Today I am happy!  I have joy, I feel safe and I am at peace!  But this was not always so.  There was a time when I thought these feelings were almost forbidden.  Things I could never have until I died and was perfected somehow in the Celestial Kingdom…a magical fairyland where the streets are paved with gold and I am released from my natural but unacceptable emotions of the flesh.

Today, my husband (who loves me by the way) wraps me in his arms and tells me how beautiful I am at various times in my day.  He kisses me, just because...and I never taste the hint of another woman’s lip gloss.  We will sleep in our bed tonight and I won’t have to change the sheets and try not to think about who he was with in them last night because he was with me last night.  He is as much mine as I am his and it feels wonderful! 

For as long as I can remember, I was carefully and meticulously taught what I now know to be the very basic tenets of the Mormon Faith.  Polygamy was just one of those doctrines. Joseph Smith was not just a prophet, he was next to God himself and any word that escaped this man’s mouth was gospel truth no matter how much it didn’t seem to fit with anything else he said.  The day I allowed myself to see him as a fraud was the day I broke down and mourned like never before in my life.  It physically hurt to admit that he was not a prophet and yet I could not deny the truth any longer!

“Leaving polygamy” is the most gut wrenching, soul searching, and anxiety inducing traumatic experience you can imagine!  But it is so incredibly worth it!  To make the first step is like leaping off a tall building and not knowing if there is any one or anything down below.  At first, it feels as though you just might fall forever.  But you won’t!  Instead, you can be caught in the biggest, strongest, most loving arms known to man.  You can fall into the arms of Jesus! 

I decided to leave because one day, I looked at my seven year old daughter and shuddered as her future passed before my eyes.  I knew I could endure anything for myself but I just could not bear to watch her go through the same.  I had already been investigating some things that were just not adding up to me.  Upon my request, the LDS church sent some local missionaries who met me at the local ward house in order to be discreet.  I showed those sincere, unprepared teenage boys a photo of my five children who were all I had in the world.  I was desperate, I told them, to be sure that I wouldn’t lose them in the next life.  I had to leave my situation but could they please help me!  I wanted to be sealed to my children—whatever that took!  

They arranged a meeting with the local bishop who condescendingly told me that “the church was not in the business of breaking up families” and that he knew some polygamists that lived just down the road from him—nice people, he said.  Dejected but determined, I decided I would just have to do it without them.  So I plowed forward, not knowing where or how I would ever change my children’s lives.

To tell you the truth, I really wondered if I was going to hell for doing this so I got on my knees and begged God to stop me from doing anything that would damn my kids.  “Take them from me!”  I pleaded…”Take them from me before you let me lead them to hell!”  All I knew was that I couldn’t stay any longer.  I was just counting on God to strike me down before I did anything terrible.  Instead…roads were cleared, hearts were prepared and I left—with all five children!

I continued to meet with those nice missionaries who sadly informed me that I could not have my children sealed to me without a man.  In disbelief I asked them who in God’s name was going to marry a woman with five children!  Could a man be sealed to his children without a woman, I asked?  Well, yes!  Well, can we be baptized now that we have left polygamy?  Well, no!  I was told that the LDS church requires that former polygamists go through many sessions with men possessing more authority who could discern whether or not those persons would go back to polygamy or still live polygamy while being a member of the LDS church. 

As I have said, I was willing to do whatever it took to save my children…still praying all the while that God would take them from me before he allowed me to lead them astray.  God answered my prayer in a way I didn’t expect though because for some reason, I could not get the proper church authorities to meet with me.  Instead, I got diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis! 

To make a long wonderful story short and wonderful, my MS nurse practitioner was a Christian who introduced me to her father in law who was a Pastor.  They introduced me to Jesus Christ the Son of the One True and Living God and he saved me from my sin, my poverty, my loneliness, my mental anguish and Multiple Sclerosis.  He also sent me a man who never thought he’d have five children let alone marry someone who already had five! 

I know that “my story” is similar to thousands of others and yet it is unique.  I often wonder why God chose to reach in and rescue me out of so many others in need.  I praise Him that He so gently led me away from my strong “prophet” teachings and into the truth because now I am free!  Even though life is sometimes very difficult and I silently mourn my stolen youth, I look at my children who are just at the beginning of their lives and I can praise God that they get a fresh start! 

Life does not have to be about continual pain and endless sacrifice!  God is love!  Love heals!  The love of God endures forever and not just until the next wife comes along.  Give love a chance!  Give God a chance!  He is waiting, and He loves YOU!

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