Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ana's Story

Another LDS adoption related story. If anyone else has one they'd like to share, just email it to me. This is a story from "Ana". It again showcases the propaganda and pressure tactics the LDS church uses in trying to coerce single-mothers to give up their children.

"I found your YouTube video about your experience with the church and their adoption services. I was in the same boat as you when I was pregnant with my son. I'd like to share my story as there are other mom's who have gone through what you did.

I was raised as a Mormon and when I hit my teens never really got into the religion and people pointed and whispered about me all the time. I was in foster care the last couple months of high school and I remember if I ran into anyone in my ward they kinda snubbed me. Well I moved to a different province (I am Canadian as well) and just lived my life the way I wanted to. I by this point was barely involved in the church I just didn't really believe in the religion anymore it had done no good for me or my family despite them saying if you follow it you will be blessed. I had a one night stand and was in denial for 3 months until I told one of my sister's I thought I was pregnant. I wasn't working at the time and so she bought the test for me and it came back positive. I didn't know what I was going to do I didn't want to tell my whole family was Mormon and at the time my parents were actively still going to church I thought they would disown me. My sister told my dad and he came to visit me and talked to me about it and I broke down. He explained they would support me with whatever decision I made.

I moved in with my family and soon they had gone to their bishop and explained my situation so he asked if he could meet with me. Well I knew what was coming....I had street smarts I wasn't stupid. They were mormons there was going to be only one thing they would want to discuss....adoption. We met with him and this lady who worked with unwed mothers in the church. They of course started talking about adoption and how my son would have a horrible life if he was not adopted out to a temple worthy mormon family. My dad was shocked and after apologized and told me he had no clue that's what they were going to talk about. I decided to give their counseling a try as I was still a little undecided at that point what I was going to do. By than I believe I was 4 or 5 months pregnant.

All they did was talk about how hard it would be in all aspects if I kept my baby. They told me that only 10% of single mothers succeed. That 90% never get married and live miserably and their children have next to nothing. They tried to show me videos and graphs and do exercises focusing on what would be better for my child. They went as far to ask if I'd marry the guy who got me pregnant and I laughed at them and told them no way. They tried to get me to think of who I could marry. I told them nobody that I wasn't getting married just because I was pregnant.

I remember this one video they showed me that had three different married the guy who got her pregnant, another placed her baby and the other I can't remember. They all talked about how it affected them. After this video they asked me what I thought and I told them that I didn't connect to these girls at all. They were all church going girls who had a slip up....I was hitting up the bars every other weekend drinking, smoking and living life. I think they were getting annoyed with me though because I was stubborn and there was no way that I was going to let these people bully me into placing my baby for adoption I saw right through them.

They arranged for me to meet two girls who did place their babies for adoption. There was another girl there with her bf to meet with these girls. I was 7 months pregnant by this time and was pretty sure I had made my mind up on keeping my son but hadn't told them yet. The girls shared their story and experience and showed us the albums as they both had open adoptions. I looked at one of the girl's pictures of the little boy she had given up sitting in a pile of leaves and it was at that moment that something hit me and told me I was making the right decision keeping my son.

After they asked us what we were leaning more towards. I told them I was planning on keeping my son and they asked why. I told them I couldn't give him up, that things happen for a reason and I feel there was a reason I was having this baby. When they asked the other girl she said that she really didn't want to give her baby up and than her bf shot her a look and she said but it's what we've decided. I felt sorry for heart went out to this girl who obviously felt like she didn't have a say. It felt like everyone was making the decision for her and had pressured her this was the best decision. I don't know what she decided.....I didn't have a chance to ask. The lady from the counseling services told me she would arrange for me to meet a mom who kept her child to hear her story. It never happened she felt that they couldn't help me anymore as I had made my decision. Never heard from them again and never bothered contacting them ever. It felt as though because they didn't get what they wanted it was time to just leave me and move onto the next.

My son is now 4 and is amazing. My bf who I have been dating on and off since my son was about 4 months old has stepped up and is his dad. Maybe he won't be around forever...maybe we won't get married, but when they tell you nobody wants to marry a single mom they're full of lies. I've dated since having my son and have met many wonderful guys who it doesn't bother them. Of course they're all non members and are so much more open minded to life. My best friend is a mormon and I don't like to talk bad about the religion but since my experience with the church I don't bother. I don't go. My aunts, uncles, grandma are members and it took them a bit but they've all accepted my son and I'm sure behind closed doors don't agree with what my choice was but they don't treat my son different. Now one of my cousins is expecting a baby and lucky for her the church didn't get involved as she's in the states and I assume it's worse down there than here. I'm sure her mom learned from my experience and decided not to contact the church about it.

That's my story and what I went through. I feel for those moms who feel like they have to place their babies for adoption because the church tells them it is right. I can't picture my life without my son. He saved me. If it wasn't for him I'd still be living my dead end life hitting up the bars all the time. Now I enjoy life again and he makes me so happy. One day I will tell him what I went through and one day he'll ask about religion. He'll get to make that decision on his own though. I was never given the choice of what religion I wanted to be and my son will have that choice.

 I haven't met or talked to anyone who went through what I did and it's nice to know there are others. None of my family or friends can relate and I find it hard some days because until you actually go through the whole thing you don't know what it feels like to basically feel like you were used by people because they wanted your baby.

Have a great day!"

Monday, May 19, 2008

My Patriarchal Blessing

*Note: I remember when I received my 'Patriarchal Blessing' in 2002: that I did not feel the Spirit whatsoever, I was uncomfortable trying to remain perfectly still, and I had a slight feeling that the Patriarch was making the whole thing up as he went along. (Which I later felt guilty for and reprimanded myself over, convinced that it must have been a 'holy' experience.)

There was also the Patriarch's wife - if I recall correctly - who was there and tape recorded the entire session, asking the question "Do you say that to everyone?" about being a 'Heavenly Queen', after the session was done.

What is a Patriarchal Blessing?

For those who may be unaware, a Patriarchal Blessing is a blessing/ordinance given by an LDS Patriarch to 'worthy LDS members'. It's supposedly modeled after the blessings that Abraham gave to his sons. Here are some of the stated 'purposes' for a Patriarchal Blessing:

1) Identify which "Tribe of Israel" the LDS member belongs to.
2) Bless the LDS member with 'knowledge and spiritual gifts'.
3) Give advice, especially about the future.

The Patriarch lays his hands upon the LDS member's head, and receives direct revelation from God, concerning that one individual, which he goes on to give as a 'Blessing'. The blessing is recorded and then later translated to a paper copy, which is given to LDS members. All LDS members are assured of the promises given in the Blessing, as long as they are 'worthy' of them throughout life. (So basically if anything fails to fit, it's your own fault somehow.)

LDS members are told to regularly consult their Blessing and re-read it for guidance, assurance, and advice. Most LDS members receive their blessing in their late teens, mostly those who were raised in the church.

My Patriarchal Blessing:

"Galatian", having been commissioned of Jesus Christ and ordained a Patriarch in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I lay my hands upon your head and give you your Patriarchal Blessing. This blessing will be a guide to you in your life and help you to prepare yourself for exaltation and eternal life in the Celestial Kingdom of God. It is important for you to realize that because of your faithfulness in the preexistence, the Lord has given you the encouragement and a suggestion as to how you may alfter your life to be in harmony with the principles of the gospel.

Dear "Galatian", I bless you to know that you are of the House of Israel. Your membership in the House of Israel grants you the privilege of all the blessings of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Patriarchs of old. Your lineage is through Ephraim and therefore you have the additional responsibility to help prepare the earth for the Second Coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ when He will rule and reign upon the earth and when the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

Dear "Galatian", I bless you as you seek to find your way in life that you will find the Church and its teachings to be a great blessing in your life. Your association with many of the saints of God will be a lifting experience in your life and help you to emulate the principles of righteous living that will best serve you. Look to those who are committed and converted to the gospel as role models. Follow them, and thus you will be in good stead. Serve with all your heart, might, mind and strength so that these principles may be distilled into your life. Thus your life may be altered sufficiently so that you may have the grace of God in all things, at all times, and in all places.

Dear "Galatian", I bless you in your temporal living that you will take every opportunity to better your situation, educationally and temporally. Seek of the Lord mightily in fasting and prayer that you may have direction and guidance in your life and that you may choose educational and vocational pursuits which will best suit your needs to take care of your temporal living and your obligations unto your fellow men.

Dear "Galatian", I bless you to know that during your lifetime you will have the opportunity to preach the gospel to your associates. The Lord will place people in your path at various times and in various places who are seeking principles which you have espoused by your acceptance of baptism into the Kingdom. They will see in you a Latter-day Saint young woman who is different from the world and therefore ask questions. Be solicitous in your response when directed by the Spirit that your mouth may be opened and you may speak the words which are placed in your mind so that the process of conversion may take place amongst those with whom you are associating. You will have the privilege of serving in various capacities in the Kingdom and this will give you the opportunity of solidifying your knowledge of the gospel and your understanding of the principles of the Kingdom. In the Relief Society organization you will have the opportunity of developing the talents which the Lord has given you. These talents may be unknown to you at the present time but as you develop and grow in the Kingdom they will be made manifest unto you because of your cries unto the Lord for help and deliverance from the various tasks that will be placed upon your shoulders. You are a multi-talented individual and you need to know that the Lord requires that you develop these talents to the best of your ability that you may be of service in the Kingdom and help you move forward in this great work which has been placed in the hands of the Latter-day Saints.

Dear "Galatian", I bless you to prepare for the time when you can go to the House of the Lord and receive your temple endowment and be sealed to a faithful Priesthood bearer for time and eternity. Your helpmate and companion will be a great source of strength to you as you develop together and as you espouse principles of faithfulness to each other. Your service in the temple will be one of the most enjoyable experiences of your life. You will serve long and with great joy.

Dear "Galatian", there are many of your ancestors who look to you for their salvation. Because you have joined the Church, they stand at the doors of the prisons looking out and crying unto you that you seek after them and place their names upon the alters of the temple. It is certainly important for you to have the spirit of Elijah in your life. Thus you may help save the souls of those who have gone before you. Place their names upon the alters of the temples so they may be released from their spirit prison. Then they, too, may eke out their eternal salvation.

Dear "Galatian", I bless your body that it will be strong and healthy and that you will have the ability to resist disease and illness. I bless you that you will have the strength to carry the burdens which will be placed upon your shoulders. You will also have the wisdom to be able to sort through the things which are burdens and which are responsibilities.

Dear "Galatian", I bless you to be free from harm and the accident on the highways and byways of life. Observe rules of decency in your travels that you may listen to the Spirit and be directed and protected from danger.

Dear "Galatian", it is important for you as one who has embraced the Gospel of Jesus Christ to study the scriptures on a daily basis. Become familiar with the doctrines in the Kingdom. Don't waste any time in frivolous activities but become serious in mind in studying the teachings of the Saviour and the doctrines of the Kingdom. You will have the opportunity of teaching in the Church and your studies will stand you in good stead to be one who is authoritative and true in teaching and promoting gospel principles.

Dear "Galatian", I bless you in your associations with your young friends. As you grow on into adulthood, you will have harmony and peace and joy in those associations where your friends will be a strength unto you and you, in turn, will be a strength unto them.

Dear "Galatian", I bless you to be cognizant of your responsibility to keep yourself morally clean, to live the Word of Wisdom, to pay a full and honest tithing and to live the commandments of God. I give you the power over the adversary that you may do these things. Sometimes it will be a sacrifice to pay your tithes and offerings, but remember the admonition of our Prophet -- render unto God that which is God's and He will take care of the rest.

Dear "Galatian", I bless you that you will live a long and fruitful life of service, of kindness and compassion so that when your life is through your associates will say of you that you spent your time in doing good upon the earth and did not mar your life with unrighteous activities.

Dear "Galatian", I seal this blessing upon your through your faithfulness and through your worthiness giving you the power to come forward in the Morning of the First Resurrection where you will be united with your loved ones for time and eternity and take your place upon a throne as a queen in the Celestial Kingdom of God.

Dear "Galatian", I seal this blessing upon you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Through that long ramble of hot air, I can see nothing of real value. It's all very generic, it could apply to literally anyone, and half of it is common sense - ex: pursue an education, decency in travels, etc. Typing this out I remember a couple things clearly:

a) Being disappointed in the talk about the Relief Society Organization as I never liked it and never wanted much to do with it.

b) Feeling guilty that I had not yet done Temple Work for my deceased relatives, after hearing they were all in "Spirit Prison" and awaiting ME (the only LDS family member ever) to do the work for them!

Mostly, it's pure crap. It might as well have come from a fortune cookie, 8 Ball, or hand plucked from a large pile of memorized, long-winded speeches.

If you managed to read even MOST of that -- I tip my hat to you! Boring, isn't it?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Secret Lives of Saints (by Daphne Bramham)

The United States is not the only country faced with the problem of modern day polygamy. It also occurs in Canada, and has been ignored by politicians, law enforcement, and the public at large. Atrocities carry on under our noses, and yet nothing is done. Here is an excerpt of the book:

"Polygamy has been illegal in Canada and the United States since 1890. But fundamentalist Mormonism is thriving in Utah, Arizona, Texas and British Columbia. There are dozens of different groups and thousands of so-called independents, which makes it impossible to know how many fundamentalists there are. Estimates range from thirty-seven thousand to one million across the continent, yet politicians have been loath to do anything about the people who call themselves Saints. Politicians have not just looked the other way, they have in many instances made it easier for the Saints' leaders to intimidate, control and abuse their followers. Nowhere is that more obvious than in Bountiful, British Columbia, and in the twin towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona.
In 1992, the B.C. government refused to enforce Canada's law by charging the bishop of Bountiful, Winston Blackmore, with polygamy. Citing studies by several leading legal experts, the B.C. government said the law would not withstand a challenge under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which, along with the national Constitution, guarantees freedom of religion and association.
Those rights, however, are not unlimited. Twice since its decision not to prosecute polygamy, the B.C. government has successfully gone to court to force children of Jehovah's Witnesses to submit to blood transfusions, even though that goes against their beliefs. The government's argument: religious belief cannot override a child's right to health.
There are other conflicting rights. In 1879, in a landmark case called Reynolds versus United States, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that governments can intervene where the religious practice of polygamy undermines the rights of others. "Suppose one believed that human sacrifices were a necessary part of religious worship, would it be seriously contended that the civil government under which he lived could not interfere to prevent a sacrifice? Or if a wife religiously believed it was her duty to burn herself upon the funeral pile [sic] of her dead husband, would it be beyond the power of the civil government to prevent her carrying her belief into practice?" The justices unanimously answered, "No."
Yet in 1992, the B.C. government effectively legalized polygamy. Since then Bountiful's population has more than tripled. In Utah and Arizona also, politicians have been loath to prosecute polygamists after a failed attempt to do so in 1953. The FLDS population in both states has doubled every decade since. To say that the Saints place a high value on large families is something of an understatement.
Unlike Christians, who believe that the soul comes to the body at birth and leaves the body at death, the Saints believe in both a pre-mortal existence and the "lifting up" of the earthly body into heaven. They believe millions of spirits are waiting to be born into earthly bodies. And, as God's Chosen People, they believe they have a responsibility to bring as many of those spirits as possible into the world as Mormons-rather than as something less worthy. As Joseph Smith's friend and apostle Orson Pratt wrote, "The Lord has not kept them [the spirits] in store for five or six thousand years past and kept them waiting for their bodies all this time to send them among the Hottentots, the African negroes, the idolatrous Hindoos or any other fallen nations that dwell upon the face of the Earth."
Emboldened by the failure of governments to prosecute, Canadian polygamist Winston Blackmore no longer hides. A second-generation leader and one of North America's best-known and wealthiest polygamists, Blackmore makes no secret of the fact that he has many wives. How many, he won't say. But some of his wives, those who have left him, say that he has been married twenty-six times and has more than one hundred children.
On at least two occasions, Blackmore-a spiritual leader, superintendent of a government-supported school and respected businessman-has publicly confessed to having sex with girls who were only fifteen and sixteen years old. That's a criminal offence in Canada. His first admission was in 2005 at a "polygamy summit" organized by his wives in Creston, B.C. Nobody said or did anything when he said he'd married "very young girls" because God and the prophet had told him to. Blackmore has yet to be charged.
Sexual abuse and exploitation of children by teachers and church leaders of all faiths usually lands on the front page of newspapers across North America, but Blackmore's confession did not make the national media and wasn't even reported in the Creston newspaper. Blackmore repeated his confession in December 2006 during an interview on the Cable News Network (CNN) with Larry King. Blackmore said he hadn't realized that one of his wives was only fifteen when they'd married. She had lied about her age, Blackmore said. But all women do that, don't they? he asked King.
Girls may well lie about their age; middle-aged, balding men often do as well. But that's why there are laws to protect children. It's no defence for a predator such as a bishop or a school superintendent to say that he didn't know the girl was only fifteen. It's our society's shame that the laws are not always enforced."
Galatian's Note:

I ask all Canadian residents to please purchase this book, and become informed about what is happening in our own country!

Escape (by Carolyn Jessop)

Take a look at modern day "fundamentalist Mormonism", which literally follows the teachings of Joseph Smith to the letter. While the mainstream Mormon church has changed its teachings to fit with modern times -- this is what the Joseph Smith and Brigham Young eras of LDS life would have been like. It's what life is like today, following their example. Here's an excerpt:

"I was born into six generations of polygamy on my mother's side and started life in Hildale, Utah, in a fundamentalist Mormon community known as the FLDS, or the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Polygamy was the issue that defined us and the reason we'd split from the mainstream Mormon Church.

My childhood memories really begin in Salt Lake City. We moved there when I was about five. Even though my parents believed in polygamy, my father had only one wife. He owned a small real estate business that was doing well and decided it made sense to use Salt Lake as a base. We had a lovely house with a porch swing and a landscaped yard and trees. This was a big change from the tiny house in Colorado City with dirt and weeds in the yard and a father who was rarely home.

But the biggest difference in moving to Salt Lake City was that my mother, Nurylon, was happy. She loved the city and delighted in having my father home every night after work. My dad was doing well, and Mom had enough money to buy plenty of groceries when we went to the store and even had some extra for toys.
There were soon four of us. I had two sisters, Linda and Annette. I was in the middle-Linda was eighteen months older than I and Annette two years younger. My baby brother Arthur arrived a few years after Annette. My mother was thrilled to finally have a son because in our culture, boys have more value than girls. Linda and my mother were very close. But my mother always seemed very irritated by me, in part, I think, because I was my father's favorite.

I adored my dad, Arthur Blackmore. He was tall and thin, with large bones and dark, wavy hair. I remember that whenever we were around other families I thought I had the best-looking father in the entire world. I saw him as my personal protector and felt safe when I was in his presence. His face lit up when I entered the room; I was always the daughter he wanted to introduce when friends visited our house. My mother complained that he didn't discipline me as much as he did my sister Linda, but he ignored her and didn't seem to care.

We only lived in Salt Lake City for a year, but it was a happy one. Mother took us to the zoo and to the park, where we'd play on the swings and slides. My father's business was successful and expanding. But he decided we needed to move back to Colorado City, Arizona-a tiny, nondescript FLDS enclave about 350 miles south of Salt Lake City and a stone's throw from Hildale, Utah, where I was born. The reason we went back was that he didn't want my sister Linda attending a regular public school. Even though she would technically be going to a public school in Colorado City, most of the teachers there were FLDS and very conservative. In theory, at least, religion is not to be taught in public schools, but in fact it was an integral part of the curriculum there.

When we returned to Colorado City, my father put an addition onto our house. There was more space to live in, but life became more claustrophobic. Mother changed. When we got up in the morning, she would still be sleeping. My father was on the road a lot now, so she was home alone. When we tried to wake her up, she'd tell us to go back to bed.

She'd finally surface midmorning and come into the kitchen to make us breakfast and talk about how much she wanted to die. While she made us hot cornmeal cereal, toast, or pancakes she'd complain about having nothing to live for and how she'd rather be dead. Those were the good mornings. The really awful mornings were the ones when she'd talk about how she was going to kill herself that day.

I remember how terrified I felt wondering what would happen to us if my mother killed herself. Who'd take care of us? Father was gone nearly all the time. One morning I asked my mother, "Mama, if a mother dies, what will happen to her children? Who will take care of them?"

I don't think Mother noticed my urgency. She had no idea of the impact her words had been having on me. I think she felt my question arose from a general curiosity about dying. Mother was very matter-of-fact in responding to me: "Oh, the children will be all right. The priesthood will give their father a new wife. The new wife will take care of them."

By this time I was about six. I looked at her and said, "Mama, I think that Dad better hurry up and get a new wife."

I was beginning to notice other things about the world around me. One was that some of the women we'd see in the community when we went shopping were wearing dark sunglasses. I was surprised when a woman took her glasses off in the grocery store and I could see that both her eyes were blackened. I asked my mother what was wrong, but the question seemed to make her uncomfortable and she didn't answer me. My curiosity was piqued, however, and every time I saw a woman in dark glasses, I stared at her to see if they were covering strange, mottled bruises."

Galatian's Note:

Please support Carolyn Jessop by buying her book, reading her story, and sharing it with others. Let's not forget the horrible existence that women and children are living through even today - thanks to the cruel teachings of early LDS leaders.