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Archive for May, 2008

First, let me state that I do not care what religion anyone has/is, anymore than I care who or how many partners anyone wants.  That is strictly, in my opinion, a persons own private choice.  I do not believe the government has the right to legalize or outlaw either.  I have never understood what right the government has to license marriage or agree to divorce; other than to settle property and keep people from strangling each other.

I was also called on the “red” thing, for the FLDS.  I have never had direct contact with anyone in the FLDS.  My daughter and son-in-laws religion is strictly their own.   I base my thoughts  on what I have read and heard through interviews.  When the children were first removed from the FLDS compound, I saw an interview with a woman who was helping care for the children.  She stated that they had to learn to deal with the FLDS children in a whole new way.  They were not aware of things that children in our world were used to, like crayons and they could not allow the outside children to wear the color red or give the FLDS children a red toy because they feared red; they had been taught that red was the color of the devil.  This is not my belief and perhaps she was wrong.  She was there and dealing with them, so I thought she should know. 

I also do not feel that anyone HAS to be brainwashed to have the same religious believes that the FLDS does.  I did not mean to imply that.  I am a big proponent of freedom of religion and I think that everyone has the right to believe as they wish.  I have friends who are WICCA, Catholic, Buddhist, Protestant and atheists; and probably other religions, because I don’t ask, so I don’t know.  I do not care what religion someone is.  That is their personal business.  Obviously, there are a lot of men who believe in the FLDS religion.  I do not believe they are brainwashed and I do believe that there are women in the compound who would not want their lives to be any other way, and who love having sister-wives.

However, that said, if there is one seventeen year old girl in that compound who does not want to be married to a fifty year old man, I believe she should not have to run away to the local gas station to make a clandestine phone call to a relative to come and help her leave, or wait months until her husband is gone, so she can sneak her children out.  On the other hand, if there is a boy who does not want to leave, he should not be kicked out in the desert either.  I have heard too may stories of this and seen too many interviews and I do not know of anything that proves these women or boys (who used to be in the compound) were lying.

Let us not forget Warren Jeffs is currently serving ten years to life for charges including rape as an accomplise, for facilitating marriages of young girls to older men.  I recommend you check out this web site.  Warren Jeffs – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  It has a list of Factual Account sources, books, documentaries, etc that might be very enlightening.

We will all see how the appeal goes, but the fact that the FLDS Church owns essentially all of the homes may have lead the police to treat their individual homes as one.  It is a shame that the authorities could not go into the compound in a manner so that they could have ensured they only took in those who were committing abuse, and protected the children who needed it.  The FLDS itself is responsible for some of that by changing names, switching families to different husbands, etc. 

I gotta say, folks, it’s just wrong to marry a 14 year old girl to anyone, as Jeffs did in 2002. That is a fact and can anyone tell me that it is not going on to this day, even with him in jail.  From what I am reading, it sounds as though his father wasn’t as bad.

I try very hard on my blog to be factual, but having taken in three abused grandsons, who were abused in the name of religion, it is hard for me to not be personally involved in this issue.  There are many forms of abuse, I believe the FLDS is guilty of quite a few and do not believe that the excuse of religion is a valid excuse to do so.   We all have our own opinion though, don’t we?

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FIRST:  If you do not have anything to hide, why are you hiding behind locked gates? If everyone wants to be there and do as you say, why do you have to keep him or her behind locked gates?   Okay, got that off my chest!

For years now, we have read of young boys, the “lost boys”, being kicked out of the compound, which I believe is in the middle of the desert. That should be abuse. We have also heard stories of women escaping because they were not allowed to leave.  These women tell of being given to older men to marry. So, what do you think abuse is?  How would you feel at the age of fifteen to be given to a man three times your age, to marry?

How would you feel, as a young girl with dreams in your heart, to know that the only future for you is to reproduce?  You cannot become a lawyer, doctor, nurse, dentist, dress designer, have any future whatsoever, other than being one of six women, serving one man. From the day a woman, and for that matter, a man is born into the FLDS, your lot in life is set. You have no choice; no free will.

 I would like to point out that the Appellate Court decision applies only to 38 of the roughly 200 parents who challenged the seizure.  Other parents will undoubtedly join in the suit but it is too soon to think this issue is resolved for all of those involved. 

 I would also like to state that had the FLDS not tried to muddy the waters by changing people’s names, hiding records, not recording births and marriages, these 38 adult women might never have been removed or had their children removed.  When the police entered, whether their entry was legal or not, the women could have shown their birth certificates and ID’s, to prove they were adults.  They could have shown their children’s birth certificates and still be sitting in their home, with their children.

Before you yell that we, in America, should not have to show ID’s, stop and think about it. We already do.  You cannot open a bank account without ID.  The mere fact that the FLDS does all they do to hide identities is suspicious.

From AOL.com news: “It also failed to show evidence that more than five of the teenage girls were being sexually abused. 

This would indicate that five of the teenage girls had been sexually abused.  In a normal home environment, all children would have been removed.  They ran into trouble because they treated the FLDS as one big home. The court states this is not correct. The FLDS treats it as one. If the FLDS did not switch wives around, take wives from one husband, evict him, and give the wife to another husband, as we have repeatedly heard in the news,  then perhaps this would also have been isolated to five families.

AOL NEWS:  “FLDS spokesman Rod Parker said sect members feel validated, having argued from the beginning that they were being persecuted for their beliefs.”

And, let us remember that their beliefs ARE illegal. Polygamy is illegal. When this ends, hopefully, we will know whether or not they are, in fact, marrying young girls to older men, which would also be illegal.

<A person can begin a church with any belief they want.  Just because the Church of Pedophilia gets sanctioned as a church, does not mean that it has the right to abuse young children.  Just because the FLDS have convinced these women, under the guise of religion, that they cannot go to heaven without being submissive, being one of six wives, and condemning their children to the same life, without choice should be illegal.  Slavery is outlawed in this country. These poor women have no free choice.   

I challenge the FLDS to unlock their gates and give everyone a choice. 

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To a seven-year-old girl, growing up in the semi-rural Midwest, Aunt Lulu was just plain exotic.  First, she lived in the city. Here was her two-story house, right next to the neighbor’s two-story house.  There was barely room to spare for a walkway between her house and the next. The house I lived in sat on a half acre and had a cornfield behind it, with overgrown empty large lots on each side.

Aunt Lulu’s house had a round glass window in the front door and heavy curtains hanging at the windows and interior doorways.  It was dark and oppressive, Victorian in furnishings and unsmiling. Clinging to mother’s arms, I pictured Aunt Lulu telling fortunes in the darkened back room.

The stairs creaked under the stout woman as she descended to greet us.  Her shoes were what Mom always referred to as “old maid shoes”.  They were sturdy, black, with a one-inch heel as wide as the shoe, and thin lace ties.  They contrasted sharply with the high heeled, pointy-toed shoes mom twirled around in with ease.  Aunt Lulu, herself, was by no means old fashioned.

Aunt Lulu blended up carrot drinks in her industrial strength blender before “health food shakes” or “fruit smoothies” were a twinkle in some marketer’s eye.  She also took training to be a masseuse. We are talking the fifties here; June Cleever in her pearls and heels mopping the kitchen floor.  Aunt Lulu wasn’t even thinking about a glass ceiling yet and McDonald’s had not reached Indiana.  My aunt had her own business, though.

Aunt Lulu, seemed to be living an unsavory and all together intriguing life to a seven-year-old.  When I grew up, I found out that this gypsy was the most religious of ladies.  When visiting my grandmother’s house, Aunt Lulu had insisted on religion on the radio 24 hours a day till my grandpa asked her to turn it off, and told my grandmother the woman wasn’t to visit again.  Aunt Lulu went to join her Lord years ago, but I often pull out her masseuse diploma and remember the gypsy woman.

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Hey, I know that for Mariah Carey to have a four million dollar wedding is probably like me having a four hundred dollar wedding, maybe even a four dollar wedding. And, I know that everyone wants their “dream” wedding, but isn’t there anyone out there who wants to put a stop to trying to outdo the other guy in spending money?

Isn’t there anyone out there who looks around at China’s earthquake, the flood in Myanmar, those still without homes from Katrina or without dishes in their homes, those without insurance, or those on fixed income who are making a decision tonight whether to get groceries or gasoline,  and says to their loved one. 

“Hey, why don’t we have a small, but meaningful wedding and help some people who are less fortunate than us out, with the rest of the money?”

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I grew up with a small black and white picture of my Grandmother Parker as proof positive we had Native American heritage.  Unlike earlier generations, who felt the need to deny being Native, my mother was proud of this photo.  It was said that Grandma Parker was a daughter of Quannah Parker.  My mother has the love of all things Native, so it was natural I would turn to painting Native Americans.  What was not natural for me, was to paint deceased children.

When I began oil painting, I found that my love was painting people. If I would have had the money for models, I would have painted the nude human form exclusively. Since I needed to stick to clothed forms, I began accepting commissions for children.

The problem with painting children is that, in the economic circle I have floated in most of my life, the only commissions I was getting were in the $300 range and were people who wanted to remember their children who had passed away. At first I felt as if I was doing a service. After a time, it just became depressing.

The final straw was the woman who came to me with a snapshot. Her sons face was the size of a dime. He was a cute little boy with freckles and buck teeth and ears that stuck out. She requested that I give him a Heavenly background, an angelic smile without the buck teeth, and please pin his ears back. The heavenly terms kept coming and I knew this woman was not ready for this painting. It would not bring her son back and she would never be happy because it would not look like her son; even if I could paint it from that size of photo.

My two years of pre-law, and ten years of law office work kicked in and I drew  up a four page contract. Giving me say as to when the painting was complete.  I took the sign down and dedicated myself to painting Native Americans and Revolutionary recreationers. 

I traveled coast to coast, marketing my art work for many years.  I loved the times I exhibited at Native “Pow Wows.”   I exhibited at an inter-tribal school in Bismark, North Dakota and did some things with schools on the Pine Ridge Reservation. 

At the Bismark Pow Wow, I sat up my display and went to move the van (a normal thing for a show). When I turned around I saw a sea of cars. There was no way I was going anywhere, even if I wanted to, till the Pow Wow was over. We were treated like family. Another vendor brought us lemonade shake-ups every few hours.  We purchased typical fair food. One man had come up to my booth several times a day and stood in  companionable silence. The last day of the show, he was in his dance clothing. He took his full eagle feather headdress off and asked if we would please watch it. It was a great honor.  I was also given red-heart trade beeds by the Chieftan, and, my memory being what it is, I cannot remember his name.  But, they are my most valued piece of jewelry.

It was a wonderful weekend, sleeping in my van, going to sleep and waking to the rhythm of the drums. That is one of the most beautiful sounds in the world. 

I have always had a sign on my booth. “I PAINT WITH RESPECT. Should you see me photographing in your direction and you do not wish me to, please tell me and I will make sure not to. If you do not mind, please talk to me and I will send you copies of any photos I take with you in.” People would come up and give me photos to keep and paint from. Rarely was I asked not to take a picture, but I always honored that request.

If you treat people with respect, they will treat you with respect and the world will open up for you.

 

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I was in Bloomington yesterday, with some time to kill, so I stopped at Barnes & Noble. A bookstore is one of my favorite places. Whether it is for killing time or because I have a definite purchase in mind, I love bookstores. Its quiet atmosphere and the candy counter of book jackets is a promise of adventure.  In these days of ‘Do we buy groceries or gasoline?’, the books on sale are a bonus. 

 

I did find a Christmas gift for our oldest boy, actually grandson, yesterday. He is definitely a ‘book’ person. He lived with us from birth until he was around eight years old, and then came back to us when he was fifteen. During those years and the years in between, he saw us read and we read to him; constantly.  He loves philosophy and vampires.  I am not sure how you reconcile those two, but he does.

 

The middle boy was around six when his mom married his stepdad and he moved out of our home. He came back to us at sixteen. He’s in love with his ‘normal teenage life’ now, after years of being isolated, home schooled (or as he thinks of it ‘home failed’) and beaten. His reading ranges from the DaVinci Code to Louis Lamoure.  There he sprawls, in baggy pants and occasional dyed, spiked hair reading old westerns. He has a 3.4 GPA, his EMT license and plans on being an RN.

 

The youngest of these three is not a reader. It is heart breaking for me that he isn’t a reader, when at three, his favorite t-shirt read “If you love me, read me a book.” He would go pull that shirt out of his drawer, put it on and come out with a book. We would sit for hours, reading books. Every week, we had an arm full, from the library to read to the boys.

 

He came back to us at thirteen. His reading was at a 3rd grade level. He was definitly not schooled. I thought the hours of reading Harry Potter, which he dearly loved, would bring back some of the wonder of books. He did have an adventure book, he enjoyed. But has not regained his appreciation of books.

 

I love technology and will someday probably buy an electronic book. I’m not saying technology is bad. I love trees. I do not like the waste of a tree to send out junk mail. I truly think we could use more recycling in the making of books. I just think there is to be a loss for the next generation, when they cannot delight in seeing a dust jacket, smelling a twenty year old book, holding an adventure directly in their hand and not as a distant world seen through a screen.

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Do you know someone who just will not shut up? You know the type; they cannot use four words to say something when twenty-five will do. Their stories tend to ramble on and on, until you just tune them out. I know two people, related to each other, who do this. I cannot imagine what it would be like to live in their family. All those people talking constantly, with nothing to say.

 

I imagine we all have a primal urge to communicate. Sometimes you just have to turn to someone and say, “Did you see that?” Eons ago, a cave dweller nudged another cave dweller. He grunted and pointed to a huge bug caught in his wife’s hair and they had a good laugh. Communication is elemental.

 

Some of it, I am sure, is the environment we grow up in. If your family talked around the dinner table, you talk. If they watched Television, perhaps you do not. If you grew up in a quiet household, as I did, you tend to turn off the TV when others are gone. If you grew up in a noisy household, you need the noise of conversation.

 

Maybe that is why I never “got” Seinfeld. I have heard it was a show about “nothing.” I love movies, but I like a point to it all. If I want “nothing”, I sit out and watch the sunset, or listen to the breeze stir the leaves, or lie and stare up at the stars.

 

This blog is perhaps about nothing today, other than my need for quiet.  So, go outside tonight and listen to the sunset.  I hear there is a cracking noise to it in some locations in the world.

 

 

 

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