Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How I determined to change my life at the age of 19


The above photo was taken of me in my junior year at the University when I was putting into action the plan I had for taking control of my own life. As I saw it most people did not take control of their lives when they were tied to a church like the LDS was at that time. It took too much effort just to follow along and be a good church member. I thought that our own minds were more reliable in telling us what was logical and what was not. It was an archaic idea to let a prophet determine the direction of your life who was long since dead and who had done some pretty bizarre things like introduce polygamy into the church he founded, which ultimately cost him and his brother and 2 others their lives. A mob broke them out of jail back east and killed them because they were incensed with what Joseph Smith was teaching, the principle of polygamy among others.
All the head of the theater department had to do was say that he was Mormon and he was left alone to do whatever he wanted to do. If he lied and cheated on his wife with other men which I suspected him of doing, who was to stop him? Nobody stopped him as long as he professed to be a Mormon. When you have questionable doctrine to wrap your mind around lying and cheating tends to drop to the bottom of the list of transgressions. It is a lot harder to get people to believe that such a bizarre prophet as Joseph Smith really was restoring the only true church back on earth. Joseph Smith believed that all men could become the sons of God. A famous quote from him was, "As God once was, man is, and as God is man can become." I was surprised to learn that this philosophy is touted as being that of the Gnostics who did not believe there was only one son of God as the Christian church later claimed, but that all men were capable of becoming as powerful as Jesus. In other words, he was a standard to measure themselves by and to aspire to emulate. Joseph Smith obviously thought he had risen to a state of progress that was getting close to that of Christ. In fact, in the old days I have heard some Mormons say that they valued the teachings of the prophet in his books above those of Jesus!
This belief circumvents the difficulty of trying to come up with an explanation of how Mary conceived the Son of God. I also have heard the Luke was a Greek who wrote the gospel that refers the most to Jesus being the only true son of God. The Greeks believed their gods could visit mortals and impregnate women a good deal more easily than others believed their gods could, so it was suggested that he was perhaps influenced by Greek beliefs about their Gods in his interpretation of Jesus.
But the fact remains that down through the ages a great many Christians have accepted the beliefs that Jesus is God incarnate and think they are right.
Anyway I am sure that Joseph Smith's revelations resembling the Gnostics philosophy was not lost on some Christians and so the Mormon church came in for a lot of criticism. When they accepted the outlawing of polygamy because the Federal government told them they had to, this criticism died down some. I would say for the most part present day Mormons do not pay that much attention to troubling or illogical aspects of their doctrine, but they are still unable to change it much, since the doctrine sets the Mormon church apart as the only true church, and this is generally speaking what Mormon missionaries are sent to teach.
So I say it is unfortunate when a church so defines a state as Mormonism defines Utah. At one point the church had to close all the seminaries they had built next to public high schools so Mormon students could attend and receive religious instruction for three years before graduating. This was to separate church from state. If you wanted religion in high school you attended a church high school. In Phoenix for example we have St. Marys High School and Brophys, both Catholic high schools. Doc went to a Lutheran High School back in St. Louis.
But whatever thinking I came up with at the university I did not think that I should have been punished by a Mormon psychiatrist to the point of being put under guard and taken off to be locked up! That was way overkill. He should have urged me to seek treatment, but to grab me and incarcerate me when he knew very well that I would be lucky if I escaped electric shock therapy was something like what might have happened in the dark ages. I am sure this is somewhat how the Inquisition did work.
Once I was locked up, the University psychiatrist no longer had jurisdiction over me. I think I saw him once after he had me locked up, and that was not until just a few days before I was released. So the psychiatrists who did see me had to assume that he had good reason for locking me up. I was soon telling them what happened and I was even showing them. If they got very rude I gave them the same treatment, I looked them right in the eye and refused to answer. I figured if I did not treat them the same way I treated him when they said something I did not like, they would never understand what caused him to lock me up. I told them he locked me up for not answering three of his questions! Hey, I did not attack him. I did nothing else to him whatsoever.
And so then their policies regarding incarceration of a person suspected of being mentally ill came into play, especially of a girl only 20 years old. My right to refuse treatment was immediately taken away from me. My parents could sign for it. This could happen all over the country. Mental patients had no rights to refuse treatment. I found that out later in Phoenix. My sister was hospitalized on a volunteer basis in a psych ward. She refused treatment for electric shock therapy. Her husband signed for it and she was given 6 treatments anyway, and from her description they were rough. These were what I feared I was not robust enough to take without severe damage. I had chronic fatigue syndrome of some sort. I told everyone of those doctors this was the main reason they should not give it to me.
Aside from the fact that this was not the right treatment for me. In fact, what in the hell was I doing in there in the first place after a one minute interview?
I was forced to sign a paper saying I volunteered to come into the hospital in order to get out of there after I had almost died.
I regarded what happened to me at the U of U as a far worse violation of my rights than anything that had ever happened to me. This was beyond molesting. This turned out to be life threatening. Those psychiatrists in Utah were just passing out electric shock therapy like crazy.
My theory is that electric shock therapy in all too many cases is just like being locked up as in the days of the Inquisition and being tortured until you come around and are willing to behave better, stop rebelling, and so on. It is tantamount to getting a very bad and scary beating.
I told my dad later in a big argument we got into why don't you get some if you think shock treatments are such good therapy? I was furious at everybody who was responsible for signing for my sister to have electric shock therapy also, as it did not help her an iota. It just made her distrust all psychiatrists exactly as it made me distrust them.
You give psychiatrists or anybody else the power to do things to people against their will on the grounds they are supposed to be mentally ill and what you can get is abuse pure and simple that can be compared to the tactics used in the Inquisition. The more helpless are the ones who get violated. Women. Girls.
I never even went back to see the head of my department. What was the point after so much damage to my health had been done by my incarceration and what I had to do to escape electric shock therapy? I did run into the gay acting student who had become a star and he sneered at me and said, "I have no sympathy for people who imagine their ills (his interpretation of mental illness)" I was still very affected by the whole experience, very fragile, when I went to the University after I came back to my appointment with the Intern at the hospital. This gratuitous cruel remark from him was hard to take, but I figured the way I had left the University had caused enough of a stir he was jealous. I had taken over the limelight for a few days and he did not like it. To be fair, he had a serious illness and died a few years later. If I had not known that I would have had a very tough time forgiving him. He probably told L, the head of my department, he saw me and there wasn't a thing wrong with me, it was so disgusting.
I still was extremely fragile and if I had to undergo too much stress I would begin the dying process all over again. A year and a half later my first husband was drunk and torturing me and after about five hours I started to die. I saw a light come down. Incidentally I thought it might be Jesus in the light. It was somebody pretty powerful who was looking in on this horrific scene. His presence caused me to feel the ecstasy I am sure many have felt who were tortured to death for some reason or another. I was so relieved to see an angel and know they were real and there really was heaven I was going to after death. My husband saw the ecstasy in my eyes and it brought him back to sanity enough for him to stop torturing me. I lay on the bed and went into spasms for two hours. I had very bad nerves, let me tell you. I did not think my body would ever stop jerking.
He sobered up enough to realize that I was going to be easier to kill than most people so if he did not want to be a murderer he better think twice.
I already knew what torture from an alcoholic was. I had seen my dad hold a butcher knife to my mother's throat when he was drunk, asking us girls who were present if we wanted him to kill her. If you are the daughter of an alcoholic as bad as he was, you are going to end up with bad nerves. For this I should be incarcerated and electric shocked? The extreme unfairness of such treatment should be apparent to anybody who isn't power mad or something else seriously wrong with their thinking processes. What makes psychiatrists go bad? Too much power. Some can't handle it. Electric shock therapy passed out to anybody does not require thinking. It is a quick fix. It is like abortion, violent but effective. It gets rid of the problem in a hurry. You don't have to talk to a patient who is getting electric shock therapy. Talk therapy was far too expensive for the poor. If the law allows doctors to violate people's rights some will do it.
That's why the Inquisition killed so many people just for disagreeing with religious doctrine, refusing to be converted, killed for the crime of heresy. At the time it was the easy way to get rid of aggravating heretics around making trouble. Christianity has a very dark history, but many do not want those crimes called to their attention. Believing in the divinity of Jesus did not stop men from torturing and killing those who disagreed, so if all you have to do is say you believe, well this is not a very strong system to keep people from violating other people's rights.
I do not believe that anyone should be severely punished for not believing in certain aspects of religion. But if you believe in the religion too strong, you are going to be convinced that everyone else does not have the right belief system, and this is what can lead to abuse of those who cannot be brought around. At the very least there is rejection and persecution of non believers and critics of the religion.
In Utah, people were very touchy about being criticized for their beliefs outside of Utah, so they were less apt to put up with critics in Utah. Early Mormons were known for sending those who criticized the religion a message to leave, get out of town, etc. Brigham Young even had hopes of creating a Mormon Country, but eventually Mormons were told this was not going to be allowed either. But these policies tended to be carried out later even after Utah became a state. Mormons still aspired to keep Utah Mormon country.
I eventually left the state. It was too difficult to be happy there and not be a Mormon. I disturbed my Mormon relatives who did not rebel. I now live in Arizona which has a large Mormon population, but is contained in cities. There is a big separation between the church and state, but in Utah government officials are generally all going to be elected Mormons because the Mormon population is so large compared to non Mormons.
That is what Brigham Young set out to create after the mob killed Joseph Smith, the founder. He wanted this kind of power.
I should have been lauded for my ability to think for myself, but unfortunately this was not seen as a desirable trait in Utah. I did a great deal of thinking about alcoholism and other social ills, but this thinking was not properly appreciated either.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have read in some religion books, but the priests were suppose to get the first night with virgins and the were left there. But I also read somewhere that the midwife that was called to help Mary in her time of need
had to break the hymen in order for the baby to be born. This might be from the Lost Books of the Bible. Who know. I kind of like a little unknowns..and miracles going on in religion. If you can't believe that...you also can't believe Jesus raising Lazaus
from the dead or fed the multitude with fish and bread. Or that our old Mormon relative stood over his garden praying that it wouldn't be destroyed by hail and the hail piled up on the other side of the fence. Are they all made up? We don't know everything. So why pick out one thing not to believe? Now days doctors are doing virgin births all over the place. But I don't think they leave the hymen in place.
I have had enough psychic messages that I know to trust so of them, but the I went around talking with the voice of God...as got the shock treatment...insane. Who is more insane me or them. Someone needs to invent an insane meter. I know a lot of people need on if they can figure it out.

Anonymous said...

Your account won't take my name and password. Linda

FrankandMary said...

I've spoken to a few other people who have mentioned that it is "impossible to be happy there" also.
~Mary

salemslot9 said...

is your sister
still with husband
that signed?

nice photo of you

Gerry said...

salemslot9, no, the marriage lasted ten years. She already had a son when she was in the psych ward and a daughter later. My marriage to the first husband lasted the same amount of time and I had two sons with him.

kanyonlandking-annk.blogspot.com said...

When did L. become Anonoymous? No wonder I don't keep up! People change their names. I also am fascinated with the Miracles. What would the world be without those things happening that no one quite knows how or why? I read a story where little angels kept fluttering on the bed of a sick girl that became well after that. I was fascinated! The world is full of unknowns.

Gerry said...

Ann, remember that people very often exaggerate when reporting an event, especially a miracle. I have no doubt there are some happenings that could be called miracles, but I also believe that reports that are centuries old may not be the absolute truth. And also natural phenomenon were very often mistaken by ignorant people of that age as miracles with a few added details.


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