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Archive for April, 2008

PLEASE NOTE: This blog has been corrected,, thanks to a “math person” a/k/a “cupblog” correcting my dismal math.

According to the CDC, in 2006, (the latest date I could find)  among girls aged 15-19, 41.9 girls got pregnant per 1,000 women. Also, please note, that this includes girls up to age 19.

I’m not a math person, but I believe that is 4% of girls.

Today,  I read that among girls, aged 14-17, 31 girls have been or are pregnant out of 53 girls in the FLDS, Yearning for Zion Ranch in Eldorado

 Again, not a math person, but I believe that is 58%

HMMMMMM! Let’s see. Which is the best influence on our children? 

4% pregnancy rate among young girls living in the real world or

58% pregnancy rate among young girls in this extremist Christian, protected from outside influence, sect?

 Gee, my granddaughters are living in an extremist Christian household, wearing long dresses and head coverings, with the male members of the household having total say over how the female members, dress, breathe, think, eat, are educated or not and live.  Yes, I want someone to do something about these environments. Can you blame me???

One more thing, They have taken 197 girls and 196 boys aged 13 and younger. An even distribution.

Yet, in the children who are 14 to 17 years old, there are 53 girls and only 17 boys. Guess this is explained by the stories of them kicking boys out in the desert.  Are the mothers going to tell us, in a monotone, emotionless voice,  that if “that” would happen, they would treat those boys with love?

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This blog is in response to a blogger who posted on my site. I was going to just respond but just can’t shut up about this, so here it is.

 

Thanks for writing. It’s always good to get another viewpoint and this is an issue that I am very personally involved in; thus it is very emotional for me. First, the easiest issue for me, I take no exception to polygamy. Frankly, I do not see that the government, nor the church, has a right to dictate anyone’s right to a marriage of consenting adults. The proviso: as long as it does not harm another human being. No one should be forced into something, as this gentleman’s great grandmother was, and no one should be so programmed that they do not have free will.

 

I am a big proponent of the principle of “innocent until proven guilty.” My freshman project was a sculptural piece detailing all the men who had been executed and later proven innocent. But, one of the problems, when investigating child abuse, is that if you do not separate the parents and the children, you will not be able to get a true answer from the children. Children who are abused, are also trained/threatened not to tell anyone else.

 

It was a long while after we took my daughter’s sons from her, before the one boy quite saying, “He (step-father) did beat me, but only when I deserved it.” He was fifteen, and we told him “no one deserves to be beaten 100 slashes with a horse cinch.”

 

 

I am basing my judgments on what I am reading about the FLDS, and I grant that all reporting is not honest and not all issues are probably known. There were girls as young as eight, sworn to marriage. I doubt the authorities know yet whether or not they were also molested or whether the men waited until their wives were twelve before consummating the marriage. If what I read is true, girls as young as thirteen were pregnant. I believe, that in a group of that number of men, who are raised to be pedophiles, that there is at least one of those men who wanted sex with eight year old girls. Just take a look at the National Sex Offender Registry sometime or check your own state’s registry. Just Google “Sex Offenders”+ (insert your state here).

 

And, I’m sorry, but those are not totally innocent women. Those are women who are brainwashed, many since they were children. They need to be deprogrammed and given a chance. I do not feel they should be put in jail, because they did not have free will, but they did play a part in allowing their children to be abused. There are a lot of children here to process and, I think, they are handling it fairly well at this point.

 

A balance in the issue of presumed innocence is delicate. In my situation, of taking two of my grandsons, the school system has documented that a thirteen year old boy, was home educated to a second grade level in English and a third grade level in Math. He has a permanent, due to lack of education only, writing disability. The school system, in Indiana, reported the abuse to Wyoming, where it occurred. Withholding education is abuse. They also reported the numerous other abuses the boys related. However, we were told that, because the boys were safe now and the abuse happened in another state, nothing would be done. Even though there are eight other children still in that home.

 

Had we known, the extent of the abuse, when we took these boys, we would have called out child services immediately, rather than just removing the two boys. It wasn’t until these boys were safe in our home that stories started coming out. It has been nearly three years now and Just the other day I learned that the step-father forced the younger boy to drink gin, every time the step-father opened a new bottle.

 

All three of these boys see a Clinical Psychologist who has told me that he has a big dilemma with these boys. He is bound to report the abuse, yet he has no physical proof. He has not seen broken arms or bruises. What he has is three boys with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, all of whom have had flashbacks and freaked out. They all have anger and depression issues.

 

We, as the grandparents, were in their home, with their step-father, twice a week, usually. We were suspicious of things, at times, but other times such a false face was put on the home, that we had no idea what was going on. When they were acting up, the step-father would take them aside and say to them. “You’re being foolish. You need to settle down.” We thought that was nice, to hear him talk to them. We did not know that the word “foolish” was a code for, I will beat you to an within an inch of your life, when your grandparents leave. Sometimes, he nearly did. Two employers knew. One offered the younger boy a home. The middle boy told the other employer. Relatives who visited saw things. We have reported everything that we know and that we suspect to the authorities. Other people have not. They “don’t want to get involved.”

 

There are still eight children in that home.

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PLEASE NOTE: I am altering this blog from the original “I’m so angry I could spit” first typing in order to comply, as much as I can with fair use of another’s material. So, please do read the link if my quotes, of Ben Stein, don’t make enough sense.

I am raging mad at Ben Stein and his comments on CBS News Sunday Morning. What Did The FLDS Kids Do To Deserve This…  If you missed it, please click on the link and read it because it is absolutely asinine.  I’m going to quote him here though and go through these remarks line by line. But, do read his comments in their entirety.

1st:He stated:  “…I am not a fan of polygamy. …keeping up with one wife. For another, it’s against the law …operating for decades. The authorities… didn’t do a thing about it…!”   

He admits it is a crime, but we are supposed to just let criminals go if they have been doing their crimes for years without getting prosecuted? Does this go for mass murderers too? How about embezzlers? Or is it just for child abusers?

2nd: He stated: “totally unsubstantiated telephone call about sex abuse”

I suggest he read the recent Supreme Court decision about evidence gathered by police. I believe, and I may be wrong as I cannot find it at this moment, but what I remember is that as long as the police had good faith belief that the search they were doing was valid, that the evidence gathered was legal to use.  I suggest that seeing 13, 14, 15,16 year old girls pregnant is pretty much a validation that sexual abuse was going on.

3rd: He stated: “(what is totally incomprehensible) took the small children…. away from their mothers and fathers.”

MY GOD, Ben Stein, would you really feel this way if it was your grandchildren in that compound? Would you want your 15 year old, or younger, granddaughter married off to a 40 or 50 year old man? Would you want your grandchild to look and act like a robot? …To speak in a monotone, give rote answers and not have a thought in their head that wasn’t planted there by an extremist religious man?

4th: He stated: “it’s not the Mormons who are the criminals, it’s the government of Texas.”

Perhaps you should also get your facts straight before you go on national television.  It is not the Mormons, it is the Fundamentalist. It is the American Christian Extremists. It is a group of men (and don’t get me wrong, I love men.), but it is a group of men who are so insecure that they must use their religious beliefs to brainwash women into doing exactly what they say. And, they found out long ago that there are not enough women who they can brainwash, so they need to produce their own. They have children and trade them like baseball cards, so that the interbreeding isn’t too drastic. 

My granddaughters, who I saw and cared for nearly twice a week for ten years, are being raised to believe that the only job a good “Christian” woman can do is to “serve her husband.” They are being educated, in Wyoming, to read a recipe and clean the house. They wear bloomers and long dresses, and yet their one brother can still touch them as he wishes. The oldest, at ten, was already wearing a head covering. How would you like to have your granddaughters raised that way, Ben Stein?

Please excuse any really horrible writing in this. I’m just so angry right now. How any educated, intelligent person can say the drivel he did is beyond me.

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There was a statement on television today that “Even children who have been abused by their mother will miss their mother, when taken away from her.”  I guess it is like the Stockholm Syndrome. 

In the first weeks after the boys moved here, the younger boy really missed home. He emailed his mom three times before she responded with a single sentence; “I love you.”  All the  older boy got was one of the most cold hearted letters I have ever seen. In it, he was blamed for everything under the sun including the fact that his littlest sister now believed that her oldest brother was dead. 

The oldest brother was with us, when we found it necessary to take the next two boys. When the arguing was going on and we were being told that the problem was a simple, “Difference in opinion about child raising.”   he faced her with the fact that she had once told him, when he complained about a particularly brutal beating by the step-father, that she would sit there and watch the step-father beat him to death and not stop him.   And, that was a run-on sentence if I ever saw one.

Prior to that visit, the oldest boy had never said one single word against that mother, even though he had lived with us for several years already.  He had never told us about being locked in a closet or beaten.  He is loyal, to a fault, to his mother.

 Then they received a phone call from their mother and step-father. After the reason for the phone call was settled, sales of the middle boy’s truck,  then the digging started in. They were told how, now that the boys were gone, the family could have fun and go on a trip skiing and another trip to Denver. In the past, the older boy told us, the only thing they could do was go bowling and that was only if he paid for it out of his wages.  I really believe what was going on is that the step-father did not want these “other man’s” children in his home.

I had walked out of the room, during the phone call, and returned to hear the phone slammed down by the younger boy. His step-father told him he sounded like a girl and continued to make digs and say things that a thirteen year old boy really does not want to hear.  His anger has built over his abuse for the past, almost, three years now. When I feel it is interferring in his life, I take him to the Clinical Psychologist.  We have been fortunate to have a local psychologist volunteer his services to our family.

My anger built for a long time too. My anger is for these boys and the sisters left behind.   As I found out more and more of what went on in that home, my heart broke. In some ways literally. I ended up with emergency heart surgery from a spasming artery. 

But, could you raise a child for thirteen and fifteen years and not want to know how they are doing? Wouldn’t you want to keep in contact and make sure they were being cared for? Wouldn’t you want to know what they are doing and hear all the details. Like when the thirteen year old jumped out of a tree and fractured his ankle? Or, just even what it’s like for them to attend public school? Have you made friends? How was your choir concert? What is the church like you go to? 

All they got is: The oldest got a letter saying she hoped they weren’t going to a church that was just “ear candy” and how even though the prodigal son was forgiven and they would take the middle boy back, they might never be able to forgive him. Which is one more letter than the younger boy got.

My mother has been declared off limits also.  Even though she was not with us and had no idea we were coming home with the boys until the night we left, when we called her from the motel.  

My mom is 86 and in bad health. She has been told that her four valve leakage is unrepairable and that she will continue to degenerate until she no longer has the energy to walk.  Every year, at Christmas, she picks out dolls.  “This is what I want to give the girls.”  “Here’s an angel I would like to buy for the baby, Great Granddaughter, I have never seen.”  She is the only grandmother my daughter has known and my daughter even lived in her house for some time.  She is cut off from her great grandchildren, because she is “guilty by association.”

I was raised in the church. We were taught love and tolerance, forgiveness and kindness. This new extremest Christian faith, has nothing to do with the Bible or any religion that I know. It is about hatred and intolerance and child abuse; such as using the rod of correction to drive foolishness out of children. Not quite sure where they got the “lock them in the closet” or “force them to eat till they throw up” but I’m sure they found something in their Bible to justify that.

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I believe you have to write from your heart, and about what you believe in. Then, you hope that others will find it interesting too.  This book came from all of our hearts. I am only an interpreter. Like, most ideas, this book started off as a “what if.” It started from the following:

I watched two of my three grandsons leave the only home they really remembered and start a new life. They braved a thousand mile journey, in a Plymouth Caravelle, in ninety degree heat, without air-conditioning and with their eighteen year old (oldest) brother.  Every time we stopped, we traded places in the front seat to give everyone a break. We had no idea they were coming home with us or we would have brought the van.

The youngest walked out with, basically, the clothes on his back. Since he only owned two pair of ripped jeans, some worn shirts, two pair of underware and a single pair of shoes that were one and a half sizes too small, that wasn’t a big deal. The older of the two took only clothing and items he had paid for himself. He locked what he wanted to take in his foot locker and when we had no room for it in the trunk, he left it behind.  He left all his CD’s and some Memorabilia that he can never replace. They also left behind their beloved siblings and dog.

They came here and started a new life, in the modern world. They attended school for the first time in their lives, found out what people are like, made some mistakes, and battled life. They have had good friends, and been taken advantage of a few times. The eighteen year old is an EMT now, but has one more year of high school. He had to start as a freshman to get credits. He wants to be an RN and we finally convinced him to take a break from working (they have worked all their life) but he is now returning to work after having a few months of being able to attend ball games, dances, etc. They both volunteer at the Township Fire Department and the younger boy is in the Nashville City Choir.

The younger boy came to us at age thirteen and read at a second grade level and did third grade math. He could barely read anything over three letter words and could not write. His inability to write put him down for a disability and he was put in special ed in Jr. High so that the teachers could give him the time needed to catch him up five grades of missed schooling. 

Why are home schoolers only required to report their curriculum? I think every home schooled child should have to test ever two years to make sure they are being educated.  And, if there are problems, then the system can help them. 

Two years later, he entered high school as a regular, mainstreamed student. That’s not to say he doesn’t have some struggles. He does. He will never be able to write as he should. It is a skill he needed to learn at a young age.

His testing took several weeks and during that time I started reading to him. Each night, I would read a chapter and he would read a paragraph. His reading was halting, word by word, and the only book he was interested in was the Harry Potter series. The only way I got him into that was to let him watch the first two movies. That’s all we had at the time. Then he wanted to buy the third movie and I said that I would buy it but only after we read the first three Harry Potter books.  By the time we got to the end of the series, he was reading on his own.

I have written all my life. I was Quill & Scroll in high school, on the school paper, have taken writing classes every chance I got, I enjoy writing essays but not short stories, I’ve been in writer’s groups, written a picture book and several starts at others, and have a first draft mystery novel. This time I approached it as a professional. I write seven days a week and the internet has allowed me to do research like never before.

I read fantasy novels when I was young and enjoy the imagination involved. In the beginning we sat down and brainstormed. It had to be about three boys who leave their home and leave their sisters behind. They find a magical world. Pretty soon, I was stopped them and saying, “What would it feel like to be shrunk?”

I decided that I would take as much magic as I could from Native American mythology.  I have a few words in here that I have yet to find an interpreter to tell me how to pronounce them. I believe it will be unique enough to find it’s audience. After working on it for over two years, with a lot of edits in sight, I’m still excited about it and have a long road ahead for it.

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After we took the second and third boy from their mother’s home, I was so stressed out that I did not sleep more than two hours at a time for a good three months. I still find it necessary to sleep with a book on tape going to keep my mind from wandering/remembering.

 

The stress resulted, or so I am told by doctors, in my having a spasming artery that necessitated emergency open heart surgery. It has been a year and a half now since my surgery, and I am trying to balance things out with good memories and funny movies.

 

With that in mind, I have a few of those, the memories, that I did not list in my first list.

 

I attended an outdoor party one night, long ago, and someone brought a very good telescope, they built with their father. The moon was a full and awesome sight. I almost touched it. Honest!

 

The first time the music festival was held on Navy Pier in Chicago, I had the privilege of sitting on bleachers that were far from full, and spending time getting lost in the music of B.B. King. It felt like a private concert.

 

I think that everyone should spend two years of their early twenties living in Chicago. There is so much to see and do there and, while I never lived in Chicago, I did attend two years at U of IL, Chicago Circle, over eight years working downtown and another three years at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

 

Another memory is Venetian night when the illuminated boats sail on the river. I was watching from one of the bridges when the fireworks that lined everything started going off. I was right in between fireworks strung on each side of the bridge. I don’t think they allow that anymore, but I am glad I was able to experience it.

 

The fireworks over Lake Michigan are another fantastic thing to see. One of my big childhood disappointments was when dad felt I was too old to bother taking to the fourth of July fireworks in our Indiana town.  No one is too old for fireworks. 

 

I was driving through, maybe Kansas City, KS on a fourth of July and saw some spectacular ones once. But, the best ones were spent on the porch of a friend’s house on Lake Dale, in Indiana. He lives right on the lake and the homeowners there try to outdo each other with fireworks. We sat on his porch, with refreshments, and watched for hours as they set off one after another of their fireworks. It is especially beautiful when reflected in the lake.

 

This memory is not so happy, but is very memorable. I was one of the first cars allowed into Yellowstone after the fire they had, ?in the late 80s? I was alone, on an art selling/placing trip out to California. The water bucket helicopters were still dropping water and the burn smell suffocated the air. I drove for a time and all looked normal, then I would turn a curve and it was mass destruction. The last half of the trip, the tears were flowing quite freely.

 

I will go to sleep tonight remembering these special memories.

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I was reading A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION by Marci Hamilton, Esq this morning, after watching a special on Sunday Morning about the FLDS issue. 

The sticky issue, in the points that were made by Marci Hamilton and bloggers, is that if they would have prosecuted the polygamists from the start, then this whole thing would have been avoided.  I agree with that statement, but I have a problem condoning the government’s interference concerning marriage. 

Two or more adults, no matter what their religion, sex, or race, should have the right to live in the relationship that they chose. UNLESS, and this is a big UNLESS, it is harmful to their children or to another person in the relationship.

It is all too easy to brainwash a human. I have a close family member who has been a victim of brainwashing.  For a time, I also lived under the “techniques” of mind control of another person.  It is not pleasant and I am so glad that I was able to get out of the relationship. 

I do not personally believe in polygamy for myself. I could never adjust to it. However, I just don’t think I have the right to tell someone else how to live; as long as it does not harm another. Please read that again, “AS LONG AS IT DOES NOT HARM ANOTHER HUMAN BEING.”

Does polygamy lead to chld abuse? I do not believe it does. Do men, who want polygamy, also want to abuse their children?  I am afraid that may be the case.

The same man who wishes to have a brainwashed wife; one who wears a long prairie dress, always has a glass of iced tea in her hand to give him, wears a head covering (to show him respect), talks in a quiet whispered monotone, never has a thought of her own in her head and births him babies so he can fill his quiver with arrows, does so to ensure that his wife will not be appealing to another man and he will never lose her. His ego is so weak that he fears he cannot keep a woman any other way.  And, I believe, he also wants to be king of his own little kingdom.

Does he wish to abuse children? He may not call it abuse, but yes, I firmly believe he does. Whether it is sexually, physically or mentally. He wants to be king and ruler and will do what it takes to have his family worship at his feet. He wants a family, not because he loves them, but because he needs to control them to feel worthy.  This also results in him kicking the boys out, as in the FDLS, as soon as possible so they are no threat to his being head of the pack.

Should the wives be taken from FLDS? Yes, until they are able to actually think for themselves. If they refuse and still wish to be treated like chatel, then take any child away they have until they come to their senses. They don’t deserve them.

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