Sunday, February 28, 2010

How could mothers control family growth without legalized abortion?

This is a question that women above all must address in my opinion if we are ever to bring about a significant drop in abortion deaths. There is no doubt that our country, England, and many more followed the example of countries like Russia and China in legalizing abortion as a means of controlling a population growth it was felt the country could not provide for.
So what then became the attitude of religious leaders? I was raised a Mormon and Mormons did not turn in significant numbers to legalized abortion, with Utah consistently remaining one of the lowest in abortion deaths but with the high birth rate such a policy might be expected to produce. Less abortions, more children, yes that would surely follow.
The Catholic Church has been adamant in its opposition to abortion all over the world, but I have known families personally where the mother worn down by constant child bearing left the Catholic Church because it was felt that a church whose thinking is dominated by men was unwilling to offer solutions when a woman's health and therefore her family's welfare were threatened by constant child bearing.
Down through the centuries we see women very often dying from child bearing constant and never ending that sapped her strength. Even queens had seven and eight children (Queen Victoria and the 'White Queen' Elizabeth, wife of King Edward who ruled before the Tudors)and suffered accordingly, especially in an age without antibiotics and all the knowledge that exists today that might save both a mother and a child. We now live in the 'modern' age when OctoMom shocked the world by bearing eight children at once through intro vitro fertilization, costing the welfare system millions.
Any number of women now have produced multiple births through these procedures, so at the same time legalized abortion causes it is estimated 48 million deaths a year around the world, we are also called to celebrate the saving of possibly six little babies born to one mother all at once! And this mother may be able to get pregnant again and again! OctoMom has just said to the media she wants to bear nine!
So how are we to come up with child bearing policies that do not rely on legalized abortion to keep hardship pregnancies from happening over and over?
My friends, for many years my thinking has gone in the direction of mind control, of women, above all, leading the way to more civilized and humane ways of getting through life having only the children they want and can take care of. I knew if I was going to preach that legalized abortion was an act of violence unworthy of civilized people, I had to come up with solutions that would work that were non violent.
Impossible you say? Not if you commit to non violence and do not allow yourself to consider any other way. I read a book not long ago about the history of nuns, and in it women were fleeing to sanctuaries sometimes even with their husbands and children to take the vow of chastity to deal with child bearing that threatened to end the life of the mother and put the rest of the family in jeopardy. Yes, these were innovations that the Catholic Church has not always continued to develop and offer as alternatives to women dying in constant child bearing.
I say women cannot look to churches to lead the way with mind control as religious leaders may be lagging far behind in meeting the needs of beleaguered mothers who know if they have another child they may die. And worry about what will happen to their children? Their resources may be meager. Even should they be able to have another child, the mother may also be a bread winner who cannot afford to take time even for the birth let alone stay home to take care of the new baby.
So each woman has conditions in her life that determine how many children she can safely bear and above all take care of. OctoMom has to have multi sources of government income to raise her brood of fourteen children all born through intro vitro fertilization. It is no wonder many in the world protested. She was the ultimate abuser of the welfare system. She doesn't even need an involved father the way she has gone about taking advantage of every source of income available to her and her children.
We know very well this is not a good way for women to have a family, but whatever loopholes exist in our welfare systems, there are people to take advantage.
I say that not nearly enough has been done to raise the consciousness of women to believe they can control child bearing. Many women are already doing it. Someway or another many wives and husbands come to an agreement about how many children they can afford and they do whatever is needed to limit family size, falling short of abortion. I have witnessed couples sensibly going about doing this for years, many times in my life. Their beliefs did not encompass abortion.
So what was their secret? Obviously a great deal of control has to be exercized by both husband and wife. So how do we motivate more and more parents to commit to non violence as well as to limiting their families by non violent means? To expect substance abusers, as alcoholics and drug abusers, to use this kind of control is unrealistic. They don't do it. Substance abusers don't use condoms. They acquire sexually transmitted diseases as well in a reckless disregard of their own well being let alone of any future offspring.
But I say where we have gone wrong is by not challenging everyone to exercise more mind control. We have resorted to acts of violence because we have not believed that we are capable of more, and in so doing we have sent substance abusers a wrong message.
We are as good as saying that man cannot control what he does, he cannot be non violent in his solutions. What follows then is the same message to substance abusers. You cannot control your abuse of alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, and food and yes sex.
There is a big difference in the approach of saying you can control your life. Alcoholics sober up with the help of a higher power. Whatever it takes.
Here is how man forms a partnership with God. You ask God to help you in your commitment to control what you do in your life without resorting to violence. You make control all important in your partnership with a higher power. We are sex addicts, too, which causes us to take risks that are irresponsible in nature when they produce a child.
You cannot have a sexual revolution with the right to have sex any time you want it without controls like legalized abortion to take care of consequences you cannot handle.
If you commit to a partnership with a higher power then you will not fight the control you must exert to live up to the concept of non violence.
That is why a higher power works with a commitment to seek help to do the impossible.
Men and women by themselves very often lose control with a disastrous consequence over and over.
I have found that there is a higher power to guide me every step of the way if I need it. It is called conscience by some, the still small voice within that tells you when a solution is wrong and when one is right. If we listen to the voice within, it will tell us that to kill our own flesh and blood in the act of violence that abortion takes is not right. I think that is why secular thinking has taken over. With a belief in abortion, people don't usually talk to God. They start saying they don't believe in God. The voice within that is telling them no, this is wrong, has to be stilled in order to do it. The whole system of communing with God that has existed for centuries in enlightened man has to be scrapped. Our minds are our conduits to God. They help us to tell what is right and what is wrong if we are willing to listen. And commit to following the dictates of conscience. We have to believe in the power of our own minds in order to find out way to God.
What, give up our dialogue with God for abortion? Which makes no one happy. But it has become the solution for many beleaguered women.
Who need to think now there is a better way. It is always a giant leap for man and woman to form a partnership with a higher power, but the higher power is what comes forth with the ideal, the most difficult solution but the best one for all concerned. The one that will make us sleep better at night, give us peace.
Help us to believe in the power of prayer again.

On the practical side, in response to a comment about this entry so far from my sister (see comments) my mind control methods including abstinence for months and even years when no partner could be found to agree to safe birth control methods. My first husband agreed to sex with no penetration so absolutely no risk of pregnancy was taken. He knew I had nearly died in the mental hospital at 20 and was still very fragile. My health was also bad enough that I knew I could not have children that were not well spaced. Of the ten years I was married, nine of these years we practiced sex with no penetration. Even when he got drunk and would strike me, he would not violate my rules about penetration. He really did not want to have children he could not take care of either. He seemed to know if he did that, too, I might have to send him on his way for good.
After those years of not having penetration I practiced rhythm with my second husband because I wanted another child. When he refused to practice safe sex after our daughter was born I had to ask him to leave. I also asked him to leave after our second child and son was born. He was too violent when drinking. I finally concluded I had no choice but to raise my children alone.
I had inherited money to fall back on if my second marriage did not work out, so I paid for my daughter to be born, and also for my Caesarean when my son was born. I was 41 at the time so had my tubes tied at the same time because I knew that I could not afford to have any more children and was now too old in any case. I and my children lived for 12 years on my inheritance while I was writing a number of novels to try to make it as a writer. When this did not happen I went to work outside of the home. I could anticipate that disability would cut short my working years, but I was able to work until I was 54 years old.
All these years I had dialogue with a higher power. My father was an alcoholic and during childhood I developed my habit of asking my creator daily for advice on how to live my life and deal with my problems. We very often have preconceived ideas of what a 'religous' person should be doing and how they should be living. I never attached myself to a church because I could find no church that I thought dealt well with homosexuality. I was the daughter of a man I considered to be a homosexual.
Most homosexuals do not affiliate with churches because they feel rejected and condemned by them. As the daughter of one I felt almost as condemned even for expecting forgiveness and understanding for my father. I do not believe that any homosexual goes out and tries to be one because they are treated too badly by society to do that. They are that way I believe because they could not help it.
My husbands even though alcoholics were both able to accept my background. This was crucial.
I always thought that God knew why my father had become a homosexual. I thought he asked me to study and understand why, too. I could talk about this problem with my two husbands. They had to be able to understand and not condemn. I saw by my first husband's compassion for his suicidal cousin who was surely gay, which was the big reason he was driven to suicide while married and trying to be the father of two little girls. He had to go out and find him on our wedding night to get him out of trouble. He saved him from jumping out of a car to his death later on. I knew by his actions he would understand what I was contending with at home.
When he got drunk he could be dangerous. That is when his prejudice came out. I loved my dad when he was sober. He held violence in check unless he got drunk. That is when most will lapse into the most primitive behaviors. Which is why I vowed never to drink. My second husband was downright evil when he drank which is why I had to ask him to leave.
Not drinking was part of my commitment to being guided by a higher power. Had I waited for men who did not drink I would not have been able to marry or have children. So I contended with alcohol. I think it is unrealistic to expect young people not to marry and have children because of the bad habits of their only possible mates. In an ideal world everybody commits to sobriety. We do not have an ideal world.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Azaleas still glorious and Health Care Plan reform still questionable with workers to suffer if it fails!

Doc's Valentines Day gift continues to give me much pleasure. I took the photo above to show him how it still blooms, since he does not get up to my apartment but seldom. I read a detailed account of what is happening with the Health Care Bill in Congress this morning in the Arizona Republic.
Before I report on that I want to reiterate that I would like to see everyone in the US get health care. I have received health care since I was disabled at the age of 54, and with my income low, I qualified for medicaid to cover what medicare eventually did not. It does not make sense to me for the working poor to be forced to live without health care while the disabled and seniors are now I think adequately covered by medicaid and medicare. We can't help but reap the consequences, all of us, for not being more concerned about the needs of the workers.
No wonder there is so much motivation to get disability benefits when years of neglect because of lack of insurance may deteriorate health. We should be treating our workers as valuable people, because if we don't, our workforce may diminish to the point that we haven't enough healthy people to pay for all these benefits. It's fast getting that way with obesity on the rise as well as other addictions that may rob people of years of work life.
I think all addictions are fed by frustration and lack of enough motive to stay well. WE ARE NOT CONCERNED ENOUGH WITH THE WORKERS!!! I don't know how I can reiterate that enough. We must do more in this country to better their lives. I thought that when I was working and I still think it after close to 18 years on disability, SSI, Social Security, Medicare, including pay now for drug costs, and State Aid for what medicare does not cover as well as living in subsidized housing.
Congress thought to listen to those who believed seniors should get a better deal, but who is really keeping in mind all the time any country's need for a strong, healthy, vital working force?
Now it is heart breaking to read of so many out of work, struggling, some among the older workers fearful they will never be able to find jobs again in this bad economy. What is to become of them? Will we see hundreds of discouraged long unemployed people standing in line to soup kitchens, sleeping God knows where, as we did during the darkest days of the depression in the thirties?
I was reading that more teenagers have lost their part time jobs than the numbers who lost their jobs in the depression. That is not a good sign. These teenagers I know are going to run up big school debts if they just opt to stay in school and have to keep borrowing money to finish their course of study in colleges. I know young people out of college who are experiencing real hardship paying their school debts with the jobs they have been able to find in hard times.
So there is much to be concerned about as well as health care. I have not had to worry about details of my health care plan for years as those with private insurance plans have to. These are the people we need to listen to as the democrats and President Obama try to hammer out a health care plan that will best serve the people that has a chance of passing.
I do not want to see government abortion funding. That's a given. The government cannot get into the business of abortion, it simply can't. This is an issue that too many people find too troubling. President Obama and other democrats have offered a compromise in the Senate version which the influential Counsel of Catholic Bishops still do not approve, so I believe that they are concerned about abortion funding getting into the law with a supposed stipulation requiring a check for the procedure to be sent to the insurer by the woman seeking an abortion. Why not just ban abortion funding instead of allowing it in the plan which would seem like an endorsement of the procedure.
I do not think Republicans are doing enough for the workers if they stick with no change. They have been instrumental in getting drugs paid for by medicare. They have taken care of the seniors. Now how about giving the workers a break?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Obnoxious democrat and republican attitudes

Pro choice 'secular' thinkers of the democratic party have protested that religion does not belong in the government or in the schools. They want separation of church and state, and the republicans representing pro life have been pictured as too ignorant and uneducated (Sarah Palin) to be entrusted with governing our nation. Religion has come to be associated with the more ignorant and uneducated of our society, while pro choice is perceived as progress by the intelligent educated democratic 'liberal.'
I became a registered democrat after years of staying neutral when the Kennedys were struggling to advance civil rights for blacks, a movement which resulted in the assassination of black leaders such as Medger Evans and Martin Luther King as well as the assassination of the Kennedy brothers most associated of any white democrats with civil rights. Nobody talked about secular thinking when the nation was dealing with these murders.
Perhaps things have gone so well since then for liberals a belief in God does not seem necessary. As a child I thought God was my only friend and his son Jesus when I was dealing with constant crisis. I saw my alcoholic suicidal father near death many times. His oldest brother was found under suspicious circumstances suggesting suicide. I thought it would spell disaster for our family if our capable hardworking father succeeding in killing himself, too. I felt so sorry for my cousins having to do without a breadwinner since their mother had never even worked while she was having a family of seven. Every single day I would speak to God. That was my only comfort because I did not have anybody else I could talk to about the terrible things happening in my family.
My belief in God was born out of great need. It helped me to survive. So in 1973 I was not willing to accept legalized abortion which spelled death for the fetus without any judgment of wrong doing. I spoke to God and he concurred the country had taken a wrong turn. For years after that when I prayed each day and asked my creator what problem he needed me to work on the most, the answer was always legalized abortion. That answer was hard to hear and the work of being an abortion protester painful, but I could see that a violent solution requiring death for someone was a turning away from the commandment 'Thou Shalt Not Kill," which had been violated when our president was shot, when Medger Evans, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy were shot.
Justification for violence could only lead to more deaths, more violence. I felt that the supporters of legalized abortion were not being logical in their justifications. There is a still small voice within that answers prayers if directed to God. We don't hear much about that still small voice anymore, but if we ask for a higher power's answers, we very often get a difficult answer we might not like to hear. That is the way you determine that it is God speaking to you and not the devil. God's directions are a lot harder to follow.
Martin Luther King preached non violence, but I think this lesson was so hard for people to accept, that they rejected it. Abortion is a violent solution. There is simply no way to get around the fact that it takes a death and blood shed to accomplish it, and if a nation accepts this as a necessity it has turned away from non violence and reverted to actions that are more primitive. Legalized abortion is violence unleashed and protected by law. Yet man has a history of passing laws that are very violent in nature. The death penalty continues to take its toll of wrongly convicted criminals as well as the guilty. It is the old Testament law of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Christ introduced the idea of turning the other cheek, of a soft answer turning away wrath. Many think that philosophy is too soft and cannot endure it.
George Bush was obviously not a believer in non violence when he attacked Iraq with the first blow, and he paid the price in an eventual loss of credibility since he had also endorsed pro life. The Iraq war proved to be extremely costly and took all minds off any possibility of undoing Roe vs Wade for this president. I doubt if McCain with his militant philosophy of war had much influence with his pro life stance either. These two presidents were of mixed minds, even as the Kennedy brothers dismayed us with their cavalier attitudes toward marriage and flagrant affairs.
So our leaders may be flawed. Both republicans and democrats can have repugnant attitudes that disillusion those who wish to respect and follow them. I would say that both party members need to take responsibility for being contradictory and not quite sincere about what they profess to believe. They need to be willing to concede all drawbacks to their solutions or they cannot call themselves reasonable men and women.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Catching up with some bloggers who inspired me...

I don't know what my friend Connie whose blog is Connie's Place (check it out) was thinking of when she sent me this tag. I will try to use it to inspire my never ending efforts to lose weight. She has sent me so many great headers and tags I have used that I feel I will hurt her feelings if I don't show the proper appreciation for this one. She also worked very hard making my header with all the photos. Got to love this gal.
Hey, have you checked out my son Raymond's blog lately, Cowboys and Bohemians, on my blog list? He has given us another excerpt from the memoir he is writing about his life in theater, and I must say, I think he is going to find a lot of fans out there for his writing. His dedication to writing over the years is showing! His blog is smokin'!
I want to call attention to another blog on my list that I just visited this morning, Musings of a Minstrel. Our young college girl blogger, Morgan, is also supporting National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Her entry is called Operation Beautiful where she wants us to be positive about ourselves no matter what we look like. She is listing a link that really interested me and might you too. Gee, when did I not have an eating disorder? I know I was eating in a way as a child that was going to spell big trouble when I wasn't running so fast. Lots of butter, homemade candy, desserts every day, homemade jam and bread, pork sausage, head cheese (a favorite), choice cuts of beef, pork, and venison, mashed potatoes (with butter and milk)and country gravy, and every kind of pickle on earth, corn on the cob slathered with butter or if not in season bottled or dried corn with loads of butter, oh yes and lest I forget somebody was always making home made ice cream. On top of that in my mother's country store I snacked on Vienna sausages, all kinds of candy, country cheese well aged the way I like it if I happened to get the slightest bit hungry. Have you had enough?
Our country way of life revolved around food. These are some of the delicious foods I have had to try to forget about, cut way back on eating, make a solemn vow never to eat.... And I am still fat as you can tell from the chubby cheeked header photos in the header on my blog.
On the good side I was able to trudge home from the library this morning after a solemn vow to keep my body moving in a walk now and then. I visited the little ASU nurses who have set up office in the Westward Ho to warn us about the perils of obesity, heart attack, stroke, inertia, scooters, lack of exercise, sitting too long... Well, just about anything we like to do is bad for us and the things we can hardly bring ourselves to do are all that will save us. I know the message. But they said people are actually visiting them. We discussed how we could inspire more than one or two people to go in the big newly renovated pool at the Westward Ho this summer with room for at least 100. The nurses no bigger around than a pencil are eager to help. They wish they could swim with us.
Well, people with a weight problem might hate to show their figgers in bathing suits! As Morgan writes in her blog, got to get over that kind of bashfulness and think--we are beautiful no matter what weight we are. I start every day with that premise which is why you see so many photos of me. I have in old age learned to love myself. Every generous curve. Hey, what do you think of that fat guy in the commercial on the Olympics shaking his belly? I enjoyed it. He is so cute. See, you need to think positive as you fight off death by pushing away food. But stopping smoking is hell on earth they tell me, and well, stopping drinking, don't even think about it, says Doc. It aint happening. I predict when he has his first full blown stomach hemorrhage he will quit, if he lives through it! All in fun, all in fun, don't think I am heartless. Doc and I kid each other all the time about our trashy ways. He is so cute.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ronda and I see A LESSON BEFORE DYING and the fabulous Joyce Gittoes

I took this photo of Joyce on the north of the Viad Building where you enter to attend a play at the Playhouse in the Park. She looks happy as well she might be playing a good role in the Black Theater Company's production of "A Lesson Before Dying." This play adapted from the book by Romulus Linney was I thought directed well by Ed Smith and on the whole the acting was very good with the audience responding strongly to a pretty serious story lightened by some good humor and good character drawing by the author.
I read the book years ago which is about the impending death in the electric chair of a young black man who has been involved in a shooting. The evidence suggests that he was merely along with the men who did the killing but since they also ended up dead along with a white man, Jefferson (the young man) is sentenced to death after his inadequate white lawyer fails to do a very good job of defending him. But such death sentences have been all too common in our justice system especially when blacks have been involved in a white man's death. This play is set in the late forties when blacks did not have the civil rights even that they do today.
But now that Jefferson has been sentenced to die his godmother, Miss Emma, played by the ageless Joyce with her usual vitality, intelligence, and humor, wants to try to help him accept his fate and die like a man. Up to then he has been pretty mentally disturbed, acting out the hog being dragged day by day to slaughter, which is what his lawyer called him in court in a misguided attempt to get him off. He is still insisting he is no better than an animal and will have to be dragged to his death. So Miss Emma asks a black school teacher to come in and give him 'lessons before dying' as best he can so that hopefully Jefferson will die with more dignity. Rod Ambrose plays Preacher Reverend Ambrose in a delightful portrait of a preacher that is both humorous and right on, who thinks Jefferson should be taught out of the bible about his soul so he can better go home to God instead of wasting his precious time with a teacher who does not even believe in a hereafter (maybe up to now that is), but Miss Emma wants a teacher, too, so all his needs will be met. She is obviously afraid that the bombastic Reverend might not be able to get through to him. The teacher, played well by Anton Floyd, struggles to find something meaningful to teach a very upset young man about to go to his death for not a good reason. Jefferson, played by Aaron Petite, suggests his bitterness and disbelief very well and shows a gradual change in his character from being driven mad by the unfairness of it all to revving up his courage through talks with his earnest teacher to walk to his death upright instead of being hogtied and dragged. The cop who attends the execution comes to tell the teacher he was the bravest man in the room when the switch was pulled, which the teacher is so moved to hear. Well, there is really no good ending to this sad story.
By this time Ronda and I were both shedding tears, and Ronda said as she left, "That's why I don't believe in the death sentence. There is too much chance of an innocent man dying, one that did not deserve it."
I thought what a terrible dilemma for a young man to be in, so young, so alive and yet must somehow find courage to be executed. This play really made you think about what that would be like. I am sure Joyce was proud to be cast in a play that demanded much from the actors as well as from the audience. To the actors' credit the audience acted moved and responsive despite the time it took to build an authentic preparation for an execution. I think all those involved in this production can be very proud of themselves.

In the first photo I am standing next to one of the lifelike sculptures on the grounds. I thought one of them was real for a moment who looked like an office worker, right down to his clothes. Another sculptured man was posed washing the doors and one was dressed as a security officer on duty. The photographer was taking photos of a group of sculptured children.

Below my daughter Ronda is standing next to a large fountain. The apartments across the street are apartments for millionaires. The builders ran out of money so they have stopped working on them. Too bad, because they are very colorful and interesting looking.
Ronda and I had lunch on the second floor the coffee shop. I love the Viad Building and I love to go to the Playhouse in the Park. I have been going there quite a bit these last two years thanks to my dear generous friend Joyce Gittoes and David Hemphill, artistic director, who believes in passing out comps to be sure such a good play demanding a lot of dedication from the cast gets an audience! I sometimes feel guilty because I am not paying. I hope there are enough paying customers to keep this theater company progressing toward the new stage home they have been renovating for a long time.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How I developed my religious thinking

I was not much older than I am in this picture when a crisis developed in my life that required divine help I thought, since I was unable to get any on this earth. I was molested by a hired man about 40, but because of all the factors involved I was unable to tell my parents. For one thing my dad's behavior on other occasions led me to believe that he would kill this man, and I had to decide whether what he had done was bad enough for him to die over it. My dad had already threatened to kill another hired man who had rustled some of his cattle. I was a witness to the fist fight he had with him. He jumped up after being knocked down and shouted that he was going for his gun. He ran and jumped in the car where my mother and my sister Margie were sitting and yelled that he was going home to get his 30 30. I don't know what would have happened if this man had not already been arrested and sentenced to five years in prison. The judge had just let him come home to get his affairs in order. My mother was finally able to talk my dad out of any more violence by warning him he would go to prison if he shot the man after justice had already been meted out to him by the law.
If he would act that way over a few rustled cattle what would he do to a man who had molested his daughter? I reasoned that the molester was a dead man. I could not get my wits about me to do anything before he had abducted me two more times and took me down to the corn field, where under the leaves he advanced each time until he was able to cause sexual sensations.
I finally came up with the plan of staying in the house close to my mother. I kept Margie close so he wouldn't be able to take her. If we went outside, I made sure we played just around the door. I kept up this vigilance during the months we lived on the remote ranch in Salt Gulch. During the first winter I went to school on the bus that picked me up and other children from other ranches. I made a huge fuss if my parents did not pick me up as soon as I got off the bus. They thought I was afraid of coyotes, but it was another kind of predator I so greatly feared.
I thought I needed God as I had never needed him in my life before. I reasoned that he knew what was happening and would advise me on what to do. I felt that he had advised me not to bring murder into our already very troubled household. My dad was a bad alcoholic and I had become suspicious during the previous winter to the molesting that he was having a homosexual affair with the neighbor who later molested me. This man got very angry at my dad for not taking him to party with him on the weekend. I suppose he had developed feelings of affection for him that were now being violated. My sister Margie and I had been taken along by my dad to the neighbors where we would play for an hour or so outside, while my father and the man did 'business' inside. I could not see any trappings of a 'business' and asked my mother if Bill had a business. She was scornful and said no, he was coming to our ranch to work for my dad when the spring work started. Bill also said something to my dad where I could clearly hear him that was long and very obscene. I did not know exactly what it meant but I looked at my dad in shock.
I was very close to my dad at that time. He had been taking me with him to ride since I was very young. He had put me on his horse probably as soon as I could walk. He did not approve of my impatient mother's heavy hand with her small children. Margie and I got whipped every day, not especially for anything we did, since we tried very hard to please her, but for just being kids, whatever. My sister Margie would fall down and turn blue when she got whipped which convinced me my mother was going to kill her. I think my mother finally let up a little when it came to how hard she spanked her. We found out years later Margie had probably had a hole in her heart since birth and it was not long before severe asthma kept her from riding horses with my dad anymore.
Since my dad had no sons, I became his companion on horses as often as possible. I love horses and so did he. But now I was having to face that my dad was not like any other husbands I knew of at the time. I tried to wrap my mind around the idea that men did have sex with each other, which is what it looked like he and Bill were doing. I thought about my mother home with a new baby and I knew very well why she whipped us so hard. My dad's weekend partying with the guys had convinced her he had never accepted her as the love of his life. She was bitter, frustrated, and terribly unhappy.
It was laughable to think that I could get any help for all of this in the Mormon church, since this was Utah, or any other churches for that matter. This was a problem I was going to have to take to God and Jesus. So for years I did not talk about what had happened that terrible summer, nor did I talk about it to anyone when another hired man connected to the family began to act inappropriately with me when I was ten years old. My mother and dad were having extremely violent fights by then. I did not trust my mother to be able to handle what I thought was the problem. I feared murder would result. I had seen my dad hold a butcher knife to her throat in a fight. He was drunk. He turned to us and said, "Should I kill her?"
He went insane when drunk and the fight had accelerated. We had constant crisis in our home. My dad would sober up during the week and work hard, but every weekend almost without fail he would drink. I started cracking up at the age of 12 after he nearly killed himself drinking a bottle of rubbing alcohol. He had nearly died previously from hemorrhaging from a perforated ulcer. I had developed chronic fatigue symptoms and thought I was going to die. I had a fire phobia which caused me to excuse myself twice during every meal to go outside and see if the house was on fire. I would run out all day long to check to see if flames had erupted from our roof.
It was obvious my fear of fire was fear that our family was going up in flames. Who would help us? I still thought only God could understand these problems. I don't know what would have happened if my parents had not gotten alarmed about my behavior, because one night after a particularly horrible day, I won't force the details on you, I just sat down to the kitchen table and started crying softly. I would not answer when they asked me what was wrong. WHAT WAS WRONG? What had been wrong for years and years. I just went on crying. My sisters and my mother and dad just finally went to bed and left me there. It was obvious they thought I was acting so strangely they did not dare force me.
The next day my aunt called and asked that I come down and talk to her. She said that she thought I needed to be taken out of this home. She had called my aunt and asked her if she would not let me come and live with her. She had agreed. She told me I would be going to her home in northern Utah the following school year. She also said she had advised my parents to let me go easy during the summer, not to work me so hard. This helped with the chronic fatigue symptoms.
My fire phobia started disappearing soon after I got to my aunt's house and my chronic fatigue symptoms abated. What chores I had to do to my aunt's house seemed like child's play.
But what I did not like is that she told me I had to go to church to live there. I attended Mormon seminary every weekday and went to Sunday school and meeting on Sunday most of the time, if she went, and Mutual on Tuesday night. This was a lot more church than I was used to, and I resented it.
I never told her any of my problems at home. As usual, religious or not, I did not think she could handle them. She had been at odds with my dad for years and as far as I could tell did not like him at all. This is when I began to realize that the church always advised family members inclined to be religious to abandon rebel brothers like my dad, and to make the church people their family.
Horses had been my family on my dad's ranches. They were the most stable creatures in my life, since they did not drink. How could God be in a church approving of this abandonment, when he was the only hope of families like mine. God could not abandon anybody or all hope was lost.
I felt like I had been born into such a family because God knew that no matter what I saw my father do I would not abandon him. Only through love, could he be brought out of eternal darkness. This was why I reasoned that God put children into the homes of men like him. He knew these men had something worth saving. Their children were messengers from God.
My father had taught me to conquer my fear of horses. He taught me to risk my life if necessary to become brave and strong. He and my Grandfather King were great horsemen. I wanted to be like them. When they were doing their work out on the cattle ranges, there were no men I admired more.
My Grandfather King had taken a vow he would not drink because he saw his father die too young because of his gambling and drinking. He could not understand why his sons all drank. I had to study my dad constantly to see if I could not find the key to his suicidal tendencies. When I deduced he had developed a bisexual personality in his years of camping out, maybe starting in town, I don't know, I made a life time study of bisexuals like him, and there is much to learn about why a man develops this split.
But it is a condition that is bound to cause a great deal of trouble and unhappiness. I felt my dad was every bit as unhappy with himself as my mother was with him. I was not able to discuss what I thought was mainly wrong with the marriage with my mother until she was 77 years old and I was 58. So never give up. Some day understanding might flower even in the rockiest ground.
Churches have always had a great deal of trouble dealing with the homosexual problem. Most just use the bible to condemn the homosexual, both male and female, to hell and that's that.
No, that's not that. I do not believe that God intends any person to be abandoned, to be judged not worthy of God's love and mercy. I think for that matter, my dad was probably molested long enough and at such an early age he had no chance of not developing these tastes. He could have been one who is born feeling they have this nature. But he was not happy, obviously, which is why I am sure he married and tried to live a normal life and failed. As a matter of fact, certain signs point to my Grandfather as having perhaps had the problem which might explain why my father thought marriage would work for him. It might have worked a lot better if he had not also had an alcohol problem, but of course if my Grandfather was a bisexual he was never able to be honest about it. So he could not help his son very much at all, when and if he saw that he may have developed the problem.
This also may have been why my Grandfather would never attend church or be a Mormon, which confused people because he did not smoke or drink. I thought he tried to be honest to that extent, but I would never have tried to talk to him. He used the bullwhip on his sons when they were full grown men. I felt my Grandfather kept people at bay with his temper.
My dad did not have his temper. I could get through to him. In later years we daughters would have big raging discussions with him about church and everything else we could think of. He had a brilliance that was recognized up there in the way he handled his business when he finally did sober up.
My struggle to surface this problem is what led me to being incarcerated at the University of Utah. I decided to try to surface it here with many brilliant minds to respond. I ended up getting all my teachers involved and many psychiatrists. This took a lot of nerve that my father had developed in me in my years of riding with him on the cattle trails. Had I not been my father's daughter, but one who did not drink, I would never have tackled so many people to try to get to the depths of the problem instead of just skimming the surface of it. I saw professors I thought had the same split as my dad unable to bring forth the truth because of the way those with homosexual behaviors were ostracized and condemned. They felt they had to lie and conceal this split even to survive.
A strong church influence such as exists in Utah tends to cause homosexuality to be condemned even worse. If the young are not being targeted it is my belief that we do wrong to condemn and judge people of legal age for participating in homosexual acts.
I could not even talk about the problem as connected to my dad for years and years. That is wrong. That policy caused me years and years of suffering. I never even discussed what I thought with my sisters until I was 58. I thought they would be very upset, and they have been. We have had a lot of trouble over it, them not even seeing such a thing in the shadows where my dad I felt had to live part of his life. This is why I call my blog Daughters of the Shadow Men. My dad was forced to live in the shadows.
We don't ever get the truth from people if we punish them for telling it. It is not God who abandons people with such problems. It is judgmental people who do.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pro Choice canned newspapers drove me to blog

My friend Connie created this tag inspired she said by this entry.

I first started blogging on AOL, migrated to blogspot, and also started a video blog on my Youtube channel, GerryKing40, which you will see on my blog list. I started to blog because I have had only one letter published in the Arizona Republic since 1973, despite a considerable number of entries on a blog called G4Life I started at their invitation to blog on their Arizona Central blogsite! Well, guess what, guys, if you discriminate against pro life bloggers and letter writers in your newspaper they are not going to get any readers!
This week is a crucial week for pro life protesters since Obama's and the democratic party's health plan will come before the House this week with a lot of pressure from the Senate to pass it without the Stupak amendment denying abortion funding from government health care. It is all going to depend on the few democratic pro life house members now! I am a pro life registered democrat who has been outraged for many years because all democrats have been unmercifully pressured to become pro choice. This president would not have been elected had he expressed the slightest inclination toward pro life thinking! This is just how dictatorial the pro choice left wing has become in this country.
Because abortion was now legal the media was high pressured to become pro choice over night in 1973. There were enough powerful leftist thinkers on newspaper staffs including on the Arizona Republic's editorial page staff, that it became the policy for newspaper writers to have to go pro choice more or less without protest or lose their jobs. I remember a pro life columnist clinging to her column for a while before she was so unmercifully criticized that she finally quit the Arizona Republic and went to the Mesa Tribune for a time. Marianne Jennings was her name, a Mormon college professor. She was known for her columns about a handicapped daughter born with mental disabilities. National columnists were still printed from time to time to represent the conservative faction in token, but the newspaper staffs I would say went pro choice in large numbers.
This kind of tactic convinced me even more that these people had to be fought and fought hard before we lost sight of what it was in this country to respect a difference of opinions. What is more a belief in God and in ancient commandments like thou shalt not kill were now under fire as never before in history in this country as well as in many other countries. 'Secular' thinking had taken over which to me had as many horrors in it as any coming from 'right wing zealots'. What happens when there is no longer a respect for God in the news media as evidenced by so many pro choice newspapers? Legalized abortion is absolutely against religious thinking which purports we have souls, will die, go to a hereafter where divine justice will do what earthly justice could not, and that is where we will know for sure the fetus continued to progress in the hereafter even after it had been aborted in this life. Right to life from conception espouses that idea in the Catholic Church as well as other churches.
Secular thinking would do away with all those 'religious' ideas because they are not 'realistic'. That is what secular thinkers have been doing ever since Roe vs. Wade, trying to eradicate religious thinking by eliminating it from the media outlets as newspapers and TV and even from the schools. Support for legalized abortion and such philosophies requires this kind of action. The Supreme Court decided a fetus was not a life and who is to argue with the Supreme Court? Don't forget Roe vs. Wade was a decision by human beings, not an edict from on high as the word Supreme suggests.
Fetuses are not like tomato plants that can be weeded out of the garden if there is not room with no qualms. The complexity of life long compelled us to put a high value on the fetus and to preserve it with laws designed to protect it. That is before Roe vs Wade.
Secular thinkers claim that the religious thinkers are limited. But what is secular thinking if not even more limited as to the possibilities of progress that can be obtained by men with a passion for truth that encompasses all possibilities. The idea of a hereafter has been around since man's thinking was first recorded. All cultures have it. The idea that we are all part of of eternal life has attracted thinking men since the dawn of time. Life has always been regarded as a mysterious spark the origin of which we cannot completely explain. We do not know where it comes from or indeed where it goes when death occurs.
And secular thinkers imagine they can do away with such ideas in a few years and that we will be better off for it? You can be an agnostic or an atheist but when you start insisting that everybody else think this way, too, then we are all in trouble. Forcing secular thinking on the public is just as bad as forcing religious thinking.
If you go back through history and read many of the writings of people seeking God, you will come to understand these thinkers are striving for good, for revelation of what life is through prayer as well as reason, through testing the limits of man's thinking and understanding. We ask soldiers to defend us with their lives, and secular thinking would take the God that comforts them in the battlefield when they are about to die away from them. Young men do not tend to willingly sacrifice their lives for the defense of country unless they do believe in God and a greater power. As it has been said there may be no atheists on the battlefield. When there is great danger, a prayer tends to surface in the most hardened skeptic's mind.
Legalized abortion has tested those who profess to believe in God in this country as they may have never been tested. Our country is now threatened with writing into law, government funding for abortion which will be bound to cause an astronomical rise in abortion. You may actually hear the pro abortion people saying that it will drop the deaths in abortion! They will say anything! I have to conclude they are not reasonable people. They know not what they do, and that is the truth. So we have to try to stop them, the people who know that more funding means more abortion, which means we are threatened from within more than from any outside force.
More than a million abortion deaths a year in this country already means that we have already experienced a huge change that was not happening before secular thinking took over. Religious thinking brought down deaths. Secular thinking caused them to rise with the idea that abortion does not count. These are not real people yet, so these are not real deaths.
We know that a million women did not die a year from botched abortions. Not even close! And a million successful illegal abortions did not take place a year before Roe vs Wade, not even close.
Legalized abortion has made abortion a multi million dollar industry for Planned Parenthood. PP is the nation's biggest lobbyist fighting for abortion funding. Abortion clinics have even been forced to close across the nation possibly because the recession caused women not to be able to afford them. With government funding Planned Parenthood will be back in business!
Will any of us dare go to our deaths, and in case there is a God, tell him that a fetus is not a baby? I don't think so. Standing beside him we might see a flow of children without number resurrected just from the spark of life contained in a fetus just like we will be resurrected you and me so we can tell them why the decision was made for abortion.

Friday, February 19, 2010

More memories of life with my first husband, Dean Shurtz

Another problem surfaced with the very thought of writing my memoirs. I would have to wait until his older sister and brother died before I could write about my rather unusual life with Dean, the reason being that in Utah there is such a difference in the life that is led by rebel members of a family compared to that led by good church members it is unbelievable. Dean was a thorough going young Mormon rebel when I met him who had probably been an alcoholic since he was 15. I knew his older sister Elaine, a fiery beautiful Mormon rebel girl in her own right. She scared me to death. I heard stories that she headed a gang of girls in high school who would hurt you if they did not like you, and I believed it. She had already married at the age of 15 another Mormon rebel, a son of a bishop, who was an alcoholic, and they had a child. Elaine was so full of ferocity and resentment it was hard to have a conversation with her. I thought she very likely wouldn't like any girlfriend of Dean's she was so protective of him. I think she drank with her husband, too, and my impression was that she and her husband did a lot of partying with local drinkers when he was able to find construction jobs close to town on the oil well.
I did not drink, but I loved to dance and what I loved the most about Dean was when he made music with his talented cousins, Pole Griffin and Sterling Roundy among others, who as far as I could see were alcoholics just like Dean. In fact, Dean quite alarmed me one night as when he and his cousin Pole picked me up, Dean was sitting in the back seat saying some pretty crazy stuff. I had never seen him like that and Pole hastened to tell me that he acted that way when he drank too much, not to pay any attention to it. Not pay any attention!
Dean was home from the Air Force on leave when I decided to break up with him so I could get on with my life. I was recovering from my incarceration in a mental ward which I thought Dean had handled better than I expected he would. I said if he did not want to get serious with me (I was now mentally ill in the world's opinion) I wanted to stop writing. Dean agreed to break up and then came back later and said no, let's go get married!
The night we eloped to Fredonia, Arizona which is what rebels did when they married, I was treated to the antics of another cousin of his who acted very crazy when he drank too much also. The other cousin came to our motel room and pounded on the door, saying he and Dean had to go get Sterling out of some farmer's chicken coop before he got shot. He was acting so wild Shed could not handle him. So Dean jumped up and off they went and did not come back for several hours. By this time I was wondering very strongly whether I would have cause to regret this marriage, sooner rather than later. Dean had already drunk so much before leaving for Fredonia he passed out in the back seat and could not be aroused to sing. If we had been by ourselves I would have turned the car around and gone back home for fear my future husband could not come to enough to say the vows, but his cousins were on a mission. There was no way I was going to get out of marriage now. They wanted a wedding even if Dean now seemed like a very reluctant bridegroom. He had already caused me to doubt my sanity in saying yes to marriage because instead of getting an early start after he proposed eloping he insisted on going with his cousins to 'steal a chicken to cook for the party'. This plan finally failed to materialize and we got on our way to the Justice of the Peace to get married very late in the night, the biggest decision either one of us had made in our lives so far. I did not think it was an auspicious beginning.
Dean already knew I was not a drinker. In the first place, I did not like alcohol in any shape or form, and my limit was 2 drinks if people insisted I drink to be sociable, so my wildness never included getting drunk with the guys which a rebel Mormon girl might do just to show she was tough. I stuck to coke whenever possible which left them with more money for their alcohol.
I was also still a virgin since I did not intend to let pregnancy get in the way of finishing college. I had been looking very hard for a guy who at least went to college to marry, who was not a good church member since I wasn't, but could not find any. An alcoholic Mormon rebel it looked like was the best I could do, especially after bombing out of college in what was viewed as a horrendous nervous breakdown. Whatever I had done to get locked up was presumed to have been extremely crazy.
My father had been a thorough going Mormon rebel, but possibly an alcoholic at 9 or 10! I am only kidding, but I am sure he started sampling from his father's liquor cabinet when he was very young and wherever else he could get it. He had partied his way through 2 or 3 years of college at the U of Utah before his father refused to finance his stay in Salt Lake anymore because he drank too much.
I was not sure Dean would be able to understand me since I had ascertained in 3 years of going with him on holidays and in the summer he was not very studious. He bragged that he had done no studying in high school if he could get out of it, but it didn't sound like my dad had done any either in his wild youth. Once you start drinking your chances of being a bookworm like I was are small. Heavy drinking tends to stop your brain from functioning as well. And a bunch of other stuff not to be desired.
But possibly everywhere, alcohol goes with rebellion. It may be a universal phenomenon among young males. (And we are supposed to look up to these guys) Doc, my companion now, was raised in a very tight German Lutheran community in St. Louis, married the daughter of a minister, and when that turned into a disaster, he started to drink. And as nearly as I can tell drank his way through 3 more marriages, some of his wives drinking with him, all of this with a genius I.Q.!!
A good smart sober man to marry is hard to find. I considered myself a wonderful catch for any Mormon rebel since I did not drink or smoke but was the equivalent of a Mormon rebel. I had pretty much left the church by then and could never be persuaded to return to it, except briefly now and then. I had been about to tell my mother I could not be baptized at 8 years old because I did not believe in Joseph Smith's 'revelations,' but was persuaded to be dipped into the pond by my favorite uncle. My doubts still never went away, so a Mormon rebel like Dean found me very easy to talk to about his reasons for resisting church.
Like most rebels he had a lot of good reasons I thought, which he would talk about to considerable lengths when encouraged. He was almost as skeptical as I was about the revelations but he went along with all kinds of experiments of mine, one of which was to try to have a little 'vision' to see if they were even possible. I was death on drinking as well, but could see he was going to drink about every weekend no matter what I said. I did not like his behavior when he tippled too heavily, and tried to introduce him to the novel idea that it was possible for him to rebel without drinking. I did it, why couldn't he?
I encouraged his rebel thinking while sober as much as possible which I thought was a sign of some intelligence and the will to think for himself, but this sort of made him uneasy as it did my father. My father had not gotten very far with his thinking with all the drinking he was doing and neither had Dean.
Have you ever tried to reason with a drunk man? I got used to seeing Dean go right out of his mind quite often if he got too drunk. Alcohol really had that effect on him. He would even get a wild look in his eyes that his relatives recognized, too. His drinking cousins were apt to run off and leave me with him when he got that crazy look in his eyes. They didn't want anything to do with him either in that state. I would be left to cope. In the morning he would say he had blacked out and did not remember anything he said or did. I thought that was a convenient excuse but allowed that it could be possible since he always seemed a little crazier than most when drunk.
The only solution, I thought, was for him to quit drinking, but after ten years of marriage, I could see I could not inspire this resolve in him. So I divorced him and he married his high school sweetheart who had never married after he broke her heart. She immediately gave him to understand that she would not be his willing helpmate if he did not return to the church. He told me after their divorce that he got up and went to church with her every Sunday for years and stayed sober!
But his rebellious nature finally got the better of him, and once he started resisting church, getting drunk seemed the thing to do, and she was just as horrified I am sure by his behavior while inebriated as I was.
He proceeded to drink heavily after the divorce until our son Raymond was instrumental in trying to get him to sober up. He brought him to stay with him and would not let him drink. One way or another he finally learned how to stay sober even when he was no longer attending church. That part of his 'recovery' was very troubling to the religious members of his family who loved him but could not abide a Mormon rebel, even when sober. His religious cousins tried to bring him back to the fold. I doubt if they even listened to his objections to church as I did. The church was right, he was wrong to criticize, discussion closed.
His drinking rebel cousins mostly all died. In old age, as I see it, Dean did not have anybody he could talk to except my son Raymond who was busy when he was around with his career and could not offer many hours of trying to draw Dean out and help him to advance his thinking and talking in a world without church. I would make a point of having a big talk with him at least once a year. But by that time I had other companions like Doc. I was with Pierre 4 years before him.
I always found that rebels have a great deal of difficulty if they have spent their lives drinking becoming sober rebels. They do not seem to think it possible. Doc is so convinced he can't be a sober rebel he won't even try it. He supports my life as a sober rebel, but as for him trying to go down that path without alcohol, he resists. Pierre would not stop drinking either.
So Dean became one of the few sober rebels I knew. I felt that all the work I had done on him while we were married helped him to get to that point. But his good Mormon cousins wouldn't even listen to him. They just more or less preached to him which he silently resisted, so they would get no where with their plans to get him active again in church. He lived with his older sister the last 10 years or so of his life, and I don't think she respected his rebel thinking at all. I know she did not respect mine. He would try going to church some for her sake, but would soon give it up and they would be at odds again on that subject.
That is the trouble with the good church people. They think they are right and everybody who rebels is wrong. The Mormon Church is the only true church on earth. The church offers the only way to salvation. They have been taught to proselytize, to bring the poor souls who will not even go to heaven if they don't accept the Mormon Church back to the fold.
I can't talk to good Mormon church people. I have never seen people so difficult to have a conversation with, and I have got a lot of good church members in my family. They are taught not to accept that there are other ways to live and think. And if you object to Mormon teaching, they're going to get huffy, defensive, and any possibility of a good discussion goes out the window. I have had Mormon Bishop cousins start the conversation off by asking me if I have returned to the fold, telling me that I need to get down there to church and get active. I lived with a religious aunt in high school who told me I had to go to church to live with her, and I was sure going to have to go to Mormon seminary which they had adjacent to every high school in those days. I dared not speak one word of rebellious thinking to her. After two years I decided I had to move to Salt Lake to be myself, and she virtually never talked to me again. I don't remember her talking to my dad but once in my whole life. His other sister who was also very religious and he would get into huge arguments every time they even had to talk about their father's ranch business.
Living in Utah finally became not possible for me, so I moved out of state, leaving tons of family members behind. I have never felt quite at home anywhere else, but I just had too much trouble in Utah getting along with my deep seated reasons for rebellion.
My ex husband Dean eventually I would say virtually committed suicide. He had suicidal thoughts soon after I married him. I tried to tell the religious members of his family he had become extremely suicidal in the service when his grandmother died who raised him. They told me it was me that had the problem (been in the nut house) not him! They refused to deal with a very serious crisis I thought, when his suicidal thoughts took over. He scared me to death, enough that I went to talk to his chaplain in the service who took me to see his commanding officer. The Mormon chaplain advised me to take the matter downtown because he thought the commanding officer might not do anything about it in time. I did and the district attorney through some almost laughable quirk decided I needed treatment not him and had me locked up, which did him absolutely no good. I was a week locked up and undoing that ghastly mistake in who needed treatment at the time. All this effort made by the Mormon Chaplain and me finally got to Dean enough apparently that he did not commit suicide while in Washington still in the service.
When somebody tells me they are planning to commit suicide I take it serious! I called his religious brother when I was in Washington and told him his brother was talking about suicide. I came home because I was afraid he might kill me, too. He had already attacked me without cause during a bout of craziness months before, after I married him. I went home before he actually did it. I didn't tell his family that because I knew they would insult me and blame me.
After his suicide threats I went home again with our two month old son Gary for quite a few months. His family did not talk to me at all about Dean's behavior or never asked me anything about why I called his brother. My perception was that they assumed since I had been incarcerated again I was the one who had done something really crazy up in Washington, not their brother. They had apparently never been told how he behaved when drunk at times.
Well, the commanding officer apparently thought it all over and decided to let Dean out on a hardship discharge. I think this was supposed to be so he could come home and take care of his ailing wife. (a nut case) When Dean got home he scared me again by confiding in me that he was looking around for a rifle to buy and was still going to kill himself. He had been drinking when he told me this, but he sounded quite serious. I immediately went down and told his older sister what he was saying. She shouted at me that there was nothing wrong with him, I was the problem. I went back home and told Dean what I had told her and what she said. I then said that I was going to move out because I did not dare stay with a man thinking such violent thoughts. He would probably kill me, too!
But he did not want me to move out, and so we talked and talked and he came out of that crisis slowly after he had been home a while. As I had tried to tell the commanding officer with the support of a Mormon chaplain, he had become acutely mentally ill when the only mother he had known since he was 4 died, and he needed help. I was certainly very ill when I came out of the mental hospital, you could call it mental illness if you like developed from years of stress due to my dad's alcoholism, molestation, etc., but I was also physically very fragile, so it did not take a whole lot of torture from Dean to get me to death's door. But Dean was possibly chronically mentally ill by then,too, due possibly to an inherited tendency for mental illness combined with terrible stress due to his mother's early death and his father's alcoholism and abandonment. His family did not want the disgrace, so I thought they were totally unwilling to recognize it. They did not seem to think two people in a marriage could be mentally ill. They even had other members of their family with some of the same kind of mental quirks and behavior, but they did not want to recognize those alarming traits in Dean.
His cousin Sterling tried to commit suicide by jumping out of the car when it was going, and Dean grabbed him just in time to save him. He later left home and never was seen again. We heard he was homeless on the streets of Chicago for some years before he died. Drinking was especially bad for Sterling and for Dean. His drinking cousins knew it. Sterling was a wonderful musician, too. He could sing, play the piano, tell jokes. But he was definitely mentally ill when I married Dean. So was Dean, considering that our first year when he was in the service was one of terrible crises, murderous violence when drinking, and suicide threats. I thought drinking with all the wild guys he met in the service had brought out more violence in him.
So much for good Mormons dealing with a family rebel, an alcoholic, and suicidal. Church doctrine does not provide the answers to a lot of problems, and that is the trouble with the teachings. The church people claim the religion is the answer to everyone's problem. If it doesn't work, it is not ever the church solution.
Dean finally committed suicide when he was on their watch in his early seventies. They had the chance to connect to him, but I don't believe that they ever respected his rebel thinking at all, because good Mormons don't. It makes me very sad to think he felt so alone, that up there he did not think he had a friend he could turn to who would relieve his pain enough that he would not walk into the desert and never be seen again. This was not the first time he took a long walk, couldn't be found, and scared people. This became a pattern of his when he got upset. He had first disappeared a couple of days when married to me. When he got lonely. Above all when he got bored. When he needed a friend. His death will always haunt me and it should haunt them. Did they ever really try to understand a troubled man? His point of view? Or did they just preach to him?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thinking to my full capacity (1-2)

Folks, these videos are to announce a new phase in my life as a blogger and video maker. I do not intend to hold back any more. I am going to think in my blog and my videos to my full capacity. I am going to intensify.
In the society I grew up in I always felt like I had to hide what I was thinking. People couldn't take it. In fact, nobody was supposed to say what they really thought. It might get you in trouble. I thought people went through their whole lives and never said what they thought. Why? Well, in Utah I thought the reason was the grip the Mormon religion had on the people. I thought in other states no one religion dominated, so freedom of thought was more a reality. Even as I write this I think well Mormons are going to read this and maybe watch my video and huff and puff and act like I am committing some kind of crime. But if people had not criticized the Mormon religion in the early days and insisted their policy of polygamy was wrong, Utah would also be so full of polygamists that containing them would be an impossible job. Utah mainstream Mormons can thank these critics for outlawing polygamy when it would have been impossible for the church to do it.
The Mormons huffed and puffed for a while, but I am sure today most would agree that yes, restraining polygamy needed to happen. It is not a good thing when a church gets so powerful that their policies cannot be touched. And church members think they are right just because they are Mormon and will book no criticism because their prophet Joseph Smith was getting his revelations straight from angels, from gold plates etc. I think one reason Mormons do get so mad at criticism because it is hard to defend such stories as real gold plates from which Joseph Smith was supposed to have read a full history from hieroglyphics. I am telling you such claims would arouse skepticism in a little child. They sure did me. I thought when I first heard these stories, that can't be true. Somebody is telling a lie here.
I was an expert at telling when grownups were lying. My dad would come home and say he had not drunk a drop, and I would think, "Oh, what a liar! As if we can't tell he is drunk as a skunk!" I had also detected subterfuge on the part of my dad about his relationship with the hired man who molested me. I felt he was being unfaithful to my mother, but he was going to get killing furious if accused of lying and cover-up. So was I supposed to be afraid to say, "And I don't believe that story Joseph Smith told his followers either. These Mormons are just like Grandma. They are gullible like she is who believes everything her lying son tells her!"
I thought it was important for husbands and wives to be honest with each other, or when they went to fighting they were apt to commit great violence. When my mother started having affairs, too, I felt such a great disturbance because she became a liar too. Our home life was hell because two people were not committed to telling the truth to each other. I swore that I would never lie to my husband no matter what when I grew up. I would tell him the truth if he killed me. (He almost did) I told him that I was falling in love with someone else and I couldn't stop, and he had done this to me by his violence toward me when drinking. I had no feelings left for him." He responded a few nights later by getting drunk and saying he was going to kill me. He tried but I guess killing a person proved to be too hard of job. He knocked me down a few times and then quit, and that galvanized me into packing up and leaving before he recovered and finished the job.
I figure the only reason he did not kill me was because I told him the truth. He could rely on it. I did not lie to him. It is a very hard thing to break up sometimes, especially over violence when drinking. When you leave a man like that, that is when he is most apt to kill you.
About all the advice I got from Mormon advisers on my husband's alcoholism was: "If you had married a good Mormon you would not be in this predicament." Or "You are the problem. He is a good boy who married the wrong woman (me)." I did not ever get drunk but was considered wild because of my opinions about Mormonism, among other things.
Do charismatic church leaders lie? Yes, they do as far as I am concerned. They lie to people who they think are credulous enough to believe them, for power and glory. If what they tell you happened sounds like an embellished story, it probably is, but I have got in more trouble in Utah for saying this to the wrong people. When is it ever going to be all right to question such beliefs? Somewhere in the world right now, people are being tortured and maybe killed for questioning a powerful leader or dictator's claims. It takes a lot of nerve to expect the truth when it comes to religion.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The muting or dumbing down of America

I would say that the primary reasons behind the silencing of people is ego. The ones doing the dumbing down want to do the talking and thinking, so they will quite ruthlessly shut all the people up around them. Probably the most chilling dumbing down of vast numbers of people happened in China under the Communist dictator Mao who in retrospect you can only think of as a mad egomaniac who destroyed so much just to get mindless enforced homage from his subjects. Books were burned. People could only read a book with the sayings of Mao in it. They had to talk Mao, think Mao.
In our country we were not quite so bad, but we do have a lot of systems in place that are designed to mute the people with the result of profit for a few. People sit for hours in front of TV sets, mute, watching the few who control that world do their thing which is in general a bunch of sitcoms broken up by hundreds of commercials to sell products to what was once a mighty consumer driven society. But of course the dumbing down of the people has caused the consumer society to show immense cracks of instability, and those who profit from consumerism tremble.
Kids drop out of school because they can't stand being forced into silence while teachers mumble boring things at them they do not listen to and find irrelevant to their lives.
It is just not natural for young people to remain silent not because they want to but because they are forced to with the idea that a boring teacher droning away is good for them, and if they listen they will grow up and be able to get a good job and earn lots of money. Nobody asks why when kids get bored with education and act up in school years before they drop out.
It's kind of like when I used to live in Utah where the Mormon Church was so unnaturally dominant and I would go to church and think these teachings are supposed to get me to heaven? These people are out of their minds. As a child I would be contending with things like my dad's alcoholism, my parents' horrible violent fights, being molested, but yet I could not talk about any of these things in a church that was supposed to get me to heaven. I had to remain mute. And I would say that the main reason was because the founder of the Mormon Church was also an egomaniac who wanted people to listen to him and to regard him as a direct representative of God himself with the authority given to him by angels to receive visions. He soon tried to shut his followers up who tried to have visions of their own, or indeed talked about anything that didn't come out of his revelations. The only way they were going to get anywhere he convinced them was to worship his revelations and take them to the world, so this is what is still happening today. He caused people to doubt their own importance to the extent that they preached his teachings without protest.
Churches have a terrible time dealing with human problems because they are all somewhat in the grip of flawed thinkers like Joseph Smith still being given importance. If the teachings are boring and irrelevant to the worst problems in the community, the church can't shake them off for centuries sometimes so they can get more up to date. For who is going to lead the way? The church systems often become so powerful in their repressive efforts that trying to rebel is so costly many won't do it.
As I was growing up, God help anybody who disagreed with church doctrine and questioned and criticized church thinking. My grandfather and dad were both skeptics, but my dad acted like he was scared for us girls to question the teachings of the church. He had been raised with a very religious mother and it made him very uneasy when any of us girls questioned policy. He thought it was all right for him to do it but he wanted us to follow in the footsteps of his sisters, and he became quite a dictator trying to force us to do it. He told me I had to become a school teacher like them if he was going to pay for my college. A secretary was the only other acceptable profession. He had of course fallen into alcoholism as so many young Mormon males do when they rebel, so he was struggling with the demons of drink all the time, trying to stay out of jail, alive, and make progress.
I looked at what he was doing and vowed never to become addicted to alcohol or drugs as that would be the worst thing I could do not to be listened to. But my constant struggle was in trying to keep from being 'dumbed down,' that is turned into a mute who would not dare say anything in my repressive society.
Hence my giant rebellion at the University of Utah in my senior year. I bided my time until then. I thought it is now or never. I have got to come out of this university as a thinking person, or I will never do it. I have got to protest against all this dumbing down in classes that goes on. I thought these Mormon students have already been silenced in church and they are so used to it they are just mouthing back to the teacher what they want to hear. Then they will go out in the communities and do what they are expected to do which is make no waves nor reach any minds either. In other words nothing exciting was going on in the way of thinking at that university because so many of the young would not say what they thought. They had been too well trained to stay mute. They were not allowing rebellious thoughts to surface because they had been so well taught that was wrong.
I decided toward the end of my junior year that I would start to fight this simply by saying what I thought in all my classes no matter what it was. I would regard my thinking as more important than the boring thing I was supposed to mouth back to the teacher. I was even shocked myself when putting this revolutionary idea into practice started to stir up the university. On a small scale of course, but I could see that I would soon be in so much trouble I would be asked to leave. There was one awful boring teacher of education who really got upset. Instead of frantically taking notes I could repeat back on tests, I would just sit and look at her to take in what she had to say. It was not worth writing down and repeating back. I wrote what I thought on the tests. Sometimes I would get an A and sometimes she would give me an F. She finally got so agitated she asked me to stay after class and she told me that I was causing her not to be able to teach with my behavior. She offered to pass me in the class with a good grade if I would just stay away! Amazing!
I said no, you don't have to do that, I am in so much trouble in all my classes I will soon be leaving the University anyway. The main thing that was worrying me at the moment was what my dad was going to say when I dropped out of college without my degree. I thought he would be tempted to take a horse whip to me and would not get over it for years.
Only you all know what happened before I could drop out. The head of my department having no doubt gotten some reports about my behavior in classes and experienced some of it in the classes I took from him asked me if I would not visit the school psychiatrist before presumably dropping out.
Well, I did not know that psychiatrists were extremely dangerous people. Within two minutes he recognized me as a raging nut case and arranged for me to be put under guard and transported to a locked facility where I would be duly electric shocked. Doesn't this sound a little bit like Russia or China, not America? That is what I thought at the time.
But I would say the reason psychiatrists had become dangerous people was because they were allowed to shock people against their will. Nobody had bothered to fight for the rights of mental patients not to have shock therapy if they did not want it. The abuse of human rights this policy leads to can be imagined if you think about it. There is not much difference between this kind of incarceration and incarceration in any regime where people have lost their rights. Once inside doctors can then use frightening torture to subdue and frighten people into 'sane' behavior. That is how electric shock therapy works no matter what doctors say it does. Intimidation and fear is what it accomplishes. I was indignant. I protested, but nobody listened to me.
So by the time my father realized I was on my way to dropping out of college, I had nearly died from my chronic fatigue malady kicking in. Years of stress had rendered me too fragile to be abducted and threatened let alone electric shocked. I did not let the enemy my father had become know how weak I was because he was so beside himself. This was the first full scale rebellion one of his daughters had ever staged. He just could not believe it. He could see however the way I would lapse into a silence when he verbally abused me that all was not well. This became a test of how much he did care for me. Was he willing to watch me die from his abuse? Since I was not going to admit I was wrong. Well, no, so he backed off a little and decided to let me live, dropout or not. My dad never believed in corporal punishment, so he had only slapped me once in my life. Another time he knocked me down in the cattle corral. That was it.
Since I did not drink as he did my exit from the University was spectacular. He had only been able to go home in disgrace from too much partying. Mine was a thinking departure which I had been determined to keep under my control at all times.
The psychiatrists responsible for my incarceration forced me to sign a paper saying I had volunteered to go into the mental ward. I figured that would be easy to disprove if I ever needed to. At that moment I needed desperately to go home and recover my strength to fight again.
Ever since then I have been fighting to say what I think and I must say I have been silenced many many times. Because that is what a repressive society does. We always have to forge our escapes from repression. We always have egomaniacs among us who want to do all the thinking while silencing everyone else without a qualm.
Women have traditionally been cast into the roles of the cheerleaders for men controlling the world. Men hate to recognize women as thinkers because that just means more competition.
I decided to become a playwright so I could do the thinking, but there are very few women playwrights who succeed. This is a man's world. In the world of novels women have made greater strides. I am very proud of all the women novelists of history who have written immortal works like Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Virginia Woolf, and others. But getting novels published about knotty issues is still incredibly difficult. I still write about the muting of women and the struggle they have to get respect from men.
I had to fight my dad for years after that enforced incarceration. He could not believe that an abusive drunk could cripple his kids, or he didn't want to. My problems with serious chronic fatigue began in childhood with the problems he brought to the family with his constant bouts of drunkenness and terrible fights with my mother. I saw him threaten to kill people when he was drunk, hold a butcher knife to my mother's throat. I absolutely dreaded his drunkenness, but it took several near death experiences for him to quit. I say that his determination to drink was rooted in a superiority complex that excused all his own flaws. I did not feel my dad thought the well being of a wife or children worth depriving himself of his partying. His contempt for women was his undoing for years.
When your physical strength is gone as mine was in the worst of times, I just had my will to keep me going. As crippled as I was I was not going to become very successful, but my will could still remain indomitable. We have so many women murdered in this country and some of them fought their attackers to their last breath. These women did not die in defeat because their spirits live on, seeking justice, urging other women to fight for their rights. I often feel the spirits of murdered women around me, telling me that as long as I am alive to keep fighting. The only way that women will get equality is by fighting for it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Plans to make chili, reading Raymond's blog, and looking for a pickup at 78

Doc has gone to the store and will pick up the pinto beans I plan to soak tonight. I went to the Farmer's Market and got the other ingredients I need for chili. This will be the first time I have put any meat in my chili for over 2 years. Doc for one is glad I am back to eating 'real food' again. The problem was all my love for foods like cheese came roaring back and my body shows it. I hope my taste buds calm down soon before I have put on 25 pounds! I am still having trouble getting responses to my pleas for attention to help me fight impending obesity. People just don't believe us fatties when we say that is what we need to take the place of food.
Just got through reading my son Raymond's blog entry today (See Cowboys and Bohemians on my blog list) which was about trying to find an agent. I told him good luck but I thought about him being the best agent I ever had. He said, mom, I will do your plays and he did, besides providing me with a place to go every week to meet with other writers. I read a lot of scenes in the playwright's Saturday workshop. He proved to be the best agent a lot of other playwrights had, too. I can't believe all the playwrights he gave the opportunity to see their plays up with a premiere opening night, as high as 4 theater critics attending at times, and reviews to sweat over and then cry about, gnash the teeth, or even occasionally smile over. A play production that was going to bring warmth to memory for years. I still have a video of Prince from Saturn that I can point to with great satisfaction even though the production was flawed. As do other playwrights, an unbelievable number of local writers. I am very proud of Raymond for the years he spent doing this. He gave his all and made on the whole a lot of people happy. He became the kind of guy who can make a difference in a writer's life. And he did it in Phoenix, Arizona. There has never been another director of a theater company here quite like him. Connie made the graphic for me for this Bohemian Cowboy.

I tell him to write his memoir. He is the only one who can tell the inside story.
Now Doc is calling me to come and get my pinto beans. I must take a camera down so he can take another photo. All these photos of me with glasses are obsolete. I will have to remember to smile so the circles under my eyes won't show so much. But I still like the new me.
P.S. I sort of like this photo Doc took of me I have posted at the top.

Taking a long walk to buy a card to send to my friend fighting breast cancer

The card has beautiful colors and on it it says: "Cancer is a villain who doesn't play fair but it can't dim your spirit and it can't silence prayer."
This verse is especially true in her case as she is what they call a 'downwinder' in Utah who remembers going outside with her husband to watch the explosions way in the distance from the Nevada test sites. She lives in an area which must have been especially exposed to fallout as she told my sister a number of people right there in her neighborhood alone are fighting cancer. My sister Ann is a downwinder who fought breast cancer, eventually getting both chemo and radium. My sister LaRae was also a downwinder who not only lived in southern Utah during the tests and subsequent fallout but worked at the Nevada test site, as did my former brother-in-law from the same town Rolain was from. LaRae died of ovarian cancer when she was 51 and he died in his 50's of bladder cancer. Downwinder is a word that strikes fear in the heart of people from southern Utah who haven't had cancer yet wondering if it is going to strike.
Not that others do not get cancer. I was reading in the last Sun Magazine an interview with one who has studied the areas where cancer strikes the most and says that it is known there are certain places exposed to environmental factors that experience cancer clusters just like the downwinders.
For some reason there is some evidence to support the fact that breast feeding your children protects you some from breast cancer. I can see why that might be so as it is probably a good thing for the breast to function as nature designed it to do. My daughter is an expert on such statistics as she is a big supporter of breast feeding.
Rolain's photo was featured on our family site for a number of days during her second hospitalization and surgery so relatives could think about her and pray for her. Her lumpectomy pathology revealed they had not gotten all the cancer, so breast removal followed. Lymph nodes were removed to be tested. She is recovering and awaiting results. My sister Ann said she is determined to get both 'boobs' back to looking normal, so she was planning a breast implant. Her spirit seemed strong according to both my sisters Ann and Margie who visited her in the hospital. Other friends and family have rallied with visits and calls.
Rolain was a popular beauty operator for years in her hometown. She says she will always be grateful to my sister LaRae who encouraged her to go to cosmetology school after her divorce. She proved to be a the hardest worker hardly anybody has seen and one of the best talkers. That's a big asset in a hair dresser.
If I call her on the phone it is not uncommon for us to talk two hours. I have got an online phone so this does not cost me any extra since I would be hard put to get anybody else to talk to me on the phone for 2 hours! We know so many of the same people, since she is from my ex husband's hometown.
In fact she knew the parents well of the guy I call Red Barfield in my previous entry. I sent her a dvd of the reading of this play. I don't know if she enjoyed it or was horrified, but she knows the outlaws I wrote about. I will never forget her telling me when I first mentioned I was interested in Red, "Oh, he is a tarrible fellow. He was involved in the black market in the service and they say he sent home everyone of his pay checks to his dad to keep for him." I was shocked. Have you ever heard of a young guy going in the service where they don't make much money anyway and not spending a dime of it? What was he living on? Well, I did find out. It was quite a story. Red did not like the service. He said, "I could not run and jump." It seems he barely escaped incarceration and was eventually discharged I supposed for 'failure to adjust.'
Rolain and I spent a lot of hours wondering what goes wrong to produce an outlaw pure and simple. When I read that play again the other night I was shocked at how savage the characters now seemed. Rolain married a guy who was considered to be an outlaw from my hometown. His father was killed in a hunting accident when he was just a kid and his poor hard working mother was unable to keep him and his older brother strictly on the straight and narrow. Rolain had 6 kids by him before she reached the age of 28, two of whom died, one after a month and one at 6 months. With 4 kids to raise by herself, she was forced to get a divorce from him because he was a 'stepper'. She talked of the babies who died and after she got cancer she said that she had lived a full life and was ready to join these two children in heaven where she knew they would be waiting for her.
The night of her last surgery I experienced a spirit visit from one of these children. I was half dozing during my evening meditation, sitting in my recliner in the living room. A knock came on the door. As though in a dream I got up and answered it. A younger vigorous looking woman was standing there. She was wearing the kind of clothes you wear out in the snow in Phoenix where it never snows. I was frightened when she appeared in darkness at first because my hallway is always well lighted. Later I figured this was to show me she was a spirit because she then faded. I knew she was a spirit, but who? By process of elimination I decided it was Rolain's daughter, Ruth Lane, who died in infancy. She had come on the night her mother was undergoing her worst ordeal in her fight against cancer, removal of the breast. Rolain had just described to me the record snowfall in her back yard, so I figured Ruth Lane had been spending considerable time with her mother in Escalante, thus the clothes she was wearing. I feel that she appeared to me so I could tell Rolain that she was watching over her and would never be far from her during her continuing treatment
When a spirit manifests facts will be revealed in these ways about who it is and what the message is. I think this is why so many people are unable to believe in spirit manifestations. They do not realize they will appear like people do in a dream and will act out their messages in symbols you must study to interpret. I started studying my dreams many years ago as I saw my mother do.
Also you have to remember that dreams can only alter reality in extreme cases. I believe that I have been able to alter a future event I foresaw through a dream only slightly, but sometimes that is the difference between life and death. If you receive a warning dream, the intent will be for you to do something that will keep the worst tragedy from happening. The events in the dream will still happen but perhaps not with as severe a result if you are able to warn people and they heed your warning. That has happened a very few times in my life. Something terrible still happened to them, but not death, the worst.
So I can't wait to tell Rolain about the visit from this young woman. I believe prayers really are answered and that many are praying on Rolain's behalf. She has grand children and great grandchildren who would miss her a lot if she left the world now. I hope to see her live more years for them, but I know her daughter will be there to greet her in heaven as she said and wants her to know that she will.


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