The Polygamist's Daughter

Stories, Reflections and Conclusions of Life on the Inside


Leave a comment

Other Cults Like Mine, Who Knew?

As a little girl I had no idea that there were other people like us in the greater world. In my little cosmos, “The Allreds” was the only true church of God. 

There wasn’t even a real name for my religion and I never questioned why.  My prophet was Rulon Allred and when he died during my tween years, the new prophet was his brother Owen.  I knew there were other members of our organization in Utah and Mexico, but it was all kept so secret that I had no label for my system of belief. I just knew that our way was the only way and we were the only people God really loved.

After I ran away from home, I moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, the only logical place I knew to go. Then I moved around the country in search of myself and my own truth. Imagine trying to explain a religion that had no name as I traveled from city to city and state to state. More than a decade later I discovered that I had been a “Fundamentalist Mormon.” Who knew? It took me a while to understand the label and it came as a great relief – I could at least answer the question of “what religion were you” without feeling like a fool.

About 10 years ago or so, I started diving deeper into my personal history and the history of my childhood religion, in a desire to understand. I wanted to make sure that my memoirs, when they were released, were as accurate as possible, based on the information I could gather. I began to discover the “other” groups I had only heard brief mention of in my younger years.

As a child I knew they were the wrong religion because they had the wrong prophet, and that was all I knew. 

In my search for greater understanding I found myself as entrenched with the story of the F.L.D.S. (Short Creek is how I knew it as a child) along with everyone else in the country. Perhaps even more because I understood the underlying dogma. I found myself visiting Colorado City (Short Creek) on several occasions, shooting footage for a documentary that sadly still sits on the cutting room floor. I met extraordinary people and heard extraordinary stories of what really went on at Y.F.Z. Ranch and still goes on today in the F.L.D.S.

Yesterday, one of those extraordinary women shared a blog post that I am forwarding on to you. Brenda is a woman of amazing courage. I’ve never met her in person but when I first met her through a Facebook group she was fresh from the farm, so to speak. She looked and sounded exactly the way you would expect, having just left her uncultured home, fortunately with kids in tow.  Since that time she has educated herself, become a prolific writer and supporter of those who are looking for life and truth outside of the F.L.D.S.

Here is her most recent blog post and an update on what really happened in the raid on Yearning For Zion Ranch and in Colorado City as Warren Jeffs fades into memory, yet not far enough. Check it out HERE.

Until next time BE FEARLESS & FREE!

Victoria Reynolds Signature

 


Leave a comment

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.