The Polygamist's Daughter

Stories, Reflections and Conclusions of Life on the Inside

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Finding My Purpose

I am now forty-something and have finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up.  My story does not end with leaving the community of my childhood, although when I left I hoped to write a new story and forget where I came from. I had hoped that by leaving my circumstances that the pain I felt deep inside of me would mysteriously disappear.  I had no idea that I had been a victim of what is now being recognized as religious and spiritual abuse.  All of the pain and trauma of my childhood followed me into my new life as I attempted to navigate the real world, with very little education and very few social skills.

In an attempt to fit in, and to drown the pain I felt, I abused myself through alcohol, drugs, sex and food, not recognizing that it was a form of self-abuse.  I was terrified of telling anyone where I came from or what I had experienced, out of fear that I would be institutionalized.  I floundered in a world I had been told my entire life to fear, in the belief that everyone in the outside world worked for the devil and existed to drag my soul into hell.  After several years of living on the edge of sanity and facing daily thoughts of suicide, I was introduced to self-help books by a roommate. That began the process of what I call self-therapy and took me on a road of self-discovery.  In that journey I learned what it meant to make choices for myself and how choices have consequences. I had never been allowed to make choices as a child, and I had no idea that I played any role in the direction of my life. I was simply a pawn in God’s game.

As I discovered that my choices create my reality, I began to create a life that most people would envy. I married a wonderful man, owned a successful business, traveled the world and eventually had two perfect children. Yet underlying all of the success I was never completely happy and I could not pinpoint why.

Several years ago when the economy crashed I faced what many would recognize as a mid-life crisis, and what I now lovingly call my mid-life rebirth.  I lost my business and my husband lost his work. We were over a million dollars in debt because of business failure and borrowing against our home to keep the business afloat. At one point we had spent all of our savings and maxed out all of our credit cards in the fight for survival.  There was a time when we had only $17 dollars remaining and had no idea where any more money would come from to feed our family.  We found ourselves in the throes of bankruptcy as the only way out of our dilemma and our home was forced into foreclosure. At that same time my children were both diagnosed with learning disorders and my marriage was failing.  Everything I had built for myself was crashing down around me.

In the midst of my chaos I discovered the roots of why I had never been happy and I began to rebuild my life with this new understanding.  I discovered that the fear-based beliefs of my childhood religion were a greater abuse than any physical or sexual abuse I endured. Much like emotional abuse, spiritual abuse affected me in a very deep an profound way that prevented me from finding true happiness.  Only worse, because unlike emotional abuse, which affected my mind and heart, spiritual abuse also caused trauma to my soul and affected inner worth.

In discovering this form of abuse I have now been able to work through it and heal it. This awareness has spawned me to become an advocate for those who have been traumatized by spiritual abuse and to speak out about the abuses that are hidden within religious dogma. Polygamy is one of those abuses that I recognize as a crime against humanity and justified by religion. This understanding has also spurred me to write books about the deception of religion and to become a documentary filmmaker with a focus on spiritual abuse and recovery. In my research I have discovered, that the pain I felt after I left my religion and my attempt to adjust to the real world, is similar to others who have left cult-like religions.  Drug and alcohol addiction, prostitution, teen pregnancy, poverty and suicide are common threads in nearly every story I have come across. While I am not anti-religion, I am not afraid to say it as I see it.  It is time for our religions to evolve.

I now live a life that is filled with pure joy, true fulfillment and inner bliss. This is something I wish for everyone and I believe is truly possible for anyone who seeks it.

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True Religion

When I was twenty-one years old a friend of mine introduced me to the Church of Religious Science. It was the first time in my life that I learned I played any part in the direction of my life. I ran away from the commune I had been raised in when I was seventeen years old out of fear that I would end up a plural wife and spend eternity with a man I did not love. For the next five years I lived with the guilt and shame of going against God’s plan for me. I had no self-esteem and no direction in my life. I suffered in silence with the temporary reprieve of drugs, alcohol, food and sex.

My introduction to the Science of Mind principals literally saved my life. Knowing that my life is not predestined by anyone but me and that my choices create my life gave me the courage and power to begin the healing process and overwrite the fear based beliefs that had been engrained in me since childhood. The Church of Religious Science has since appropriately been renamed the Centers for Spiritual Living. Over the years I have attended many Science of Mind based centers including Unity & Unitarian Universalist (now the same) all of which teach that God is love and we are co-creators in this life experience. Occasionally I attended Agape Spiritual Center and a Center for Spiritual Living in my neighborhood.

I had been told from the time I was born that our religion was the only true religion. Now I know within myself that is not true – at least not for me. I am not a member of any church and instead choose to follow the will and guidance of my own soul in direct connection to Spirit. No middle man necessary.

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Ovecoming Polygamy and Other Nonsense

Liberating myself from my childhood experiences and beliefs did not happen overnight. It was a journey that spanned most my lifetime and only recently became a journey in paradise as I came to understand a greater sense of myself and my own truths.  I came to recognize the truths about my beliefs and how they affected me on my life path.

The core belief in my childhood religion was that men are Gods and God is man. I was born into the belief that I was, and always would be, worth less than men. I believed that God saw men as more important and more deserving then women. From the time I was very small I knew that a woman would only be allowed into heaven if a man deemed her worthy and without marriage she was destined to spend eternity as a lonely servant in a spiritual prison.  I was also led to believe that the only way a woman could earn real status in the eyes of God was to give her husband other wives with which to plant his seed.  The more seeds a man was allowed to plant in the fertile womb of women the greater his worth in the eyes of God and the greater a woman’s worth in the eyes of her husband.  The sole purpose for woman’s existence was to bear her husband’s fruit and to raise her husband up to the status of a God.  I was taught that God had my physical and eternal existence planned out for me and that any deviation from His plan ensured an eternity in misery.  I came to fear God and His angry judgments of me. In the pervasive belief that I was of little worth I held no esteem for myself and had no concept of love. I knew nothing of love for myself, for my family, for my life or even for God.  My entire existence evolved around dependency on men and their version of God.

The God of my religion was not only a sexist; He was a racist and a bigot.  I was taught that black people are the children of Satan and even being in the midst of a black person would ensure an eternity in hell.  I was taught that only those in my religion were God’s chosen people and that anyone with any other religious conviction had succumbed to the ways of the devil.  It was ingrained in me that our church was the only true church of God and every other belief was a deception.  I was indoctrinated with the knowledge that God’s people are a peculiar people and to be proud of a life filled with judgment and ridicule.  I was taught that life was meant for misery and that I would be rewarded in eternity for a lifetime of pain. I was told to fear anyone who did not look like me, believe like me or live like me. Fear penetrated every aspect of my life until I found myself in the desperation of suicide – but fear prevented me from taking my own life.  I came to realize that I could no longer live with the beliefs that deep inside of me did not resonate with my truth and I had to find a way out.

Breaking free from polygamy and the other irrational beliefs of my childhood became what I now recognize as a four-step process.  The initial step to overcoming my beliefs was physical freedom which I attained at the age of seventeen as a runaway in the back seat of a stranger’s car.  Dropped off in the heart of Salt Lake City I was free to navigate a world I knew nothing about and had been taught my entire life to fear.  I hoped that the change of environment would miraculously bring me happiness and fulfillment, but the emotional anguish I thought would disappear by changing my circumstances only followed me.

That internal agony I had hoped would go away instead became emphasized by my fear of repercussions from God for disobeying Him and not following His plan for me. I lived in the misery of knowing I was destined for an eternity in hell, not recognizing I was already in hell because my beliefs held me there. I did everything I could do to escape my emotional captivity. I became an addict of many things out of desperation for the validation and affection I had never received as a child. I developed an insatiable appetite for food, sex, alcohol and drugs, anything to numb the ever present pain. On the outside I was cool, fashionable and chic. On the inside I was a desperate little girl crying out for attention.

That road of desperation continued until the age of twenty-one when a psychology class opened my eyes and allowed me to see that my childhood experiences and traumas had caused me to grow without esteem or confidence. I was also introduced to the Science of Mind principles and for the first time I began to see that I could change my life and create my own destiny.  I no longer had to live in the pain, fear and guilt of an angry and judgmental God who existed to spite me.  I began a path to healing my mind and my emotions and I began learning how to make choices as I navigated my life with curiosity and courage. Over the next six years I intensely focused on my mental and emotional transformation. Eventually I came to a place where I felt an inner sense wellbeing and balance. I was no longer dependent on anyone or anything for my happiness and sense of self. The fears of God’s punishment vanquished and hell ceased to exist. I was emotionally and mentally free and from there I began a journey to success and financial reward. Life was good. I met my husband, owned several successful businesses and had two beautiful children. I purchased a new home, wore beautiful clothing and I traveled the world. I thought I had it all but something was still not quite right. Deep within me I was still tied to my circumstances and haunted by my past.

It wasn’t until life began crashing around me that I discovered what had been missing and the key to true and lasting liberation. In the midst of chaos I found spiritual freedom.  I came to discover that I never felt truly fulfilled in my life because the fear-based beliefs from my childhood religion still lingered in the recesses of my mind. They still penetrated every cell of my body and tore at my heart and soul. I had let go of any notion of religion and spirituality in my twenties as part of my emotional and mental freedom process. But those deep seeded beliefs still controlled me at a very deep and unconscious level. All of those fear-based beliefs kept me from experiencing the glorious potential of life and knowing my true divine worth.

It wasn’t until I learned how to separate religion and spirituality that I found my spiritual freedom. I came to recognize that my fears and beliefs were nothing more than the fears and beliefs that others attempted to place on me, most of which stemmed from the religious beliefs of my childhood.  I came to see that the dogmatic teachings of religion are not the same as spiritual truths.  I began to realize that there is no one right way to God and that religion is an individual choice.  I came to recognize that the religions of our world are based on the interpretations of those who create any given sect, religion or practice.  I began to understand that there are both light and deception in every religion and that awareness provides me with the capacity to see the good in all of it. Separating religion from spirituality gave me the ability to develop a deep respect for every spiritual master who has graced planet earth.  And I came to see that although religion is not for me I can still have a deep and intensely rewarding connection to Spirit.

My path to freedom culminated in a magnificent journey into love and light in oneness with what I know within myself as Creator. I now perceive what many call God as pure unconditional love; without reservation and without judgment. One that sees us all in absolute equality. I have overcome the belief that polygamy leads to eternal exaltation, that I am worth less than men, and that I am not  intended for happiness. I have let go the many irrational expectations and limitations that existed in my childhood way of life. I am free from the fear-based dogmatic rituals of my youth and I have transcended the beliefs that once held me in spiritual prison. Because of my own spiritual liberation, I now see those who live in fear through the eyes of compassion as I recognize how  easily we are all controlled by our beliefs. And, I recognize that we are all on  individual journeys of self-discovery as we each follow our own path in our own  personal evolution.

Overcoming polygamy and other such nonsense was not an easy journey but one well worth the effort.  The reward that comes with absolute freedom to be who I really am within myself and live in my truth is immeasurable. My journey into freedom culminated in a book about the process of overcoming my childhood beliefs. That book entitled “Transcending Fear” is currently available on Amazon Kindle and is scheduled for full release in early 2012 with availability in bookstores worldwide.