I just learned that my great, great grandmother, Gedske Henrie (née Schow), became her husband’s third polygamous wife when she was just 14. He was 51.
By all accounts it was a good marriage, but Mormon polygamy was never easy. Born into frontier Utah, what choices did she have? Did she marry him enthusiastically? Does that mean anything when you’re only 14?
When I was her age, I was still trying, rather unsuccessfully, to navigate the waters of adolescence. I was awkward and I had so much more to learn.
I can’t help but wonder what turmoil she kept to herself and didn’t hand down to us in our family histories.
Edit: I’ve since learned that, on the plus side, their first child was born when she was 20. I also just read an account of reading the journal of a girl whom Joseph Smith propositioned to be his secret wife. ?
This year I made ornaments depicting Mary nursing her son. I glued printouts of the paintings to sections sawn from the trunk of a previous year’s Christmas tree. I find the relationship between mother and child to be the most inspiring and sacred part of the Christmas story.
I just read an interesting article about a growing group of Mormons who follow a middle way: faithfully engaged but not as concerned as previous generations about outward signs of Mormonism like wearing temple (under)garments or following the dietary restrictions of the Word of Wisdom. When I left Mormonism behind, this path wasn’t apparent to me.
Please listen, LDS friends. This is important. This is about the safety of your children.
I realize that posts like this don’t endear me to you, but I need to help spread the word. This isn’t about attacking your religion or trying to convince you to change your beliefs. Resent me if you want, but please listen.
Today an internal document was leaked from the office of the attorneys for the LDS church, Kirton McConkie. It reveals how the LDS church and their lawyers handled sexual abuse cases from just two months in 2012 (summarized below). I’m personally aware of other cases that follow the same pattern.
My point in sharing this is that the LDS church is no safer for your children than any other organization. Don’t let your guard down just because someone is Mormon or an activity is sponsored by the LDS church. Abuse and sexual assault happens all too often within the Mormon community. Don’t rely on the LDS church to keep them safe.
If something does happen to your children while on their watch, don’t expect the LDS church to do anything more than try to protect its reputation and give you as little money as it can. It will not do much, if anything, to help you heal if doing so requires them to admit liability unless forced to do so legally.
- A missionary sexually molested an 8-year-old and is sent home without further consequences and without church leaders reporting the crime to the authorities.
- Another missionary confessed to sexually assaulting a young girl and is sent home without further consequences and without church leaders reporting the crime to the authorities.
- A sexual assault victim comes forward to tell their story of abuse at a Boy Scout camp as a member of an LDS troop. No mention is made of getting help for the victim. The focus is on avoiding litigation and bad press.
- A Native American boy claims that he was sexually molested by the father and a son of the family that LDS church leaders placed him into under their Indian Placement program. The LDS church attempts to minimize its legal liability.
- Another missionary confesses to receiving nude photos from a 15-year-old girl and to kissing and fondling her. LDS church leaders try to avoid having the missionary faces charges for his crimes.