(Repost) “Another Body Added to the Scrap Heap” – Escape Chapter 18: Tammy’s Failed Rebellion

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.

So there’s Tammy, with her first baby in a horribly dangerous situation. She’s had no pain medication. So she’s terrified and in agony, and what does her husband do? Decides this is all too stressful for him, and takes off with Barbara to a quiet place in the clinic so he can have a nap. Leaving his laboring wife and potentially dying son, at the time when they need him the most.

This is Tammy’s reward for being so eager to earn Merril and Barbara’s esteem that she spied on the family for them.

Fortunately, Tammy’s son survives his harrowing birth, but he starts having seizures due to the trauma. And here’s where Merril goes from complete jackass to psychopathic shitstain: he won’t let anyone take that seriously-ill newborn to the hospital. His child could be having the sort of medical crisis that will leave him dead or disabled, and Merril doesn’t care. The most he allows is a doctor’s visit. That child should have been in an ambulance going to the nearest hospital the second he started seizing (and honestly, they should have gotten Tammy transferred to the hospital the instant her labor went south), but Merril can’t be arsed.

This asshole. This fucking asshole.

No thanks to him, their son survives, though he keeps having seizures. Now Tammy’s got the child she waited sixteen long, desperate years for. She’s got a name all picked out. She wants her family to be part of the naming ceremony. But does Merril talk to her about any of this? NOPE. He just absconds with the kid after the family Sunday school and asks his other sons to name him. Which is how the poor little sod got saddled with the name Parley, and Tammy never got a choice or any input at all.

This asshole. This fucking asshole.

Now that Tammy has been treated like complete rubbish during and after the birth of her only child, she pretty much has no tolerance for Merril and Barbara’s bullshit. She goes so far once as to rip her wedding ring off her finger and tell Merril she’s finished pretending he’s her husband, cuz he isn’t acting like one. Barbara about comes unglued. And then Tammy refuses to be the family spy anymore, which enrages both Barbara and Merril. They inform her that she’d better keep spying or else. Poor thing can’t hold up to their pressure and goes back to doing their bidding, but bless her, she tried. She’s just in an impossible situation.

Image is a sepia-toned photo of a woman with her face in her hands. Only part of her face, her hair, and her hand are visible,
And then it gets worse.

Merril’s got this routine where he winkles a foot massage out of Tammy by pretending he maybe will sleep with her if she does a good job, then, once his feet have been thoroughly ministered to, bops off to fuck Barbara instead. Finally, there comes a time after an hour-long massage where he pulls this shit again, and has just come home from taking Barbara on a trip, and is going to take Barbara with him to Page the next day, and Tammy just can’t take any more. She erupts. She lets him have it.

She accused Merril of being a “true monogamous” and said he had never lived plural marriage – Barbara was the only woman he treated as a wife and her children were the only children he cared about. Tammy told Merril that he treated the rest of us as his property or slaves.

As you can imagine, Merril does not take this at all well. He stops speaking to her, ignores her attempts to beg forgiveness (for being 100% correct, mind you), and then does the worst thing he can possibly do: refuses to ever have sex with her again. Now, Merril’s no prize, but the only power and hope for happiness Tammy has is having more children. He knows this. So he will deny her the chance to ever again have a legitimate child. But to keep up appearances – or just torture her – he sometimes sleeps in her room without touching her. And, just to rub salt deep in her wounds, he calls Carolyn into their room and kisses her in front of the woman he’s refused to touch.

He’s the absolute worst. And even though Tammy tries everything she can to please him and win back her right to affection, he carries on this campaign for years.

Several years later, Tammy went to Merril and told him she could no longer live without physical affection. How could he expect her to live that way forever?

Merril was reading while she talked. He turned to her when she was finished, took off his reading glasses, looked across his desk, and said, “I always knew you had a weak character!”

I sincerely hope that if there’s an afterlife, Merril gets to spend it alone, with chronically cramping feet and an unquenchable thirst for physical contact burning him from the inside.

Image is the cover of Escape, which is photo of Carolyn Jessop on a black background. She cradles a framed picture of herself as an FLDS teenager in her hands. She is a woman in her thirties with chestnut hair and blue eyes.
I’m reviewing Escape chapter-by-chapter. Pick yourself up a copy if you’d like to follow along. The full list of reviews to date can be found here. Need a chaser? Pick up a copy of Really Terrible Bible Stories Volume 1: Genesis, Volume 2: Exodus, and Volume 3: Leviticus today!


(Repost) “Another Body Added to the Scrap Heap” – Escape Chapter 18: Tammy’s Failed Rebellion

One thought on “(Repost) “Another Body Added to the Scrap Heap” – Escape Chapter 18: Tammy’s Failed Rebellion

  1. 1

    Bloody hell. What can you say?

    To think that anyone even in a cult could consider someone like Merril to eb a “moral” “leader.” No words.

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