The issues facing women in our country are really not new or just a problem in America. We are actually in better shape than in some other countries. This doesn't diminish our problems here. I am really tired of the excuse that this misogyny we face as women, began with Eve. My response is this, that: Adam chose the fruit, Eve didn't twist his arm. Yet, men are not held accountable for his decision. It is all Eve's fault. Please. Divinity would not be omniscient and infinite if he did not know what happened and what the result would be. This story which is found in the Tanach is a good story. Jews also have a legend that the first woman was actually Lilith. She was not "created" from Adam's rib. G-d created Lilith to be his equal partner. Adam couldn't handle a partner so he asked G-d for a new helpmate who would listen to him and obey him. In the Jewish calendar, we are in the new year of 5773. It is a different calendar than the Western one. It is a Lunar calendar and based on the moon instead of the sun.
In the years since, the exile from the garden, most societies have blamed and diminished women as the natural course of events. 2012 is no exception. Women are treated without respect or equality by the men in their lives. Most sexist men and women feel women are weak, not as intelligent and the beginning of the evils men cannot resist.
Many fundamental sects of all the religions speak of having to control women and that women should not speak. Some separate women in worship, some don't allow them to speak, and some come up with ridiculous reasons that women are not equal. All of them use G-d as their as their right to use and punish women in unbelievable ways. Just being a woman, just having the power to create life seems to be a crime.
G-d, Adonia, The One, The Beloved, Buddha, Allah have been said to have given instructions for the deplorable treatment of women in the world. So the Divinity which resides within all of us and the fact that we are "All children of the Universe" matters not in terms of gender.
I began mentioning some of the terrible things that women were having to endure yesterday. I want to go back to the practice of polygamy in some fundamental Mormon sects. I find this to be disturbing because American children are being raised to think that this is a form of marriage that will help them into heaven. I have read the book, The True Origin of Mormon Polygamy.
This book goes back to the founding of the Mormon Church upon the revelations of one Joseph Smith. They actually started out in Kirkland, Ohio and as time went on they moved farther and farther west. My research has led me to many testimonies made under oath that tie Joseph Smith and Bringham Young to the revelations. Some were made by women that one or the other of them had tried to entice the women into plural marriages.
In the before mentioned book, you are able, if you wish, to read Joseph Smith's revelation which he said he received on July 12, 1843. The revelation is called, "Revelation on Celestial Marriage." Polygamy was made illegal by the Federal government in the late 1800's.
My reading of memoirs of women and children who have "escaped" from polygamy (see yesterday's blog for titles written by women involved in the practice of polygamy), have given me a distressing view of life for women and children in these sects. What I have discovered is that the so called ""Revelations" give Mormon men the right to have as many Celestial or Plural wives as they wish.
There are entire communities where everyone is living in polygamy. Los Molinos is one of them and is in California. These women must share their husband with ten, 20, or more sister-wives. They are raised to believe that the only way they have of getting into heaven is to become a jewel in a man's crown. When he dies, if he has enough jewels, he will reach godhood. The wives make it in using his coat tails.
This is why educated women and girls put themselves into this situation. Polygamous families do have differences, in how the husband works out the challenges that come with more than one wife and with enough children to fill a cruise ship.
Some families live all together. the husband wives and all of the children. Try to imagine perhaps 50 people in a house trying to have meals, get ready for school/work, dealing with sick kids. The other scenario is that each wife and her children have their own home. In either scenario, the women have to deal on a regular basis watching their husband spend the night with one of the other women. This causes jealousy, envy, sadness, stress and loneliness for these women. Husbands often don't know the children's names or birthdays. Some wives go out to work and some stay at home to raise a scary amount of children.
The husband gives them as much money as he can, many are often working for the church so often that they aren't available to work and generate an income all the time. Older male children often leave and go to large cities to earn money to send home for shoes, food, or additions to the family.
The fundamental sects keep this all a secret. Often women and children live in tents, or houses without running water or electricity. Most live in some of the worst poverty found in our country. The girls are prepared to take their place as a plural wife all of their lives. Some girls have been sealed into Celestial marriages as young as ten years of age.
Women have no control over their lives and abuse takes place and they believe they have no recourse. Of course, they do, but these marriages are secret, and they are raised to believe they accept it unless they are willing to run with their children and lose their ticket to heaven.
Having enough food is difficult. Education doesn't usually include college. Some of the sects are built in Mexico for protection from the law. Having young girls as wives is more about the molestation of their young bodies than spirituality.
Wives often have children at home with the assistance of women who act as midwives. The man is to get anything he wants because he is a man. There are stories of girls being talked into running away from their families and marrying a man to ensure their heavenly place.
All of these conditions bring us repeatedly to women being property, owned by a man, demeaned, abused and kept in near slavery, in some cases. There is a Federal law which makes this lifestyle illegal, but it must be enforced. The Warren Jeffries case is just one of the cases happening in our country while we look away and women and children suffer. We must begin to enforce these laws without fear. We must protect these women and children. They -- and all women and children -- are part of the fabric of America.