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Okay, not entirely, but... I'm getting ahead of myself. Anybody catch HBO's hilarious! and satirical! and sexy! show about "Mormon" Polygamy? Hahaha! Because it's all that, and more! Lemme be upfront with definitions, so I don't get a lynch mob after me:

POLYANDRY/POLYAMOROUS relationship: brought about by a group of people interested in forging a relationship due to love, sex, admiration, large house and sturdy sheets. I have no problems with this. You're grownups, have at it, and take a multi-vitamin. What, you don't need a B Complex? You'll thank me later.

"MORMON" POLYGAMY: relationship brought about because "God" or the "prophet" has told this man to marry such and such women. Women have no property, no title, no worth other than to bring about a Righteous Dominion on Earth, and can be taken and passed around should the husband do something displeasing. This begins as soon as a girl is capable of menstruating.


Sound like I know what I'm talking about on #2? It's because I do, as some long-time flisters know. My family has polygamous members. My great-grandfather was one of the men "called of God" in the early days of the Mormon Church to live "The Principle." It's frickin' disgusting and horrible and cruel and on level with how the Taliban treats women. I lived just outside the largest stronghold of polygamists in Colorado City and helped try and get girls OUT. People are killed for even TALKING to non-plygs. That is not a flippant statement on my part. People die. Women are beaten. They are taken from schools after they've learned basic reading and writing. They are not allowed to dress like anyone else, listen to radio, TV, look at magazines... They are allowed to listen to the "prophet" speak. And have babies.

Now, about that whole living arrangement... #1 wife has ALL the female power, which is to say, not a lot. She orders the other sister-wives around. Some of them may even be her own daughters. Married to their father. Or uncle. Happens all the time. If a woman is nursing, menstruating, pregnant, or past menopause, no sex for her. Often times the man will just get a new "wife." Most times wives are handed to a man and told to marry as it is "the Lord's Will." He may be in his 60s, and she may be about 12. Again, happens all the time. There's a disproportionate number of girls to boys. Why? Because they don't WANT COMPETITION. Boys are killed or drummed out. Lots of desert to "lose" a child in. Yep. That's the lord's work, all right.

I did mention that I used to help and try and rescue these kids, right? These brainwashed young girls who didn't know they ever had a choice in love or life? Just in case some of you aren't believing ol' Stoney here. I don't know what the MO of this show is, but my hope is they aren't going to glamorize "Mormon" Polygamy. Happened in the 50s, and those SOBs were given federal grants to go back and start up again, after State Troopers in Utah and AZ. went to so much trouble to round the men up and jail them.

The prophet owns everything: everyone's house, everyone's car, everyone's business, the banks, the police, the firemen, the grocery store... It's called the Law of Consecration - the United Order. Which means, you piss the wrong person off and you're out. And your wife and kids and home are given to "whom the Lord has chosen." Anyone remember Elizabeth Smart? The guy that took her was a plyg that was drummed out of the commune. THAT is what they look like. That is their mindset.

THEY ARE NOT PEOPLE IN POLYAMOROUS RELATIONSHIPS. Because there is no CHOICE. There is no out, if anyone grows apart from the group. That being said, Chloe Sevigne's hair was spot on, minus the ever-present Angel Bang. And her clothes. But where were the G's? The ever-present painting of John Taylor over the mantel? And when they went to the commune, THAT is what it looks like. But they wouldn't be allowed back - the characters on the show - because they LEFT and you don't get to LEAVE.

Hmmm. Again, that show was lazy writing, IMO. The guys who wrote it (ahem) wanted the male fantasy of a harem, but want it to have Social Significance and so threw in the whole Mormon angle. Not impressed, and frankly, a bit worried. Okay. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. (If you want to see who the current "prophet" of the "church" is, google Warren Jeffs. Oh, he's building a compound in Eldorado, Texas right now and we Are Not Amused.)

*I say "Mormon" polygamy, because they outlawed it publicly in 1892. Although the President John Taylor did pull men aside and told them to practice in secret. I know this because my Great-great Uncle was one of those men, and if there's one thing Mormons know, it's genealogy and to keep a record. The LDS church excommunicates for the practice today.

Comments

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ladycat777
Mar. 13th, 2006 06:05 am (UTC)
Actually, as far as I'm aware, the show is very, very careful not to claim that these are Mormons or an acurate depition of Mormon polygamy, and there are reasons why my default depiction of most of Mormonism is "cult". But I don't think this is as bad as it could be -- then again, I don't know that people are discerning enough to understand the difference, either, or that the way it's practiced in so abhorrently cruel, as compared to the tv show which is ... lighter, from my understanding.

Haven't seen it yet, but my mom has plans to watch it so I'll have a better response later.

But ... I'm kind of very shocked that this show has been made. It's a little on the scary side, frankly, because of all the reasons you've mentioned.
stoney321
Mar. 13th, 2006 06:12 am (UTC)
ACK! No, no, no. They are TOTALLY going for the Mormon Polygamy thing, which is why thyey had a shot of the SLC temple in the background, they use Mormon prayers, they use the lingo... They did just enough research to make it resemble the Utah plygs, trust me.

(And remember: I was raised Mormon, and it is a cult. A well-regarded cult, but a cult. SORRY ANY ACTIVE MEMBERS. It is.)

Mostly, my fear is that this show makes the lifestyle look intriguing, and then legislation that is trying to get passed to outlaw some of the more abhorrent elements (like under-aged marriages to elderly family members - there is no incest in this lifesstyle, you see. It's all good. Um....) I worry that there will be compacency and confusion as to what it really is.

Argh. Sorry! This is one of my few hot buttons.
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yin_again
Mar. 13th, 2006 06:10 am (UTC)
TV = scary.
Real life = scary.

That's it - I'm staying in bed for the rest of my life.
stoney321
Mar. 13th, 2006 06:12 am (UTC)
Hahaha! *climbs in with you* Rawr.
elisi
Mar. 13th, 2006 06:24 am (UTC)
Scary. I didn't know that it was that bad - I remember seeing a documentary once about this guy (middle 50s I think) living in the desert with his four wives (in 7 trailers or something) and 20-odd children. And by far the worst bit was towards the end when he was thinking about getting wife #5. They arranged for this big picnic with this girl (who was 16 or something) and her family, to see if they all got along etc. And it was this veneer of normality and friendlyness that was so incredibly creepy - like Nazi's organising a bun sale...

But thank you for the post.
stoney321
Mar. 13th, 2006 06:31 am (UTC)
Oh, yeah. Tom... Green? Gardener? He's the one that went "public." They live in a blasted out cave outside of Kanab and he is constantly living in fear of his life.

It's VERY creepy.
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floweringjudas
Mar. 13th, 2006 06:27 am (UTC)
.............asdkajsldkajsldkjasdlaksdj


SO. MUCH. RAGE.

I have to go slash two of the prophets now. *subversive liek wo* *evidence: icon*
stoney321
Mar. 13th, 2006 06:29 am (UTC)
Ahahahahahahahahahaha!!!

OMG, BDSM kink fic with Spencer W. Kimball in leathers and Brigham Young holding the whip OMG I am going to be murdered in my SLEEP.

(did you watch it??)
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tinpanalley
Mar. 13th, 2006 07:14 am (UTC)

I've seen a few documentaries on real Mormon life and I can't watch anymore. I don't understand that way of thinking and it just makes me angry. It's sort of like watching movies/documentaries featuring the KKK. Uh-uh, can't deal.

I can't even imagine what it was like to be raised in that lifestyle. However, you seem to have escaped unscathed. *hugs*

stoney321
Mar. 13th, 2006 07:27 am (UTC)
I will say again that modern Mormons ABHOR the practice of polygamy. It's not an acceptable life-style.

Most of them are trying to be good people, love their families, etc. But the institution they hold up with esteem is so very, very flawed.
urbangonzo
Mar. 13th, 2006 07:22 am (UTC)
Wandered in from tsp.

Please forgive me for asking a stupid question but I have several Mormon friends in Michigan, who act nothing like this and don't really seem to identify with the Mormons in western states. Is there a break in the church or are these people just unique?
stoney321
Mar. 13th, 2006 07:31 am (UTC)
Hi! (tsp?)

Utah Mormons ARE unique from other Mormons, mostly because they are so insular in their every day lives. EVERYONE is Mormon, or knows ABOUT being Mormon. But then, go to the backwoods of Kentucky or other places and you'll find the same with Southern Baptist, Pentecostal, etc. It's the insular nature of the state of Utah that encourages this "cut off from the world" mentality, not to mention the church, as well. One of the LDS church's "mottos" is: In the world, but not of it.

Now. The MODERN LDS church does not in ANY WAY support polygamy. That is it's history. However, all of the people who have grown up in the lifestyle that originated in the early days of the church still live there, so they can be close to the epicenter of what created them, if that makes sense. THEY consider themselves the "true" Mormons, while the ACTUAL Mormons (those with their names in the church records) look at them with contempt.

And I grew up in Texas, so to say I was an outsider as a Mormon here is an understatement. :D (Am no longer a mormon, for the record.)
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thepiratequeen
Mar. 13th, 2006 07:38 am (UTC)
Wow. I knew a little about that but not everything. I had no idea about the compounds. I actually thought the show was making that bit up so people wouldn't automatically think Mormon.

Huh.

So is it just that there are different sects? Cause Tina Majorino's character seemed to be a Mormon more along the lines of what I knew them as.

Do you mind if I link to this post when I talk about the show in my LJ?
stoney321
Mar. 13th, 2006 07:41 am (UTC)
Hey, cookie! Again, MODERN Mormons do not practice polygamy. This is like... a subversive offshoot. Okay, that's exactly what it is. But back in the day when it was regular practice? Compounds were the norm - each woman has their own household. That's how it's done by the plygs. And there are varying sects among THEM, too. All battling for who is the "true prophet."

"Under the Banner of Heaven" and "In My Father's House" are two great books about polygamy.

And feel free. :*
dlgood
Mar. 13th, 2006 07:38 am (UTC)
According to an article I read on Slate, it said the two guys who created the show are gay, and Slate interpreted the show as basically taking the "harem fantasy" and making it look like confining squareness in the way that has been previously done to the suburban marriage...
stoney321
Mar. 13th, 2006 07:43 am (UTC)
Ahhhh. See, I can see that. But, that's what's bugging me: this idea of "normalizing" that brand of relationship, because it's so very, very damaging. It's not the same as, say... Rachel and Tina and Lucille and Bill living in Oregon and having a multi-partner relationship. Because if Rachel meets Tom, and decides to leave, she could.

And not be killed. Or have her kids taken from her. Or... see?

*off to read the article now*
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stoney321
Mar. 13th, 2006 08:48 am (UTC)
Yeah, it's the positive spin that has be so bothered. They're being incredibly flippant about something that is DEVASTATING to a group of women. It is NOT polyandry. It's NOT.

I don't know what the objective is here, and that's what's got me bugged.
julia_here
Mar. 13th, 2006 08:40 am (UTC)
You make me strangely comfortable with the fact that Miss Perfect's Mormon boyfriend broke up with her just before Valentines day.

I go to this very PC lefty Episcopalian church where the vicar is a lipstick lesbian and one of the associate priests is a Yungian analyst and a world-famous authority on treating victims of torture, and people work with the food bank and habitat for humanity and donate clothes and money to a program that gets poor kids equipped for school, and the OTHER kind of religion seems a poorly remembered nightmare when I'm around them.

Julia, remembering a family of Assembly of God hill-folk of my childhood whose father protested his girls being sent to school. Am vastly amused that one of this granddaughters is a Seagal.

stoney321
Mar. 13th, 2006 08:46 am (UTC)
While I find no comfort or joy from religion, or belief in a higher power, I accept that others do. I just wish there weren't so many cavemen shaking their spears at The Sun and falling down in fear and smiting the Mighty Saber-Tooth in The Sun's name, you know?

Ergh.
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cherusha
Mar. 13th, 2006 09:12 am (UTC)
Some of them may even be her own daughters. Married to their father. Or uncle.

I threw up a little just from reading that.

Were there any that got out? Truly got out (from your experience)? I'd imagine they'd have to start a whole new life all by themselves.
stoney321
Mar. 13th, 2006 09:59 am (UTC)
Yeah. It's frickin' HORRIFIC. Or... the dads who are mad the "prophet" is giving their 12 year old to himself, so they rape them first, then claim the daughter was wanton so they don't have to send them on as a wife. WHAT THE FUCK.

And unfortunately, the % is low. Imagine I told you that actually, the CHinese were Bad. That everything they believed, their way of life, the culture was Bad. And you should never have anything to do with them again, because now that you know, they'll kill you. I'm talking, you can't even wear SILK.

it's very difficult to make people see things they don't want to see. Or for them to grasp that everything they've been told about their lives, about the world (remember, the earth is 6000 years old, dinosaurs are a myth, man never went to the moon) is a lie.

And you know that saying: the arm of the Emperor is long? Same with these people.
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stoney321
Mar. 13th, 2006 10:04 am (UTC)
Oh, the Vegas Mormons are STRONG. Whoa-nelly. Because there's this unspoken pride of living so close to the Lion's Den and not getting eaten. (Gubler, Young, Gardener...)

See, and my dad, an educated man, a believer in gay rights and the arts and intellect, remains a Mormon because he prefers the sense of community it fosters. And I will say that for the LDS Chuch - they look out for their own.

ANd your last paragraph is a great point. The book "Under The Banner Of Heaven" makes an interesting point about how Mormonism is the only TRUE AMerican religion. The first one created here in the US. how it has this sense of entreprenurialship to it. That's fascinating to me. *cough* and it's no coincidence that Salt Lake COunty has the highest number of fraud cases in the country, no lie.

God Tols Me To Start A Pyramid Scheme. And steal your daughter and marry her. Yeeeeeesh.
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crayonbreakygal
Mar. 13th, 2006 09:13 am (UTC)
As always, I am educated by your posts.

When I worked on the Hill, as in Capitol Hill, I was able to meet several pages (these are the kids that work for Congress, sort of like an internship for a semester) from Utah. They were of course all Mormom. They couldn't eat chocolate, couldn't drink soda, etc., etc. You know what they did when they got to DC? They went wild. These were usually the girls and boys (they were teenagers) that got into trouble. You know, doing teenagery things. The problem was they couldn't do that since they were pages and had to be on their best behavior. I swear, they were always the ones that I had to watch out for when I was working there. They just wanted to be kids.

I can't understand how they could glamorize polygamy on television.
stoney321
Mar. 13th, 2006 10:05 am (UTC)
See, I really think that the whle "glamorizing" of polygamy is just lazy writing, honest and for true. I think it's them confusing POLYANDRY - a group of folks making a go at it by choice, with polygamy, which is about God Telling Men how to Control Women and Exercise Their Dominion and Stewardship of the Earth.

(And you know it! I was one of those good mormon girls that freaked out when I got away from my home.)
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stoney321
Mar. 13th, 2006 10:17 am (UTC)
Her hair was EXCELLENT. As was her dress. But the girls in the burger joint talking about the other Mormons? Uh-uh. Nooooo. not out in public. And Morbot? Come on. It's Molly. (Molly Mormon)

...still have little sickies in my house. :(
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stoney321
Mar. 13th, 2006 10:08 am (UTC)
re: second paragraph. YES! They would NOT be allowed back to the commune!! Exactly. (Although I did hear "Oh my heck" and about died laughing.)

OMG THAT WAS SAMARA?!?!?!?! holy fucking shit. (And that was accurate. I did think the commune life was accurately depicted. Did you see a bunch of plygs when you came out for a visit that time? Didn't I take you to Colorado City? Or Harmons? Heh. That's the plyg owned grocery store in St. George.)

TONY. (Oh, and wtf with all the plant life?! When they cut to the backyards of red clay, I nodded. Ooookay. That's what it looks like.)
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stoney321
Mar. 13th, 2006 10:20 am (UTC)
Ha! Well, you have to tread lightly where religion is concerned (even though some that are devout that might stumble on this may not think so) - as what people believe to be sacred makes up who they believe they themselves are.

But... UGH. This is NOT about worshipping god in a good, positive, uplifting way. That lifestyle is about enslaving women to make babies to show your strength in the lord. Blech. And those two books I mentioned are excellent reads. There's another one by the name of... something Christensen, "Mormon Polygamy." That's the be-all end-all book on the subject but it's heavy reading. The others are filled with info without seeming like an ecyclopedia of facts, you know? Have a more anecdotal feel.
aimeelicious
Mar. 13th, 2006 10:31 am (UTC)
Fascinating post on a subject about which I am woefully ignorant. Thanks for the links in a comment above to good books, I will be reading them.
stoney321
Mar. 13th, 2006 10:41 am (UTC)
If you're really interested in the books, I'd say go with Krakauer's book "Under the Banner of Heaven" first. It's an excellent primer for the church and lifestyle and polygamy, and touches on the Elizabeth Smart case. Factual and interesting, it doens't READ like it, you know?

"In My Father's House" is by one of the LeBaron girls - I knew her sister. That is definitely an insight into the freaking craziness of the plyg life. It's her memoir.

Another one, and it's the keystone on the subjects but is HEAVY reading, "Mormon Polygamy." That one was written by a guy my dad grew up with in Lehi (a town just north of Provo). It's the be-all, tell-all of the phenomenon. And every little detail is backed up with resources, something VERY important when you're talking about discrediting someone (Joseph Smith) that his followers have up there with Jesus.
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stoney321
Mar. 13th, 2006 10:57 am (UTC)
Re: Not QUITE on topic...
Ah, yes. He's talking about Colorado City. Half of the town is on the Utah border, the other half in on the Arizona border. When the troopers come and make their routine sweeps, the townsfolk move over the border, you see. WTF?

But it's not a lynch mob - it's federal or state agents come to lock up the menfolk. A whooooole lot of taxpayers money goes to support this lifestyle - they are on all kinds of government programs for money and come out ahead. Well, the "church" there does as they own everything.
themindseye
Mar. 13th, 2006 10:48 am (UTC)
My best friend in 8th and 9th grade was Mormon. She was the strangest friend I ever had. I still swear to this day that one of her older "sisters" had to have been her mother. Her mom was so damn old and her next closest sibling in age was 10 years older than her. She had older sisters that were at least 20 years older than her.

She started talking about wanting to have a baby when we were like 13 years old. She told me at one point that she had gotten pregnant and miscarried. Not sure if that was true or not.

I also remember when we were in 8th grade that she started going over to this guys house that was 30 years old. She kept referring to him as her boyfriend. I went over there with her once. I'm not sure what the hell I was thinking. When I got older and thought back on it a little more it freaked me out because, "OMG! I went to a child molesters apartment!"

I stopped hanging out with her after our freshman year of high school. She wouldn't shut up about having a baby and just screamed white trash.

My old boss was Mormon also. I still remember his reasoning for why his religion was the right one. The Bible is the word of God but so is the Book of Mormon and since they were the only religion that had the Book of Mormon then they were obviously the correct religion. It was the worst piece of logic I have ever heard and I almost laughed in his face. He was always arguing with people using bad logic and then giving people his "I don't care what you say I am right" speech. He was such a pain in the ass to work with.
stoney321
Mar. 13th, 2006 10:59 am (UTC)
Oh, the logic for the basis of belief? It's all shades of jacked up everywhere you turn. The mindset of "We are the Only Right Ones" is incredibly off-putting to me. And the pity they express to those that won't accept The Way? Because they are the only ones that can experience true happiness?

Yeah. That's not condescending. Nope. That's just like Jesus taught, mm hmm. *rolls eyes*
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paynbow
Mar. 13th, 2006 10:57 am (UTC)
Jesus H, I am so sick of 'artistic liscence'. Know what that means 80% of the time? "I am too lazy to actually research this topic, so I'll just write what I think is close and fits my idea, and then scream 'artistic liscence!'" This is my beef with just about every History! movie made by Hollywood. William Wallace? A terrifying man. Wore trophies of those he killed, like bones and skin. The enigma machine? Rescued by the Brits and the Poles, not the Americans, as U-571 portrays. And Jerusalem? Not a bastion of multiculturalism in the 11th century, like Kingdom of Heaven shows.

It's deadly. I see it all the time. So many people assume that the version of history/current events that they see on TV is real and true. It bugs the crap outta me. This is just another example, and one that's harmful to women, because you just KNOW the show and audience will get caught up in the drama of the jealousy of the wives, instead of acknowledging that these are women with no choices and no way out.
stoney321
Mar. 13th, 2006 02:39 pm (UTC)
I AGREE WITH THAT. Yes.

Ugh, yes.
entrenous88
Mar. 13th, 2006 11:01 am (UTC)
Jaysus, the things I'm out of the loop on, not having cable. The show sounds like it's treading dangerous ground indeed.
stoney321
Mar. 13th, 2006 02:38 pm (UTC)
*squish*
dedra
Mar. 13th, 2006 11:52 am (UTC)
when I was in high school, my best friend was Mormon--gave me a copy of the Book of Mormon, Doctrines and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price so she could get her 'mission' to try to convert some of her fellow students to the religion...when she was older and married (and we were still keeping in touch) she called me one night HYSTERICAL...said that her shepard had been talking to her and her husband (newlyweds and virgins to boot) and told them that any type of experimentation, including oral and anal sex, were wrong and would send them straight into the fiery pits of hell...she was horrified by the thought that the things that they had done on their wedding night would send them to hell...

I find it personally offensive that any religion can sexually repress and enslave their followers by dictating their practices at home. As I told my friend, sex is a gift from God (or whatever you call the Higher Power) to be shared with those that you love...not something that a man in a pulpit dictates right and wrong from his 'elevated status'. Maybe that's why I'm areligious (although spiritual), liberal, and a lesbian...

P.S.--Dar told me recently that she still wears her garment. I had to google that, but I think that you would know what that means....
stoney321
Mar. 13th, 2006 12:00 pm (UTC)
Ah. Garments are special clothing (underwear) a person puts on after having gone through the temple and committing themselves to the life. Nothing comes between your skin and the garments - they are a convenant, you see.

And yeah, the church is VERY FOCUSED on sex. I've had a few rants in the past about how sex-obsessed they are. Get out of my bedroom, thanks. Or living room, the stairs, the kitchen counter... Heh.
cordelianne
Mar. 13th, 2006 03:15 pm (UTC)
This has been a very interesting and educational read. I appreciate that you differentiated between polyandry/polyamorous relationships and "Mormon" polygamy, because that's such an important distinction to make. I'd already decided not to watch the show, and now this has me really distressed about it.

One of my friends was Mormon (in Canada) but when he came out as gay, he was disowned by his entire family except for one sister. Any religion or belief that condones this kind of extreme and hateful reaction (and there are sadly too many that do) really disturbs me.
stoney321
Mar. 13th, 2006 04:00 pm (UTC)
My cousin (VERY devout family) is gay. We've all known he's gay. He married his beard just this summer - not shortly after his Very Righteous Father indicated that he'd kick the hell out of any child of his that "thought they were gay."

Nice. Yep, just like Jesus - ass kickin' since the '00s.

I don't get it, either. I don't believe in the divinity of Jesus, but I sure do like the Sermon on the Mount as words to live by. Too bad more people don't, huh?
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kita0610
Mar. 18th, 2006 10:43 am (UTC)
Ok, forgive me because I dunno a damn thing about Mormon. But I have to ask how mainstream and well accepted the doctrine of 'no choice' is? I mean, do these people represent the fringe element of Mormon, much like the bomb strapping terrorists represent the worst of Islam?
stoney321
Mar. 18th, 2006 10:50 am (UTC)
*dingding!* Give this woman a prize. That is EXACTLY what they are like: seriously, the polygamist lifestyle is VERY much like the Taliban.

Women are chattel. Girls are given to whom the "prophet" sees fit. 12 years old? Her new husband is her uncle? Doesn't matter if the "prophet" says it is to be.

Girl thinks for herself and the "elders" catch wind of it? She may either be relocated to the "sister communes" in Canada, in Mexico, or the new one being built in Texas, never to see her family again, her children (because you can bet she'll have some - women are for breeding) given to other "wives." Or, you know - she'll be killed.

I only wish I was exaggeratiing. (I don't know if you've read any of the threads here, but I have family members that are/were polygamous. My great-grandfather was one of the original polygamists for the Mormon church.)

Also, it should be noted that the MODERN Mormon church shuns this practice. Loathes it. however, they let the cat out of the bag, so to speak, and all of the kitties bred and won't go back in the sack. These polygamists are not in the records at church members, they just CONSIDER themselves Mormons. It's all very strange.
... - marlo - Mar. 20th, 2006 09:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
... - stoney321 - Mar. 21st, 2006 05:40 am (UTC) - Expand
marlo
Mar. 20th, 2006 09:25 pm (UTC)
I'll say what I said in Beth's blog recently: Religion is scary. Hearing this stuff reminds me of Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale, which is a really fucking scary book.

::takes seven showers::
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