This is the second publication in a series on Amazon called FLDS Lady.

This book is Part One of three which will complete my personal memoirs.
Still tweaking my book cover. Soon to publish…

This account is from the “opposite side of the mountain”. All stories currently being told about the FLDS are negative, even extremely derogatory. Although my story may be far less sensational and indeed, less popular, it is still my truth. There are plenty of negative perceptions. It seems only fair to have at least one positive perspective. This is a piece of history.

Part Two: Stranger in a Strange Land
Part Three: Traveling the Highroad

Yaaaay! Finally, almost ready to publish my first children’s book.

THE CAT MEOW is the first in a children’s book series called Square Peg Storybooks
Written by Maggie Jessop
Illustrated by Filipa Losada
Published by Highroad North
Coming soon on Amazon!

A story about being yourself.

Way back when I was a kitten, all kinds of personalities lived on our farm. Everybody tried to be somebody else. The mule thought he was John Wayne, and the cow said he was smart as Einstein. The duck imagined he was Crocodile Dundee, and the chickens shrieked the Hallelujah Chorus like a bunch of Joan Sutherlands. The rooster impersonated Johnny English, and the dog recited the Gettysburg address. The goat quoted Shakespeare, and the lamb tried to be Mother Teresa and create world peace. And the horse? He was convinced he was Tony Robbins.
Everybody tried to be somebody by putting on a show and saying fancy things.

Me? I just said, “Meow.”

 

 

I learned early on that the human heart has the capacity to love many people. I have often heard the mainstream argument that too many children means there is not enough love and attention to go around. Not so in my family. If anybody felt left out, it was only because they wouldn’t get their lazy carcass out of bed in time to get in on all the fun.

For some reason, most of us Jessop kids were night people. I have no idea why. Our father was a morning person. He wanted us up and busy in the mornings. “Mind over mattress, people!” he often said with a grin.

Most of us spent our childhood awake and alert and full of energy at nighttime. We often played hide and seek after dark. It was way more exciting tracking the enemy in the dark.

We were like the energizer bunny. We never stopped bouncing until we finally pinked out somewhere around one ‘o clock in the morning. The next morning invariably dawned sooner than unconsciousness expired, bringing with it the typical “drag meself out of bed” syndrome.

Father often said, “If you’re going to dance all night, you have to pay the fiddler.”

My brother Joe coined a famous line to illustrate the guilt battle of sluggish mornings. “Whenever I get up late,” he said wisely, “I feel like sneakin’ around the rest of the day. I hate that.”

One time I came up with a great idea. Father had called a work project the following morning. I was only too aware of my weakness of sleeping like the dead in the morning. I could not risk being absent for the project. I reasoned with my sister Becky that the only way to be absolutely sure we were up the next morning was to never go to bed. I talked her into joining me in staying awake. What an idea!

We raided the pantry that night for stay-awake snacks, and watched the hours slip by. We managed to stay awake until it was time to get up. Nothing short of dynamite could have awakened me after I finally succumbed to weariness.

Father was not impressed. Later that afternoon when I finally awoke and explained my motive behind my absence, he was still not impressed.

“What a solution, Maggie,” he chided. “Stay up all night so you can be up early the next morning? Now that’s not only un-smart. It’s downright dumb.”

I had to agree. I was famous that day for doing the dumbest thing ever. Sure seemed like a good idea at the time. I thought I was invincible. I had so much energy at night, I thought if I never put it to rest, I could keep going like the energizer bunny. Apparently not.

After the initial disappointment of my transgression wore off, Father often told the story as though he thought his kiddos were the funniest kids on the planet.

“I have GOT to be up tomorrow morning, so I’m going to STAY AWAKE all night!” he cried slapping his knee while the whole family, including me, laughed uproariously. “What an idea!” he exclaimed.

I learned early on that to stay alive in the fast lane, I had to be able to laugh at myself. There was no other way to get out of a predicament and get past embarrassment.

Father never let us kids stew in our juices too long. He brought things out into the open and helped us to face things squarely. He always forgave us for childish pranks.

From WHERE MUCH IS GIVEN

Memoirs of Maggie Jessop coming in September 2019 on Amazon

My childhood felt free as a bird. Sometimes we may have been a little too free and were prone to mass participation in mud fights, water fights, and clod fights as opportunity permitted.

Jessop kids seemed to know no fear. Our dare-devil escapades on bikes, in swings, on roofs, in trees, on mountains, and in water holes would probably have given our parents a few heart attacks if they had seen it all. It seemed like we always had something to do and boredom was virtually unknown. Rarely did anyone fall through the cracks, but sometimes naughty behavior resulted in the loss of privilege.

I recall one instance when my brother Nathan and I got punished with the withdrawal of dessert for helping ourselves to the pantry one too many times. We skulked off together and discussed at length the unfair persecution we were suffering at the hands of our mother. We concluded that all the rest of our siblings were her favorites since they were chuffing their fat faces full of Betty Crocker chocolate cake and sticking out their tongues showing off the disgusting evidence.

Nate and I decided that since nobody loved us, we would teach everybody a lesson and run away. Oh, how they would suffer when they didn’t see us again in this life. We planned a heist of one loaf of bread and a quart jar of canned peaches for our subsistence and set off down the creek.

We hid behind a sand bank for a couple hours and polished off our food supply while watching our spoiled rotten siblings run around whooping like wild Indians. Occasionally, Mother Ruth stepped outside to check on things, but nobody even seemed to notice our absence. That was a serious insult to our juvenile pride. Our planned retribution was having no effect whatsoever.

Nate and I discussed things further. We reasoned there was a slight possibility the punishment had fit the crime. We had recently digested the Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn and could relate to the adventuresome idea of living on the edge. It seemed only right for us to pay for a small percentage of our crimes.

After another hour when loneliness began to set in, we analyzed the possibility that perhaps our mother loved us a little bit after all. We decided to give our family one more chance to treat us right, and we returned to the fold forthwith.

From WHERE MUCH IS GIVEN

Autobiography by Maggie Jessop Jeffs
Coming soon on Amazon

 

 

 

From Maggie’s forthcoming book “WHERE MUCH IS GIVEN”

It was typical for my sisters and I clad in ruffles and lace to be found skipping down Main Street holding hands on our way to school singing songs in three part harmony at the top of our lungs.

Once in a while, Father joined us in our skipping jubilees. We all competed to see who could skip the fastest and highest. Because Father was never embarrassed to be seen clowning with his kiddos, we weren’t embarrassed either. Sometimes our brothers joined us, but since they were outnumbered, they preferred keeping a safe distance behind the overabundance of sisters.

Sometimes tourists drove through our community. I imagine we made a fascinating picture with our unplanned parades. It was not uncommon to see unfamiliar vehicles doing the turtle drive occupied by goggle-eyed gogglers hanging out the window with tongues and cameras waggling.

The strangers seemed to think we were strange, but they couldn’t see that their strangeness was even stranger to us.

Our parents and teachers warned us to not accept rides or gifts from strangers. They said the world did not like our family structures and were busy trying to find ways to attack us and break up our community. We were taught to keep our mouths shut and not offer information. It could harm our fathers for strangers to know they had multiple wives and more children than the public thought they should have.

I was a communicator by nature, and much too friendly for my own good. But I could most definitely see the wisdom of silence. Sometimes I blundered.

One day when I was about eight years old, a stranger knocked on our front door and I answered it. I snapped to attention to see an unfamiliar face. My immediate reaction was fear, but I quickly regained my composure and offered a cautious grin. The man was a vacuum salesman. He was tall and good-looking with a mustache. “Is your mother home?” he asked pleasantly.

Without hesitation, I replied, “Nope! Neither one of them are.”

Mr. Mustache and I stared at one another, he in mock surprise, and me in horror that I had just revealed a family secret which was actually no secret at all since we had never made any effort whatsoever to hide our family relationships. We held the stare, and finally he cracked. Shaking with laughter, he blurted, “Then you are going to be in double the trouble.”

I didn’t think it was that funny. But I laughed to insure him I was in charge of the situation. Soon the mothers came home and we bought a vacuum. Mr. Mustache was ecstatic, and life went on.

In those days I suspect vacuum salesmen who were brave enough to knock on doors in Short Creek became millionaires.

In households with many children, the most valued tool of all had to be a good vacuum. I never saw one outlast a family. Any salesman with half a brain could see that if he could overlook the silly rumors of violence and death he might risk by wandering among the infamous polygamists, he might discover a goldmine.

If he could mind his manners and not ask too many questions of silly little girls who accidentally spilled secrets that weren’t really secrets, he could return every six months and make another vacuum sale.

From WHERE MUCH IS GIVEN

Coming soon on Amazon

From Maggie’s upcoming book “WHERE MUCH IS GIVEN“.

Born of Goodly Parents

I hit the Earth in May 1964, and it was big news.

What? You didn’t hear about it? Well, it was a great event for me.

I was born in a place called Utah, but it could have been Jupiter for how different my world was from mainstream America. The Father of all Creation chose me out of all the millions to arrive that beautiful spring day when I became the third child of my parents Fredrick Merril Jessop and Foneta Marie Cook.

Not only did I belong to my parents, my big brother Freddy and my elder sister Janice Marie, but I also belonged to a church and community. The church was the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The community was Short Creek, the name we call the twin towns that straddle the border technically known as Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona. Nestled beneath the watchful citadel of a giant red rock mountain called El Capitan, our community felt safe, familiar, and beloved.

It would probably be more accurate to say that my parents and siblings, my people, and my church and community belonged to me because I definitely took ownership of them all. I lived among the FLDS nearly fifty years. It was a rare, wonderful, old-fashioned kind of existence. I was both blessed and spoiled. As a child I had no idea what it was like to be hungry or homeless.

Though the homes and businesses, gardens and fields, and flocks and herds of our community were always in a state of progressive improvement, it was our Eden.

Our properties were protected under the umbrella of a legal trust called the United Effort Plan. Our community was built upon several land parcels that had been donated by our grandfathers and great-grandfathers for the benefit of those who adhere to the FLDS faith.

Our birthright as Mormon children came with strings attached. Ever since our church had been founded in 1830, persecution had followed us. Many times throughout Mormon history, the people had been driven from their homes by hostiles who misunderstood Mormonism and the people who call themselves Mormons. That was part of our birthright and our heritage.

I remember as a young child listening in wide-eyed concern to the stories of mobbing, plundering, and murdering of early day Mormons in the lifetimes of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and John Taylor in the 1800’s. I was even more concerned about persecution that had occurred less than twenty years previous, the infamous 1953 Raid when the state of Arizona backed by the mainstream LDS Church, the popular offshoot of the Mormons, had swooped in and arrested our fathers and taken away all of our mothers and children to Phoenix, Arizona.

My paternal grandmother Ida Johnson Jessop had been one of those mothers. A few years later, she died a premature death in her 40’s as a result of that raid.

My father had been one of the teen boys left behind because law officers were afraid the boys would give them trouble. After the forced evacuation, the boys went around to each home and performed their own brand of mischief. They retrieved baking bread from ovens, fed livestock, milked cows, harvested gardens, and tidied up the frenzy which evidenced the hurried exodus of their beloved families.

I recall as a small child gazing for long periods of time at pictures of the Raid trying to imagine what it must have been like to be suddenly uprooted from familiar surroundings by officers with guns and dragged away to the cold cruel unfriendly world.

I thought about my great grandfather Joseph Smith Jessop, who at the time of the ’53 Raid was a venerable stalwart in his nineties with piercing blue eyes and a long white beard. Great Grandpa was loved and respected by all who knew him. When the authorities with guns bristling surrounded the people, Grandpa Jessop stepped forward and said, “If it’s blood you want, take mine. I’m ready.”

He went on to state that the desert sand would drink his blood before he would give up his right to worship God as he wished in this land of America where many wars had been fought and won by honest men who had willingly given their lives for the sacred right of religious freedom.

Great Grandpa died shortly after the Raid of ‘53. It broke his heart to see the children taken away.

I could not fathom why people in the world hated us. I knew that most of mainstream America had a problem with our people because our fathers had more than one wife and our children had more than one mother. I could not understand why they called it a crime. Didn’t they realize what a benefit it was for us to have lots of brothers and sisters for friends? Why couldn’t they see that having more than one mother in the home was a great benefit to the children?

It terrified me to think I could be stolen from my parents. But life was sweet and safe. I kept my fears hidden underneath the hubbub of family life which encompassed a great deal of activity—school and gardens, laundry and sewing, babysitting and cooking, ice cream and baseball games, sunburned noses and perpetual blisters. Little did I know what further raiding and persecution that I with my people would yet experience.

 

“Where Much Is Given”

Coming soon on Amazon

 

I spent the last few weeks editing and updating my published book FULL of BEANS. I added a few stories and pictures, as well as improved the format. Since the subject matter of my beans book is highly controversial, naturally the book is not exactly popular. But it definitely gets read. My motive is not to make money on the book. I have spent more than $2,000 over the last two years to complete the project. Amazon pays me less than $4 for the eBook version, and about $3 for the print version. Since the book includes over 50 color photographs, the download and print costs are more significant.

FULL of BEANS

 

 

Why do I do it? I love to write. I write about real things, things I know, things I have experienced, things I have learned. I write to better understand myself and the world I live in. I write from the perspective of a believer. Likely we can agree that 99% of all the information concerning the FLDS is negative, even extremely derogatory. I don’t mind sharing my honest testimony and experience because I believe there are a few people in the world who have the ability to look beyond the smokescreen. Perhaps they can appreciate truth from the viewpoint of a female believer who has decades of experience among the FLDS.

Please leave your review on Amazon and Goodreads. Think of this book as a piece of history. I think we can all agree how important it is to document history. Even if you don’t agree with my faith, perhaps you can find something positive about my writing. There are plenty of negative stories about people’s perception of what they consider bad experience. Isn’t it only fair to have at least one person’s positive perception? There will always be believers, and there will always be unbelievers. Many people make a big stir over giving everyone a chance to speak, yet when someone speaks up with an opposite viewpoint, suddenly that person is viewed as criminal. I find it interesting that when a woman stays true to her belief, others accuse her of being brainwashed and manipulated. When a woman dumps her faith and joins the majority, she is somehow viewed as courageous and independent. Doesn’t make much sense to me.

I realize that my views are diametrically opposed by all other authors with books and articles about my people. I personally know many of those authors. Some of us grew up together and had similar experiences, yet we have opposite opinions. Why? Perhaps we are looking through different lenses. Perhaps it’s because I recognize the value of experience. Perhaps I do not allow long-promised contradictions to define my faith or negatively affect my viewpoint. Perhaps others of my acquaintance have allowed long-promised experience to negatively affect their self-confidence and damage their self-respect. When people persist in using their energy to point out what they think is wrong with other people, it is an indication they are not at peace with themselves.

I find it interesting how some people see the monetary opportunity in telling stories of abuse and escape from the FLDS. You will even find that novelists have picked up on the scoop of beans. You can find several novels available for sale that use the media’s version of a religious setting to keep the negativity circulating against the FLDS. Crick Code, with a five star review rating is just one example. There isn’t much difference between the novels and the “personal memoirs” published by ex-FLDS. Scandalous novels satisfy those interested in sensationalism. Many people aren’t particularly interested in truth. They digest and approve of stories that agree with their preconceived notions.

There are millions of people in the world who have angry wild stories to tell about their spouse, father, mother, brother, sister, or anyone they consider an enemy. Why do stories from ex-FLDS become popular? Because of the identity of the people they oppose. If a woman in mainstream writes a book to “expose” her ex, most people wouldn’t give it the time of day. It’s too commonplace. But if you tell horror stories about the Prophet and plural marriage, then people sit up and take notice and join your vehemence. The book turns into a bestseller even though the author might have no discernible writing talent. Fascinating.

Do you thrive on scintillating secrets? Let me tell you one. Mormon faith does not allow revenge or retaliation against those who speak or act dishonestly. We leave judgment to God. People who slander their former friends and family know full well that those who stay true to their faith will not expose them or drag them to court for illegal defamation. You will never find FLDS people marching down streets holding signs advocating opinions against any other person or group. Dissenters feel safe in telling embellished stories out of context because they know the law will not hold them accountable. I guess they forgot that God will eventually serve justice.

Recently, a college professor in Utah told his class that he had met the female witness whose testimony was the deciding factor to put the Prophet Warren Jeffs behind bars. The witness admitted to the professor that she had lied under oath in court. It is now public knowledge. It is a sad day in America when people can publicly brag without consequence about their illegal action that incriminated an honorable man.

If people are going to write, maybe they should write about things they won’t be embarrassed about a hundred years from now. I seriously doubt the Good Lord is going to commend us for our negative opinions. We all know that every single human being has good experience in life and bad experience. That’s part of being human. You tell on yourself when you reveal what you remember. Do you predominately remember bad, or do you also remember good?

I would a million times rather remember good. The challenges in my life were good because they contributed to experience and character growth. That is why I write. I write to leave a legacy of faith for future generations. I don’t expect modern society to fully appreciate my books. I imagine my life and testimony will be more interesting to my great great grandchildren. As they pour over my ramblings I imagine I hear them say, “Great great Grandma Marguerite was such a…such a…Woman of Words.”

Nope, I don’t expect accolades until long after I am gone. Even then I don’t expect fame. See, the important thing is not what I think or what you think. The important thing is what God thinks. I really appreciate the peace He grants to me as I allow Him to work upon my mind and heart through experience in the continual quest for enlightenment and self-improvement. I don’t mind sharing with you the beauty of life as I see it.

I have been amazed at the reactions of a few people who have discovered my book FULL of BEANS. For some reason Amazon has neglected to publish several dozen positive reviews, but I sometimes get emails with reviews. I have noticed that those who particularly appreciate the story I tell about the Raid on the YFZ Ranch are people from other countries. Here in the United States, most people are free. If you are a typical member of mainstream society, you enjoy freedom. If you are a member of a religious group with unpopular faith and practice, you might experience the lack of complete freedom. All it takes to truly appreciate freedom is to lose it.

I thought I’d share with you three reviews from people who recognize the paradox discussed in FULL of BEANS.

From TR, Buenos Aires, South America

“I have read lots of books from ex-FLDS. I have read many reviews that say how brave and courageous women are for exposing the evil and crime of the men. I think it’s backwards. What is so brave and courageous about women telling their side of the story to a great big agreeable audience where they know they will get much sympathy and support? The men never even get a chance because everyone is against them. I think true courage is found in the author Maggie Jessop. She tells her story even though it is unpopular. Very few people will sympathize with her. That is brave. I believe her more than I believe the other women.”

From OS, Czech Republic

“I don’t think the author Maggie Jessop intended for her book to be a thriller, but I found her testimony of what happened in Texas to be just that. A polygamous Mormon community stalked by authorities after a fictitious call for help. Armed soldiers stormed into the community and took hundreds of children away from their mothers. While the children were held prisoners, they secretly called their parents and older siblings on hidden cell phones.

The testimony is all the better because the author is a woman who lived in the community and explains the attack on her faith. Thus she refutes the idea of ​​abused women and children. This incredible event is more like a novel set in a totalitarian state, not a country based on religious freedom. After reading, one asks, “Is it even possible that a man in the 21st century in the US has a chance to know the truth?”

If it wasn’t for this book by Maggie Jessop, the public would still live mystified by the sensational media reports. Remarkable are the testimonies of lawyers, which ultimately helped mothers win their children back. “What we did was bad, terribly bad,” says one of the officials involved in the crackdown.

I lived 22 years in Czechoslovakia when it was occupied by Russian communists. What happened to the FLDS at the YFZ Ranch resembles what happened in my country. Since then we have had 30 years of democracy. This would never happen in Czech Republic today. We know the price of freedom. Expression, faith, and opinion should be free. After reading this book I have the feeling that the US is losing it.”

ZJ, Perth, Australia

I approached ‘Full of Beans’ having read most all the accounts published by ex-FLDS members, yet with a desire to understand the mind of an FLDS believer from her own perspective. I was not disappointed, and was in fact very excited by what I learnt and how the topic was approached.

The way Maggie writes is a breath of fresh air! I could sense, from beginning to end, the fun she has with words as I read them – how refreshing! Knowing that Maggie was an English teacher, I find myself ever-so-slightly jealous of those students who were taught by her, as her passion for language and writing is so clear… a rare privilege to read.

For many, the notion that the FLDS religion has its faults is of no question. It is certainly unwise, however, to write off an entire belief system and culture as ‘all bad’. ‘Full of Beans’ introduces a welcome new perspective into the canon of FLDS commentary… anyone can acknowledge that it is unbalanced that until this time FLDS literature (meaning that which is accessible to mainstream society; not including that which circulates within the church) has been entirely negative. I was pleased to learn in this book of the elements of FLDS life that I had long suspected were worthy of respect… The deliberate approach taken to parenting and to relationships in general, built upon the expectation that one works consistently to improve oneself, but is focused on forgiving others their shortcomings, is quite inspiring. I am sure that, in this way, we could all learn a thing or two about character from the FLDS people.

I was very pleased to read Maggie’s perspectives in the chapter entitled ‘Marriage’. She does not try to sell the idea or practice of plural marriage to the reader, but points out the joys of approaching marriage the way her people does. Following the marriage structure ordained of God, with the man as benevolent leader and woman as help meet unto him, FLDS teachings seem to focus on mutual service — the husband serves his family in service of God, and the wife serves her husband and children in the same vain. Forgiveness and patience, even long-suffering are essential; and one gets the sense that each party participates for the joy and benefit of the other, rather than in selfishness.

I do not expect that every single FLDS member succeeds in living this way, but I can’t fault the design. This is a people that clearly appreciates the blessings incurred by a pure and humble approach to marriage far more than does our modern society, in which divorce is commonplace and married couples appear to spend much time tearing each other down with insults and dishonouring their own union. My very-feminist friend, after I asked her to read this chapter, confessed, “I understand what she’s saying… she’s kind of right in some ways…” I was shocked by her response, but suspect that Maggie’s style of writing, with its humour and occasional sarcasm, but clear and sensible objective, struck a chord in my friend.

While at times I wished that Maggie had included more anecdotal content about her growing up and living in the very thick of the FLDS (I suppose in order to connect more personally and make one feel as though one knows the author), it is clear that a personal account is not Maggie’s foremost purpose in writing ‘Full of Beans’. Many who read this book will already have known Maggie or known of her, if they were once of the FLDS people, and I suspect she writes with this in mind… her purpose seems not to fact-check stories told about her, or to tell stories about others, but to offer a rarely-highlighted perspective on FLDS life and philosophy. It is, at once, an entertaining account of certain experiences she has had, and an intellectual assessment of her own faith… fascinating to read, indeed. I look forward to whatever writing she will publish in the future, perhaps including more accounts of her own life and experience.

It is certainly true that Maggie approaches her writing differently than have ex-FLDS writers. One might expect, coming into ‘Full of Beans’, that the author will use the same writing form and structure to defend her faith as has been used by those who criticise it. I would encourage every reader to ease up on any ideas you have of what this book ‘should’ be — I wouldn’t say it is an autobiography, nor is it a work of apologetics; and Maggie’s sensible hesitation to ‘name names’ presents a character-driven narrative. What you will find is an honest examination of FLDS belief and life, and of life itself, from the perspective of one with rich experience and a strong desire to remain positive, optimistic, and faithful.

I thank Maggie for her honesty and boldness in sharing a perspective previously silenced and too-often marginalised. I recommend ‘Full of Beans’ to anyone willing to open their mind and accept that in all things there is nuance… not all widely-accepted ideas are true or right, and a prairie dress does not simply equal a down-trodden/brainwashed polygamist lady — there is just so much more beneath the surface than what the majority would have us believe.”

From Maggie’s forthcoming book…

I looked forward to starting first grade with the patience of a bumble bee caught in a Mason jar. My wiry little self fairly trembled with excitement over the prospect of book learning and living life to its fullest.

Since I couldn’t seem to wait, I started my own little school in our basement. Mother got us some little desks and chairs and a blackboard. I corralled my younger siblings into playing school with me. Of course I was the teacher. I made up assignments and made sure the kiddos completed them. We used a Monopoly game to play store and learned how to swindle each other. Memory games were our favorite. When my little batch of squirrelly squiggles got too squiggly, I marched them outside to the dirt bank for an invigorating clod fight.

We kept up the pastime of playing school during summers for years. I never got over the desire to teach school.

My first grade teacher turned out to be Mrs. Gardener, an elderly lady from Hurricane, a nearby community. I loved Mrs. G. She was not a member of our church, but she was patient and motherly.

The only fault I could see in Mrs. G was that she wore dresses with short sleeves. That was a serious problem because the dear soul had lost her youth, which meant her skin had lost its elasticity. When she wrote on the blackboard, her tired flesh hung down like dangling ropes waggling back and forth frantically.

It was a serious hindrance to my education because I couldn’t keep my eyes off Mrs. G’s arms. To my horrified gaze, the trembling mass looked like unbaked bread dough. My poor little sensitive heart mourned because my dear Mrs. Gardener’s flubbery arms were continually attracting giggles and smirks from my classmates.

I made up my mind then and there that would never happen to me. I resolved to NEVER allow my flesh to age into trembling bread dough, much less stoop to the indignity of using scanty wrappings to reveal the shameful mass to onlookers.

I loved school and everything to do with it. Sometimes I was found in deep and quiet contemplation of the world around me. My analytical reveries were typically interrupted suddenly since I also had the tendency to bubble over and burst into words and song and physical action whenever I felt like it.

I imagine I was somewhat of a trial to my teachers, but they seemed to accept the fact that I was a square peg and just couldn’t fit in a round hole. I learned to use words and conversation to my advantage and became skilled in the art of communication. Sometimes my teachers classified my intelligent expressions as sass. I suspect they may have been correct on one or two occasions.

From WHERE MUCH IS GIVEN

Coming soon on Amazon

I have never won a beauty contest, nor have I ever entered one. But hey! I figured Belinda, my truck, could win. She’s mighty pretty, especially when she reflects the sunset.

I decided to enter a photo contest offered by Women in Trucking, a website that supports and promotes female truck drivers. With the demand for drivers at an all-time high, there are simply not enough menfolk to meet it. Women to the rescue!

This is the annual photo contest for Women in Trucking. This years theme is #STEERING TOWARD DIVERSITY. I thought just perhaps I could win this contest because I might be the diversest truck driver that ever hit the trucking industry.

This is the photo I entered. Go to the site and VOTE! Your country depends on it.

Scroll down to the “VOTE NOW” photo contest button. Scroll through the entries and look for the lady in the lavender dress.

HINT: She is the only one wearing a dress.

This contest has ended. Who won?

Pretty sure I won. There were 121 photos entered, and I received the 122nd honorable mention. Very cool!

It was kinda fun to enter a contest. It was good for me to make myself do something awkward. I’ve never been a fan of competition. I enjoy the accomplishments of others and never had a desire to step on or over people to reach a pedestal. I have always believed that the only competition I should be engaged in is to see if I can do more for my neighbor than he or she can do for me. I guess that character trait was born into me and is part of Mormon culture. Thanks for voting!

I drive a semi-truck many hours of most days. Sometimes the music fills my head and I write songs. A couple weeks ago, this song came to mind.

The Lovely of You

Dedicated to the memory of my eight beautiful children who are grown and flown

by Maggie June 2019

They say a trucker’s life is lonely, endless hours and days alone;

But I’ve got something better than radio; by end of day, time has flown.

Mile after mile, you’re on my mind; no need for coffee, no time for the blues;

Hour by hour I replay and rewind the lovely of you.

I see the dazzling lights of cities, the glamour of poetic ode;

I’ve been to the Falls of Niagara, and driven the Golden Gate Road;

I drive the sunset with scarlet and sapphire hues,

But I’m always aware than nothing compares

To the lovely of you.

Mile after mile, you’re on my mind; no need for coffee, no time for the blues;

Hour by hour I replay and rewind the lovely of you.

I drive the wailing desert wind storms and through the lush mountain pines;

Through daylight and on into darkness, in rain and snow, I drive the lines;

Time has no meaning; each day is exciting and new;

Awake or asleep, my dreams still repeat

The lovely of you.

Mile after mile, you’re on my mind; no need for coffee, no time for the blues;

Hour by hour I replay and rewind the lovely of you.

Lovely, lovely, lovely,

Lovely, lovely, lovely,

Oh, I’m always aware than nothing compares to the lovely of you.

Awake or asleep, my dreams still repeat the lovely of you;

The lovely of you.

The next day I was driving along, and the sunrise inspired a tune to go with the lyrics. I will just have to get myself a guitar and a recording studio to document my songs for future generations. Sounds like my next project.

 

Live load, tandem axle, air brakes, halogen fluid? Huh? It was Greek to me.

Ever had a blonde moment? C’mon, admit it. Even if your hair is dark black and you are a veteran male truck driver with eleven million miles and 78 years of experience, you might recall waaaay back when you had a blonde moment.

The internet flaunts quite a number of trucker blonde moments. Swift drivers are the butt of the largest percentage of jokes. After some research, I determined that the reason Swift has got a reputation for so many rookie drivers let loose on the road is because Swift has by far the most trucks with the most drivers out there. The giant company has somewhere around 20,000 trucks, give or take a few thousand, so the law of averages dictates that you will find more Swift blonde moments than any other.

Of course training requirements, which varies significantly from company to company, affect how prepared new drivers are to meet the demands of the Road. Due to insurance restrictions, many companies won’t accept new drivers until they’ve had 12-24 months experience. Naturally, those drivers might have fewer blonde episodes.

Hats off to the companies who accept new drivers and train them well. If it weren’t for them, us newbie, rookie, blondies wouldn’t have a chance. The thing is truck drivers are in such high demand everywhere, the industry has no choice but to grant some leniency to new drivers. If it weren’t for truck drivers, you wouldn’t be eating breakfast this morning. Your daily visit to Starbucks would find them out of your favorite latte, and by the time your car needs refueling, you’d find gas prices had just doubled; that is, if you can find a gas station with fuel.

The demand for CDL drivers seems to be growing faster than the supply. I have much empathy for those who brave the Road and endure the first six months of hard knocks, sometimes literal, that inevitably attend the learning curve. I don’t laugh at Swift drivers. I don’t laugh at any driver. It takes more than most non-CDL drivers realize to learn to drive a Big Rig.

Now that I’ve had 28 months experience, things come much more naturally, and I absolutely enjoy driving. But I am always AWARE to BEWARE of complacency. Getting too comfy precedes accidents. I recently read a statistic which stated that every 16 minutes, an accident occurs somewhere in the US involving a semi-truck. Many times truckers are at fault, and many times, they are not. You can’t imagine how many times little cars cut in front of a semi and then slow down causing the truck driver to hit the brakes. I imagine many car drivers are unaware that a truck with a loaded trailer takes much longer to slow down safely. Often, even when a truck driver has the lesser fault in an incident, the CDL driver takes the biggest legal hit.

Now that I have learned what it takes to get into the profession, the long hours, and the risks involved, my respect for truck drivers has grown immensely. Knowledge is power. Knowledge should also increase awareness and appreciation. When you gulp down your Big Mac and coke, thank a driver. When you streak your Corvette into a gas station for a refill, thank a driver. When you plant your trees and flowers in your grandiose back yard, thank a driver. When your friends and family gather for barbecued burgers and a bucket of booze, thank a driver. Everything you eat, drink, wear, or use in your home, yard, or business came from a truck. Before you dish out Scotch blessings to a truck driver who slowed your commute or obstructed your view, pause and count to ten. Then count your blessings. The Good Lord provided them, and they were delivered by a truck driver.

Have I had blonde moments? Huh? What did you say? I CAN’T HEAR YOU! Okaaaaay. Well…yeeees…I’ve had a few blonde moments, maybe a couple. …Okay, so a couple hundred.

It wasn’t the most natural thing in the world for me to learn to drive a semi-truck. Naturally, I had to work hard and long and endure a lot of razzing to get to this point. The Swift drivers that people laugh at? That was me. I’ve never driven for Swift, but I was as rookie as any of them, probably more so. If there was an award for the blondest driver, I think I’d win.

Since most of my life I have been involved in professions in which I was skilled and comfortable, the vulnerability of a strange new one hit me like a ton of brick. I was too dang stubborn to give up. I remember how humiliated I felt the first day in truck driving class January 2017 when I found out I was blonde. I had never been blonde before. In fact, I was the one who usually teased the blinky creatures. Justice. Day of Judgment. I was now the newest blinky creature. Time to find out how it feels. I had to make a decision. Would I be blonde like Marilyn Monroe? Or would I be blonde like Einstein? I chose Einstein. At least I think that way in my own brain. However I appear to others makes no never mind to me.

Now about those blonde moments…Since it’s important that Einstein is able to laugh at herself, I will share…

When I first started driving solo about the six month mark, I chose a refrigerated van company. I liked the idea of delivering food to the country. It was like I was Mother Maggie and I was fixin’ dinner for all the kiddos in the nation. Children are my favorite people!

I drove to the designated address somewhere in Ohio to pick up a load of seafood. The girl in the office gave me a door and told me to back in and check with the loading manager. I spent thirty minutes backing in. My driving instructor had pounded into my head the importance of G.O.A.L (get out and look.) I had to get it just right. My most recent profession before CDL class had been designing and manufacturing picky nicky picture perfect embroidered silk pillows and draperies for high-end homes. A quarter inch made a huge difference. When I backed in my truck and I wasn’t exactly centered, I kept trying. Gotta get within that quarter inch mark.

After so many forwards and backwards, I finally got it. Upon embarking my truck, I noticed a couple muscular dock fellows watching me with arms folded across broad chests. There’s something about a gawking dude standing with the arm folding thing accompanied by an all-knowing smirk that speaks a thousand words. And when you get two of those wolf-like creatures together, you can only imagine I felt like a rabbit. But I’m pretty good at pretending to be smart as anyone, and I enjoy good humor. I figured the two men meant no harm with their teasing expressions.

I walked up to the first macho man and gave him my order number. He looked me up and down as though I was wearing a ballgown when it was just a simple prairie dress. “Been truckin’ long?” he asked dryly.

“Six months!” I replied proudly ignoring the sarcasm.

“You doing a live load?” he asked.

“Uh…l-l-live load?” I stuttered. “Um…my order says seafood.”

Buster’s wolfish grin spread as he asked, “You got your trailer pre-cooled to minus ten? We can’t load unless its down to temp.”

“Yes,” I replied confidently, “It’s ready as ordered.”

Buster exchanged a knowing look with his leering partner in crime. Turning to me with one eyebrow quirked, he drawled with mock sincerity, “Bubba, let’s get this lovely lady’s live load loaded!”

Oh, great. Buster and Bubba doing tongue twisters at my expense, just my luck. But I’m no prude. I could enjoy the humor.

However, I was seriously distracted with a horrible thought. It just didn’t add up. Seafood? Minus ten degrees? Live load? I schooled my perplexity into the most mature and comprehending expression I could muster and asked, “So…what’s with the live load? You mean the fish are alive?”

Bubba and Buster looked at each other over the top of my head and nodded solemnly.

“B-b-but,” I protested. “If it’s down to minus ten, the fish will die!”

The two scalawags appeared to be holding back a great deal of emotion as they looked at each other in mock horror. “That’s right!” Bubba moaned over the top of a giant guffaw. “That’s why you have to drive really fast to get to San Antonio in time before the fish perish.”

“Wait a minute…” I sputtered. “I can’t risk losing a load. What the heck?”

“Don’t worry, mam,” Bubba squeaked as he shook with hiccuping laughter. “If you need to, you can stop in Arkansas and do mouth to mouth resuscitation.”

“This must be an inside joke,” I muttered laughing. “Tell you what, Cheech and Chong. You get this lovely lady’s live load loaded PRONTO while I go find somebody with brains who speaks English.”

I escaped with as much dignity as possible and returned to the office where I quizzed down the personnel to find out EXACTLY what is meant by “live load.” Good grief. We can’t have the fishies dying on us. And no, I’ll forgo mouth to mouth with the slimy critters. I got my vocabulary lesson for that day. Live load? They sure didn’t teach us that in truck driving class. Once again, I added a term and its definition to my truck driving glossary.

Live Load: When Einstein does not drop her trailer, but waits around FOREVER for Cheech and Chong to load her trailer with extremely dead, frozen solid seafood. Hopefully, said driver will still be ALIVE when the clowns are finished clowning.

Blonde moments? Yeah, I’ve had a couple.

From Traveling the Highroad, a tale of high adventure

Coming soon on Amazon

I recall hearing a story years ago that made a big impression. I don’t remember the name of the author or the name of the man in the story, so I will tell the story as I remember it.

There was a certain young man whose name was Michael. When but a young man of fourteen years of age, he was overcome by a blizzard in Michigan. Before his parents discovered him, he was frostbitten so badly that he had to undergo amputation of his limbs. His right leg was cut off almost to his hip; his left leg above the knee; his right arm was amputated as well as his left hand.

Can you guess the consequences? He went to the Board of County Commissioners and asked for a loan to educate himself, with the promise that he would pay back every cent he borrowed. This he did in a few short years. During World War I, Michael became president of one of the largest banks in St. Paul, but he left his position and went to Europe to help build up the soldiers’ morale.

Upon one occasion in London, he lectured to wounded, discouraged soldiers, who were brought to the hotel in wheelchairs. They were placed in the lobby, and Michael stood on the upper floor.

 

As he began to speak, he surprised the disheartened men by minimizing their wounded condition, showing no sympathy for their loss of an eye, an arm, or a leg. Michael refused to listen to their complaints. His apparently unsympathetic nature angered the wounded men so much that they began to jeer at him as he continued speaking. Then Michael began walking down the steps, still reminding them how fortunate they were. They became furious as he commented further. Finally he sat down and removed his right leg. This surprised the men and reduced their anger somewhat, but still they resented his suggestion that they were well off. When he took off his left leg, there was instantaneous silence. Before he arrived at the bottom of the steps, he removed his right arm, and a left hand. There he sat just a stump of a body.

Did his losses thwart his usefulness? No, indeed. Besides being bank president, he was the father of five children. His faith in himself which was founded and bolstered by his faith in God, showed others, whether physically wounded or mentally challenged, how to triumph over obstacles. He proved his determination to do his best in spite of severe handicap.

Do we complain over a bruise or a scratch and use them as excuses to avoid responsibility? Do we excuse ourselves from being the best kind of us by dwelling on self-pity for real or imaginary wounds? Do we withdraw in discouragement and give up when things just seem too great an obstacle?

How determined am I? How determined are you? What’s my excuse for lack of initiative, lack of accomplishment, lack of contentment and happiness? What’s your excuse?

I don’t know why they say “never give UP”. Up is a great word. It brings to mind progress and improvement. Why don’t they say, “Never give down!”

Mistakes of the Past, Worry of the Future

All can be solved by spending the Present Moment in Gratitude and ACTION!

A ship building company had this statement in its advertisement: “All of our timber comes from the north side of the mountain.”

Why the north side? What does that have to do with timber?

After investigation, we find that the best timber grows on the north side of the mountain because of the rigors of Mother Nature.

On the north side, the snow is deeper and the cold is colder. The winds are stiffer, and the warmth is not so warm and comfortable as it is on the south side of the mountain. The very harshness of the weather is a contributing factor to the toughness of the timber.

Human character is not much different from timber. How often the best in character grows on the “north side of the mountain”.

We may grumble and complain about our hardships and difficulties, yet those very challenges help us to grow in understanding and ability. Each can look at his own life and see that the times when he made the greatest personal progress was probably when life had him on

“The North Side of the Mountain.”

The way I am perceived and received as a female trucker goes from one extreme to the other. Some people rave over a lady in a dress driving a truck, but others look me up and down and side to side as though they are considering throwing a sack over my head and hauling me to the nearest insane asylum. I find it rather comical to see people’s reactions. I never lose sleep over other people’s opinions or perceptions. I enjoy what I do, and I dress to please myself.

Recently I drove to a large manufacturer in Texas to unload. I spent a few minutes jumping in and out of my truck to open trailer doors, back into a dock, and unhook my trailer. As I walked into the receiving office, I noticed a group of warehouse workers sitting at a lunch table eyeing me. Judging by the awed expression of one particular Hispanic lady, I wasn’t sure if she was horrified or fascinated with my presence. I made a point to nod and smile. The pretty woman, maybe mid-thirties, approached me shyly and asked my name. Her eyes were red-rimmed and suspiciously moist. I immediately felt compassion for her as it seemed whatever life was dishing out to her was enormous. I have become such a cupcake in my young age. I can hardly bear to see others suffer.

I asked the woman’s name and she replied, “Maria.”

“Are you having a nice day, Maria?” I asked.

The young woman stared at me with a sparkle behind her tears and then stated in broken English. “I sit here all sad. I cry with tears in my eyes, and I say, ‘God, please help me. I am sad and lonely. I hate my job and everybody is mean to me. I don’t make no money, and I need a new life. God, what shall I do?’ Then you drive up in your beeg beeg truck. You jump out in your pretty dress and I see you are smart and happy and I say, ‘Thank you, God! Maria will learn to drive a truck.'”

Maria asked how she could get started in trucking. We exchanged phone numbers and I promised to send her some information. After I left the warehouse, I quickly researched a local driving school and sent her contacts for companies that offer paid training and orientation. I was thrilled to be an encouragement to Maria that day in taking a step towards greater independence and financial stability. She promised to keep me updated on her progress.

If any women out there think they just aren’t capable enough, smart enough, or man enough to operate heavy equipment safely, all you have to do is look at Maggie. If she can do it, anyone can. Maggie is the most unlikely truck driver the country has ever seen.

I realize trucking is not for everyone. I would never have taken on such a task when I was a young mother with eight children. Many middle-aged women are discovering the benefits of a truck driving career. Not only does trucking offer higher income than typical lady wages, but also provides a woman with the opportunity to learn something terrifying that requires her to go beyond typical female boundaries.

Learning new and challenging skills provides a feeling of accomplishment which can result in greater self-confidence. Females are typically more cautious and detail-oriented than males. Some male trucking bosses I have met have informed me that they are actually beginning to prefer female drivers because they’re not as reckless or hell bent on speed like many male super truckers are.

It is obvious there is a huge demand for truck drivers in our nation. Everywhere you go, you see ads for CDL drivers offering them the moon and the stars. It’s rather amazing how much companies have to compete. The benefits and bonuses they offer to engage drivers is often substantial.

Approximately 6% of truck drivers in the United States are female. That percentage is expected to increase as the demand grows and more women become aware of the benefits of driving as an alternative to office and warehouse jobs or food and hospitality employment.

For me, the main benefit of trucking, besides tripling my income, is the independence I enjoy. Although I currently work as a company driver, I have almost as much freedom as if I was a business owner. I have a great boss who isn’t a micro-manager, and I can manage my own time and environment. I don’t have to deal with those company politics so often found in office and warehouse jobs. I face new adventure every day, and the high-risk factor should keep me humble.

The only way I can truly appreciate trucking is because it allows me to work like a man but still be a lady. I don’t have to sacrifice modesty or dignity by driving a Big Rig. I especially love driving a truck because it makes me look small.

It isn’t exactly easy for a lady to get started in trucking. When I went to truck driving school in January 2017, it was very un-smooth. I was the only female in a class of six men, and the head teacher was a male chauvinist. By the fourth day of class, he hauled me in to HR and requested they dismiss me.

“This woman does not have the ability to be a truck driver,” he announced. “She is not grasping the material, and I suggest she find another industry. In my thirty years of teaching drivers, I have never met one who asks so many questions.”

I was rather shocked at his assessment. I pointed out to the HR manager that all my assignments were in the high 90’s and they had no justification to dismiss me. I informed them I would not give up or allow them to get rid of me. I insisted the male teacher stop judging my driving ability by the dress I wore. When I asked to speak to the owner, things changed. Bingo! The owner was a female. She called off the dogs and insisted they give me a chance.

I had to fight every step of the way on my journey to become an independent driver. I endured much teasing and taunting and even downright disgust from many individuals. Some of it was warranted. It was absolutely true that I was a fish out of water. I was scrambling to learn an entirely new industry with a foreign vocabulary and scary monster equipment. I was a lady whose former experience with heavy machinery had amounted to an industrial sewing machine. I was a Blondie trying to survive in a world of Johnny Bravos.

Several people said that they were proud of me for trying, but added their opinion that I could NOT be a truck driver and wear a dress. Several predicted I would be taken advantage of and would never be safe on the road. One female battleaxe truck driver friend warned me, “Maggie, you HAVE to learn to shout the “F” word! You gotta learn to flip birds all day or else all the F’n men out there will trample you into the ground.”

I replied, “I am convinced I can get further, faster, if I behave like a lady.”

That philosophy has proven to be true. I have never had serious trouble during the last two years of commercial driving. I enjoy respect from others on the road, at shippers, and in truck stops. The very fact that I wear a dress protects me. Almost all the male truckers I meet are quiet and respectful, at least they are in my presence. I have been treated better by male truck drivers than I have by business office professionals.

If, like Maria, you find yourself sad or lonely or bored, if you struggle to make ends meet, or you feel you can’t stand company politics another second, consider driving a truck, solo. After a short period of training and team driving, you can get a beautiful truck all to yourself. It’s like having your own personal Tiny House that goes with you everywhere. You can decorate how you please!

You can be a company driver or eventually become an owner operator with your very own custom fluorescent pink tractor. You can keep your truck spotless or let it pile up with pizza crusts and McDonald’s sacks, you decide. You can still do your daily exercises, eat healthy out of your truck fridge, keep up on the news, and spend mandatory rest breaks stretched out on your memory foam mattress, comfy as home.

Sometimes the best employment in life is solitaire! You can keep to yourself when you feel like it. Or if you get lonesome, you can visit every truck stop on the interstate and BS with a thousand other truckers. Navigating through rush hour isn’t really so bad. You are bigger than all the twinkie little cars so they usually stay the heck out of your way. You keep the country supplied with everything. You are Mama Trucker and you feed the nation. You are Queen of the Road.

I absolutely respect and appreciate good men, and I support male leadership. I am absolutely NOT a feminist. But I think strong women who aren’t afraid to do whatever it takes to improve their circumstances and never give up are to be commended. A positive dynamic woman is no threat to good men. I applaud good men with honest principles, and I applaud the same in women.

Date: Sometime last year

Place: Somewhere on I-80 near Chicago

To: Brian Barlow, B&M Services, Location Update

Long night last night. Didn’t leave the shipper until 2:00 AM. Later… I was driving along observing all the rules and keeping all the laws (of course), and this unexpected mountain came along and plopped itself on the horizon. My worst fear came to pass, and my brakes went out on a fully loaded trailer, and I went hurtling down the mountain.

As the scenery flashed by, I noticed a large group of veteran truck drivers all gaping at me with their teeth in their mouth. Strangely, some of them did not have teeth. That proved to be my undoing because the sight of toothless truck drivers was rather unnerving because I remembered the dentist telling me last week how important it is to get a check-up every six months. The steering wheel suddenly morphed into a giant Ferris wheel proving most difficult to grasp, but I did indeed keep at least one hand on the wheel while using the other hand to push the flying hair out of my eyes so I could see more clearly. But when I looked again, the gaping men had turned into the rocks of Stonehenge, and the stones didn’t have teeth either. Weird. Luckily, I was able to steer between two of the giant stones with only a 3″ scratch along the entire 75 feet of my truck and trailer menagerie, and we just kept on bouncing down that mountain.

It was a serious crisis; however, I continued to hold on tight while navigating crazily through the rocks, narrowly missing the pigeons and turtles and other sea faring reptiles. In spite of my breath holding and teeth gritting and eye scrunching, I careened around a curve, and jolted up the other side of the mountain, and that 80,000 pound bucket of bolts just kept on going. My GPS was hollering obscenities at me, but could I help the situation? No, I could not. We plunged up the other side of the next mountain and hurtled over the next ridge.

Finally, as a last ditch effort, I remembered my air brakes which I engaged by punching a large green button on my CB mike which resulted in a gigantic pink parachute contraption shooting out from the back of the trailer. However, the parachute proved to be far too flimsy for the velocity, probably because it was just so…so…pink. To my great alarm, the parachute was soon shredded by the tornado-like activity swirling all around me. I noticed I was being thoroughly scrutinized by a snooping satellite which grinned menacingly from the stratosphere above as the pink parachute streamers billowed behind us shouting, “Look at me, everybody!” The satellite did have teeth.

I wondered where the cops were hiding, as well as the game wardens since the last of the red speckled turtle species were in serious danger of being smashed as we continued to bounce along. I also wondered why in the heck Volvo doesn’t do a better job on their parachutes since they are supposed to be such a high-fallutin’ establishment.

We continued to hurtle, and I saw all nine, plus two, which makes twelve, of my lives flash by in Technicolor as we came to a screeching halt just before going off a seventy-six foot cliff. I scrambled out of my truck with only three broken legs and four bruised cheeks and ran around surveying the damage. To my great dismay, I found that every single tire on both truck and trailer was ripped to shreds with trails of burnt rubber streaking far behind into the horizon as though the truck had been dipped into an ink bottle the size of New Mexico. That made no sense at all since I was in Illinois. My entire livelihood, my lovely Volvo Bernice, and my best trailer 1021 (best since it was my only trailer) teetered on the edge of the mountain like a giant see-saw.

I watched in horrified fascination as both truck and trailer, hinged at the king pin, sawed up and down like the motion of a colossal violin bow, creating the same haunting scratchy noise as one might imagine played by Paul Bunyan on his giant fiddle. Frantically, I ran to the back of the trailer, grabbed the fender, dug my heels into the rocks, and held on with all my might. But alas, in spite of my heroic efforts, both Bernice and 1025 hurtled down Mount Whatsit making a mighty splash into Lake Michigan just one inch from Chicago on the map.

The first thing I thought was, “Uh oh, Brian isn’t going to like this.”

The second thing I thought was, “Cool! I still have teeth.”

Then I woke up.

When I reported this incident to my boss Brian, he replied dryly, “Well, at least you woke up.”

Man, the nightmares I endure trying to be a truck driver and keep the nice equipment nice.

PS. Bernice was the name of the truck I drove before I got Belinda. Bernice didn’t actually get damaged, well…not much, anyway, either by my driving or my nightmares. Bernice went the way of all good trucks and is now resting peacefully in the truck yard of all nice, useful, over-the-hill trucks. May I never go there myself.

Why are some people never happy?

Since I am a human being, I have experienced emotion. I know happy; I know sad, and I know everything in between.

From what I have gleaned out of life so far, I can say with certainty that the biggest reason a person is unhappy is the direct result of continually pointing the finger and looking for fault in others. They might even be forever searching for error in that rascal in the mirror.

Of course it is a good thing to look within ourselves to see how to improve, but must we be ever complaining against ourselves and others?

Life has taught me an important truth. It isn’t what I can find wrong with a person, an event, or a concept that causes me discontent. The issue is when I allow my opinions about a person, an event, or a concept to steal my focus and rule my emotions.

If I allow outside stimuli to control my emotions, I am weak. Even if I allow my inside emotions to control my emotions, I am weak. Some people feel big and strong and mighty when they throw a fit, scream and yell, or shout profanity to express their disagreement or displeasure. Does it really solve the problem? I have heard many people make a big stir and then claim they feel better from their outburst. I can’t help wonder if they are being honest with themselves. When you allow your emotions to control your behavior, does it actually make you a stronger person?

Years ago I discovered that I was too often sad and unhappy. I began to look deep and found that too often, I was allowing other people’s words and actions to control my life. It wasn’t that other people were actually doing bad things or treating me badly on purpose. They were doing the best they could just like I thought I was. So why was I unhappy, and what could I do about the situation?

Someone I highly respected had enough courage to tell me the truth. He said that my unhappiness was not due to the issues I found in myself and others. My real problem was that I did not have a strong enough testimony of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. At first I was offended? What?!! Me? No testimony of Jesus Christ? I thought I believed in Him as the foundation of my very life.

My friend advised me to read again the New Testament, particularly the four Gospels, with the particular focus to get to know Jesus Christ for real. I took the first step by humbling myself enough to take his advice. I read again Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to better learn who it is I believe in. What did He believe, and what did He teach? How did He behave? How did he speak? How did He feel about people and situations?

That was a turning point in my life. It was as though I had been blind, and now I could see. I had no idea I had been so shackled by selfishness. There was nothing, not one word, not one action, nothing selfish to be found in the life and works of Jesus Christ.

After that great awareness came upon me, I began to live the rest of my life. Easier said than done. It takes a constant effort to discover oneself. It takes learning here a little, there a little, line upon line, precept upon precept. It takes a heap of living to learn to control one’s own thoughts, feelings, and emotions. The biggest challenge I ever found was refraining from reacting negatively to the unkindness of others.

There is nothing quite so frustrating and infuriating about People Police, the name I call the group of folks who might be way too busy when you need a hand, but always make themselves available to point out what’s wrong with everyone and everything.

So often, people police overlook the good part of what others do or say and instantly zoom in on what they think is the bad part. Some people have no sense of humor and cannot take a joke. Some aren’t happy unless they’re unhappy. I guess some people feel smarter and bigger and more important when they identify what’s wrong with everyone else.

Ah hah! Caught myself. I think that’s exactly what I’m doing right this minute. I’m judging others for judging me. Tut, tut, MaGee. Vicious cycle, ain’t it. Grandpa Rich used to say, “There’s two kinds of people who won’t make it to heaven–the criticizers, and the criticizers of the criticizers.”

I believe him. I better watch my step. I find that in order to maintain peace within my heart, I must not concern myself too much with other people’s opinions–even those of my friends. In my present endeavor of blogging, perhaps I would be more bothered by the people police if my motive for writing publicly was to obtain public favor. Truth is I write to please myself. It doesn’t matter if a thousand people read my thoughts or absolutely no one but myself.

That doesn’t mean I can’t learn from others. I am happy to hear constructive ideas. But too often, people just want to blab their opinions and pick a fight. Call me a wimp, doesn’t matter. I don’t fight–at least not by way of public debate. I simply turn off comments and write. Sometimes I succumb to temptation and retort since I am a communicator by nature. But I never like myself when I join a debate. Most people think it’s healthy to debate and try to best others in verbal wars. My conscience says it’s not for me. Trouble is I can usually win a verbal war, but I never feel like a winner. I find no satisfaction in belittling others or stomping on wounded pride to get to the top of the Uppity Ladder. I leave debate to CNN and competition to the NFL.

I love to write. I write to please the good feeling inside. I write to better understand myself and the world I live in. I write to encourage others and generate smiles. I learn day by day. Something I wrote about last week might change this week because I learned something new since then. If we make snapshot judgments and hold them against others, we make someone an offender for a word. From then on, we remember that error, that judgment, as though it was the deciding factor of the whole person.

Makes me grimace when I hear people blabbing about other people’s sins and weaknesses from months and years and decades ago. Why do people persist in finding bad in others and what on earth do they find exhilarating about repeating it to others? Why would someone want to resurrect some hurt or error from long ago? What if the offender had long since repented of the offense? Even if someone did something really stupid just yesterday, why that was a whole entire twenty-four hours ago, for crying out loud!

My conscience would never allow me to hold a grudge. Seems awfully counterproductive to personal growth. My conscience calls the shots, and she is bigger than I am. Smarter too. When she says, “Go”, I go. When she hollers “Stop!” I stop. When she commands, “Jump”, I ask, “How high?” That conscience of mine is so dang bossy. She controls me, and I let her.

I have learned the wisdom of withholding judgment. Even when I hear something someone said or did that seems pretty dumb, I avoid setting it in stone in my mind. Chances are that person will repent of his oversight by tomorrow. He (or she) sure doesn’t need me setting myself up as judge over them.

If I was worried about everybody’s opinions, I’d be spaghetti. If I stress over how my fellow human beaners perceive me, I would hide under my rug and never come out. Wait. I don’t have a rug big enough to hide under. I would hide under my truck and never dare do anything. I would never LEARN anything. And if I hide under Belinda, sure as shootin’, somebody else would come along and take over my truck, feed Remington to the seagulls, drive off, and run over me.

When I feel like singing and want to share the good cheer with others, and all someone can do is find a goat raisin in my bowl of oatmeal, I think of my sister Jane. She was always so funny with her wisecracks when we were kids. She could smart off without cracking a smile. I never could do that. My cheesy grin always escaped me. When people got too opinionated, my little sis used to say dryly, “When I want your opinion, I’ll squish your head.”

I know. It’s rather uncouth. Us kids that grew up FLDS should have learned better manners. We were certainly taught good manners. But we were also taught the importance of a sense of humor. We learned the necessity of backbone. We had to find courage to try new things and face the impossible. We were NEVER popular with the public. Unpopularity is nothing new. If I was popular I’d wonder what was wrong with me. If others gang up against me, doesn’t matter. Whether I’m all alone or surrounded by ten thousand like-minded people, I still have the same responsibility to think good, speak good, and act good.

I know there are many issues in the world, in our country, in our cities, towns, and communities. Many find issues in their families and with each other. So many people are so focused on the faults they find in their neighbors, that they forget to tend themselves. Life is actually so very simple. It is easy to find joy and contentment when we look within and start with yours truly. This is my SOLUTION for all the issues in the world.

Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.

Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be;

With God as our Father, brothers all are we;

Let me walk with my brother in perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me; let this be the moment now;

With every step I take, let this be my silent vow,

To take each moment, and live each moment in peace eternally;

Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.

Holy Cow!

I had no idea that Tony Robbins has been listening to Maggie’s philosophy. Imagine that. Seems Tony and I have much in common and share similar wave lengths. The only difference between me and Tony (besides the language) is that his philosophy is worth 500 million. My philosophy? It buys lunch…if I pay for it.

Well…there is another difference between me and Tony. If Tony calls out a person wallowing in self-pity and that person throws a fit, Tony can take his six foot, seven inch, 265 pounds of solid muscle self and loom over the terrified cream puff and intimidate the heck out of the poor whiner.

Me? If I call out a person wallowing in self-pity, and that person throws a fit, I can take my five foot, three inch, one hundred-and-never-mind self and leap into my Volvo truck with a loaded trailer that weighs 80,000 pounds and I can run over the poor wretch.

Way to go, Tony! Way to go, Maggie! This is a free country and this is free speech.

No worries. I’m just mouthing off. Of course I would never run over anybody on purpose, either literally or theoretically. When I search my heart, I find a greater emotion than the one which enjoys teasing the complainers. That greater emotion is love. I have had enough experience over the decades to convince me that God is Love. I would very much like to be like Him.

It seems like most everyone is following someone. Human beings are a lot like sheep. Most of us blindly follow the majority.

Experience has taught me a few things. As I traverse the land observing myriads of sights and sounds, the cautious side of my brain automatically throws up a red flag when I see a crowd following a particular person or a certain philosophy whether it’s the latest health food craze, a religious jubilee, or a rock star concert. Granted there are individuals worthy of following, but for me, it can’t be just anybody.

Why did I take time today to write about Tony? I noticed an article about him entitled “Tony Robbins is a Major Jerk, and Other Reasons You Should Follow Him”.

I realize you may hoot at my presumption of claiming partnership with Tony Robbins. Makes me laugh too. That’s the main reason I drew the comparison, to make you and me laugh. I am not in Tony’s crowd, but I do recognize the good part of “Tony’s Philosophy”.

It isn’t actually my motive to create “Maggie’s Philosophy”. I have no interest in flattery, either from myself or from others. It is important for my own self-respect to stand for truth even if it makes me unpopular.

Above all, I love to love others and be an encouragement. I feel deeply for the suffering of the sad and lonely, and I earnestly hope they can find HOPE. I know how it feels to be sad and lonely and downtrodden. Who made me feel that way? Not who you might think. Many former FLDS folks claim that our leaders made them feel sad and lonely and downtrodden, and many claim they were abused. I think it might be more accurate to say that it was people’s weaknesses and sins and refusing to change that made them feel sad and lonely and downtrodden.

Where did I find abusive treatment? Mainstream.

I find I can’t get away from myself. My appearance, manner of speech, my behavior, all are indicative of the FLDS culture I grew up in and still embrace in my mind and heart. I recall a time six years ago when I attempted to hide my identity because so many people gave me trouble because of where I came from. I couldn’t even find a job without running into prejudice.

I scrounged up a mainstream garb and combed my hair straight back. To myself, I looked like Alvin, the chipmunk, with a summer hair buzz which seriously accentuated my plumpy cheeks. The rest of me resembled a blubber whale squirked into a slinky knit tubular apparatus built for a porpoise. My disguise didn’t do a thing for me. Within five minutes my potential employer nailed me as FLDS because of my name and my speech.

Busted.

After that humiliation and a few others, I made the choice to embrace who I am and make no apology.

After further experience over the last five years, I learned to discipline my mind to turn off the “bother button” when my identity and my philosophy might bother some people. I am quite comfortable in my own skin, and I avoid negative people and negative philosophy like the plague. Every single thing I hear from outside input, whether it’s from people I meet, media posts, newspapers I might browse, television news I walk past in a truck stop, people’s philosophies, or even my own mental meanderings, I weigh it against the feeling of love in my heart.

Love is the great mediator. If any information, whether pleasant or unpleasant, cannot pass the sentinel of truth and love in my heart, it’s not worth taking into my mind or adopting into my philosophy.

Of course I realize throughout the world there are sad situations and there are mean people who hurt others. Believe me, I know what it’s like to be hurt. What FLDS dissenters and the media and law enforcement have inflicted on the FLDS has done much harm. I absolutely do not agree with bashing others and fabricating evidence and stomping on other people to benefit yourself.

I believe in love and kindness and forgiveness. When I do not understand a situation, I withhold judgment and automatically put it on the shelf until further enlightenment is available. But that further enlightenment absolutely has to come from the right source, the source that speaks to me of honesty and charity and objectivity, or I cannot accept it.

I never form an opinion about anyone or anything based on popular opinion. I automatically look deeper to see what the MINORITY is saying. Who is the underdog? Who is remaining quiet and peaceful without retaliation? Who is yelling the loudest and WHY? Truth can be found in the smallest places from the most seemingly insignificant sources.

I am not the original author of my philosophy. In a prior post, I gave credit where credit is due. But wouldn’t you know it. Many people have professed love and kindness and good will towards me, myself. Okay, fine. I do appreciate it. Some even said how proud they were of me and how much they loved my philosophy UNTIL I mentioned where I learned it. Then it was tar and feathers and a lynching party to boot. Someone I have been acquainted with for thirty-five years even called me a child molester. Interesting.

What if I had said, “I learned my philosophy from Tony Robbins!”

“Oh, Maggie, that is so COOL! You are getting on top of things and learning to be independent so you can get past all the abuse you have endured. Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, how wonderful and wise you are.” Right, right.

I could have said I learned my philosophy from Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, and Jesus Christ. I learned much from each of them, especially our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But the truth is the person who had the most profound influence in my life by teaching the life and works of Jesus Christ is Warren Jeffs. He is a Master Teacher of faith, hope, charity, and love. Another man who has influenced me tremendously by teaching by love and example is my father, Merril Jessop. There are many others I could name whose examples have been worthy enough to follow.

I choose carefully what philosophy to adopt. Blindness has nothing to do with it. If I do not adopt the philosophy of others, that doesn’t mean I don’t love and respect other people. But I am under no obligation to adopt anyone’s philosophy.

When someone persists in trying to sway me to their opinion, my question is this: “Why should I believe you? Where is your proof? No, I am not interested in the “proof” you claim to have against someone you consider to be your enemy. I mean where is your character proof to earn my respect? What have you sacrificed for your religion? Where did you obtain your knowledge and how do you practice it in your life? How do you serve your neighbor, and what have you done lately to improve the lives of others? Where are your works to match your proclamations? Where is your credibility?”

Truth is truth. It doesn’t matter who says it. If truth is truth, I will embrace it. I will definitely prioritize truth. Sometimes truths can seem contradictory. There are greater truths, and there are lesser truths. I avoid paying complete homage to a lesser truth to justify deviation from a higher truth.

Seem like Greek to you? Go pay a thousand dollars to the Greek god, Tony Robbins, who can explain it better than I can. He may yell at you, threaten you, intimidate you, and even push you around to get his point across. Nobody calls that abuse. As long as it’s not in the name of religion, people can stand to hear someone tell the truth of their wimpiness.

HOLY BOVINE! Philosophy IS Tony’s religion.

Everybody has a religion. Whatever you love is your religion. If a god of stone brings you satisfaction, happy religioning!

When Father Abraham broke down Terah’s idols, he did it to get his father to see that his gods of stone were powerless to save him. Be sure to choose an idol that can save you.

Man, if your new Ford truck or your three bedroom flat in Park City can do it, that’s great! If your six figure income or your retirement fund can save your carcass, kudos. If your Louis Vuitton handbag, your Keto diet, your Ralph Lauren suit, the best hemp oil on the market, the new Taylor Swift album, your anti-polygamy crusade, your pro-feminist movement, or your march against breast cancer can save you, hurrah! Whatever makes you feel “saved” might be worth your time whether it’s your girlfriend, your powder puff, or Tony Robbins. Definitely pay homage to the god who can save you.

I choose my idols carefully. I find I’m much happier when I limit my idol to one. Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, is my Idol. He is the only One who can save me. His philosophy is the one one I can completely trust and follow. Jesus Christ and His love is my religion. If I listen very carefully and set aside all prejudice, He tells me which human beings I can trust and follow. I follow a Prophet who has shown the way to find Him.

You’re Kidding!

Winston, WHY is this silly thing empty? What?!! You can’t be serious! I actually erased my hard drive? No No, NOOOO!

Oh, Rats!

What? Well, you know how the screen thingie asks questions? Right, well it asked if I wanted to erase all FLIES. Winston, you know how I feel about insects. Huh? Ohhhhh. Erase all FILES? Well, of course I don’t want to erase all FILES! Why would it ask such a dumb question? Tell it NO! Fix it quick!!

No, I am not blonde, just graciously aged. And by the way, my hair color is all natural. What? Of course I realize I’m no Einstein. I’m just a truck driver. I truck stuff, and I write stuff. PLEASE fix this dang thing so I can find my FILES and write more stuff.

Huh? Well, of course I know who Einstein is. He’s the fellow who discovered the light bulb. Hey! Hand me that swatter by the computer, please. We’ve got FLIES buzzing around here. Whack! Oh, sorry about that, Man. There were two FLIES sitting on your shoulder looking at my FILES. They might be working for the CIA or the FBI or the JOU (acronymn for Joke’s On U).

What would I do without my son, Winston. When I break stuff, he fixes it. Even when he might think I am a quart low on brain fluid, he just smiles and magically fixes all my technical errors. He never pokes fun at my un-savvyness. Course there was the time he came home with a giant superman tattoo that was actually a peel-off sticker. Good gravy! I thought that atrocity was real.

Oh, and there was the time when he called ahead to say he was bringing someone special home to meet me. I sat on pins and needles wondering what to expect. He arrived with a wide grin and a tiny female Chihuahua named Honey. When he let her loose, she made a beeline for me and planted wet sloppy kisses all over my face and hair, my blonde hair. Wow! I sure felt loved.

And then there was the time Winston had me out looking for halogen fluid…

Dumb truckers anyway.

Hi Maggie,

Thank you again for your interest in our website. We read and reviewed your book and enjoyed it very much. Here is a copy of our review:

Five Stars

 

I was intrigued by reading “Full of Beans: FLDS Mormons: Evil Culture, Lawless Cult: Fact or Fiction? (FLDS Lady Book 1)” by Maggie Jessop Jeffs a true and realistic account of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church) which is one of the largest of the fundamentalist Mormon denominations in the United States. The author was born and raised in the FLDS Church environment and the author has arranged to have the proceeds from the sale of this book contributed to creating employment opportunities for displaced women with children.

I gave this book a five-star rating based on the author’s honesty and boldness. The author writes as if she is sitting in your living room telling you about her life, and ordeals and her experiences in FLDS and clashes with law enforcement.  She boldly gives the other side of the story openly and is totally candid.

In my view, it is an extremely difficult and distasteful subject. However, the author writes her views trying to make reasonable people understand the whole truth as to what happened in her life and the resulting consequences.  Maggie explains in the beginning, “In this book, I address a dual audience, sometimes the entire world. For this lack of focus, I offer my apology. It is not my tradition to speak or write publicly because I have no interest in debate. I believe what I believe, and for this focus, I offer no apology. I believe that truth can stand on its own and doesn’t particularly need me to wax eloquent.”

Throughout the book, the author has many pictures of what she and the community went through which bring you right into their environment. Many say a picture is worth a thousand words and these pictures enable the author to present a much wider view so readers can learn more about FLDS and form their own opinion.

The author is very sincere in her beliefs.  “The shameful thing is that dissenters know that FLDS members do not generally use the internet and would most likely remain oblivious to news reports and would never read a book defaming family and friends. I don’t think a dissenter ever expects to be called into question for slander. They feel strong in the support of public opinion. Misery loves company, you know. When a person persists in telling falsehoods to a willing audience, it magnifies and strengthens from there. Seriously? Make money by stomping on other people? Vomitous…I realize this subject is controversial… I don’t expect to become the most popular author on earth. I do not fear the world or worry over my reputation.”

Maggie tells a very open and honest story and adds more facts to widen the scenario with pictures and arguments as best as she possibly can.”

We posted our review on Goodreads, and we post on Barnes & Noble but could not find your book on B&N. We posted also on our social media and will try to post it on Amazon.

You can use our review any way you wish and thank you for your interest in our site and we wish you great success with your book and your future books!

Best to you,

Bruce Miller
 

Okay, so it’s Sunday, and it’s been a LONG time since we had a Gospel sermon.

In the absence of someone more qualified than I am to preach a sermon, I decided to rise to the occasion. Many people have messaged me asking questions and demanding that I justify my belief when all the “evidence” is against me.

Rather than overload the Google server with my answers, I decided to write them down in a blog article. When someone asks, I will send them this link. If they really want to know the answer, they gotta read a sermon. If they don’t really want to know, they won’t waste my time trying to sincerely and passionately explain my thoughts to somebody who doesn’t give a damn.

I joke about this being a sermon, and it kinda is because my indignation is piqued. But the truth is, I have no call to get preachy. So let’s call this Maggie’s testimony. I think the birds will be my best listeners. I really don’t expect anyone to actually read this and get clear to the end, but at least I can point to my link and be unavailable for comments from religious howlers and hater debaters.

So the evidence against the FLDS is too overwhelming to question, is it? Actually, I believe the evidence is one of those situations where little gnat rumors mushroomed into a Mount Vesuvius.

After the one thousandth person voiced unpleasantness against the FLDS and the people I love, some of whom have been in prison for over a decade, I reached the end of my patience. Yes, I admit it’s a sensitive subject. Okay, so let’s put your best friends in prison and gather up most of the people in the nation in a great big mob and throw rotten tomatoes at you and your people and trample all over your land and homes and religious rights and see if you get a little sensitive.

I’m just not interested in all the bad things people THINK they know about other people. Don’t forget, I have known the “criminals” personally for forty years. And YES “criminals” DO have American rights. Someday you might be surprised to learn who the real criminals actually are. Truth always wins in the end.

Let’s get some things straight.

1. I do not consider the FLDS a cult, certainly not the understood definition of cult with its negative connotations.

2. I did not leave the FLDS. The Good Lord sent me on a mission of self-discovery. If you’ve never gone out on your own to discover yourself, why you just haven’t lived.

3. I have lived and worked in mainstream for seven years and have had EVERY OPPORTUNITY to compare FLDS society to mainstream society. Want to know what I discovered? Mainstream is the biggest and most abusive and MOST immoral cult of all.

4. The good things I can accomplish on my own is because of the very things I learned from the prophets as an FLDS woman, not in spite of them. Over the last fifty years, I have spent literally thousands of hours in religious meetings that taught me how to excel in ANYTHING! By “anything”, I mean anything of a positive or productive nature.

People that claim the Gospel of Jesus Christ was forced on them and that Mormonism is a cult? Those are the very people who put themselves in that great big giant flock of Mormon Sheep. They somehow MISSED it. We were so incredibly blessed, even spoiled. But many of us listened without HEARING. We were complacent, lazy, and bored. We left the “being good” part up to our parents and the Prophet. And then we go racing out into mainstream to find our “freedom”, and we make the GIANT ERROR of blaming our laziness, our lack of initiative, our lack of brains, and our bad feelings on to the Prophet? That’s just not honest. In fact, it’s downright villainous.

Just want to make myself perfectly clear. I am NOT interested in anybody’s philosophy about what they think is wrong with the FLDS. If you have strong negative opinions because of all that “evidence”, you are just like 99.99% of the rest of the planet. You are just plain BORING and ORDINARY, just like all the rest of the sheeple in the fields full of cow pies and the fishies in the swamp who blindly follow the GREAT MAJORITY.

If you think that “Poor little Maggie is just uninformed. Maybe if we just download the boatload of “evidence” we got from a thousand anti-FLDS crusaders, Maggie will finally come around. If we break the news to Maggie how brainwashed she is and remind her how much we “love” (seriously? love) her even though she’s so stupid for believing in such “wicked” things, maybe we can get her to cave in and come join the rest of us bottom feeders glurping around in the sewer pond”.  Save it. Not interested.

I am a salmon. I prefer swimming upstream. If I were to join popular opinion in hate against Warren Jeffs as a result of calculated propaganda that most people suck up without question–If I did that, I would be a liar. I would turn against the truth in myself.

I do appreciate encouragement from others, but you would be amazed how many people I have met, even dozens of folks that I reconnected with the last few months since I have written public articles. Many are all “smiles and love” and supposed “respect and tolerance for all”. Want to know what’s mighty interesting? They love me and my philosophy until I give credit where credit is due for my philosophy. The minute most people discover my loyalty to my faith, my people, and the Prophet Warren Jeffs, they ping! Suddenly, Maggie is a criminal! When many folks find out that I have no hate in my heart, nothing to whine about, those very same people who professed love and friendship turn cold, indifferent, and even downright venomous.

It gets pretty boring to hear rotten stuff. Hey, I get it. If I didn’t know better, I would wonder what on earth is wrong with the FLDS because of all that bad publicity. I can tell you from first-hand knowledge that the propaganda is 99.9% false. Of course the “evidence” against a Prophet is scintillating and undeniable to the public. The devil is way smarter than you and me, and he is mighty crafty in organizing propaganda. He knew exactly what kind of tales would wrench your gut and fire up your indignation! He’s got so many people hollering over stuff they have no idea what they’re even hollering about. But as long as they’re hollering, they feel energized. Simply amazing.

Many people have asked why I use the internet since we were cautioned against it. Several people have mocked me for my blog. Boy, I sure see why we were advised to not use social media. It is such a terrible time waster, not to mention the hurt feelings from everybody barfing up opinions on one another. Makes life terribly complicated.

So why do I use the internet if I consider myself FLDS? Here’s my answer: WAIT A MINUTE! Don’t be like most everyone else. They ask me questions, and I answer, but they don’t even listen to my answer. They just want to state a question challenging me because they want to pick a fight. They have already decided the answer. Did you listen that time? If people would actually listen to me, and read with the intent to understand the person they asked the question of, they might be surprised to find out that an FLDS woman actually has very good reason to be faithful.

We were taught so many truths as FLDS people. Perhaps some recall the quote of the Prophet Joseph that says, “Whatever God requires is right though we may not see the reason for it until long after the events transpire.”

Sometimes our Heavenly Father will take us through hard experience to test our metal and to open our eyes. The test of time is one of the greatest tests. When it seems like a test will last forever and we can’t see the end, we are tempted to cave. I have been through many tests, some of which have been long enough to begin to see the reason, see the benefits after the events transpired. I still have much to learn. Who taught me that? Warren Jeffs.

One of the greatest things I learned as an FLDS woman was the importance of discerning the difference between the Spirit of God and the spirit of evil. It was impressed on my mind many times that I absolutely MUST know God for myself to survive the great contradictions. Our people were warned for decades that the day would come when we would be on our own without our parents, fathers, teachers, leaders, and without the Prophet to guide us. We were faithfully and repeatedly taught in great detail how to learn and earn faith in order to be independent in faith when the time came. Who taught me that? Warren Jeffs.

Many times our Heavenly Father will test us with a prompting to do something that is contrary to our former traditions. He told Nephi to kill Laban. He sent Esther to marry a heathen king. He told Abraham to take the life of his innocent son. None of those revelations were to me. So, what revelations are for me? If I am all alone and I can’t go ask anybody, who do I ask?

Do I have enough faith to ask God and hear Him when He answers? If I don’t understand His voice, and I don’t know how to respond to His promptings, it would be too easy to go join the world and enjoy all the “fun stuff”. If I want to be faithful, but I don’t know how to reach for answers to know what to do, then what? I have no idea how to make something of myself in mainstream, so do I hide away to protect myself and miss the point of the test? That would be like the man who hid his one talent in the earth to keep it safe. If I am afraid to step out alone, afraid to respond to a prompting that might go against my traditions, who is the loser? The man with the one talent hid it and did not seek revelation to know how to increase his talent. He lost it in the end. Who taught me that? Warren Jeffs.

At this point in my life, if the personal revelation from God to Maggie is to go do a man’s job and drive a Big Rig, risk my life every day driving solo in a dangerous environment, write stories and articles and even share my testimony and love for the Gospel with the world via the internet, I’d be pretty dumb and lazy and go against the teachings I received from the prophets to ignore that suggestion. I would end up losing my talent. Who taught me that? Warren Jeffs.

Of course I realize that I am human and a weak one at that. Yes, I could be deceived and be out doing things I dreamed up all by my little ole self. But if I am too afraid to try, I would never get anywhere. This I know: God will never fault anyone for doing the best they can in any circumstance.

I imagine most people who bother to read my analogy will think I am speaking nonsense. But if you are a Mormon and are well-read, perhaps you can see where I am coming from and understand the principles of which I speak. True faith is not earned without facing great contradiction. Many people have asked me how I can believe in a man in prison who has been convicted of heinous crime. It is one thing to be accused, and quite another to be guilty.

Many ask why I follow the Prophet Warren Jeffs when he, himself, claimed “he is not, nor ever has been a prophet”.

I answer. For those of you who still believe in the Gospel, you know that centuries ago the Prophet Enoch prepared a people who after much trial and sifting, perfected in their lives the First Two Great Commandments. 1. Love the Lord with all your heart, might, mind, and strength. 2. Love your neighbor as yourself. The people of Enoch became perfected to the point that God accepted them into a terrestrial state.

When it came time for the Prophet Enoch to go forward to the next step, many people followed him. He told them to not follow him and warned them they would die if they did. Many turned back, but some refused to turn back. The only ones who got to go with Enoch and his city to a better world were those who refused to leave him. We all know the story. The City of Enoch was the large piece of land that God took from the earth leaving a giant hole filled in by the ocean and is now called the Gulf of Mexico. Enoch could not refuse those who followed him–those who repented and stuck with him.

A Prophet cannot un-appoint himself. God is the one who appoints the prophets. He is the only one who knows which men have enough courage for that position. My faith is not in a man, but in God. He is the One who tells me who the Prophet is. I can’t even imagine the weight of such a responsibility that falls upon a prophet. Moses resisted his leadership appointment and God patiently worked with him until he accepted. A typical personality trait of Brother Warren Jeffs is to be humble and self-deprecating, much like the scriptures describe Moses. It would be typical of him to not seek authority for himself. He has always been the first one to admit the sins and weaknesses of his humanity.

The important thing is not what I think or what you think. The important thing is what does God think? I put my trust where He puts His. Whatever weaknesses or sins a mortal Prophet may have isn’t the point. If he is God’s man, I better make dang sure I’m not out looking for fault in God or the man he appoints. See, the issue isn’t really if I believe in Brother Warren. The crux of the matter is if I know the voice of God and will be loyal to my Creator no matter who He chooses as His Mouthpiece, no matter what things look like or seem like, as in popular opinion against the man.

Many people have asked me how I can believe in a man who sends revelations that “don’t make sense”. Okay, so let’s take you and lock you up in solitary confinement for twelve years and see how you talk, if you’re even still alive. I doubt most men could endure even the first year if they were treated the same as the Prophet has been treated. I am amazed at his endurance. Imagine yourself locked up, shunned, ostracized, kept in 55 degree temp at times, feeding tubes jammed down your throat because you were fasting. Many of your friends turn against you. Some of your own children turn against you.

Many stories are told which twist and corrupt truth escalating into the mushroom cloud of rumor. The media guts the life out of everything you ever said or did and presents it to the world with their own dark and dreadful interpretation attached. Your name is heralded to the world as evil and you are likened to infamous tyrants like Hitler. They write books and movies defaming your words and actions and character, and you are stuck there for 120 years. I wonder how you would fare. Don’t waste your breath telling me of your “innocence” that keeps you safe. Little do you realize the innocence of  the Prophet in God’s eyes.

I have personally known the Prophet Warren Jeffs for nearly forty years. I am totally amazed at many of my former acquaintances whom I also knew personally, shocked to see them come up with so much relentless hate and accusation against the Prophet. But it shouldn’t surprise me. That scenario was prophesied of decades ago and the attack is simply repeating history. Go read again the history of the Prophet Joseph Smith and insert the name of Warren Jeffs. You will find it similar to our day.

Every month or so, some new story pops up about what somebody suddenly “remembers” the Prophet is guilty of, yet he has been detained in solitary confinement for over 12 years. The attackers have become so emboldened that now Brother Warren can be accused, hauled to deposition to face the lion’s den, and the court doesn’t even require the accuser to give his or her name for “fear of retribution”. You’re kidding, right? Absolutely incredible.

There should be a human outcry from justice lawyers and civil rights activists. Yet, still the Prophet loves the people. He still prays for everyone. I have always seen and felt in the spirit Warren Jeffs kept around him, “Father, forgive them.”

When I have been fortunate enough to read the revelations from prison, I keep in mind two things. 1. I do not know if they are actually from Brother Warren without being edited or altered by others. 2. Even if they are exactly from the Prophet and I don’t understand everything he says, that doesn’t mean he is not a Prophet. Am I going to get so hung up over this detail or that detail, and spend so much time looking for error, that I miss the message? I already know what the message is. It basically boils down to this. “Great destruction is coming; repent of your sins; stand ye in holy places, and watch the arm of the Lord made manifest.”

The Holy Place for me is my mind. How do I make it holy? I discipline my thoughts to 1. Love God most. 2. Love my neighbor as myself. Makes life pretty simple and pleasant.

I offer this hypothesis. If it were actually true that Brother Warren is guilty of all the crimes they accuse him of… Now, I’m not saying he is guilty because I know first hand that he is not. Even a professor at the college in Saint George this month (February 2019) voiced to his class that he, the professor, met the female witness who put Warren Jeffs behind bars. He stated in class that the witness admitted to him, the professor, that she had lied on the witness stand. I knew that woman personally. I knew the other women who testified against the Prophet, and I personally know the men and women who have written inflammatory books defaming him. The woman who confessed her lie to the professor, her false testimony, was the factor that would have thrown out the case.

PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE. Ask anyone in the class.

Okay, so back to my hypothesis. IF the Prophet is actually guilty, and me knowing the voice of God enough to know that He STILL considers Brother Warren His Man, THAT SHOULD BE VERY ENCOURAGING TO ME. Not only me, but it should encourage all the rest of us. Why? If Brother Warren actually sinned, which isn’t the point, but if he did, and God forgave him and still guides him, maybe the good Lord will also forgive me and the rest of us miserable sinners. C’mon, admit it, we all know we are rotten sinners. Pride is the greatest sin of all. That dang devil! He’s got everybody SO distracted and SO riled up about what he says the Prophet is guilty of, that we all forgot about our own repentance. Crafty, ain’t he?

Remember, Enoch could not refuse those who followed him. Brother Warren cannot refuse those who follow him. He warned us hundreds of times (actually not just him, but the prophets before him also), warned us so many times that the contradictions would get so great, we would hardly be able to contain ourselves. Even the very elect will be deceived if possible.

We were taught that the gift we must seek is the Love for Truth. The power of love for truth is the only way we have the ability to recognize truth even though 99% of our friends and the public will tell us opposite. Of course most people will deny Brother Warren because most are susceptible to popular opinion, and they easily believe emotional human sob stories. Satan is very crafty in causing a gut-wrenching stir, even using the most vulnerable of subjects in order to incite the public and create the greatest contradiction of our generation–the innocence of children. What a pathetic situation. What an incredible deception.

Most folks are glad to hear public opinion that “the Prophet has fallen” because it gives them the excuse to do whatever they want. It’s easy for FLDS dissenters to join popular opinion and run to hell because hell is just so dang fun. Believe me, I have been living in hell for seven years, and I know how it is. All those shiny trinkets and fancy clothes, all that media imagery, not to mention the freedom to do whatever, whenever, with whomever you please. It’s just too irresistible for most people. Most of the population are prancing around in golden bracelets carving a golden calf looking for the golden goose so they can sit on a golden throne.

Lest we forget… 2 Nephi 13: 8-26

8.  For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen, because their tongues and their doings have been against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of his glory.

9.  The show of their countenance doth witness against them, and doth declare their sin to be even as Sodom, and they cannot hide it. Wo unto their souls, for they have rewarded evil unto themselves!

10.  Say unto the righteous that it is well with them; for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.

11.  Wo unto the wicked, for they shall perish; for the reward of their hands shall be upon them!

12.  And my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they who lead thee cause thee to err and destroy the way of thy paths.

13.  The Lord standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people.

14.  The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people and the princes thereof; for ye have eaten up the vineyard and the spoil of the poor in your houses.

15.  What mean ye? Ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor, saith the Lord God of Hosts.

16.  Moreover, the Lord saith: Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched-forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet—

17.  Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will discover their secret parts.

18.  In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments, and cauls, and round tires like the moon;

19.  The chains and the bracelets, and the mufflers;

20.  The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the ear-rings;

21.  The rings, and nose jewels;

22.  The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping-pins;

23.  The glasses, and the fine linen, and hoods, and the veils.

24. And it shall come to pass, instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle, a rent; and instead of well set hair, baldness; and instead of a stomacher, a girding of sackcloth; burning instead of beauty.

25.  Thy men shall fall by the sword and thy mighty in the war.

26.  And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she shall be desolate, and shall sit upon the ground.

I appreciate encouragement, but I hate false sympathy. I am only interested in going forward in love and gratitude for myriads of blessings. Did anyone notice that the sun rose this morning? Did you notice that you can still breathe the breath of life? Did you thank God today that you’re still alive? When our Savior returns in glory and each of us face Him to make a report, I don’t think He is going to be interested in all the bad things we think we know about other people.

I imagine He will simply ask, “Did you love one another as I have loved you?”

Life is actually so simple. It can be very pleasant when we focus on gratitude for our blessings. The best thing I can do TODAY is smile, say something nice, DO something nice, and be kind to others. Great things are on the horizon. Who will stand before Jesus Christ with a clean conscience? I don’t know about you, but I sure have work to do.

I think it might be wise to SHUT UP and watch how things transpire over the next decade or two. Wouldn’t we rather be silent about our opinions of the sins of others and perhaps be thought a fool than to open the mouth and remove all doubt?

I once read a clever saying. Silence is Golden, and Duck Tape is Silver. Think I’ll head to Walmart to stock up on duck tape.

End of Sunday sermon. You are now excused.

Birdies, meet me here at 10:00 AM next Sunday.