Mum lent me an incredible book the other day. It's the true story of a woman who was brought up in the polygamous cult and Mormon offshoot, the FLDS.
At 18 she asked her father nervously if she could go to college to become a paediatrician. Two days later she found herself married to a 54 year old man as his fourth wife. Her father had asked the 'prophet' of the group for permission, and he had said, yes, she could go to college, but to be a teacher, and she should be married before she went, and here's the name of her husband.
Her life was horrendous. Squabbling women and children, an abusive and power-hungry husband, a lack of money, emotional manipulation and physical abuse, eight pregnancies, three of them life-threatening and a son with a tumour.
Through it all, she was blamed for whatever went wrong. When they didn't have enough money for food, but her husband and his favourite wife were eating steak every night, her husband said, "You should be happy with what I give you. You are in rebellion to me." When she was stalked by a criminal with homicidal tendencies employed by her husband, he said, "You shouldn't encourage him. You are in rebellion to your priesthood head by your actions." When her son was deathly ill and her husband wouldn't allow him to go to hospital, she had to get her parents to help her 'illegally' to call an ambulance, and was then blamed for the whole thing. "If you were perfectly obedient to me, God wouldn't have cursed you with a sick son. It's all your fault."
Life got worse and worse until she took a huge chance and made a bid for freedom. She won custody of her children through the outside court system and is now living a relatively 'normal' life!
I'm particularly interested in the story because I've been so intrigued by the TV show Big Love, which is based in the same cult. Now I've got a lot of background information and more insight into the show.
Scary stuff, when women have no power and are completely dependent on a male patriarchal system for everything. And when it's preached as God's will... even worse!