Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Jumping Through Invisible Hoops

My mother is the type that becomes very fanatical about certain things.  The stories and rules she creates surrounding those things because insane and impossible to fill.  Most surround her obsession over The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or Mormons as they are also known.  I was a member myself till this year and realized that I had no faith in this religion.  I was just brainwashed to follow it.

The story my mother tells with pride of how she became a member is interesting to say the least.  I was 3 and we were in Ontario on a military base.  She was married to her 3rd husband and like the first two he was in the military.  Also an important part to this story for it to even sort of make sense is my mother believes that her grandfathers ghost followers her around.  Supposedly when he died he appeared to her and told her that he was dead.  She then told her mother and a few minutes later their phone rang with the info.  Since then any time she wanted to convince someone that she was right about something she would say "Grandpas here and telling me so."  Well on this day there were two missionaries that had just started walking up our block.  Supposedly Grandpa appeared to here and told her that there were two young men walking up the street that were teaching about the one and only true church.  Supposedly he told her to go and join.  She then says she ran down the street and told them that she didn't care what religion they were but that she wanted to be baptised right away.  A few weeks later she was.  I do know she did become a member.  How true the rest of the story is I have no idea.

After that all her rules she based off of the church.  Saying it was "revelation from God."  She used the church to basically beat you into submission.  Making you terrified of the consequences from not only her but what God would do to you if you made even one slip up.  She would constantly tell me that because I was born and conceived by unholy means I was unholy and a curse.  And if I was anything but less then perfect I would have no hope of going to heaven.  She was constantly telling me that no man would love me, no man would marry me.  I would just be someone they would use for pleasure and to take care of them.  I would ask why no one could love me.  Her response was that no one could love a curse. 

She was also the type that would single out one child as good and deserving of her praise(my older sister) and one child as her anger release.  Me.  When she married her 4th husband who had 3 kids, my sister was no longer residing with us.  So her new favorite became the youngest step child.  When her 4th husband and she split she got custody of only the youngest step child.  So since she only had her she became my mothers anger release.  All the other step kids during the marriage and myself became her anger release. 

She would create what seemed like normal rules.  For example No leaving clothes in the bathroom.  And then she would attach a crazy consequence.  There was a time that the step son forgot a tie in the bathroom after having a bath before bed.  When my mother found it she went to his room, dragged him out of bed, stripped him down to just his underwear and then pushed him out into the snow of the front porch.  He was only 9yrs old.  It was winter and he had to stand out there in bare feet for about 15-20 minutes.  He was dancing around and crying.  Begging to come in.  She had not even told him why he was out there.  He was apologizing over and over thought he had no idea why he was or what he had done.  When he came in all she said was Maybe now you will pick up after yourself.  He still had no idea what she meant.  She sent him to bed and he was crying and shivering.  His feet were dark red.  The next day at breakfast is where he learned what he had done wrong.  He said sorry and stared at his plate.

Another rule she had was to not talk bad about the family or what goes on in it when guests are around.  So we were all usually on our best behaviour.  I mean perfect any time we were in public or at home with guests there.  In church we were known as the kids that do not move.  We just sat there with our hands in our laps and smiling.  My mother, if stressed over something, would find some little thing that we had done.  Usually blowing it way out of proportion.  She would then dish out the Cayan pepper.  By the tablespoon fulls.  They were allowed no water for a few hours.  After this punishment they would be forced to do a chore usually and were not allowed to complain or cry.  I could just imagine the pain in their guts and mouth yet they had to do all required or the punishment would be worse.

Another one was no talking back.  If she deemed one of the kids talked back then she would walk them out to the swamp in the back, line them up on the dock and put them in the water.  They had to stand or knell till the water was up to their chin.  And they had to stay that way.  This water was gross.  On the other side is where the cows would sometimes relieve themselves.  The water itself stank.  They would be put in this water as long as it wasn't frozen over.  So even into the late fall this punishment was used.  Sometimes there were there for 10 or so minutes and sometimes hours.

I remember during the summer she really picked on the oldest and singled her out.  She decided she was being defiant and told her it was because there was a little green imp on her shoulder that only my mother could see.  And as long as she had that imp she would not change.  My mother then said she was going to the Temple to find out what God wanted her to do to cleanse this child.  We all knew that was bad.  All her punishments came to her after going to the Temple.  When she got back she told the oldest that she would have to live in the barn until God deemed her cleansed.  The barn was old, had mice, was never cleaned, and was small.  Just consisted of 2 stalls.  My mother made her work all day in the fields pulling weeds.  Remember on the farm girls were only allowed to wear skirts.  So her legs were always being scratched up.  Her hands the first week were always bloody.  After a week my mother showed a small bit of kindness and allowed her a thin pair of gloves.  When she wasn't pulling weeds in the hot sun she was in the house washing everything.  Whole rooms.  Using chemicals that dried out and cracked the skin on her hands.  They were red, raw and very angry looking.  She was allowed only one bath and that was in a big metal tub that was used to water the cows.  The water was cold and the tub was placed in the center of the front yard.  Her bath was on Sunday morning before church.  She was out there for over 2 months living these conditions before my mother deemed her fit to reside in the house again.

These are just a few of the crazy rules and the consequences.

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