Parallels - Part l My Marriage - Emma's and Joseph's
My Journey Through The Pattern (con't)
Parallels - My Marriage - Emma's and Joseph's
The Microcosm reflecting the Macrocosm
of Double-Bind Thinking in Mormonism
The above experience, "My Awakening," was the beginning of an intellectual search, which had formerly only been a reliance on my feelings and perceptions. The perception that something was wrong came first and was very valuable, inasmuch as I could observe my feelings, and could tell if I were getting close to my "Black Hole." Then, remembering the feelings ... getting a "feel" for my emotions, I started asking myself, "What triggered this feeling, again?" It was a slow process, but isolated connections were being made, like finding pieces that completed a small section of a large puzzle. At first, sections were isolated, then, gradually, I could join sections to sections. The awakening experience described above, gave me the first concrete pieces to my puzzle and a direction in which to search; this search lasted 20 years, mostly because I would leave the main stream, searching out tributaries which seemed to be related. Some of these were fruitful ... some were not.
Until late last fall, I knew of only one other member, personally, who had left Mormonism. I was satisfied that my experience was real, and I wanted to write about it, especially for my children. However, The Pattern was so convoluted, even to the point of madness, that I felt that if I had only my experience to show them, they would think I was either "crazy," or merely expressing "hurt feelings." Ironically, that is the description of The Pattern; it is "crazy thinking," and it does "hurt" ... mentally, emotionally, and physically. But, my children, not knowing this, and I, as the messenger delivering the bad news, thought that I would be misunderstood, and possibly hated, while that which was doing the harm would be set free, unseen, to continue its destructive pattern in their lives.
I had no other corroborative personal experiences of others to verify it; I needed to interview other ex-Mormons, but did not know how, or where, to find them. Lacking those means, I moved to Mexico to write a novel, perhaps, based on my findings, and to do more research. I was in the process of doing that when my son, Matt, discovered Eric's "Recovery From Mormonism" site on the Internet. Matt soon posted his own story. This site changed my life in many ways. All at once, I had what I needed ... the stories and experiences of other ex-Mormons ... here, were my undirected "interviews." They were all expressing aspects of The Pattern; some posts expressed all stages. I soon began posting on my own Internet site my original findings, plus, examples of The Pattern found in Mormonism, from the many stories I had examined.
Next, I posted The Pattern as it plays out in Marriage, still using examples from Eric's site. While I was doing this, I began absorbing more information from the Internet, and also read Fawn M. Brodie's book, "No Man Knows My History," and Newell and Avery's book, "Mormon Enigma, Emma Hale Smith." As I was reading both, I was struck with the similarities of Emma's marriage to Joseph and my own marriage. I began reviewing the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants where Joseph had made references to marriage. What I found in Mormon "scripture" and in the two biographies, were uniform examples of The Pattern as I had experienced it; I was reading about my own marriage! ... as was also my experience as I read the many posts I was writing about; I was reliving my own life experience in Mormonism. This has been the experience of almost all, if not all of those who have posted on Eric's site. That is not surprising when you think of it. We have all been programmed the same, with the same "scriptures," containing the same Pattern; it is inevitable that our behavior would follow the mental concepts we were fed. Like robots ... push the right button, and you get the "correct" programmed response. The Pattern can also be defined as psychological stimulus and response. The responses from The Pattern become so ingrained, that the Binder can "predict" ... can " prophesy" the "future" fairly accurately, IF the Bound does not wake up.
* * *
My Marriage in Mormonism -- Emma's and Joseph's Marriage
The Binders and the Bound
Stage 1. The Desire -- The Problem -- Anxiety
My desire, as I had been programmed, was to be married to a good Mormon, worthy of going through the temple; that meant a returned missionary. I had just returned from my mission in the Central States; my husband-to-be had returned from his mission, as well. We had corresponded somewhat during his mission, and also, previously, while he was in the Navy. There was little dating before my mission, that waited until I had returned home. I was a True Believing Mormon.
I was considered very "spiritual;" that is, I believed all the beautiful milk "white" pictures that had been painted about marriage, the temple, happiness obtained through obedience and sacrifice ... the emptying my mind to let the spirit live through me. "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." (Prov. 3:5) The requirements were so simple. Don't think, just trust. That was the way to be "spiritual."
I sang in church frequently, was organist, and was very emotional about the hymns and music in general; I was very earnest in wanting to make sure I was expressing the true messages in the songs I sang, which was also taken for "spirituality." Music, dancing, and church was my whole life. Socially, my life was entirely within the church. In those days we had a meeting almost every day of the week, and sometimes up to 4 or 5 on Sunday. I knew little about the activities of the "outside" world that didn't include a Mormon as my companion. I was frightened of the "world," and the "outsiders" who lived in it; neither could be trusted; that was where Satan was.
My husband-to-be fit all the images I had been exposed to in Mormonism; (likewise, I fit all of the images he was taught to seek). He was the son of a mother who was born in a polygamous family ... his great-grandfather had 5 wives. He was a descendent of a family that had joined the church in 1838, and that had later gone to Utah during the rule of the Prophet Brigham Young. He had a solid background of True Believing Mormons in his family. But, mostly, he was a "returned missionary;" for me, this said it all. As a returned missionary, he had already gone through the temple, so no questions needed to be asked as to whether or not he had any "skeletons in his closet," as mission interviewers would indirectly ask prior to going on a mission. It was all so simple; there was nothing to understand. The labels, "temple recommend," "missionary," "temple marriage," were all guarantees! I was a sponge, taking in all the labels that drowned all the possible questions that I might have asked. My "missionary" was very handsome, and ... very quiet. I believed him to be everything the labels indicated that he was. For him, from the beginning, I was his "Elect Lady-goddess" in the making. (See: Elect Lady-goddess: "Emma & Joseph" article.)
Our problem was that we "had no problems" ... that we could speak of. Labels, veiled meanings, milk "white" images took the place of facts, directness, and reality. All of the "thinking" had already been done for us.
* * *
Stage 1. The Desire -- The Problem -- Anxiety
Emma was considered "spiritual" ... "she often got the power."
Emma's father had misgivings about Joseph's character.
Stage 2. The Solution -- Vows, Promises -- Trust
My decision to marry my "missionary" was solely based on the images that came with the labels that surrounded him, plus, a highly charged emotional state, in which an epiphanic inner voice said, "this is the man you are to marry." (This experience will be enlarged upon later.) Nine months after I had returned from my mission, we were married. We hardly knew each other.
My parents couldn't attend a temple ceremony. My mother was a semi-active Mormon at that time. My father was an inactive Lutheran and had doubts about my choice, but respected my wishes. We decided to get married in the Saint George Temple (this was before the Los Angeles temple was built) and left California to experience a lonely ceremony, in a strange place. None of his family was there, even those who lived in Utah, nor was mine. We had gotten married during a break in his school schedule, just before finals, so everything was rushed. It was as if we had eloped; we were all alone. Nothing seemed real, or that anyone cared. "Trust in the Lord, ... lean not to thine own understanding .... He will direct thy paths." I trusted. I was obeying. I kept telling myself, "Remember all of the beautiful promises; just 'do what is right ... let the consequence follow. God will protect you, in doing what's right.'"
Stage 2. The Solution -- Vow, Promises -- Trust
Emma had not planned on being married on the day she traveled to visit Joseph at a friends house. Nevertheless, they secretly eloped and were married against her father's wishes, by a Justice of the Peace ... in a civil ceremony.
Stage 3. Identity Crisis -- Ambiguity -- "Yes, but..."
My Marriage Crisis
"Yes," we had been married in the temple, "Yes," my husband had gone through the temple before we were married, "But," one evening, about 20 years later, and after an increasing depression that had begun in the first years of my marriage, I was to receive two shocks that would change my life. My depression had severely deepened; my anxiety increased along with it. I had no one to talk to, nor could I name the cause of my depression. (The cause, of which, I would not discover until about 10 years later. My husband had been having sexual relations with other women since the early years of our marriage, and my bouts of extreme depression coincided with those times and beyond, in the aftermath of his guilt.) When I was 43 year old, the unknown cause of my depression got too intense and I secretly drank alcohol to stem my pain and anxiety. As I found out later, this particular, extreme depression developed just after the time he had had another sexual encounter, this time with one of our neighbors.
(Note: Those still caught in The Pattern will see my use of alcohol as a "sin" instead of looking to the cause of my need for it. It was a non-prescription drug to relieve my anxiety ... to be able to pretend that there was love between myself and my husband. The effect of the alcohol was to numb my mind even further than what the double-bind had accomplished.)
It was on such a night that my husband decided to tell me about his sexual proclivities while he was in the Navy, which involved sexual intercourse. I was stunned at this revelation (not yet knowing that his sexual activities had also extended into our marriage). In Mormonism, sexual intercourse is only sanctioned inside marriage; the issuing of a temple recommend is based on that requirement. That was one of the reasons I had married him. The label of a temple recommend was a guarantee. Sex, in Mormonism, is put on an unrealistically high pedestal, next to God; it was expecially so during the late '40's and l950's. Throughout a young woman's life she is programmed to have this goal, as is also the young man. So, to have my husband tell me that he kept this a secret from me, knowing how I felt, knowing what the church requirements were, and not thinking it was necessary to tell me, I felt betrayed. I would not have married him, had I known. On top of my depression this came as an uncontrollable blow. I was in a state of shock. Everything was a lie. Our marriage had been a lie. He was not the man I thought I had married. The labels were ripped off; his temple recommend was a fraud; I had "chosen" him over another, who was not a returned missionary; the "beautiful" was now ugly ... the shock inside me broke out into hysterical laughter! (Hysteria can be expressed in two ways, as hysterical laughter, or crying.) The irony was so complete ... the joke was on me. I had believed and trusted in a hoax. The only response from my husband was, "Oh, Jesus!" It was true for me that the bigger the lie, the harder the fall. Mormonism is based on an unreal, non-human, impossible world. My husband was programmed to this as much as I. It was a tragedy for both of us.
My Church Crisis -- Ambiguity
"Yes, the leaders are inspired, "But, no, they are "only human."
"Yes, have only Faith," "But," no, you should already "know."
My depression deepened further, and I plunged down into my "Black Hole." I had always tried to hide my depression from my family, with a "happy face" and positive outlook. Thanks to my father, and his positive outlook on life, I survived, and even fooled myself, sometimes, by remembering his words and his example. Like all Mormon women that I knew, I felt that I was just not trying hard enough; if I was unhappy, it was my fault somehow. Shortly after my husband's confession, I had thoughts of suicide. I couldn't pull myself out of it this time. I decided to see my Stake President whom I had known for years. I needed help desperately. I arrived at the chapel at the appointed time and was invited into his office. He sat behind his desk ... with arms, elbows, clenched hands and body, leaning slightly forward. I'll never forget that moment. I sat in a chair facing him; I didn't know what to do, or how to begin. He finally asked me why I had asked for the meeting. I came right out with it. I said that I was frightened because I had suicidal thoughts. He leaned closer to me, and looking directly into my eyes, asked, "Marion, what terrible thing have you done?" At that moment, there was a flash of light, an explosion in my head, literally. Here was this man of "God," who held an office as a "spiritual" leader, with "spiritual" insight, and he had judged me without knowing the reason why I wanted to commit suicide. I had been pre-judged "guilty" without his knowing any of the facts. He was my accuser, the jury, the judge, and had just executed ... himself ... as an "inspired" leader. This Stake President had blindly punished me, for having been punished (Stage 7).
I had been in the church for over 40 years and had not asked for anything before this. I had not tested any of the claims in Mormonism, because I hadn't questioned anything. I left his office as hurriedly as I could, angry, shocked, but, at the same time, strangely lighter. The bond had been broken between this leader, ... all church leaders ... and myself. The bond was lessening, too, in my marriage. However, I thought, what happened to my husband in the navy, was many years ago; we had six children now; my whole life had been, and was still invested in this marriage, and my family. I was sadder, but wiser, but I was determined to question everything from then on. That was the very beginning. I still knew nothing; I was truly ignorant. I was beginning to think, however, that I was not really stupid, as I had been led to believe. I, also, had been led to think the enemy was "out there," and to ignore anything that wasn't in Mormonism; in that respect, I was ignor-ant. Later, I would be blamed by my husband, for having been "so naive." Members of the church, and women especially, are programmed with "milk" images and labels; in fact, we have all been commanded to ... ("Yes,") ... become as little children, have faith, and trust in our husbands, and our leaders (Stage 2, 3), ("But,") ... then, later, we are accused of being "naive," as if to say "Grow up, you're not a child," or, "You should have known that we are only human" (Stage 6). The two stages create a double-bind, used over and over again, by the "Shepherd" who says, "Trust me!" ... "Don't question authority," and the "Wolf," who says, "Be responsible; you 'chose' to be ignorant."
Stage 3. Ambiguity -- The Set-up, with the "Yes, but..."
Emma's "Yes, but..." was a set-up for a future reversal of their agreement, whereas, mine was a fraudulent agreement to begin with. By ellipsis, I was led to believe the "Yes" of our agreement, "But," behind the silence was the "hidden meat." Both Emma and I, were given "milk" first; the "meat" was to come later.
Emma's set-up was in Joseph's Book of Mormon, which, in the early stages, as scribe, she helped to write.
Jacob 2:24 "Yes,"... many wives are an abomination.
Jacob 2:30 "But,"....If I will .... I will command it.
(This was possibly a premeditated statement ... revealing his proclivities toward a "God" sanctioned, sexual freedom sometime in the future ... which he secretly activated just a few years later.)
Stage 4. Double-Bind - Reversal -- Betrayal
The following event happened seven years into our marriage, and 11 years prior to my personal, and church crisis shown in Stage 3, above.
My depression which started early in our marriage had no cause that I could see. I lived in a foggy state of mind, busying myself with daily household chores, my children, my church duties, and music. The depression seemed to lie dormant most of the time, but like the ocean, it could quickly become turbulent. As I look back on it now, I can see that it fluctuated with my husband's seeming avoidance of me, his necessary absences. The incidence I describe here, happened in the seventh year of our marriage, when the youngest of our 3 children was about a year old. My husband was taking further education courses, which kept him absent from home most of day and into the evening hours; we were struggling on a very low income. My depression got deeper, and one night I tried to express how I felt (for the first time); I tried to let him know that I needed some emotional/spiritual support; that I was hurting, that I felt abandoned. I didn't know what our problem was, so I complained of being lonely because he was spending so much time away from home. (I didn't know then, that he had had at least two sexual affairs prior to this time, one which had been very recent.) We were in the bedroom. He became very angry and left the room. I felt terrible; I had upset him; I felt guilty. I followed him into the living room to apologize, and as I came up to him, he struck me in the face; I had a black eye for several weeks. I told the sisters at church that I had hit my face on the crib in the darkness as I was tending to my baby. For my husband, that was the end of it; it was a closed subject, as if it had never happened. No conversations, no meaningful communications were allowed to break the silence concerning what had happened. The feeling I had, and the implication he gave me, was that I should already know; no explanations were necessary ... I was "guilty."
As the "Wolf" he had hit me, but as the "Shepherd" he accepted my apology, and then, silently, put his arm around me, as my "Comforter." If only I hadn't said anything, if only I hadn't complained. It was my "fault." This was all accomplished through silence ... a tacit "guilt" on my part. The injury had been reversed from him striking me, to "I had injured him," and thus, I had been punished for my "own good." My physical and psychological injury (inflicted by the "Wolf"), had been forgotten, and replaced with an emotional/spiritual injury inflicted on the sensitive "Shepherd." Plus, I was put under the pressure of possible future punishment if I didn't watch for signs of displeasure in the next situation, remembering what would be waiting for me if I spoke up again. One only needs to be hit once to get the message. The fact that he was 6' 5," and weighed over 200 pounds, helped to enhance the message; I was 5' 5".
The Bound person is always de-humanized, while the "sensitive," emotional Binder "suffers" more. The Bound person reflects the "Shepherd's" wishes; the "Wolf" has disappeared, therefore, the "guilt" falls upon the Bound as the one who has "injured," hurt the feelings of, the "Shepherd." This is also related to the Battering Syndrome, as it is known today.
The Double-Bind in this experience:
If I didn't speak up, there was no hope for a change in our relationship, for more communication, and for the emotional support I needed; I was dying inside.
(This would be against myself, making my depression deeper, but, I would be labeled "Good" (obedient) by my Binder-husband.)
If I did speak up, I would be "hurting" him and would be punished physically for it.
(This would be against him, therefore physical force against me would be "justified;" I would be labeled "bad" (disobedient), and deserving of punishment for my "aggression.")
This is the only time he physically hit me. After that, I became more "sensitive" to "intuit" the expectations of the "Wolf" and the "Shepherd;" I was careful to reflect "their" alternate wishes, and "read" the signs of each personality. I became a very "good" wife, because "I" had disappeared. There was "peace" because I learned not to complain, question, nor "rock the boat."
This experience also contained a main element from Stage 7. I had been "punished, for being punished."
The double-bind above was administered in my personal relationship with my husband. In Stage 3, above, "being punished, for being punished" was administered by the political ... by church "authority." In Mormonism, the personal and the political are fused, in one mind-set. They each reflect the other, as in a marriage.
This is true of church policy now, in the 1990's. President Hinckley said, "We cannot be found on the sidelines carping, and criticizing and finding fault with one another. We must be loyal to the church against all its enemies." Again, critical thinking and finding facts (both nouns), are reduced to "character flaws" (adjectives), such as "carping," "finding fault." etc.) (In The Pattern, adjectives become "red-herrings" that supplant nouns that name facts. By this insidious method, the Pattern is kept hidden from intellectual inquiry; it remains in the emotions only, as "guilt.")
Hinckley, takes the personal ("finding fault with one another") which happens inside the church, then projects it outside the church to all its "enemies." The Pattern must not be seen inside the church. It must be projected outside the church, so members can fight the "enemy," outside themselves. This is blind hypocrisy on the part of the members. By these means, members are further stripped of the ability to know themselves, to have any degree of Self knowledge; they are not allowed to see themselves, their own identities ... their own, very real, personal problems. The Binder-husband uses The Pattern against the Bound-wife through projection ... she becomes the "guilty" one, the "evil enemy." The church does the same, by projecting the evils of The Pattern they use to an "enemy" outside the church. War is then declared against the enemy, "out there." As a result, all personal "carping" is forgotten.
As members, they are admonished to forget "personal" interests by turning around, "all facing one way," in order to fight a projected, unreal, "enemy of the church" who lives in the "evil" world, outside Mormonism. Thus, the Pattern in our personal lives is never seen, it is always fought outside ourselves. The church then becomes the "hero-savior" of their members by "protecting" them from "evil" (as the "Shepherd"), and "fighting the enemy" (as the "Wolf"). In reality, members are isolated further from reality, behind a now, more fortified wall of denial of self, and the Bond between the Binder-church and the Bound-members become all the stronger.
The personal becomes the political; then, the political enslaves the personal in an "everlasting covenant" to "protect" the personal from the "enemy" (which is itself !).
This is related directly to my marriage. Joseph Smith used The Pattern as a personal method to realize his personal desire to enjoy, sexually, many women, and for political power, in general. Power, because the more he takes from others the more he loses of his Self, destroying his own authentic Self-Power. Therefore, he must gain power over others by enslaving them.
This Pattern of deception was written, and canonized into Joseph's "scriptures." The "scriptures" became the basis of the political ... the church. The church then, made it mandatory that members read the "scriptures" over and over again, feeding the method of the Pattern back to each personal member. In that way, the personal, and the political become fused; they become one in mind. The individual disappears; he, or she, is no longer a person, each is now, a "Mormon." One name and one Pattern fits all..
My husband and I were not individuals in our marriage or in the Mormon church. We were playing parts in the Mormon drama, believing the drama was real. This is a tragedy that leads to disassociation of actions. If a person has been dehumanized ... stripped of having a self ... who is doing the action? No one is there. "It," this "spirit," is then only waiting to be told what to do; the ramifications are horrendous ... based on obedience to leaders and sacrifice of self ... which leads to the insistance that all others must do the same, in or out of the church.
* * *
To be "good," in Mormonism (the political), as well as in a Binder-Bound marriage (the personal), the Bound must be silent, which becomes the muted peace of passivity.
To be "bad" is to personally think, and speak and, in doing so, to expect punishment for being "disobedient" to the implicit demands to maintain silence.
The Binder's role is to deny; the Bound's role is to be silent, thus each, unknowingly, destroy their own identities! The Binder is deceived as much as the Bound!
Stage 4. Double-Bind -- Betrayal -- Reversal
Emma's double-bind was another version of mine. Emma found out about one of her husband's affairs and complained. When I had complained of the effects of my husband's abandonment of me, I received immediate physical punishment, with the awareness that there could be more to come if I spoke up again. In Emma's case, she complained, and her husband told her she would be "destroyed" if she didn't believe or was not obedient in administering to him, aiding him in his desire for more wives. She had not been physically battered, but she was being emotionally battered, with the promise of complete destruction to follow in the future, if she didn't go along with his demands. In her double-bind, she had two negative choices as recorded in Joseph's words, in his canonized D&C, Section 132:64-65.
(V. 64) If Emma "chooses" to believe in plural wives, and the "law of Sarah" ... and against their original contract (the law of monogamy under which she married Joseph in 1827); she will NOT "be destroyed."
(She would be "choosing" against her Self ... to avoid being destroyed, and would then be labeled "Good" (obedient), which would be for the Binder.)
(V. 65) If Emma chooses not to believe in plural wives, she becomes the "transgressor;" she will be destroyed, and Joseph will be free to take plural wives without her consent (without the "law of Sarah").
( She would then be labeled "Bad" (disobedient), and Joseph would be labeled "Good.")
(Note: As I became the "aggressor" by asking my husband for emotional support, complaining of a lack of companionship, Emma would be the "aggressor" if she complained and said "no" to polygamy. Since she would then be the "guilty" one, that left Joseph as the "pure" one, free to go ahead with his plans ... just as my husband was free to continue his extraneous activities outside our marriage, free from guilt, while I became the "carping" aggressor.
End of Stage 4
* * *
Stages 5 to 9 are presented in the following "Parallels - Part 2."
Next Page: Parallels - Part 2 My Marriage - Emma's and Joseph's
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