The Polygamist's Daughter

Stories, Reflections and Conclusions of Life on the Inside


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Arranged Marriage and Sex Trafficking

Curious about the connection between arranged marriage and sex trafficking in today’s world I posted this question on my social media networks. “Is arranged marriage a form of sex trafficking?”  The responses were varied and quite thought provoking.

The institute of marriage was created thousands of years ago as a contract between families. Daughters were traded and bartered with as chattel as part of the marriage agreement and virgins brought a high price. Girls who had lost their virginity, by whatever means, held no value.  In some societies even today, girls are murdered by their families for their loss of virginity.

In ancient times men gifted their daughters to kings and emperors to become wives and concubines, adding to their harems as men collected women like trophies. Gifting their daughters ensured favor in the eyes of the kings and gave young girls an opportunity at a better quality of life, or so it was presumed.

As humanity evolved, marriage became less about ownership and more about business. Sons and daughters were both pawns in their parent’s negotiations to ensure the peaceful existence between kingdoms and the wellbeing of family fortunes and family reputations.

Eventually marriage became about love, which only occurred in the western world in the beginning of the last century. Some argue that love is not a good requisite for marriage and often leads to divorce as love wanes and negative perceptions and judgments take over.

Arranged marriages still exist throughout the world and the reasoning behind it varies from culture to culture. In some cultures the families present all of the benefits of various potential suitors to their children. The decision regarding the marriage arrangement is made by both families as they come to agreement and the children are an active part of the decision making process.

In other cultures arranged marriages are nothing short of sex trafficking. In one particular culture girls are often betrothed at birth and given to men for their pleasure as young as four years old. They are subjected to hiding their bodies in shame for their entire lives, fully controlled by the men who own them, and treated as little more than sex slaves. Other cultures are similar, in that the bartering of girls is common, as men trade their daughters as favors to other men. And there are cultures where men and women take their young daughters to a religious leader for assignment, in the belief that he is spiritually guided. These forms of arranged marriage are not about family kingdoms, reputations, stability or love. This is about sex and control.

This form of sex trafficking is overlooked here in America because it is justified by religion. In America, anything and everything has been justified by religious belief and overlooked because we have become so religiously sensitive. We seem to forget that this is not about adults and their personal relationship choices in their relationship with God. It is about children being manipulated and abused by a system where religious rights supersede human rights.


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Child Friendly Faith

Child Friendly Faith

I am part of an online group titled “Child Friendly Faith.”  It is our collaborative goal to bring spiritual abuse into the light and ask that our religions serve us, rather than us serving them.  It is our intent to create an environment of faith that is based solely in love and not in fear, and to create an environment that cultivates faith through desire, rather than force.  It is my purpose, in association with others, to create an environment that promotes healing from spiritual abuse.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to spend a few days with Jan Heimlich, the creator of Child Friendly Faith and author of “Religious Child Maltreatment”.  Jan is a journalist who has taken great pains to research the subject of religion, and when religious beliefs and practices become harmful to children.  She takes into consideration that maltreatment it is more than the abuse of children, but also the neglect that often occurs as a result of well-meaning parents whose minds are influenced by their religious leaders.

On Sunday afternoon I watched a presentation Jan was giving to a group of Atheists. Her presentation was shared in collaboration with Bethany, a woman who Jan interviewed for her book. Bethany’s story was heartbreaking as she described the physical abuse that began when she was only six months old at the suggestion of her parent’s minister.  Even more heartbreaking was the expectation that Bethany begin beating her baby sister as part of her sisterly responsibilities.

In my own perspective spiritual abuse is more than just physical or sexual assault, it is emotional and psychological as well. Many of the perpetrators are unaware that they are abusing their children because they themselves are being controlled by their religious beliefs.  It is not the religion itself that is at fault, but the interpretation and manipulation of those who use it to assert control over its followers.  Spiritual abuse causes trauma to the human spirit, and prevents to connection to God that is supposedly the purpose of religion itself.

Following the presentation, several members of the audience asked me what my religious beliefs are.  I could not come up with an answer for them.  I am not Atheist, although I do not believe in a man-made deity. I believe that infinite intelligence is energy that does not take the physical form of a man (or woman).  It simply is that it is. I thought about the word Spiritualist, but that word is already taken by a church. I thought about the word Energist, but that word has been coined as well.  I do not like labels and after great internal deliberation over the next few days I came to realize that I am not able to lump myself into a category.  There is no name for who I am and what I believe.  And then it hit me, I am that I am.  I do not need a label, a person or a group to identify me.  I simply am.

I have ascended beyond religion, as religion no longer serves a purpose in my life. I do not need to pretend to believe in something for my own comfort or for the comfort of those around me. I no longer live my life based on how others will judge me for my lack of what they perceive as faith. I do not need to cling desperately to the fear that I will be rewarded or imprisoned for my lack of belief after I transition out of this world. Faith for me is not intertwined with religion but a higher understanding of what is possible, a deep knowing that I shape my reality in co-creation with the intelligence of the universe, aka God.  Faith for me is an internal connection to Spirit and freedom from fear and doubt. My faith is stronger than it has ever been and is far more powerful without the interruption of religion.

For me, child friendly faith, is teaching our children about their own power and their ability to experience a life that is filled with awe and wonder. It is teaching them that they are the creators of their realities and that they work in creative collaboration with God, in the energy of unconditional love.  It is teaching them that they are born in perfection with the potential for greatness; it is raising them up to their own possibilities and showing them the magnificence that each one of us holds within us.


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Peanut Butter & Honey

Religion and spirituality are like peanut butter and honey. They have been sandwiched together for so long than most people don’t recognize they are two separate and distinct flavors. Religion is the peanut butter while spirituality is the honey. The flavor of some peanut butters can be so overwhelming that the honey is next to impossible to find, as was the religion I was raised with.

So many of us have been sold on the belief that there is only one right way to God. I was raised, as many were, with the belief that God is judgmental. That we have to earn the right to be in presence of God and God’s love is conditional. That God is a sexist and a racist, and only recognizes those who follow the right creed. My religion taught that our way was the one and only true religion of God and all others were mere mockery. In my childhood religion followers were taught that in order to prove themselves worthy to be in the presence of God they must sacrifice worldly happiness and they must live polygamy. Anything else will lead to an eternity of servitude to those who did earn the right to God.

The belief that there is only one right way to God is the dogma that controls the minds, hearts, souls, bodies and money of humanity and prevents people from finding their true connection to Spirit and their own divinity. It is the overpowering goo that keeps many from finding their own inner truth. Is this to say that all religion is wrong? Of course not. At the core of every religion there are spiritual truths; some religious teachings are simply more difficult to navigate through than others.

Those religions that fundamentally prevent people from accessing real spirituality are losing their control. There are masses of people who are walking away from the archaic beliefs about who God expects them to be. They are walking away from the fear based beliefs that have kept them from real connection to Spirit. They are recognizing the greed, control, abuse and deception that permeates much of religion. But many have not yet learned how to separate spirituality from religion, believing they are one and the same. They are floundering in the space between religion and spirituality hoping to find a deeper meaning for their existence. Many feel a sense of guilt for not believing in the God and religion they have were told to believe in, even when deep within themselves those beliefs don’t resonate with their soul.

It is my intent to teach people how to find the sweetness of spirituality without the overpowering control of religion. To separate the peanut butter from the honey. To gently open them up and guide them inward where God has always been and does not need to be earned or proven worthy of.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIaoC9liMj8&feature=youtu.be