, I’m happy to say, that a cheating man will achieve collaboration, consent, or intent on my part, no matter how attractive the proposition. What’s wrong is wrong!
For one thing, if he’ll cheat on his wife, he’ll cheat on me. Monogamy, fidelity, and respect for contracts and the rule of law have come about for a reason. Civilization was won through trial and error over eons of experience, mistakes, and lessons learned the hard way.
But my family and I were indoctrinated in Mormon fundamentalism to do just the opposite of the hard-won laws of Civilization: In breaking up marriages, or bedding and abetting married men, we women were errantly, ignorantly, and barbarically doing what we were raised from birth to do and fervently believed was God’s will. But that didn’t make it right nor undo the suffering sinning inevitably brings. Karmic laws kick in whether you think you’re doing right or not.
So it bears repeating: Though fourth-generation-Mormon-polygamist Mom mind-controlled and manipulated her kids into living polygamy, in an effort to make sure they were “saved” — just as had been instilled in her to do and was done to her by her parents, too — she was only trying to do what she had been taught was right: Make sure we went to heaven. She was carrying out what she believed was God’s will, even though she hadn’t noticed she could never stand to have done to her what she did to others.
I repeat: She never practiced what she preached when it came to polygamy. Although she likely always thought she was going to, even wrote and published pamphlets pushing plural marriage/”The Law of Abraham,” she never entered polygamy the whole twenty-two years she had to herself her handsome hubby, my daddy, once his first wife left him after six months of “practicing polygamy.”
However, Mother DID move in on other men’s marriages before, during, and after her marriage to Pop. She was lucky she never had to let another woman/a plural wife move in on her marriage with my pop. More on this in a future “flop.”
(Continued August 28, in “Pt 23: Ma Pa, Me, and Polygamy on Parade”)