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Spirituality Today: Toxic religion and a mother’s love

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February 27th, 2009
It s a rare day when the FBI puts a "prophet" on its Ten Most Wanted list. Yet when the Bureau placed Warren Jeffs on the list, the announcement triggered a manhunt to nab the polygamist and to convict him as an accomplice to rape. Ever since Carolyn Jessop fled the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), her testimony began to form a crucial part of the case against Jeffs. As told inEscape, 18-year-old Carolyn had been forced to marry a 50-year-old man she did not love. As his fourth wife, she would give birth eight times in 15 years eventually sharing her husband with 12 other "sister wives" and a teeming brood of more than 100 children/stepchildren. Saving her children In time this blue-eyed mom found herself downstream from Warren Jeffs, sickened by the foul smell in her family water bucket. As the bright, young mother watched her children sipping dirty water, she began to doubt her husband, then the "prophet," and finally her whole dysfunctional faith. Bolting in the middle of the night, Carolyn Jessop raced away from 10,000 FLDS members in hopes of a new life with her boys and girls. Now that Carolyn s divorce is final, this courageous prodigal is gently beginning to date again. Describing a new friend in her life, she writes: "Brian is Jewish, and he took me to his synagogue and taught me about some of his beliefs and traditions. It was interesting to me, but at the moment I m not in the market for another God . I welcomed being included in a world where ideas, culture, and education were respected . I was seeing life in color again." When devotion is dysfunctional Long ago Saint Paul warned that some forms of devotion could turn out to be pathological: "In later times people will be lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God . They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny God." Many are reassured by the implicit wisdom of monogamy, citing Moses first book: "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one."

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