I am finally sitting down to blog again after flying across country last week and getting everything back in order again. While I was away, I managed to pick up the book Escape by Carolyn Jessop. Mrs. Jessop is a former member of the FLDS which is the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints which is a strict belief system. One thing I do not do is try and give others a hard time when it comes to their religion. We all have our beliefs, grew up in different cultures and are entitled to these freedoms in this nation. This book mentioned some disturbing things such as young teen girls marrying older men, men having several wives and children amongst some of them. However, this will not be the focus of the blog entry here. I have to commend this woman for taking her children out of this abusive environment and standing up to the FLDS culture. If this were me in this situation, I would not have lasted a day. There are so many horrific things occurring behind closed doors and it takes guts to speak out against these horrors. A man by the name of Warren Jeffs who was considered the Prophet in the FLDS committed many crimes and abuses which led to several women escaping the cult and sharing their horror stories and Jeffs eventual prison sentence as these things were exposed.
The aspect I wanted to focus upon is the relationship that these several wives have with one another in these homes. A man can be married to several wives at once and they all live under the same roof. As females, when it comes to men, we tend to fight amongst one another if we are after the same man. Yet what happens when you get a group together who are married to the same man for religious purposes? The FLDS considers these cluster of women “sister wives” and they are suppose to respect and get along with one another. Also, they “keep sweet” and make themselves submissive to their husband and Prophet which leads to nothing more than power hunger and ownership of others. One thing that Mrs. Jessop mentioned was these relations she had with her sister wives. The husband, Merrill Jessop, had six wives while she was married to him. The one most favored was the most abusive and the “Queen Bee” of sorts named Barbara. She ruled her sister wives and all children with an iron fist. These women ganged up on each other, gossiped, and clamored their way into the favor of “Queen Wife Barbara” and Mr. Jessop. They fought amongst one another for his attention. Barbara dictated the social order between them. Any discord amongst Barbara and the other wives filtered into the children and these ladies would take a great deal out on them if their mother was out of favor. Standing up to this Barbara was uncalled for and severe punishment ensued if it was done. Folks, this gossip, backstabbing, verbal abuse, punishments….this is relational aggression and as you see it happens amongst women and not just girls. Barbara is favored by her husband and therefore, she was given a great deal of power. Instead of using this power for the greater good of the family, she abused her sister wives with threats, punishments and other behaviors. The others either feared her or worked hard to get into her good graces by selling her sister wives out. From what I read, this was a vicious circle that never stopped but grew worse with time. As this woman was given carte blanche within the home, she used this to her favor. Mrs. Jessop mentioned several incidents where things got out of control because of this woman and her games. The mind games, favoritism and other behaviors made it impossible for anyone to live in harmony or keep sweet within the home.
Folks, I have said it a zillion times. Favoritism breeds all sorts of underlying problems such as jealousy which breeds a lot of resentment amongst people. Plus, with favoritism comes people who are given power which gets out of control. Its like a flesh eating virus or cancer as it multiplies and eventually kills. As you see, in a culture that is geared towards submissiveness, it occurs. A young girl being married to a man 32 years her senior is bad enough but to have to live with the games, gossip and power problems daily can really break a person. No wonder these women were getting on anti-depressants as mentioned in the book. Please, stop giving someone power within your cluster of friends or family. Try and see everyone for who they are and leave them be. None of us are perfect and when you build someone up, favor them and allow them to have any sort of power, you help create a monster. This Queen Wife Barbara lady became a monster as a result of this. She is one of many who have become monsters as a result.
I wish Mrs. Jessop only the best. Eventually, Queen Wife Barbara had to own up to her abuses in a court of law. Merrill Jessop, the one who favored Barbara and his children lives in the USA on one of the FLDS ranches. As for Warren Jeffs, as I previously stated, he is in prison for his own crimes and I hope he is learning to “keep sweet” himself while he pays for his own dirty deeds within the FLDS community.
Resource Cited: Escape by Carolyn Jessop
Elizabeth Bennett is the Author of Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying From a Psychological Perspective and resides in Los Angeles, California. To learn more visit Peer Abuse Know More.