The Top Ten Dumpster Diving Delicacies – Chapter 21 – Poverty and Dumpster Diving

  1. Lots of filling carbs: bread, rolls and donuts.
  2. The dented cans of Spaghettios and Raviolis – a major treat for those special occasions.
  3. Damaged boxes of sugar coated cereal, along with a box of powdered milk (even with catsup splashed all over them.) What a breakfast treat!
  4. A quart or gallon of sour milk was great for making sour-dough bread.
  5. Just right” for the lucky boy who got the torn open package of brand new, un-used (Thank God) underwear.
  6. Little toys and puzzles that were still in the wrappers – some for us, some gifts for others kids.
  7. The fruit and vegetables that were still good on the inside after you got the extra blessing of having the outside food for the chickens.
  8. It had to be a huge chunk of cheese, so that when the entire mold was scraped off, there was still an edible portion inside.
  9. A big box full of greeting cards. I felt rich being able to send out such nice cards. NO, you are not still getting yours from the dumpster. We ran out of them years ago. But I did have to keep note of who got which one each year since there were so many duplicates.
  10. A box full of outdated but delicious chocolate bars, especially for us chocoholics!

*HEY, we were grateful – even without money for gloves and masks. Fortunately, (or unfortunately) none of our Dumpster Diving Delicacies qualified for that one big relief-society meal I was supposed to prepare for that other needy family. (Demoted to Nothingness – Chapter 25)

Queasiness

Nothing like good timing to cheer someone up! School will be out in five weeks, and I’ll finally be able to have a life, and promote my book. I am so grateful!

Balboa has been taking great care of me and my book. Everyone has been exceptionally professional and kind. Some days I feel like I’m the only author they’re working with, though I know they’re working with hundreds.

Right now, we’re doing a “short-run” on the book printing. I’m getting books for family, friends and co-workers for a better than retail price. But I have to say, while I feel excited about my book finally being published, I have also felt a little queasy as the time gets closer. Having my intimate and truthful stories read all over the world will certainly be informative and among the national talk; but it may also create more controversy—especially among family and those who still live and believe in polygamy.

When I read my book for the last time, before it went to press, my thoughts were: there is nothing in here that isn’t truthful. I disclosed that I changed names, a few places, dates, and such, as needed for others’ anonymity. Overall, those who were really with me through the thick and thin in my life, know that these events are real. I have a clear conscience and nothing to worry about.

I hope that by publishing my book, it will give hope to those still living polygamy, as well as to those who aren’t. Everyone can gain courage enough to leave a crazy making, dysfunctional life, and move forward in love, gratitude and happiness.

Today, I remind myself to keep on keeping on, and be proud of this accomplishment, even amidst those who will be derogatory and mean.

Love,

Kristyn

FINALLY

Me Celebrating

     The day has finally come! After nearly four complete years of working on Fifty Years In Polygamy, I am elated that it is finally with my publisher, and in the final printing process! I’m still counting on the end of May, or first part of June for a release date.      I’m also grateful to be able to retire from teaching as of the end of May. I plan to spend more time with my sweetheart man, our families, volunteer as the new President of the Hope Organization (that assists those who want to leave polygamy,) and of course, to promote my book.      When my teaching contract is complete, I should have more time. Hope by the end of May this blog will be open for much more communication.      Thanks to all of you who have signed up to receive this great news and are awaiting the next great news—the publishing date announcement.

                                                                     Sincerely,

                                                                           Kristyn

Sound Choices

Is it true that if you don’t stand for something, you don’t stand for anything at all? I was told that quite often during my earlier years. I should stand up for the truth and righteousness. Lately, I’ve wondered if that is why I feel such an urgency to stand up for my own Sound Choices and be an advocate of that for others. But every day I ask myself; “Besides writing my book, am I really brave enough to stand out and publicly speak out for myself and other victims of religious indoctrination?” That alone could guarantee more abandonment, false accusations, and heart-ache. But it’s getting more uncomfortable by the day to sit on the fence while I feel, watch and hear the mayhem. I’ve got to jump off, hang on with one hand to the divine, and offer my other hand and my heart to the oppressed. The toughest part – I already know – is that taking a stand gets pretty lonely at times. Where is everyone else out there who feels the way I do?

I never did get to see or talk with my sister after I went to find her at Fort Concho, during Texas’s attempted rescue of the YFZ children. One late evening eight months ago, one of literally hundreds of my polygamous-believing (non-FLDS) first cousins called to ask me if I was “going to go to the funeral.” She felt terribly uncomfortable, and apologized when I had to ask her, “Who died?” For twelve years, my sister had refused to see or speak with her siblings. Warren Jeffs had forbidden his followers to talk with anyone who wasn’t loyal to him. I learned my sister had been dead for days and the funeral was to be held the next day in Colorado City, Arizona. Needless to say, I was distraught as well as punching livid.

My teaching commitments kept me from driving the 52 miles to see my sister’s aged, diseased body. I chose to remember her as she was the last time I’d seen her at our mother’s house. Besides, I was sure the FLDS mafia wouldn’t let me in their church anyway. If by chance they did, I’d have had to listen to hours on end of their haranguing, threatening, religious propaganda that is considered a necessary aspect of every Fundamentalist Mormon funeral. So I dealt with that loss as I had with so many others my in life.

You may have heard of Brooke Adams, the Salt Lake Tribune, journalist assigned to the so-called polygamy beat. She has written many sympathetic (contrary to my opinion in many cases,) news articles concerning precarious polygamous situations. She’s been super chummy with Joe Darger’s family for a long time; so several people have wondered if she’s quietly been indoctrinated into “the fullness of the gospel. Maybe she’ll be a fourth wife?” Brook wrote Love Times Three, a book about Darger and his three wives who want to sanctify and decriminalize polygamy. Their testament to the world is that their well-adjusted, happy, beautiful, financially secure, polygamous family reflects the normal, and the majority of polygamous families – all of whom contribute to society.

Yet those of us who left that lifestyle, as well as many whom are related and know his family, believe that Joe Darger’s family is a complete anomaly. His family, TLC’s Sister Wives (also a cousin and niece), and HBO’s Big Love (fictitious) families, absolutely do not represent “normal or average” polygamous families as they claim. In most cases, it is completely the opposite. The majority of polygamous families live in dire poverty – not the elaborate, large, beautiful homes you see on television. The western states continue to dole out millions in welfare to polygamous families who are unable to feed and clothe their overgrown families. Still most will continue to take more plural wives and procreate, as they believe they’ve been commanded to do.

Every time the public begins to empathize and support polygamy – believing that these glamorous, depictions represent what the polygamous life-styles are all about – my heart sinks in frustration and sadness – mostly for the women and children. It was and is these kinds of “leave them alone” attitudes (that started in the early 1950s after the Colorado City, Arizona raid on polygamist families), and the nowadays attitudes (“Oh, those polygamous women are so beautiful, so smart… let them be…”) that unwittingly helps perpetuate the phenomenal polygamous population boom.

Most polygamists believe that those of us, who have left are adamantly critical of polygamy because we “have apostatized from the truth,” and have become “miserable and bitter.” (That’s another threat doled out by leaders and heads of house-holds to persuade their children and the disillusioned to tough it out.) The threats that are mingled with LDS apostasy feel like a way to abandon and mock victims of religious war crimes. Yet we “apostates” continue to see and hear the heart-aches – the wretched stories of our pasts, played out in vivid color. They come to us from our daughters, sisters, sons, grandchildren, aunts, relatives and neighbors – from those who’ve been threatened since conception with heaven or hell to “choose” to live polygamy.

Joseph Smith promised they’d be saved in the eternities for living the “New and everlasting covenant of plural marriage.” And for those “who abide not that covenant… ye are damned…” So, suffering women, men and children keep their mouths shut, distort, make excuses for, and/or lie about their feelings. After-all, those “natural feelings” are wicked defects of character that must be overcome. They continue (like I did,) to teach their children that no matter how miserable, lonely, desperate, poor, deprived, or abused they are or feel, they must sacrifice their feelings and lives for the “gospel’s sake;” and endure to the end.

Long before Warrant Jeffs and his henchmen’s crimes became public knowledge, I knew of and wrote a CNN blog about some of Warren’s hideous offenses. It must have been my “apostate, evil, bitter, attitude” that spoke the truth about Jeffs. I was criticized by several outspoken polygamous advocates (who want polygamy decriminalized,) for accusing Warren, and writing “those terrible things about such a good man.”

I wish I could detail all of the things I’ve expressed. I think you’d better understand my plight and the urgency I feel. I’ve got to get my butt off the fence. I want to stand up for Sound Choices. That’s what we’d like to call our coalition of men and women who want to help swing the pendulum of awareness – at least in the minds of those who are being bamboozled by the appearances and well-rehearsed phrases of the (truly) fairytale polygamous lifestyles currently portrayed by mass media. So many people across our nation are out of the loop, and uninformed when it comes to these issues. As long as polygamous lifestyles are doctored up to look so appealing and the harmful issues remain “out of sight and out of mind,” the craziness is condoned and will continue to be propagated.

Wow, has life ever been busy!

Hope you are doing great. I’ve missed being in touch with you.

This fall, it literally took me three and a half weeks of my free time to pack and move all of my stuff from my second grade room and move it into my kindergarten classroom and set it all up again. Then came the lesson planning, labeling, testing, etc. I have to say, it’s been a fun and rewarding challenge to teach five-year-old children again.

While I was so busy with school starting, my editors were busy with travel and Warren’s trial in Texas. Just about the time they returned and were able to work on my manuscript, I was getting more time as well. The best news is: we are FINALLY through, and I’ve already had two absolutely great reviews in just one week!

My agent/publishers finally have a beautiful copy of FIFTY YEARS IN POLYGAMY! YES!!! I’m high, but having a hard time staying focused on today’s work and healing. Oh, I didn’t tell you that I’ve been home for nearly 3 weeks. The first week was dealing with that yucky, nauseous, gallbladder pain, before the surgeon finally poked five holes between my ribs and sucked the lazy thing out of me. The good part – I lost nine pounds; but as soon as I could smell food without getting sick, more fat cells took the place of the gallbladder and …. you know the rest.

Well folks, if all goes well, you’ll have another good book to read sometime between April and May! Every day I have to remind myself to be patient with the publishing process. The latter part of spring will be better anyway. I’ll have more time when school is out near the end of May to tour, do book-signings, and see your smiling faces.

Meanwhile keep checking in and I’ll try to write more often.

My best to all of you,

Kristyn

Rock Springs, Wyoming – Follow-up

My brother Clark, his wife Susan, and I each had the opportunity to speak to approximately 70 interested people last Friday evening. We each talked for about 20 minutes about our experiences and feelings about polygamy and then had a Q & A session for the last half hour.

Susan told the audience that most of younger years growing up in her kind (but alcoholic) father’s large polygamist family was happy and rewarding in many ways. She discussed many of the difference between fundamentalists as far as their beliefs and actions. (All of us agree that to say “they” or to stereotype or cast every polygamist’s life, words and actions into the same category would be inaccurate.) After her fifth and last child Susan was able to pull herself out of a long, deep depression by realizing that every good thing about her would die if she chose to live polygamy.

Clark talked about his mother grooming him to become the next prophet. He studied, honored, pleased and tried to exemplify our father as he was growing up. He thought of the power and glory he’d have when he attained such a state of command… and talked of his sorrow when his mother told him that she plead with the Lord to take his life, after he chose not to participate in that life style.

I shared a quick over-view of my life and a few experiences that I also wrote about in my book: how I felt like a split personality trying to live God’s commandments while always wondering why it didn’t feel right; how hard it was to be a happy polygamist wife when I knew I was wicked because I wasn’t happy – but somehow convinced myself (like so many others do) that I was…

How exuberating it feels to have found true happiness – to know the difference.

Warren Jeffs Trial and Conviction

Earlier today I cried tears of joy when I heard that Warren Jeffs had been found “guilty of child sex abuse.” I only wished he’d have been found culpable for the thousands of other barbarities he’s committed in his lifetime. After all, a huge portion of his grandiose attitudes have been fueled and powered by the many legal battles he and his clan have won. I hear them say, “See, we won! It is God’s will because we are His chosen…”

Today, August 4, 2011 the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints are still convinced that “their beloved prophet Warren Jeffs” has been persecuted; and is a martyr for the gospel of plural marriage.

One of my hundreds of first cousins who still lives in Colorado City, Arizona called me this evening. We met only a month ago. After I watched a publication called “Banking on Heaven” I drove to Colorado City to meet her and see if I could help. That was the second time I’d heard bits and pieces about her horrendous life that make my past look and feel like a bed of roses. From childhood, until she was assigned to an abusive man, she had been continuously raped by her father. Her children were beaten and molested by their father. When she tried to protect her daughter by calling the local police, her ‘priesthood’ leaders had her beaten up and drugged; and later placed in a mental institute. She was then forced to sign custody papers releasing her children to their abuser. And yet, after all of that and so much more, she told me tonight that she was really sad because of the verdict of Warren’s Jeff’s trial. When I reminded her of the tape with Jeff’s own voice molesting a young girl, the DNA, the age of the girls – none of that evidence mattered to her. She defended her prophet and his actions as she’s been programed to do all of her life. “It’s mostly a bunch of lies and fabrications,” she said.

On my end of the phone I was crying again. Not for her. She, I feel, since she’s close to my age, might be a lost cause; but I cried for her nearly twelve-year-old daughter who is still in her sexually abusive father’s home and for the thousands of young boys and girls who will most certainly continue to justify being perpetrators and victims since they are ingrained in past and present mind control.

In 2008, when the FLDS children in Texas were “rescued” and placed in “protective custody,” I wept because I knew and felt their fears and heart-aches. However I believed there were enough of us on the “outside” who would love and care for them. Away from the perverted religious dictates of their parents who were told by Jeff to “obey his perfect examples” most of those children would have had a chance to lead productive, morally healthy and happy lives. They’d have been safe from Jeff’s religious dictates that under the guise of religion claim that pedophilia and other such perversions are in direct obedience to God’s will…

Knowingly or not, some of the laws and people of the United States of America have literally allowed, supported and condoned this man (who studied and admired Hitler’s leadership tactics) and the growth of his thousands of like-minded followers. The majority of the FLDS will continue to propagate hundreds of thousands who, like my cousin, will continue to defend, support, condone and probably carry out “Jeff’s” perversions under the realm of our constitution and “God’s will.” Even from his prison cell, it has been Jeff’s legal and religious rights to govern, steal land, homes and properties – to prostitute hundreds of women and children whom will co “multiplying and replenishing the earth with righteous (like minded) seed.”

FLDS Ranch in Texas

I was able to spend seven days in Texas shortly after the children were taken from the FLDS ranch. My intent was to find my older sister, whom I haven’t been allowed to see or communicate with for nearly eight years. Although I didn’t find her, I believe I was meant to be there. So many incredible things took place.

Because of my polygamist background and my own early-childhood fears that were connected with the 1953 “raid,” as well as a lifetime of understanding, I was invited to help DFS and CASA people to better understand the needs and concerns of the women and children.

I wish I could help them more…

The Media found me and kept in touch before, during, and after my Texas plight. Please feel free to read or check out these sites.

-Kristyn