Confessions of an Ex-Mormon Ex-Polygamist Ex-Wife August 4, 2012

Confessions of an Ex-Mormon Ex-Polygamist Ex-Wife

Joanne Hanks used to be a Mormon as well as one of many wives serving her husband. But she got the hell out of that lifestyle. (Hallelujah!) She tells her story in a new book called “It’s Not About the Sex” My Ass.

The first chapter (with possibly NSFW depictions) is below, as is your chance to win a free copy of the book!

Unbuttoning my blouse, I stepped into the bedroom. I heard him moan with anticipation.

I dropped my blouse to the floor. Then my bra. He moaned again, louder this time.

I slipped under the covers.

The sound of the bedsprings was a rhythmic song of passion, building to a crescendo as if to shake the plaster from the walls. Harder, stronger, louder, with each thrust of his massive frame, he gasped and moaned with unrestrained pleasure. Then, no longer able to contain himself, he let out a scream of ecstasy and relief. It exploded against the thinly insulated bedroom ceiling. Right below where I had crawled into my bed.

It was a passionate scene, but I wasn’t in it, you see. I was alone in my bedroom. The sounds I heard were coming from the bedroom below, where my husband was having sex with Judith, my “sister-wife.”

It was one thing for him to have sex with another wife in my house. After all, he had my permission. But did he have to do it there, right under the room where I was trying to sleep, where I was trying to ignore the whole thing, where I was trying to pretend that it didn’t shred my heart anew each time, where I was trying to pretend that I believed it was God’s will, where I was trying to pretend that it didn’t bug me that at just 17 my sister-wife was a full 16 years younger with way bigger boobs, and did he have to scream loud enough for God, angels, all the neighbors, any spacecraft that might be passing by the planet — and me — to hear it whether or not we wanted to?

I had to do something. Something mature. Something befitting the righteous, meek, and humble Handmaid of the Lord that I strived to be. Something dignified, that wouldn’t cause the Holy Ghost to flee our home. After all, I sure as hell didn’t want to be burned at the coming of Jesus. It was bad enough feeling burned at the cumming of my husband.

I desperately sought inspiration for the right way to handle this delicate situation.

Inspiration struck. I marched to the center of the room and stomped on the floor.

From — if you’ll pardon the expression — the mounting crescendo in the room beneath my feet, I could tell that my one meager stomp had had no effect. In a moment like this, I would need to call upon all that I had learned throughout my life and my marriage about effective interpersonal communication with my spouse. In other words, I was going to have to stomp lots of times and lots louder. STOMP STOMP STOMP STOMP STOMP, went my foot. It ached for weeks.

The subtlety of my approach paid off, as evidenced by the fact that now all I heard was crickets.

A moment later there was another sound. It came from the stairs. I counted seven clomps. There were 14 steps, which meant he was taking them two at a time. A moment after that he appeared red-faced in my bedroom doorway, his long-armed, long-legged magic underwear with the special marks twisted hurriedly on.

He apologized. They hadn’t meant to distress me.

I am an artist. I paint murals and landscapes. People admire how my mind conjures up pictures and directs my hands to reproduce them on canvas. It’s a skill I’m lucky to have. The problem is, the vivid movie screen inside my head has no OFF switch. When my mind cooks up a picture I’d rather not see, I am powerless to remove it or even look away. So with every moan, bed creak, and shake of the wall, my mind added brushstrokes in vivid detail to a non-erasable mental picture of the four of them — my husband, my sister-wife, and her enormous boobs — going at it. I might as well have been right there watching.

I felt rage, but also guilt. Like I was some sort of voyeur.

I knew the score when I agreed to polygamy. We repeatedly told ourselves and emphatically preached to all who would listen that polygamy was a commandment from God.

“It’s not about the sex,” we constantly lectured the morbidly curious. It was about building God’s kingdom on earth. It was about saving desperate single women from unworthy men who could give them no kingdom in the hereafter. We were fulfilling a higher calling.

I felt bad. I knew that I should have kept quiet and not disturbed their privacy.

But what about my privacy?

The New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage, as we in The True and Living Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Last Days called it — as did the mainstream Mormon Church — was God’s higher law. If you wanted to go to heaven, you had to be a polygamist. Yet all the same, there were times when the higher law struck me as a bit kinky.

During moments of doubt, I knew I was blowing it in the worthy handmaid department. In the Old Testament, Jacob’s wives never showed jealousy toward one another. Oh wait, yes they did. But in the early days of the Mormon Church, Joseph Smith’s and Brigham Young’s wives didn’t get jealous. Oh wait, yes they did.

No matter. We were The Elect. I could do better. I would do better.

If you sense in me a house divided, you are not wrong. I gloried in an inner conviction that we were following God’s true plan. But inside I ached, because what God demanded of me was awful and it cut deep. How I thought a worthy handmaid should feel and how I really felt were constantly fighting it out within. More often the first, but sometimes the second, prevailed.

I tried to draw strength from my husband’s certainty. He knew — knew — that we were on the Lord’s path. He told me that the Spirit manifested to him the rightness of our course by lifting his heart. And, I surmised but didn’t say, from time to time by lifting his other part.

He returned to my sister-wife’s room — it was still her night with him — and I spent another sleepless night on my own. Using my fist to pound a spot for my head into my pillow, I muttered to no one in particular, “It’s not about the sex, my ass.”

The next day, the three of us wordlessly relocated my sister-wife to a bedroom at the other end of the house.

Here’s a question for all of you: Have you ever escaped from a bad situation? (It doesn’t have to be as serious a situation as the one in the book!)

Leave your responses below! If you live in the U.S. and you’d like to win a copy of the book, just include the word “prophecy” at the end of your comment and I’ll contact the winner next week 🙂

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  • I escaped from a head-on car accident (not my fault) with minor burns, scrapes and scratches a couple years ago.  Yay airbags!  Prophecy.

  • Even as a gay man, I want to read this book really badly for some reason. Prophecy!

  • Erica R.

    Not that I can recall but this might be the most appropriate book title ever.  Prophecy

  • Onamission5

    Best. book. title. ever.


  • I got out of an abusive relationship. Unfortunately, I had an abortion to avoid being attached to that awful man for the rest of my life. I don’t regret having it, even though I do regret the relationship altogether that made me feel that was my only choice. (Adoption could have been, but I didn’t think I’d be able to give it up after giving birth.)


  • I’ve read another book recently about a woman’s escape from the FLDS – the Warren Jeffs cult – and it’s simply staggering what they get up to and how they use religion as a tool, how the leaders use their authority to pick off the cute nubiles for themselves and their buddies.  Some very, very sick shit.

    I imagine that there are polygamist relationships that *are* consensual, and I think we should allow room for that lifestyle choice, but seeing the pain of this sort of religious coercion pisses me off.


  • Ray

    Sounds like a great read.

  • BekahDekah

    I took a cab to the emergency room and arranged my own emergency surgery when I was bleeding to death from and ectopic pregnancy rupture because XDH decided it was food poisoning and didn’t want to drive me because he was too drunk.


  • I was able to leave a terrible situation with my father, which he kept trying to drag me back into. He was a heavy drug user (meth and crack), and he ruined my childhood because I was his scapegoat, his punching bag, his entire reason for hating everything and doing drugs. He is now 2 or 3 years clean, and we are trying to rebuild our relationship. This book sounds amazing, I love reading things like this.


  • 3lemenope


  • Katie

    ex dear husband, I think

  • Marco Conti

    Sounds like a great read.

  • Tainda

    I read it as ex dick head but that’s probably because that’s what I call my own ex lol

  • 3lemenope

    I did too, but I wanted to make sure (and UrbanDictionary was surprisingly unhelpful).

  • Katie

    I “escaped” from  The Worst Roommate Ever by moving out! I was about one incident away from murdering her in her sleep.
    Looks like it will be an interesting read – Prophecy!

  • Onamission5

    Yup! Depending upon the relationship, it can be ex-dear husband or ex-dickhead.  Given her details I am going with the latter.

  • DreadPirateRogers

    I always kinda knew it was about the sex, I looked in my crystal ball an saw it – PROPHECY!

  • Sarah

    I escaped from a bad marriage-to-be by leaving him a month before the wedding. Prophecy!

  • PegK

    It makes me pity the wives on “Sister Wives.”  They seem so brainwashed even though they always insist it is completely of their own volition.  They husband on that show is totally creepy.   

  • PegK

    “The husband” rather.

  • Jess

    This sounds really interesting! My escape: I was walking in my old apartment’s parking lot when two guys came out with guns. They proceeded to empty my pockets, force me into the back of my car, drive me to the middle of the ghetto, and dump me off, taking off with the car. I sprinted out of that neighborhood and to the nearest business to call the police.  Prophecy!

  • jont

    “I was trying to pretend that it didn’t bug me that at just 17 my sister-wife was a full 16 years younger with way bigger boobs”

    “with every moan, bed creak, and shake of the wall, my mind added
    brushstrokes in vivid detail to a non-erasable mental picture of the
    four of them — my husband, my sister-wife, and her enormous boobs —
    going at it.”

    someone’s jelly.

  • Rachel

    She has an incredibly good way of telling a story. I really want to read the rest of it, for sure! 

  • I was raised in a cult and got out. Woohoo! Prophecy. 

  • kate C.

    I don’t really think I’ve had to escape from a really bad situation, luckily.

  • allein

    My ex-BF owed me over $8K when I finally gathered my self respect and left. Sadly, I didn’t take his dog with me (though I did get him later, for a while). Prophecy.

  • F Montes de Oca

    I get out of a bad situation every time I leave work!


  • Baby_Raptor

    I approve of your nicknaming skills. 

  • Spotted_toad

    At least I’m not Catholic any more!   Escaped that…


  • Becca C.

    Raised as a Mormon in the Lds Church. Did the whole shebang, now I’m out! 🙂 best desicion ever!


  • Danielle

    I escaped the cult I was raised in.

  • Maybe ex-drunk-husband?

  • Barbara

    Well, I’m working on it. I have a low-paying, 3-hour-a-day job, and my boss thinks I’m stupid. She’s so wrong!  I just got an A grade in a college English course, and I’m getting other training as well. I’m on my way out of that job!

  • baden26

    I was able to escape from a prison of my own mind – major depression. Hopefully, never to return to that place. – Prophecy

  • Lauren Stewart

    Christianity used to be a pretty bad situation for me; I escaped from it, though! This book sounds like an amazing read.


  • awik

    We’re middle aged. She’s LDS, I’m “unchurched”. When we met and began courting, and continuing two years into our marriage, our sexual life was perfect. Then she decided that all that was left for her to make her life truly perfect was for to get baptized again. What the heck, no big deal to this unsuspecting, un-LDS educated, compliant husband. First came the (WTF) grarments, then after a couple of General Conference Sundays there went the movies, every word that wouldn’t be approved of in Heavenly Fathers sacrament meeting and then, finally, sex. It’s just is inappropriate except to give bodies to all the little spirit children. Other than that, nothing happen’ here.


  • Mark

    I escaped Catholicism! Prophecy.

  • Jake

    Joanne Hanks used to be a Mormon

    Um, no. When you say “Mormon” the general public is going to think of the LDS Church in SLC. She was not Mormon. She was part of a fundamentalist mormon sect. When you make comments like that it only reinforces false stereotypes in peoples minds. I doubt you like it when people spread ignorance about atheists. So please try not to do it towards others.

  • Anonymous

     None are consensual. Authority. Fear.

  • Nancy Norton

    The worst I ever escaped from was a lousy job (and it wasn’t nearly as lousy as a lot of people suffer through). I was raised mostly without religion and reading stories like this make me realize how very lucky I was!


  • Nathaniel

     So in other words she was a Mormon.


  • 3lemenope

    She was not Mormon. She was part of a fundamentalist mormon sect.

    So…she was a Mormon. Just a fundamentalist one.

  • Retreat

    sounds like it WAS all about the sex

    FOR HER.

    she just can’t get the sex part out of her mind. She’s painting pictures of it in her head. She’s obsessed about the sex.

  • Kristin

    I escaped from almost 19 years of abuse from my father. In many ways, though, I’m still escaping. I have repressed most of the memories, but there are still some that stick out. Being smacked at age 3 for accidentally spilling a glass of milk. Not wanting to kiss him goodnight one night when I was 8 and him snatching me in the air, kissing me, and then throwing me onto the ground. There were other forms of abuse that I’d rather not discuss here. As I got older, the physical abuse stopped and the emotional abuse began, which was much worse. Being taken to my grandmother’s in the middle of the night to hide us from our mother. Him telling me gleefully how he had sold my favorite toys at a yard sale while I was at my mom’s house. Him literally holding my teddy bear, which I needed in order to to sleep, hostage until my mom agreed to let him take us on vacation. Him locking all the phones in the house in his room so we couldn’t call our mom or anyone else when we were with him. The controlling, abusive behavior and mind games were constant. Despite all this, he still had part-time custody of us. He had the best lawyer in the county representing him, and the time we spent with him actually increased. We repeatedly told the court-appointed psychiatrist (who was almost as manipulative as our father), and he did nothing about it. Even when we were teens, my sister and I were never allowed to speak for ourselves in court and were forced to continue seeing him.

    The last straw came on my first visit home from college (I kept seeing him even after I turned 18 so that my younger sister, who suffered worse than I did, wouldn’t have to go through it alone). It was a trivial argument; I don’t even remember how it started. He ended up threatening not to give me any money for college (he had threatened this since I was in my early teens and had put so many conditions on the money that we never expected him to chip in anyway). I blew up. I told him how much he had damaged my sister and me and that I didn’t want him or his money in my life, and walked out the door. That was six years ago and I have never looked back. (My sister turned 18 shortly after and did the same.) It was a struggle, and I have a lot of student loans to pay back, but I graduated college and am happier than I have ever been.

    (Sorry to ramble, but I haven’t talked about any of this in years, and it feels kind of cathartic to get it out.)


  • ara

    a wild Jake appears
    it uses No True Scotsman!
    it wasn’t very effective.


  • Jake

     Again, Mormon has come to mean LDS in the vernacular. Unless you are alright with spreading misinformation, it is not the correct term to use here with out a clear qualifier.

  • Shawn Thompson

    I got out of a bad situation by not marrying one girl whom turned out to be super crazy, not to mention getting out of my 1st marriage…much better place now.

  • ara

    I have to struggle to remember that “DH” means “dear husband” and not “damn husband”

  • Alchemist

    Someone’s stating the obvious.

  • Tina in Houston

    Got invited to a party at an apartment, walked in and saw the drugs, walked out. As I was walking to my car in the parking lot the place got busted. That was my lucky day!


  • 3lemenope

    To me, Mormon has come to mean:

    1.  Person who calls themselves “Mormon”

    or slightly less reflexively

    2. Person whose religious beliefs substantively derive from the writings of Joseph Smith, esp. “The Book of Mormon: An Account Written by the Hand of Mormon upon Plates Taken from the Plates of Nephi; Another Testament of Jesus Christ”

    Everything beyond that, from the external view, boils down to the People’s Front of Judaea against the Judaean People’s Front.

  • Alchemist

    Also, what a tool.

  • 3lemenope

    I think from now on all accusations of informal fallacy should be required to be performed in haiku form. 🙂

  • amycas

    …or you could read the rest of the book and then make an asinine statement like that.

  • Py

    Please learn the real definition of no true scotsman.

  • Jake

     Good for you. Unfortunately the majority of the public does not think the same way.

  • 3lemenope

    When someone (never mind your spouse) is having sex below you so loudly that it interferes with sleep, it would, I think, be difficult to think about much else.

  • Well . . . . I’ve escaped from several terrible jobs, although I’m not sure getting fired counts as an escape.  I did escape from a wrecked ambulance, go back in and treat my partner until rescue arrived . . . . and then I got “taken down” and c-collared, then strapped to a backboard for a 45-minute drive to the hospital.

    I have apologized to every patient I’ve boarded since. 


  • oambitiousone

    Applied for grad school. It would have emptied our savings account. Got cold feet and decided to continue working for myself  and being around home more for my kids. Went to yoga training instead. Saved 17K (minimum). Weathered the economic disaster with the remaining next egg.


  • Lorimakesquilts

    Escaped from a deep dark depression with the help of a wonderful man, then I married him.

  • Kristin

    I have to struggle to remember it doesn’t mean “designated hitter.”

  • 3lemenope

    Are you actually saying that no polygamous arrangements anywhere are consensual? That’s a heckuva claim.

  • 3lemenope

    I’d be really surprised if they didn’t on this one, actually. I doubt a majority of the public makes the fine-grained distinctions you seek to between different branches of a religion that most of them have had no direct contact with, much less substantial experience.

  • AZ Atheist

    I have no problem with polygamy.  Child abuse and forced marriage is another story, but I’ve always thought that polygamy should not be against the law any more than homosexual marriage is.  Both are considered acceptable or unacceptable based purely on traditional and/or religious rules. All the arguments made in favor of allowing same-sex marriages could be made in support of polygamy. It’s not for everyone (and obviously not for the author of the book in question), but that does not mean that some people could not live happily and productively in that lifestyle.  I do not condone the Mormon religion and I certainly do not condone the forced marriage of minors that too often accompanied polygamy in certain Mormon sects, but as a lifestyle choice, I don’t see an inherent problem with it between consenting adults.

  • 3lemenope

    When a person seeks to shift away from a common or consensually established definition of a concept describing a set of objects (or in the case of particular formal arguments, the definition indicated at the beginning of the argument) specifically in order to avoid the consequences that come from the inclusion of a particular object or objects in the set that meet that original and/or common definition…that’s a No True Scotsman.

    Jake attempted to limit the definition of “Mormon” from its natural use to a more restrictive one in order to exclude the author of the book at issue from the set of objects [Mormons], as he didn’t like the consequences of including that author in the set [Mormons]. Thus, Ara used it correctly, and in poetic form no less. 

  • I escaped an assault in college and helped the police identify the bastard.  He’d apparently victimized 4 other short, blonde women before me, but I was the only one to file a report immediately after the incident.  He clearly had a type and would have kept on attacking short, blonde women.


  • Tgrafix

    Yes. My mom was killed by a drunk driver when I was 16. No dad around. My older sister was given guardianship over myself and my younger sister and brother. She and I got along like oil and water. We would get into knock down drag out fights on a regular basis. The last one, my younger siblings were witness to and it scared the living shit out of them…and I was left with my older sisters claw marks drawn down the length of my arm.  Withing a week, I moved out to live with a family that I babysat for on a regular basis. They became my foster parents until I was 18.  I went from going to school once a week if I felt like it (after my mom died) to never missing a day and pulling fantastic grades. Mid year I ran into the counselor that drug my butt into her office every week TELLING me that next week I’d attend every day (NEVER asking how I was coping)…and she was shocked to see me. Since I hadn’t been on the absent roles the counselors all assumed I’d dropped out. Nope…just in a better situation.


  • Jake

     I guess you don’t quite understand that there can be a difference between the actual definition of something, and the commonly accepted definition. Or you just enjoy enforcing stereotypes.

  • Vision_From_Afar

    Never had to do the escaping myself, but I’ve had to aid in a few jailbreaks (figuratively speaking, of course).

    In accordance with the Prophecy…

  • Vision_From_Afar

    The problem is that delightful little phrase “consenting adults” smacking head-on to the wall of “religious dogma.” 

  • Vision_From_Afar

    Obvious troll is, indeed, obvious.

  • I shared this post on my fb wall and am awaiting fallout…which should be nil.prophecy

  • Sherry Hintze

    I guess I’ve been lucky in my life. I’ve had ups and downs, but never a situation bad enough that it called for ‘escape’. My husband and I are in the process of dissolving our nearly 20-year marriage, and it is a definite relief to have finally agreed to stop trying to make it work, but I couldn’t say that either of us is escaping. It’s just a parting of the ways.


  • theuniverseman

    I just deleted a real nasty reply to your post Jake, it was really mean but I thought about it and decided that I didn’t want to go there because I am actually a very nice person.  Just for your information I am a Mormon, I served a mission and was sealed for time and all eternity in the Temple, but now I am an atheist, I still carry a temple recommend and I still go to church therefore I am still a Mormon. You see last year I realized that all religions are no different fundamentally from the FLDS church, you might not be able to see the differences from your perspective but I assure you that all of the atheists here know exactly what I am talking about.  I am glad to see you here my friend I’ll bet we could have some very interesting conversations at church, keep searching and asking questions, question everything.

  • Nena

    I agree. I am polyamorous, and it is by free and happy choice of my partners and myself. There is a big difference between what I have consensually and what the Mormon church forces.

    One of the biggest differences is that if any of us experiences jealousy, we talk about it and work through it in a loving way, as we do with any emotion. The book excerpt above made it sound as if jealousy was forbidden in her relationship, and that is as absurd as forbidding sadness or anger or joy. 

  • Christine

    I’m a gay atheist, halfway through a Catholic high school education, about to take the course “Growing in Christian Morality”. Hoping to escape this one without being dismissed from class for voicing Satan’s opinions…

  • Splitters!

  • dug_inn

    I finally stopped trying to ‘save my marriage’. Once I stopped trying to ‘win back’ the affections of my spouse, I realized how miserable I had been.  The divorce process was not as bad as I was afraid it would be & now I am much happier.  Surprise, we are all happier – both of the parents and the kids! 


  • 3lemenope

    I understand that words are consensual tools for communicating concepts between persons. In order for that to occur, a commonly held definition must obtain for the word between the persons. Dictionaries codify the most common of these definitions, and so facilitate communication on a broader scale. 

    So, the common definition doesn’t reflect what you’d like it to, because you feel it is inaccurate in the way that it points to the concept. That’s perfectly fine; definitions change over time in response to just such complaints, and if others find that the accusation of defect has merit eventually your preferred definition might become the common one. What isn’t fine, and what I called you out on, is arguing not that the current definition is wrong, but rather that your preferred definition already is the current one. As much as you may want it to be, wishing doesn’t make it so, and so for the time being trying to argue that your preferred definition is the common one is an error. 

    Now personally, I strongly disagree with your “improvement” to the definition. It seems entirely self-serving, and not at all accurate, and better described as a clumsy attempt to No True Scotsman your way out of dealing with the fact that some Mormons are not the family-friendly Salt Lake City approved variety. The call themselves Mormons, and that’s good enough for me. I could well be wrong, but in this case I really doubt it.

  • ninja-phoenix

    i had a relationship in highschool that went from good to excelent to bad to toxic. when i finally got the courage to break up with him it took a turn for the dangerous. for the next three days he emotionally and practically psychologically tortured me and ran me through such a guilt trip i almost considered getting back with him( he actually tried to make me kill him because he claimed he couldnt kepp living without me). but i knew that if i did it would only get worse as our relationship continued. so i convinced him that i was in love with someone else who happened to be a good friend of mind. i know terrible idea espically considering i never told my friend that was what i was doing. he wasnt happy about it but he let me go. we agreed to be friends but i completely severed all ties with him as soon as he was out of my life which was thankfully easy because he lived more than an hour away from me. about two years later i found out he had been stealing from one of the last friends he had and had been arrested for it. i was so glad at that moment that i ended when i did i can only imagine how much worse it would have been later on.



    Actually she could have been Mormon before she became FLDS. Not sure if you know this but more people in the states leave it than join. Maybe they need to start announcing how many letters they get of people wanting to be removed from the records.

     Or maybe you could say she is Pre-Woodruff Mormon. However you want to see it the difference between LDS and FLDS is minimal.

     Do some research of you church’s history before you hung up on a name.

  • grindstone

    I escaped a marriage to a fundamentalist. Prophecy

  • AxeGrrl

    The moment that said it all was when he was asked how he would feel if one of the wives had another man, and he responded that he found the idea almost too “vulgar” to think about.  *rolling eyes*

    I don’t begrudge anyone their personal choices, but when such an arrangement is so completely one-sided/hypocritical, I just have to ask ‘why?’ Why would anyone agree to such an “If I do it, it’s ‘right’ and good, but if you do it, it’s vulgar” type arrangement?


  • I escaped several times from different situations.  Family abuse and then I got married and escaped that relationship.  Finally, I escaped from the mental and emotional tyranny of  25 years of my life spent  in hell and that was the best escape of all.  Freedom is just another word for nothing less to lose…but I gained so much since then.


  • Raavynn

    I escaped from my private hell when I left my hometown at 19 to join the military. I had been living under the looming shadow of my father’s and stepmother(let’s call her “D”)’s “born again” faith.

    From the time they started dating (I was 11 at the time, and living with my mom and sister),   D took every opportunity she got to control me and my sister. She was always around when my dad had us on visitation. We weren’t allowed to just be kids. We couldn’t touch anything, we had to wear stuffy clothes, eat food we hated. My mom couldn’t take anymore once we told her that D had smacked me and sis on the legs for arguing in a dressing room while shopping. I confronted my dad and told him I did not want to see him anymore if D was going to be there. He chose her over his children. It hurt so bad, and it was not the last time he’d make that decision.

    The summer I turned 14, we moved to a new town(to get away from my stepdad, who hit my mom-he kept finding us). I hadn’t spoken to my dad since the confrontation. My sister and I found that dad and D had gotten married and that we had a half-brother. The sad thing is that we found out through my mom (evidently it was on paperwork for something?). I was crushed. My dad had forgotten me and started a new family. It was time I faced it and put my effort into helping my mom run the house. It was time to grow up.

    Due to circumstances I won’t discuss here, my sister and I had to move in with my dad and D. We were uprooted in the middle of the school year, just as we had gotten settled, to move into a strange house with a woman we’d only had bad experiences with. D expected us to project the image of a “perfect Christian family,” and when we didn’t, consequences were dire. D was manipulative and abusive (emotionally and physically). We weren’t allowed to talk to out mom.  I was shamed for having lost my virginity before marriage. I considered myself pagan at the time, and I was grounded for my beliefs. I learned to pretend my way through, attending church on Sundays and Wednesday nights. My sister ended up being sent to a Christian Children’s Ranch for her failure obey the rules and fall in line (normal teenage rebellion stuff). I had lost my best friend and the only one who knew what I was going through.  Evidently, her presence was a strain on their marriage. My mom found out, and got custody. Sis still won’t talk about that place. The last straw for me was when D started a fistfight with me while my dad was gone one day, then blamed me when he walked in on it. I was 18, and I was moving out.

    Even after I moved out, I couldn’t escape their influence. My dad and D wouldn’t answer my sister’s calls and said she wasn’t welcome in their home. She called me crying. She missed our dad, but mostly our brother. While I was living with my boyfriend, I found out that D had told my innocent little brother, “God is mad at your sister for living in sin.” He was 5 years old.

    After I left for basic, I lost touch with my dad. I was no longer welcome after “coming out” as a non-Christian and renewing my relationship with my mom. As much as I missed my family members, I’m glad I left.

    Sorry for the rambling. Truth be told, this is the abridged version of what I went through.

  • feline256

    In other words, you don’t get to decide FOR other people whether they are Mormon [or basically any other social group label] or not, even if it makes you feel uncomfortable.

    And yes, the author who called herself Mormon, was part of a Mormon church, and even followed the historical tradition of Mormonism, is flippin Mormon. Even by the “commonly accepted definition.”

  • Raavynn

    Oh, prophecy. I almost forgot.

  • feline256

    Huh, that’s really all you got out of reading that? Really?
    I guess when a woman mentions “sex” it completely cancels out every other word she says.

  • Randyman72

    @Barbara-I can relate. Without actually knowing you, and the particualrs of your boss/job situation, I can only venture to guess that your boss is stuck in his/her job and resents you, a younger person who is pursuing higher education, and is destined for much bigger andbetter things in life than your current job.

  •  You cannot know that, of course.

  •  That’s quite incorrect, Jake – sorry.

  • Guest

    Just ask why Ratzinger ordered his bishops to conceal child rape!

  • JohnnieCanuck

    There’s really not that much difference, except as a matter of degree.

    A few FLDS men have sister-wives. Because of the way numbers work, the rest of the men get kicked out or lose out.The LDS men have agreed not to have any sister-wives but are only waiting until after they die. Then, assuming they have been good enough they will become planet ruling gods and they will have as many wives as they can get.That’s what they tell themselves. I read it on the internet, so who knows.Pity the poor, brain-washed children born into the cult.

  • Jon

    I’m about to: t-minus 10 days and counting.

    Back in 2005 I moved to New Zealand to meet a fascinating woman I met on line.

    The relationship “sorta worked” and we married, but after we moved back to NZ from Oz last year the strain of being with someone in an increasingly sexless marriage (to the point of extinction) finally broke me.

    In Oz we tried counselling-she canceled (without explanation) after the second session.

    I tried to understand her point of view-only to see an emotionless creature with serious mental health issues.

    No, not the kind of ” issues” my hurt ego wanted to see-the ones requiring heavy psychotropic meds and constant medical surveillance from both a psychological and a medical viewpoint on her part.

    She had a long prior history of mental illness my loneliness was willing to ignore-until I couldn’t ignore it any longer. 

    At least she is stable here and has a good support network and gainful employment.  All I have is my retirement savings and a ripcord to pull.

    At least it will be something different…


  • Stacey

    Escaped a long time ago from Catholicism, christianity, and the tendency to feel the need to believe in any god out of peer pressure. My parents still think I am probably going to hell, but at least we have a kind of understanding and they don’t say things like that out loud, and don’t try to take my kids to church or have them baptized or anything. Religion can be a real home-wrecker, but luckily my parents decided they would rather have an atheist daughter and grandkids than none at all. I can relate to the author’s inner conflict between what one feels and what one thinks they should feel, after years of guilt over just not being able to believe in all the bullshit or keep quiet about it entirely. Now, I marry atheist and gay couples for a living, which makes me happy.

  • Thackerie

    I escaped being recruited into The Way International cult when I was a freshman in college … which led me to take an elective course on the History of the Bible (to clear up the confusion caused by the cultists) … which led to me becoming an atheist about 4 months later. Hallelujah!



  • Steve

    Joanne is an ex-Mormon. She her husband belonged to the mainstream Mormon Church before they joined the polygamist cult.

  • Steve

    Oops. She *and* her husband…

  • Matthew Crocker

    Who hasn’t been in a bad situation? And most of those are over. So, of course we all have.

    I’ve never been in a situation as bad as Joanne’s, but my first marriage was an abuse-fest. And, fair’s fair, it went both ways. We were too young, too stupid, didn’t understand ourselves well enough. When it ended, although it ripped my heart out at the time, I wasn’t missing HER, I was missing being married.


  • Bri


    Just a hurtful significant other. But it’s getting better all the time.


  • kiri miller

    Goodness, yeah my stories are nothing compared to this. 


  • mariev

     The problem with Mormon, is that its a one-way polygamy. In the name of god, not because they believe they can share love, live free, and respectfuly. I call it hypocrisy.

  • Wei

    I bought the digital ePub edition from Lulu. DRM pain aside, it was a good read. Blew through it on a Sunday morning. Highly recommended.

  • BenofSoCal

    A hearty Bravo to all of you women who had the courage to escape religious misogyny.  You’ll soon understand why those of us who have taken the time to study our religions and their origins – and subsequently rejected them – have such a hard time understanding how anyone can actually believe such obvious tripe or how they fail to see the patent contradictions in their dogma that are so apparent to those of us who are no longer under their spell

  • TMwife

    Ugh.  My spouse is part of the transcendental meditation cult.  He meditates about 7 hours a day at the golden fucking domes of pure knowledge.  He gave up sex for a spiritual relationship.  

    I should leave him but financially it would be devastating.  So, I pretty much ignore him as he pretty much ignores me.  

  • Kathryn

    The summer after my freshman year in college, I moved back home for a few months. This involved sharing a room with my sister who had moved back in with our parents a few years before, after having finished her own college degree. For the first few weeks, it wasn’t all that bad, but as time went on, she started to get more and more irritated with her lack of privacy and autonomy, and took it out on me, waking me up in the middle of the night to yell at me, starting arguments for stupid reasons, and even physically dragging me into a brawl at one point. My parents did very little to stop her, their view was that there was very little they could do. I took it all the best I could, but at the end of that summer, I moved out and haven’t been back for more than just short visits.

    That was the summer that “home” became no longer my home.


  • jen

    I experienced this in polyamory. No matter your opinions abstractly formed, it’s traumatic to hear your boyfriend fucking someone else in the next room, and it’s a shitty, disrespectful thing to do. We were/are atheists too.

  • jont

    I didn’t see anything else about her husband or sister wives at all. Nothing that would make me think they’re bad people or that their lives are all about the sex.

    I see nothing to contradict what I wrote. It was all about the sex to her.

  • Agnostic

    Is that mainstream Mormonism or a splinter sect that she came from. Many sects have weird practices. Has the author investigated?

  • Val0221

    I escaped from a small, bible thumping town the day after I graduated from high school.  I never believed any of the crap at church-not since I was about six years old. I thought the entire town was Jesus crazy and I was the only one who wasn’t.  Turns out I was right!   I didn’t know where I was going or what I was going to do, but I had to get away from all the bullshit. Now, I get to constantly question, debate and challenge my hometown on their ridiculous beliefs through Facebook (kind of a hobby I enjoy) on a daily basis from the other side of the country where I am so grateful to be living- beautiful sunny San Diego. Prophecy. 

    (I am getting the book regardless-it’s very interesting.)

  • I have no problem with polygamy, either, as long as the woman can have multiple husbands too.

    If she can’t, that’s pretty sexist.

  • Pascale Laviolette


  • Hey!  I also got too close for comfort to The Way International cult in college!  I had my doubts about religion in general (since age 9) but something REALLY didn’t seem right with The Way.  I actually had emailed my pastor back in my home state, someone I did (and still do) respect, asking about them and he sent me a lot of information.  I quickly distanced myself from those people.  After that, I dabbled in studying Hinduism, then found the Unitarian Universalists, and gradually found my peace with atheism.


  • jemiller226

    If there’s such a thing as monogamous privilege, you’re displaying it nicely. If not, there should be.

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