Merril just keeps getting worse. We’re about to see how he punishes rebellion in a wife, and I have to warn you, although there’s no physical violence, his verbal and emotional abuse is utterly horrible. There’s also medical neglect of a newborn. If you don’t have an abundance of spoons right now, you may want to wait until you do. And get everything out of reach that you don’t want to break, because you may be throwing things and screaming before this is over.
Content note: emotional and verbal abuse, medical neglect, childbirth, birth complications, infant illness, adult sexual abuse and manipulation
After six years of trying, Tammy finally gets pregnant. She is rather subdued about it at first, but when the time comes to deliver, she wants it to be a huge event. She invites all of her current sister wives, and all of her ex-sister wives from her marriage to Uncle Roy. Not everyone can make it – Carolyn’s so sick with her fourth pregnancy that she misses the birth, but a dozen or more people show up.
Now, remember that the women in the FLDS don’t give birth in hospitals, but in the little community clinic with a midwife. And they’re not prepared for the big emergencies. Unfortunately, Tammy’s baby gets stuck in the birth canal. And the only way the clinic has to deal with such an emergency is to move Tammy into various positions to try to free him. Continue reading “(Repost) “Another Body Added to the Scrap Heap” – Escape Chapter 18: Tammy’s Failed Rebellion”
This is a short chapter, but it gives us quite a bit of insight into Merril’s thirst for power, Warren Jeffs’ creepy early years, and FLDS hypocrisy and dysfunction.
Content note for forced marriage, child abuse, and spousal abuse.
Merril wants more power and prestige within the FLDS, and of course, the way to get it is by bartering your young daughters into sexual slavery. He’s already forced one to marry ancient prophet Rulon Jeffs. Now he sacrifices pretty Paula. As she’s married off to a man 60 years her senior, “Her still smile barely [hides] her despair.” All Carolyn can think about is how she and Paula had joked in school about “having to marry an old man who was a rest-home patient.” This is Paula’s nightmare: her new husband is so old and weak he has to sit throughout the ceremony. It’s one thing to marry someone older for love: it’s quite another to be sold off, with no choice in the matter, and no chance he’ll give you the children who are your only worth in your society. Continue reading “(Repost) “The List of Ugly Realities” – Escape Chapter 17: Marrying into the Jeffs’ Family”
So, you know how the FLDS takes ordinary things and turns them into something horrible? Then you won’t be surprised at all to see them do it with childbirth.
Content note for emetophobia, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, child abuse, coercion, sexual coercion, gaslighting, and victim blaming.
Carolyn is seven months pregnant, and has to regularly dash from her second grade classroom to vomit due to morning sickness. But she loves teaching and doesn’t want to leave her students. They and her own children are the only people who make her life worthwhile.
But her children are a vulnerability as well as a delight. The other wives find excuses to chastise and punish her young son in order to provoke and attack Carolyn by proxy. Continue reading “(Repost) “I Won’t Let You Deny Me My Dignity” – Escape Chapter 16: Giving Birth in the FLDS”
This chapter really highlights how dysfunctional Carolyn’s family is, and how fucked up FLDS doctrine is – and keep in mind, this is before Warren Jeffs took over and it got extreme.
Imagine getting the opportunity to vacation in Hawaii. Awesome! Only… you have to go with the husband you hate. Not as awesome. And he’s taking two of his other wives… so not awesome. And your husband doesn’t even bother to tell you and your sister wives that you’re going: he just kind of lets you find out on your own… even less awesome. And you’re pregnant and have horrible morning sickness. Now we’re pretty fucking far from awesome.
Content note: emetophobia, emotional abuse, family drama, mention of rape.
Merril usually isn’t interested in his wives other than Barbara, but in the FLDS, you have to at least keep up an appearance of treating all wives equally, and his tendency to only take Barbara on long trips is getting noticed. Because a woman can only get messages from God through her husband, it can damage his standing in the community if he appears to be failing at the task of keeping his family under control. Merril has tried to keep the illusion of equality going by keeping most of his younger wives pregnant. But that only gets him so far. So he figures he’ll knock down three long trips in one and haul three of his wives to Hawaii. Continue reading “(Repost) “An Unmitigated Disaster” – Escape Chapter 15: Hawaii”
This is a super-short chapter. It basically centers around one religious event in Carolyn’s life: her patriarchal blessing. The blessing is the most important part of a woman’s life outside of her marriage and childbearing. It’s delivered by one of the church’s patriarchs (the dudes just below the Prophet and his apostles), and generally consists of them telling a young woman that she’s going to “become a faithful wife and a mother in Zion, raising faithful children up to the Lord.”
Carolyn hadn’t gotten her blessing prior to getting married and having kids, so her patriarch, Joseph Barlow, has to get creative. He pulls out all the stops. He puts his hands on Carolyn’s head, and informs her that she’s “a direct descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus Christ.” In fact, “The pure blood of Jesus Christ runs through” her veins.
Waal okay then.
Then he tells her she’s a totes special spirit that God was saving up for the last days. She’s been born on this earth “to be part of ushering in a thousand years of peace.” And she’ll even get to see Jesus hisownself in this lifetime!
Why so special? Because she’d “been an enormous influence in casting the devil out of heaven.” She’d been super-smart in that whole kerfluffle. And because she was so smart, God had decided to use her on Earth. She could tell if someone was good or evil just by looking at ’em. (Well, she’d pretty much proved that with Merril, right?)
So God has spirits watching over her, and will be using her “to protect his people in the last days.” She’ll “work in the temple and be responsible for many people receiving their priesthood training.”
But that’s not all! Continue reading “(Repost) “A Destiny I Wasn’t Really Seeking” – Escape Chapter 14: My Patriarchal Blessing”