Date: October 29, 2019 11:50PM
Hello all, I apologize, this is pretty long. I've tried to write with humor to pay you back a little, but if you want to get to my point/question, scroll down, it's close to bottom.
Even shorter TL;DR: Even the most innocuous seeming piece of cult culture or belief has consequences that can ripple and profoundly effect many lives lived both in and out of the cult's direct influence. In this case, I'm talking about that good ol' Patriarchal Blessing.
So please read on if you're interested. I'd love to hear your weird PB stories. I'd also like to ask you if any of you have experienced that PBs are given generically, like temple names on a particular day?
It's been a long time since I last posted here. Life took a great turn as far as the cult influence...I got several great months of not having to deal with the black hole of boundary violation and family drama that is my MIL. Like all good things, it didn't last, and here I am again, looking for support from people who get it.
So for people who don't know and have forgotten me, my husband was BIC but inactive, we got sucked into the cult when we married because I was loving the love bombing, but we only lasted a few years and quit after being gifted the ugly undies. So my time in the cult was pretty short, and my recovery has been way more about trying to live peaceably with my Morgbot in-laws, particularly my MIL. She was a convert, married my RM FIL, and provided 7 bodies for whitendelightsome spirit babbiez, then my husband and I ruined her eternal family with our terrible wicked disobedience, and so she's spent the last 25 years (yep, quarter CENTURY) relentlessly trying to recruit us back in. She's vowed not to stop until we come back. I just shrug and remind her I had my name removed and inside I'm super glad that nobody lives forever, because I believe her, she won't stop.
She did leave us alone for a bit. My FIL died suddenly last year, and her calls, letters, and endless mailings of Ensign articles stopped as she took a sec to cope with the loss, but now she's decided it's terribly urgent to try and set us straight, for reasons I will get to.
Some other relevant facts about MIL: she's a pathological liar and kleptomaniac. She commits petty shoplifting constantly and has managed to slip items into my purse when we went shopping together. When holidays come around I have taken to leaving things I want to donate to charity out in places where she'll steal that stuff instead of things I don't want walking off. If you call her out on what she's doing she will literally lie while she's got the stolen object in hand. My husband caught her wearing earrings he'd given me as a birthday gift. When he told her to give them back, she said, "What earrings? I don't have pierced ears."
She is also a fraudster. When FIL was alive, she used to scam Social Security by having doctors fill out disability paperwork because of his back, then she'd send him out to work temp jobs thinking they wouldn't keep track of him. His back really was bad and he shouldn't have been working, but she didn't care. They got in deep trouble for it once, then managed to get the government to forgive them, then went back to doing it again, this time fudging his SSN by a digit here and there, an idea she thinks is so brilliant she tells almost anyone she meets to try it. FIL worked (even moonlighted while they were on their missions) until he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and was only 6 weeks from death.
So, my MIL is a Mormon crook. Who knew those were a thing? She has swallowed Mormon cultural folklore and superstition whole hog, even still keeping faith in and promoting pioneer/polyg-era fairy tales that even the cult now finds embarrassingly passe. (Alvin visits the SLC temple ALL THE TIME, didya know, and Nephite warriors will protect you from muggers!) She is also quite grandiose, believing herself to be one muy especial Mormon with a spiritual destiny above and beyond that of your ordinary cultist. I could fill pages about how many times she's had special revelation, or how the Three Nephites have been over for dinner, or the hundreds of hokey, tactless ways she's lied over the years as a way to promote her cult mythos and not-so-subtly tell all the rest of us how much we suck because we don't get visions of the golden plates. We weren't as cool as her at the premortal party, I guess.
Now she's financially totally broke, after FIL's passing away. It turns out, the money they used to finance their senior missions was actually their entire retirement fund, and no matter how many times she tries to con the Social Security people out of Dad's check, they actually remember he isn't with us anymore and won't pay her anything except her fair share, much to her surprise. Why is she surprised? Because like I said, she's SPECIAL.
Since the government isn't ponying up, she has notified her kids/kids in-law that she's essentially homeless after refusing public housing aid (because the housing was not to her standards...it had such terrible problems as gas utilities and people who weren't white as neighbors). Now, she says, we are to pool our resources and buy her a home because it is our duty to her. Because she's special.
Naturally this "request" was denied by one and all, not necessarily because it's a totally insane and inappropriate thing to ask, but just because nobody in the family even has these resources. I don't know what she thinks we're all made of, but it isn't money. One of my BILs has 11 kids. He doesn't have funds for gas half the time, and she wants a house?
She has doubled down this on her demand, even asking her (all adults over 40) kids to tap their 401Ks to provide her a "modest" home and stipend, say, $250,000 for the house and she's willing to settle for $1,000 per month stipend, split 7 ways between her kids. Again, I don't know what the kids orbiting Kolob do for a living, but my own house isn't worth $250k and we bust our chops trying to function with two kids in college who have full time jobs of their own.
In response to all this, husband very sensibly suggested that she can't have our savings because, well, we need it for when we're her age. Her answer to this is, "no, you won't need it."
He shouldn't have asked, but he did. "Why won't we need it?"
Because, she explained petulantly, Jesus is coming back very soon. She knows this because her Patriarchal Blessing states that she will not die without having seen the return of and subsequent festivities held for Jesus Christ. So logically (her words) since she's getting up there in years, he'll be arriving anytime now and thus, there's no need for us silly rabbits to save for the future, because we don't have one. We can spend it all on her now, and at least do one redeeming thing that might get us unbelievers spared from Outer Darkness. Or, if we're super good and come back to the cult, she will ask Jesus to let us into the CK based on her awesomeness.
My husband hung up pretty quickly after that and spent the rest of the evening researching how to get an elderly parent who's absolutely going off the deep end the mental health supervision they need.
A few days go by and we get a letter from her, and it contains a photocopy of her PB. She wasn't lying, it says it right there, she's going to live long enough to meet Jesus in person. It also says she has a special spiritual destiny, that she is "chosen amongst the choicest", and that "whatsoever she desires of material need" she "has only to ask for, and HF will "open the hands of others to give and multiply that blessing upon the giver."
This explains SO MUCH about this woman's m.o. in life. She literally religiously believes that it's GOOD for her to demand stuff because the people she takes from will be compensated by God. Sort of like an AmEx card drawn on the Big Guy's account.
It's a perfect storm, a narcissist getting "proof" that what she does is ordained by God. I'm so glad she shared it with us because now I have something insightful to share with whatever psychologist might interview her someday. But people, just look at what that simple faith based activity, the PB, has done to so many lives in our family. I didn't honestly think anyone took their PB that seriously, not even my most devoted SIL has ever said anything about hers.
My PB has similar language about being an "elect lady" blah blah "mother of a multitude (I had twins, does that count?) and being a member of a "choice" generation, that I'd stay faithful forever (wrong!), and is about as revealing about my "true self" as your basic horoscope. Even as a believer I took it as sort of spiritual advice from an old guy more than I took it as a blueprint for life. Now I can't help but wonder if, like my generic temple name (Emma!) if the patriarch didn't just say the same basic stuff to everyone depending on how his arthritis was doing that day. Still, he never promised me face time with Jesus. What, I wonder, was my MIL's patriarch thinking when he told her that stuff? Was it a surge of late 50s/early 60s millennial fervor? Or did he just like the sway of her skirt or something?
Any insight about that, anyone? Thank you for letting me vent, and I hope yo hear some interesting PB tales.