THEY SAID THEY WERE DIFFERENT...BUT THEY WEREN’T
They said they were different.
They said that they were the group that lived polygamy the right way.
They said they were not like those other, frightening, abusive groups.
They said they weren’t abusive and that they would not tolerate abuse of any kind.
They said they didn’t force marriages, but allowed freedom of choice.
They even said they didn’t advocate underage marriages --- and that they wouldn’t tolerate that kind of activity....
But as it turned out.... they did ALL of those things and more.
When I first got to know the people in this polygamous group, they told me these things, the very things that were really important to me. So I took what they said at face value, and joined their polygamy group looking for the ultimate in celestial marriage which almost guaranteed me a place in heaven.
But after I joined the group, their “prophet” told me who I was to marry, the very one who had sworn he never arranged marriages! I became “betrothed” to a prospective plural family, where I would become a plural wife to a man who was already married and had children. Although I hadn’t yet taken the eternal vows, my every intention was to marry him for time and eternity, to be his polygamous wife here as well as in the hereafter.
I had the dubious privilege of observing my family-to-be and witnessed abuse in the family and was actually being abused myself. I became keenly aware that there was deceit and abuse in other families of this polygamous group and in the leadership, even though I had been assured otherwise. In fact the Priesthood Council was aware of the on-going abuse but made no attempts to stop it or intervene, and were, themselves, involved in much deceit.
When I realized that they were what they said they were, I began to consider the idea of running before I got so entangled I would never be able to escape. A friend sent me a web link for A Shield and Refuge Ministries, a ministry specifically organized to help polygamists flee the net of captivity and bondage with which the polygamy groups entrap them. After emailing this ministry a few times, and unsuccessfully trying to convince them that polygamy was the right thing to do, I finally realized I couldn’t shift their perspective. After a few weeks of continued abuse at the hands of my soon to be eternal family, I called the toll free number of A Shield and Refuge Ministries seeking advice and their help for my escape. We developed a trusting relationship, developed our plan of "rescue" and within a few days I was in their capable and loving care.
I was afraid that I wouldn’t be understood and would be considered foolish, but instead was helped and loved and provided for through the efforts of this ministry and those who work with them. I was afraid I couldn’t function effectively in the real world and feared I couldn’t succeed without the protection of the polygamy group and without my future celestial family, but was pleasantly surprised and lovingly cultivated until I felt secure again.
I was also afraid that if I turned my back on the group, God would see me as weak, and refuse me. I still believed that without the permission of Joseph Smith and my Priesthood leaders, I would not be allowed to enter heaven. Instead, I learned that the only one who I need to please to enter Heaven is God, and He was already pleased with me, because I had accepted Jesus as my Savior through faith, so God saw me through the sacrifice of His Son with my sins completely washed away and cleansed by His blood. I discovered that living polygamy does not please God at all, but instead grieves His heart that people have turned to a marriage system that is opposed to His original and perfect design of one man for each woman and one woman for each man.
I tremble to think where I would be yet today if A Shield and Refuge Ministries had not provided the rescue from the polygamy group that I needed. They helped find a place to stay, provided my daily needs and comfort, allayed my fears and protected me from retaliation of the polygamy group.
To anyone who wants to be rescued from their polygamist situation, I highly recommend you contact A Shield and Refuge Ministries for confidential advice and to arrange for their help to provide for a safe exit and protection after you have been safely delivered from the polygamists stranglehold.
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