Who am I? What do I stand for?
These days if you want to see sparks fly and get punched in the noggin’, you talk about religion or politics. Most people have pretty strong opinions about God and Donald Trump, not to mention a gazillion more subjects. People tend to react strongly if you say anything black, or white, or sometimes gray. And talk about the rainbow? Oh, my. Folks see red and you get a big fat black mark. Humans are big on the color wheel.
Quite a few folks have patronized me for sharing my views about my faith and culture, and my experiences among my people, the FLDS Mormons. They say, “Now Maggie, if you want to learn to get along in the world and make money, don’t talk about those embarrassing things. Just stick to basics.”
I don’t know of anything more basic than faith in God.
True, I have strong opinions about faith, taking responsibility, freedom of religion, religious tolerance, deceptions and hoaxes, and politics. But that doesn’t mean I intend to quarrel and debate. I just pretend that everyone agrees with me.
Now don’t be saying bad language words. Can you blame me for pretending? Obviously, I am in the extreme minority. If I open myself up to debate, I would be like a little mouse chased by a pack of hungry lions in a Roman coliseum while blood-thirsty millions shout and jeer and throw taunts and tomatoes.
The fact that the controversy concerning the FLDS has mushroomed into epic proportions proves an epic point.
C’mon, admit it. You have seen so many Coke commercials over the years that now most people keep the niggling idea in the back of their minds that if you drink Coke regularly, you will somehow be thin and fit and beautiful and make friends easily.
So it is with “news” about the FLDS. You have heard and read so many negative things so many times, that now you just KNOW all there is to know. Most people have formed strong opinions based on inaccurate and misleading reports and perceptions opposite from truth. Even shades of truth or isolated truth or twisted truth is still not truth.
Naturally, when one writes on controversial subjects, it tends to kick up dust. Some people eat dust and choke on it. A few might get a clean cloth and wipe the dust from their spectacles so they can see more clearly. Sometimes when you express positive opinions about unpopular subjects, others accuse you of being down on them because they have a negative outlook. ‘Tis a puzzlement.
Having recently heard of a great deal of venomous debate and negative comments from people I once enjoyed fellowship with, I share my thoughts. In spite of popular opinion, the FLDS is not extinct. There are still thousands of believers. Though many are scattered, someday, there will be a gathering.
Who am I anyway? I am a teacher tailor trucker sort of gal who likes good people, good food, good humor, and good works. I am pro-God, pro-faith, pro-work, pro-think, pro-life. I make no apologies for this. If you find my words offensive, you are welcome to borrow my glasses. You might call them rose-colored. I,too, enjoy color, especially pink.
I don’t really expect the general public to entirely understand or appreciate my point of view. Realizing there is extremely negative publicity about my faith and my people, I believe it is only fair to have at least one positive perspective from a female believer since it is we women who have been widely represented as spineless and brainless victims of abuse.
Besides writing to keep myself busy and out of trouble which takes a great deal of my time, I also write for future generations. I write for the sake of history. I write to record a moment in history. My moment.
I lived in FLDS communities for the first 47 years of my life. I am intimately acquainted with the people and the lifestyle. I have since lived on my own in mainstream society for nearly 8 years. I have had ample time and opportunity to compare both cultures, I’ve had time enough to observe and deduce the cause and effect of each culture not only upon myself and my children, but upon many other families as well.
When it comes to opinions concerning FLDS culture, I have observed that many dissenters are playing the victim card. Here’s a teensy suggestion from someone who only wishes your happiness. Whether you are a lost boy, wandering girl, self-made power woman, or liberated man-hunk, nobody will never achieve a worthy degree of self-respect and self-confidence by blaming anyone for anything.
The quickest way to destroy yourself is to constantly dwell on all the reasons you think you ought to feel bad. Does anyone love spending time with a griper? Anyone? Yes, of course, misery loves company, but how long can people stand it?
Fact is, as a people, we FLDS were very spoiled. Most of us had blessings handed out on golden platters, and we grew up with expectations of entitlement. We were guilty of class distinction and thought we were better than each other, and especially better than those in mainstream. God called us to judgment for on-going criticism of one another, for bad feelings, bad habits, and especially for pride-the ugly kind. How appropriate of Him to banish us to the world to learn how to look for good in others even if they are not like us. Seems like He wants us to learn that He loves all of His children, not just us FLDS kids.
It would be far easier and safer to say nothing since the subject is so unpopular. Since I have many friends and acquaintances in mainstream, it would be the simplest thing ever to blend in, dress down, and join all the “fun stuff” and joke my way into mindless oblivion. I could easily be absorbed into popular culture until my true identity is obliterated. I could probably even achieve anonymity to the point that people would no longer study me as though I am a fascinating relic from a prehistoric museum.
But there comes a time in each person’s life when one has to ask,
“Who am I?
What do I believe?
Where did I come from?
Where am I going?
How on EARTH am I going to get to HEAVEN?”
There comes a day on the road of life when each person must stand up for what they believe. No matter what scandalous stories you may have heard; no matter how confusing all the promised tests and contradictions might be, the truth is that FLDS faith and culture was and is true Mormonism, as taught by Joseph Smith and the prophets who followed him. The whole focus of the Mormon faith is to trust in God, and to love and serve our fellow man…and woman…and child.
In a nutshell, this is what I believe:
“We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.”
Articles of Faith #13 by Joseph Smith