THE MORMON CURTAIN
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LDS SOCIAL SERVICES
The Mormon owned LDS Social Services (known as the LDSSS) is an organization created by the Mormon Church to facilitate adoptions and counsel Mormons. It is an organization that should be avoided at all costs. Using Mormon "Gospel" tactics, it uses questionable means to take children away from teenage mothers and gives "Mormon" counsel to homosexuals.
| It was a terrible experience.
I was 21 and living on my own at the time, certain I wouldn't be marrying the father, but not certain I wanted to keep the baby. My parents suggested I meet with LDSSS and I did.
At first, the 'counselor' I met with was very supportive. He was kind and understanding. He brought me letters written by families who wanted to adopt children. Beautiful letters from real people who I'm sure would have been wonderful, loving parents.
Because I lived on my own, several states away from any family, he arranged or me to meet a couple with whom I could live during the last months of my pregnancy - so I didn't have to be alone should there be any problems with the pregnancy. They turned out to be wonderful people and we became very close, spending alot of time together before I actually went to live with them.
At about the 6-1/2 month mark, I still hadn't made up my mind what I was going to do. I was actually leaning towards adoption, but then he started getting really pushy. Wanting to meet with me every week, bringing me stories of successful adoptions, promising I could be part of the baby's life if that was what I wanted. (As if the adoptive family wouldn't have any say in that.)
The thing that finally did it for me was when he started bringing me letters written by other girls who had given babies up for adoption - addressed to the babies. They were like form letters - all saying basically the same thing. 'I love you so much, I couldn't keep you.' 'This family will give you more than I could - a stable family with parents that can be sealed to you for time and all eternity' - 'I know God meant for you to go to this family, I was just meant to provide the means to bring you to earth' (incubators)
It was incredibly disturbing how similar the letters all were. They didn't feel like letters written from the heart, rather letters written by girls who didn't feel they had any other choice. Their church leaders and parents were forcing them into this. They obviously had such low self esteem issues (thanks to the morg) that they didn't really think they were fit to be parents. They were so 'unworthy' they couldn't possibly deserve this child.
What a bunch of bunk!
Anyway, at that point I told the LDSSS guy no - not interested. My 'foster' family, fortunately supported my decision and helped to put me in contact with other adoption agencies that took a more reasonable approach. I didn't want to be any part of such a farce. But, the guy wouldn't leave me alone! Kept calling, showing up at my work. Even told me I would need to move out of the foster family's house, as I wasn't involved with the church program anymore. Of course the family told him where to go and I stayed with them up to and even a few weeks after the delivery.
Long story short - the LDSSS tactics are deplorable. My heart aches for the girls who have given up babies through this process. Did they have any real choice in the matter?
Not to say that they shouldn't have given up their babies. In most cases, it was probably the best decision. But how different would their lives be if it was a decision they came to on their own, by looking at the realities of what they would be facing as a single mother - rather than doing it because the church said they should, because it was expected of them, because they had screwed up and were no longer worthy to keep the babies.
Ooh, this happened 15 years ago and I'm getting all upset again.
I imagine many of those babies are living wonderful lives with families that truly love and support them. I wonder however, how healthy and happy are those moms who gave up their babies under such pressure without the opportunity to make an informed decision on their own. Not very happy I suspect.
Long story short - I would not do anything to support the LDSSS - there are many other agencies that will handle the process in much more humane way.
My 2 cents.
| Here are three relevant LDS policies (all CAPS in the quoted material are mine for emphasis):
1. The LDS policy concerning adoption and unwed motherhood:
"Church members who are involved in pregnancy out of wedlock are encouraged to go to their bishop. By virtue of his priesthood office and calling, he can counsel with them as they make important decisions that affect their own well-being and that of the child. He also can help them begin the process of repentance. Because of the social and emotional issues inherent in such situations, the bishop should consider referring the unwed parents to LDS Family Services (where available) regardless of whether they choose to marry, place their child for adoption, or keep the child without getting married.
"The First Presidency has stated: 'Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by parents who provide love, support, and all the blessings of the gospel.
'Every effort should be made in helping those who conceive out of wedlock to establish an eternal family relationship. When the possibility of a successful marriage is unlikely, UNWED PARENTS SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED TO PLACE THE CHILD FOR ADOPTION, PREFERABLY THROUGH LDS FAMILY SERVICES ....
'UNWED PARENTS WHO DO NOT MARRY SHOULD NOT BE COUNSELED TO KEEP THE INFANT AS A CONDITION OF REPENTANCE OR OUT OF AN OBLIGATION TO CARE FOR ONE'S OWN FAMILY. GENERALLY, UNWED PARENTS ARE NOT ABLE TO PROVIDE THE STABLE, NURTURING ENVIRONMENT FOR THE BABY'S WELL-BEING.
'When deciding to place the baby for adoption, the best interests of the child should be the paramount consideration. PLACING THE INFANT FOR ADOPTION ENABLES UNWED PARENTS TO DO WHAT IS BEST FOR THE CHILD AND ENHANCES THE PROSPECT FOR THE BLESSINGS OF THE GOSPEL IN THE LIVES OF ALL CONCERNED.' (FP letter dated June 15, 1998).
"If LDS Family Services agencies are not available, LEADERS SHOULD ENCOURAGE THE CONFIDENTIAL PLACEMENT OF THE CHILD FOR ADOPTION WITH A TEMPLE-WORTHY COUPLE THROUGH A LOCAL LICENSED AGENCY. ...."
IOW, the Church's primary goal with every unwed parent is to get 'persuade' her to put the baby up for adoption with the Church, which can ensure placement with a temple-married couple.
2. Once the adoption is completed, the Church has the policy of no contact with the birth parents:
"Local Church leaders should DISCOURAGE adopted children and their adoptive parents from seeking to identify the children's natural parents. However, when adopted children have genetic or medical problems, the family may seek medical information about the natural parents but should be DISCOURAGED from seeking their identities."
The reason for this policy is obvious -- once the child is placed with a temple-married couple, that child is theirs for eternity and every tie between the birth mother and child is severed forever.
3. Finally, there is this statement in the Proclamation on the Family:
"Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity."
I hear this passage cited most often as the reason the Church puts such great pressure on unwed parents to place their child for adoption with LDS Family Services (which guarantees the child will go to a temple-married couple). Some even interpret this passage to mean it is basically a commandment for any unwed mother to give up her child for adoption rather than raise him/her as a single parent. Bottom line, Church leaders are taught to push for adoption whenever the mother is unwed -- a bishop can't force her to do this, of course, but the above policies allow a bishop to bring great pressure to bear.
| I joined the church when I was 14. I lived in foster care and had a horrible upbringing filled with abuse, trauma and a lot of struggles. One day when I was home alone, two sister missionaries came to my door. After an initial conversation I let them in, and we had a discussion about the BOM. The sisters were so kind and gentle and sweet - they appeared almost angelic.
I, in a confused and miserable state, broke down in tears over their kindness and loveliness. They gave me a copy of the BOM and told me to read it and pray to see if it was true. Then they scheduled another time for a visit.
I thought about it, and could feel myself bursting with emotion. I was ABSOLUTELY SURE (even though I had never read it once) that the Book of Mormon was true. How could it not be? I felt wonderful, cared about, sought after, and these two women had been so incredibly loving and kind and filled with a gentle radiance about them that captivated me. How could it not be true? Of course it had to be!
From the very first visit, I was entirely positive that every word in the BOM was absolutely true. I was later praised for my unceasing faith, for not questioning, for my miraculous instantaneous testimony and conversion. Looking back on it ... I now see the reality.
I was miserable, lost, alone, confused and in horrible sadness. I was living in a bad situation, and then these two pretty, kind, sweet angelic-appearing women came to me, promising me that God loved me, that I was sought after for a special "truth" that 99% of the world didn't have, and that I could finally find love, acceptance, and the "right answers" in my life. It was just too appealing to turn down.
It was so good - it had to be true! I needed to believe. I desperately needed to cling to that hope ... that something good had finally happened to me. That God had sought me out and that everything would finally make sense!
Anyway, I'll quickly carry on here and skim through. Basically, I ended up having more and more discussions with the missionaries. We did it in secret (as my foster parents would disapprove) and I was very naive. I'd only just begun investigating Christianity less than a year earlier ... and I didn't know very much. To my uneducated mind ... this was Christianity. Wasn't it?
The missionaries "taught" me how to pray, the "true" history of Christianity and the scriptures, and the "extra" truths that no one else had. I felt so loved by them, so cared for, so wanted and important and special. As soon as the initial 6 discussions were done, the missionaries pressured me to be baptized. I wasn't ready and didn't want to quite yet, but I felt I had to. I agreed.
They told me I needed to get my parents' permission. So I told my foster parents who were greatly displeased and would not allow me to join the church. I was so angry at them! And yet again, it confirmed to me the validity of the church. If these horrible, abusive, mean people hated this church (and these two beautiful girls) and didn't want me to go -- it really must be a good thing after all !! I became even more desirous to join. They would not allow me.
Eventually I ended up running away from that foster home, and temporarily staying with my friend and her family (who were LDS members). I was relocated to another home, and ended up being baptized into the church at 15 years old. I was confirmed soon after. I was overjoyed to finally be able to take the sacrament, and to hear the "truth" and to be a MEMBER of the church legitimately at long last.
I'll skip all the years that follow because it would take too long to write at length about. Suffice to say, that my membership in the church wavered in and out. Some times I was active, other times I was inactive. This was due to bouncing around through different foster homes - and personal problems I had.
I often would fall into old patterns of behavior - drinking, doing drugs, etc. At other times, I would pull myself together and I would stop all negative activities, rid myself of bad acquaintances, and I would go to church. OH I TRIED SO HARD!!
I went to church before school (early morning classes), I went to activities, I went on Sundays, I attended the classes, I read my BOM for HOURS every night, reading it over and over. I studied, I prayed, I strived like never before to be good in God's eyes. But to no avail.
All the youth at church made fun of me and gossiped about me. I was a loner (no family in membership), I wore second-hand clothes and lived in a group home and they thought I was odd. They spread rumors about me that I was a "witch" and a "lesbian" and other cruel things. I felt unwanted, not good enough, second-class, and so I would go back to my old friends and ways.
Years passed with massive confusion. Despite my anger at the church youth, and some of my own questions/misgivings, I ALWAYS "KNEW" THE CHURCH WAS TRUE and never doubted for even a minute. I always thought that I was a terrible person for going inactive, and that I would surely burn in hell (or not make the celestial kingdom anyway) because I was always screwing up and making mistakes.
At times my heart was in agony as I thought about what a worthless failure I was, that didn't deserve to live, that would never make it to heaven and who was disappointing God and not as good as everyone else at church. And yet...my soul somehow felt relieved!
When I was out of church at times I felt happy, I felt GLAD not to be there...I felt somehow more free. And these feelings only confirmed to me what a horrible, unfaithful person I was that was destined to be punished for my disobedience and feel God's eventual wrath.
Fast forward to the age of 18. I was renting a place with two of my best friends. I had started going to church but then stopped again as I just sometimes couldn't face going. Oh I had stopped drinking and doing drugs, and I was doing nothing "wrong" but I just couldn't bring myself to go.
I felt worthless and it somehow felt wrong to be there.Keep in mind that during all of this ... I was always completely chaste. Despite my rebellions and mistakes, I always held chastity in the HIGHEST regards.
Having suffered abuse as a young girl, and having a proud demeanor of self-respect and dignity ... I had never even pursued the thought of anything "sexually sinful". The first time I kissed someone I was 17 years old! By 18, I was as chaste and well behaved as possible. I had stopped going to church -- but I still read my scriptures and "knew it was true".
After suffering through a difficult break-up with an ex-boyfriend (and many other things in my life) I met Steve. He lived down the street, and he was so handsome and kind. I fell in love with him almost instantly. We became friends, and then after my breakup, we began to date one another. I simply adored him and loved him with all of my heart.
At first everything was well, but little frustrations began to show. He despised my membership in the church, and was tired of me always feeling guilty about absolutely everything and being afraid of "being bad". And worst of all, I could not be physically intimate without feeling horror and revulsion and fearing for my eternal soul. (As I had read the old quotes by church leaders that it was better to die or be dead than to lose your modesty/chastity)
One night, I had sex with him for the first time. It somehow ... just happened. Afterward, I left his house and went home and cried. I cried and cried and cried. I felt so alone ... I couldn't even bare to talk to God.
For the next four days I stayed in bed and cried. I only left to go to the bathroom and then I would get back into bed. Steve would come by daily to visit and I would send him home. I refused to talk to anyone. I didn't tell anyone what happened.I lay there, in my agony, thinking of my eternal suffering and loss of the celestial kingdom.
I thought about what a worthless person I was, how I had disappointed God, what a terrible promiscuous whore I was and how I was unfit to be a member of the LDS church. I could never face going back now!
Eventually I got out of bed. Even though I was alone and numb and wanted to die (except I was afraid to because I would have to face God) I just went through the motions ... and I began to see Steve again. I gave up the church and going ... because I knew I was a terrible person, unfit for membership, doomed to the lowest levels of heaven -- and a horrible sinner bound for torment. I just gave up.
And so Steve and I resumed our relationship and continued being intimate. I felt confused. I loved him, I loved being close to him and everything that involved, and yet ... I felt so guilty and horrible and terrible. Surely I was a terrible person! Renouncing the very church of God for such sinful activities! I was doomed!
Later that year, I became pregnant. It was of course, an accident. I was in denial for a long time ...until finally I could deny it no more. At 3 months, the pregnancy was confirmed by a test and a doctor. I just wanted to die. I could not believe it! Here was ME, the renowned chastity queen, the total virgin, the one nobody even dared try to touch -- pregnant at 18!
And to think of all the times I had judged teenage mothers for being "sluts" and thinking they were no good, and spiritually deficient and fools - and here I was one!!!
I broke down and went back to church. I need guidance and support. Telling my bishop the truth was one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life. I could barely squeak the words out. He looked disapproving, but was kind about it. He suggested that I see someone from the church as a support. I agreed. He set me up with a kindly older lady who was from LDS Family Services.
I began to see her constantly. She promised me that I was not going to be forced into a decision, but had to consider one myself. She told me to weigh the alternatives of keeping my son, versus giving him up for adoption. The choice was mine to make, she told me. So did the Bishop. I was so confused and I just felt in agony. I didn't know what to do.
As time wore on ... the pressure grew. At first it was subtle, but then it became almost outright at the end. The lady from LDS Services told me that she thought I should give my baby up, as I was too young and couldn't care for it properly - besides that, my baby needed a good two-parent home with temple worthy parents. Even the Bishop himself told me that I needed to give my baby up for adoption.
Soon everyone was pressuring me, telling me what to do, or at least telling me behind the thinly veiled guise of "advice" and assuring me it was still my "choice". I began to look for adoptive parents. I looked through books and books of parents that had been screened carefully by the church. Somehow it just didn't feel right - but I felt that I HAD to find the right set of parents.
It was God's will, I convinced myself. I looked and looked but could not make a decision. The pressure from everyone grew and grew until it choked my very being. Time was running short as the pregnancy grew further - and I soon began to feel desperate.
All the meanwhile, my poor soul suffered such suffering as is indescribable. Only if you have been in my position, can you understand. I was young, I was scared, I was in a vulnerable situation and grew more terrified as time wore on. I knew nothing of babies or being a mother. I was broke, I was alone, I was so confused.
Despite my fear, I loved my baby. I loved this beautiful person growing inside me so much that my heart ached. And I would cry and cry and cry myself to sleep every night. I would cry until my face swelled up and I couldn't breathe. What was the right thing to do???
Surely I wasn't worthy enough to keep this child, and YET ... I loved it with all my heart and the thought of giving it up to some strangers tore me apart and made me want to die. I wondered if I did it ... if I would end up dying of a broken heart, or committing suicide. And yet, I felt I had to.
Finally I chose an adoptive couple. They were both young. The mother was pretty, the father was handsome, and they had 2 adopted children already. They had been on missions to Japan, spoke Japanese, were wealthy with great jobs, and had the PERFECT LIFE so it seemed. These were the people, I was sure of it!
I gave my permission to contact them and they were notified of my decision. One of the things that bothered me though, was that they had specified that they were only willing to take a child that was 1/4 Native or Asian, no more.
So had all the other parents ... they only wanted Caucasian children, or children that were specifically no more than 1/4 of such and such a race. Some even specified they didn't want any non-Caucasian children. Such racism boiled my blood and disturbed me (hence we see the racism in the church playing out again!!).
My soul cried out in agony. I prayed and cried to God and begged him to affirm to me that I had made the correct decision. I had no idea what to do, and I told God that I only wanted to do what was right. Whatever the decision ... it needed to be the right one, and the best one for my child.
Things began to move forward and it seemed that this couple would adopt my baby. As I imagined the thought of them at the hospital, taking my baby from my arms and taking him home ... I would cry for hours nonstop. It felt so wrong ... and yet it must be God's will, right?
To help me with my decision, the lady from LDS services put me in contact with another woman who had been through this. Apparently, years ago, this woman had given her child up for adoption and was now a happily married, temple-going woman with 3 children. This conversation was supposed to ease my mind and help me realize I was making the right decision.
One day, this woman and I got the opportunity to speak. She lived in another province and we spoke by telephone. We made small talk, and then got down to the deeper issues. She told me her story, and how she had given her child up for adoption. She told me how she was now happily married with 3 more children, and how she felt that it must have been God's will and the right thing to do.
I then asked her if she was happy with her decision, or regretted it at all, or how she felt when she decided. What would I feel? Would I know that this was right too? How had she known?I'll never forget for the rest of my life ... that woman's voice. It began to crack and break and she began to cry as she told me how heart-wrenching it was for her, and how it had broken her heart.
The pain in her voice seared through my soul and I felt myself shaking and crying as she talked. She could barely speak above the quiet sobs and gasps. Her pain, even these 15 years later ... was so intense, so apparent, so tangible that it shook me to the core. We got off the phone, and I had the feeling that this woman was somehow broken inside and that she had hidden it from herself all these years.
I had a sick feeling in my stomach. I felt nauseated and terrified. I had a horrible feeling ... a suspicion in the back of my soul that this was not right. That somehow this was not right. If it was right ... why did I feel so sick? Why did I feel so coerced? Why did I feel so uncertain and why was I in so much pain?
I got down on my knees and I prayed to God for hours. I prayed like never before in my life. I said that I knew it was wrong to ask for signs, but that I NEEDED a sign to tell me that this adoption was the right course and the will of God. That it was "meant to be".
Only about 3 days later I got a call from LDS Family Services. I was told that the adoption could not go through. The couple had pulled out citing personal problems and a family emergency and needed to relocate to the United States right away. Due to many reasons, the adoption was not possible. I KNEW THIS WAS MY SIGN. Looking back on it all these years later, I realize that may have been a sign true ... but the real sign was the feelings in my heart and my soul that told me NO and fought against it every breath of the way.
During all of this, Steve was away. He had since moved to another city after our breakup, and I had eventually told him the news - which had stunned him. I knew he was also afraid and shocked. He asked me what I was going to do, and I told him I did not know. And during the course of all these months the LDS Family Services had plotted with me.
They told me that it didn't matter whether Steve agreed with the adoption or not -- they had ways to coerce him to agree, or to guilt-trip him or force him to agree. And if that did not work they told me, then they could secretly sneak me into Alberta (as I live in British Columbia) where I could give birth to the baby and give it to an adoptive couple. There were loopholes, I was assured, that could make sure Steve could never see his baby, or at least never get custody.
There were many sympathetic judges and cities where the Mormons always won custody battles and there were "many ways" that were told to me of how I could sneak off and deceive whomever I wanted.To be honest, all I wanted was for Steve and I to reconcile. All I wanted was for him to be a father and for everything to work out. But by that time, it was not looking like an option. Things were too badly damaged between us and the relationship did not appear to have a hope of being repaired.
Even to the end of my pregnancy I was being coerced, pressured and guilt-tripped into giving my baby up for adoption, fleeing to Alberta, etc. The pressure was unrelenting and pretty overwhelming. Finally at the end I put my foot down and unequivocally stated that I refused to give my baby away and that I was keeping my child.
I was terrified, but I felt a peace in my heart that I had not felt for the last 8 months. I knew it was the right decision. This was MY CHILD. It was conceived by the man that I loved. GOD had GIVEN ME this baby, and just because I was young, or single, or imperfect did not mean that I did not deserve to be a mother and love this child.
In July, 2003, I gave birth to my baby boy. He came out perfectly, with no problems. I named him Michael, after Michael the archangel. I hoped that I could raise him to ' be like God' as the name means, and to be a valiant and good person. I believed that despite my flaws, I could do so. The woman from LDS Family Services was there, as well as one of my best friends: Angela (also a church member from my hometown city).
I suppose this is the part where I should interject and state a few things. Yes, I was pressured immensely. I was guilt-tripped, manipulated and coerced. I firmly believe that. But I would also like to add that a few of the people I dealt with (from LDS services) did not behave that way, and that some people were very fair and non-judgmental.
Also, despite her pressuring, the woman from LDSFS was very kind to me, and helped me out in other regards - financially, getting prepared, helping me every step of the way. I look back on it, and I don't think that any of them were bad people - I believe they only had the best intentions - but they are so brainwashed and consumed in the cult ... it's all they can see.
They honestly believe that single mothers are lesser people and don't deserve to have their children. They honestly believe that they are doing the right thing by pressuring mothers and taking away children. Maybe in some cases it is the right decision, but I believe that in most cases it is not -- it's not necessary, it's not "morally correct" or a superior solution, and that children are being taken from their vulnerable mothers every single day.
Anyway, I had my son, I took him home and I began to raise him. Things between myself and Steve had completely soured and despite my grievances with the church, it was very helpful to me during this time, and so were many members. (Although I attribute that to the personal kindness of my friends, not to the church itself)
Let's fast forward a bit here ... cause this is where it gets even more disturbing. During the next couple years that followed, I was on and off in my activity with the church. I still strived to be a good person and live by all its standards, I still read the scriptures and I occasionally attended, although more often than not I stayed home.
I always felt judged at church, and out of place, and it somehow felt wrong to be there. I didn't feel the 'Spirit' anymore, and I was beginning to have questions. I had another friend who told me flat out that the church was wrong, and had told me to read the Bible. I had read the New Testament and the more I read it, and studied, researched and investigated, the more I began to get a sinking feeling that the church was not true. But I refused to believe it.
I lived in denial and continued to push all the bad feelings and thoughts and instincts away. THIS WAS THE TRUE CHURCH! I KNEW IT! And one day I was sure I would atone for all my sins, and become the wonderful molly-Mormon and finally fit in and be good in God's eyes again.
Michael had just turned two years old. Steve and I had reconciled, although it was rocky at best. I still loved him like a love-crazed teenager, and we tried our best. He was still sickened and repulsed by my membership in the church although he did his best to be patient about it.
One day, I got a call from my younger brother. He was deeply grieved and worried. It turns out that his girlfriend (18 years old) had accidentally become pregnant. She and her family were MORMON. They had broken up, and now things were really becoming dramatic.
It turned out that although they were members, like so many LDS people they were complete hypocrites. His girlfriend Jenny drank, did drugs, partied and thought the church was complete BS. Her parents fought, and her dad was abusive physically and did cocaine. That, among with many other issues and problems. All the meanwhile, they held callings in the church, dressed perfectly and attended on Sundays, and 'behaved as acceptable Mormons' outside of closed doors.
Now Jenny had been intimate with my brother (a non member and atheist) and the pregnancy had been the result. She was afraid and confused. She did not want to keep the child as she felt she could not be a mother so young, and could not afford to live on her own. She also did not want the child to grow up in her abusive, dysfunctional home. She also wanted the child to have a two-parent home with all the the necessary support and proper care.
At first she lied and denied the pregnancy. But through sources, my brother found out about it. Then she admitted to it, but refused to state that my brother was the father. Finally she gave in, and admitted that he was. She then wavered with her considerations on what to do.
Sometimes she seemed to want to keep the baby, but she also changed her mind constantly. My brother told me that her parents were pressuring her to give the baby up for adoption, and that she had been seeing people from LDS Family Services who were counseling her to do the same.
My brother had offered to take custody of the child, but Jenny refused his offer. Her parents and LDSFS also vehemently denied his offer. My brother was afraid and worried and didn't know what to do. He loved his child and desperately wanted to have custody and keep his baby.
I was immediately concerned. I knew about the resources at the church's disposal. I knew of its scheming, conniving and barely-legal ways. I knew what my brother was in for. I began to give him advice and instructions at once. I told him everything I knew and gave him all the ammunition I could. He immediately got lawyers and began legally doing everything he could to prepare for the birth and ensuing court case.
All the meanwhile LDS Family Services harassed him, and tried to guilt-trip him, coerce him and used scare tactics to try and make him submit. He continually refused to sign any papers, make any agreements or consent in any fashion to the adoption.
By the end, Jenny had decided to give her child up for adoption and had chosen a birth family. As much as the church harassed my brother, they could not make him give in.
Jenny lied about the birth date and gave birth to a baby girl in September 2005. My brother would never have known except that a mutual friend felt guilty and told him the truth. He tried to see his daughter in the hospital but was not allowed and dragged out. I later tried to return with him again, citing his rights and the insanity of the situation - but we were not allowed to see his daughter, and unbeknownst to us, Jenny had already left the hospital.
All the meanwhile I had tried to be calm, rational and fair. I had tried to contact Jenny and her family and explained to them that I was also a member of the church. I tried to meet with them, or talk to them, or work out a meeting with their Bishop. I was ignored and shunned by everyone. Later I was told that I was mocked, as I was a single mom and not a 'good enough Mormon' (which is rich - coming from that family!).
I offered to have my brother live with me, and to help him raise his daughter. Steve and I had broken up, but I had graduated college and had a high-paying job, nice house, and most importantly I had parenting experience and felt I could help my brother in any way necessary. Plus I loved my niece.
I did all I could. I helped my brother, consulted with him, helped his lawyers, and I even wrote affidavits and tried to patch things up through the church. As UNBELIEVABLE as it is -- I STILL THOUGHT THE CHURCH WAS TRUE. Yes that's right. I still believed it, and much to my brother's disgust and irritation, I would continually defend the church citing that it was the TRUE church. Instead I blamed Jenny and her family.
I blamed a few over-zealous people in LDSFS who I felt were wrong, but doing what they thought was right. I still, even then, was so brainwashed that I thought it was God's true church on earth and that my brother was somehow just having a bad experience with a few bad apples.
After Jenny gave birth to my brother's daughter, she secretly fled to Alberta. There, my niece was given to the adoptive couple. My brother was not notified, had not given his consent, and could not find his daughter as LDSFS hid the location from us. We only found all this out by going through the court.
The court case ended up having to be moved to Alberta, and to Lethbridge city (one of the places I'd been told was "sympathetic to the Mormon cause") and to a sympathetic judge. After endless battles in court and much arguing-the ruling was handed down.
My brother had lost his case. He had lost his daughter. I had lost my niece. The adoptive parents were given full custody of her. To this day, I don't even know how this was possible. My brother was the BIOLOGICAL parent of that girl, NEVER gave consent for her adoption, and fought every step of the way. How he lost...I don't know. The only thing I can surmise is that it was made possible by the LDS church's tactics. Firstly, Jenny and her family got free lawyers and everything they needed paid for by the church.
Secondly, the LDS church dragged my brother's good name through the mud, and mine too! Earlier, my brother's friend had been killed. He'd been stabbed nearby a bus stop and died in my brother's arms - while he tried to save him. The LDS church went out of its way to portray my brother as a no-good loser and even insinuated (practically claiming outright) that my brother had been the killer or somehow at fault for the stabbing!!
They tried to portray him as a drunken, drug addicted murderer who was unfit to parent. They also claimed that because we'd grown up in foster care that we were mentally and emotionally unstable and did not understand how "families functioned normally" and were unable to parent. They personally dragged my name through the mud as well for daring to help my brother. They said that I was broke, on welfare, a single mom and that I was an unfit parent.
I fought back with testimony and written affidavits explaining my education, job, living circumstances and history with my son. The LDS church went so far as to investigate both myself and my brother and tried to bring up every single possible negative or piece of gossip/dirt that they could find!
A few interesting things to take note of: firstly, some of the people taking my niece away from my brother were some of the same people I had dealt with through LDSFS and even though they were bound legally by privacy policies, they knew all my personal information and history with my son, confessions, etc. These same people that had tried to convince me to give up my son-were now helping take away my brother's daughter.
Secondly, they managed to win in court even without my brother's consent, without proving any of the lies/mud they slung at either of us, and even though they had effectively kidnapped my niece. They helped transport her to another province, hid her from my brother, and refused to tell her whereabouts. Isn't that kidnapping? Especially when my brother is biologically the father and has done nothing abusive or illegal? How did that not become an issue???
Thirdly, even though I myself was a member and explained that in court and even said I would help raise the little girl in the LDS church - I was still mocked and judged because I was a single, unmarried mother and because my family was not Mormon.
I'm sad to say that my brother lost his case, lost his appeal and nothing has been done since. This September it will be 2 years since his daughter was born. He has not seen her once and is not allowed visitation. He has not been sent any photographs or letters by mail, nor has he been updated on her condition or life. He has not seen her, or heard anything about her EVEN ONCE.
My heart aches for my niece. And every time I picture her and my son playing together and all the time we're missing with her...my soul aches. I can't even imagine what my brother must have gone through.
During the course of his case, my brother sent out emails. He tried to get all the help that he could from anyone possible. Something very interesting happened with that ... he sent out a chain letter. (You know, those chain emails you get in your inbox, with stories that you're asked to forward??)
He explained his whole story and what was happening, and he asked everyone to forward the email to 10 other people. To prove its authenticity he even included his number on it.Then something happened ... my brother began to get phone calls and emails from all over the world.
People showed their support and voiced their dismay over the story. But even more importantly he got STORIES BACK from all over the world (but particularly the USA) of parents this has happened to! It turns out that all over Canada and the US... every single day...parents are losing their children to the LDS cult. He heard hundreds of stories from Mormons, former Mormons, non-Mormons about how they had lost their children.
In so many cases, the church had just taken the children to another province or state and they had never seen their child again. Or the church had overwhelmed them in court with unlimited money and lawyers and PR and they had lost their children. Or mothers had consented to adoption (from pressure and guilt and force) and changed their minds only to have the LDS cult refuse to return the children, or find a legal loophole to keep them from getting their children back.
Countless fathers had been lied to, conned, out-manipulated, out-spent, or just plain had their children kidnapped from them. Especially non-LDS men who wanted to keep their children but never had a chance. THIS IS HAPPENING EVERY DAY!
Look, I know in some cases it is good. I am sure there are great LDS adoptive parents (I even know some) and maybe it was the right choice in some cases. I'm not saying the option shouldn't be available. What I am saying, is that the LDS church pressures mothers under unbearable guilt and sometimes force-to give their children up.
And that the church uses loopholes and barely legal (and UNETHICAL) ways of winning custody of the children from fathers or mothers or both. And that EVERYDAY children are being literally kidnapped and taken to different states or places and hidden from parents - and then given to adoptive parents who are privy to this crime.
I'm not saying this happens in every single case. But from what I learned from my brother - this is happening to hundreds of thousands of people every year in Canada and especially the USA.
That is WRONG and IMMORAL and should be illegal and stopped. That is why I wrote this to you Samuel. I believe that people ought to know about this, and that someone should be investigating the LDS Family Services and their conduct in cases, their financing (of lawyers for members, etc) their tactics and legal maneuvering, and the legality of fleeing with children to other states, and of taking children without parental consent or knowledge.
Yes most ex-Mormons or non-Mormons know about all the other dirty skeletons in the LDS closet, but most people don't know about this one. And this is a BIG ONE. These poor children don't have a say. These poor parents who have been conned, out-spent, out-maneuvered and lied to and stolen from-they don't have a choice!
AND HOW CONVENIENT FOR THE MORMON CORPORATION that these little children will grow up in Mormon families-being indoctrinated their whole lives and paying tithing and growing up and having more little Mormon children ... and thus bringing in new generations of faithful cult members. These poor kids don't stand a chance!
It really just boils my blood. It really does. It makes me sick to my stomach. To think that the massively wealthy Mormon corporation/LDS cult is stealing children and lying and outspending poor single parents or dads who are desperate to KEEP THEIR OWN BIOLOGICAL CHILDREN! I mean WHAT WON'T THIS CULT DO??? Obviously nothing, as we know. They are sick, sick, sick bastards.
It's amazing what this world has come to when parents can't even keep their own children and can be out bought and out PR'd by a CULT in Christian guise.
Anyway, you'll be shocked to know that during all of this I was still so brainwashed (this is the power of the cult) that I still believed the church was true! Even after my niece had been stolen! I blamed individuals and circumstances instead of the cult itself.
But it was the straw that broke the camel's back...I wondered how this could happen? I wondered how God's true church could do this? I wondered how the Spirit could have guided these people to do this? How could it have happened? And it got me thinking, and wondering. It started me on a journey of personal reflection.
I remembered my friend and his Bible challenge...and how I'd begun to learn the truth but had been afraid and ignored it. I remembered all my questions and inquiries that had been pushed down. I remembered all the hypocrisies and oddities I had repressed in my own mind and never explored. Everything began to come back with a vengeance. I remembered my own experiences with my son-the scare tactics, guilt, pressuring, and the sneaky, oily way the church Family Services operated.
I thought back to how I'd never been happy, never been good enough, how I'd lived my life in fear and guilt. I thought about how suicidal I was when I first lost my virginity and when I had almost given up my son. I thought about everything long and hard.
And then I began to research. And I learned the truth and the scales fell from my eyes. I learned about Joseph Smith's masonry. About his polygamous wives. I learned about Brigham Young's racism and his killing squads. I learned the TRUTH about the Mormon pioneers, the MMM, the way the BOM was really translated. I learned and learned everything I could. I researched.
Initially I only researched to REASSURE myself that the church was true. I still believed it was true, but I had unsettling doubts in my heart and a sinking feeling in my soul. I knew I had to be rid of it - so I needed to reconfirm the church's authenticity. That was my intention. I figured that everything that had happened to myself and my brother was because we weren't good enough people, or were being punished, or it was just God's will.
I even thought (I hate to admit it now) that maybe this was happening to my brother because he wasn't Mormon, or because other Mormons were more faithful than I was.
But the research and honest analysis proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that the church is a fraud. I learned about JS and the fake papyrus translation, the plagiarism, his pedophile ways, the changing stories, why he really died and everything surrounding all the history and lies I'd been told.
Needless to say I was stunned and horrified. I cried and couldn't believe it had all been an illusion. For YEARS I had been in a cult and living a lie. I'd been brainwashed, manipulated, and it had all been a lie. I can't even describe the absolute terror and horror and loneliness of that moment. I've never felt so confused and alone and scared in my whole life (save it be my pregnancy).
That was roughly one year ago. So here we are now. I am now an ex-Mormon who knows the truth about the cult and tries to expose it however I can...especially to my best friends that are still in it. My brother has lost his daughter and will never see her until she's 18. Even then, she'll be a brainwashed Mormon dedicated to the cult. I'm so enraged that she's going to grow up in this cult!
I am doing OK. My son is well enough, and yes, we've had struggles and hardships. It hasn't been easy. I've been frustrated and overwhelmed at times. But together, we've made it through. I love him more than anyone, more than life itself. He's been worth every minute of it. Every tear, every sorrow, every irritation, every single moment good or bad - he's been worth it. And I will love him for the rest of my life with the kind of love no one can understand. He is my angel.
I am 23, he is turning 4 this summer, and we are doing OK. I know that one day I will get married and have a good family and an amazing life. And I don't regret keeping him for one second. And I never will. When I think back to the way the LDS cult almost manipulated me into giving him away (despite my reservations and sorrow) and how willing they were to steal him from Steve and be complicit in kidnapping him to Alberta--it makes me shudder to think of what could have happened. I was so close to losing my son. So close.
And other women that aren't as strong or stubborn as me have probably lost their children and don't have them today. I think back to that broken voice on the phone...and I feel so sad for her. I'm so grateful to have my son.
I look back...and I see it all now. I see it all so clearly. I see the way I was CONVINCED the church was true, and the way I bought into it all. I see a young girl that needed friendship and guidance. Who was curious about God and the answers to life...and who got charmed into a cult, because she didn't know any better. I needed to believe. I needed it.
I see the way for years I lived in guilt and terror. The way I hated myself and always felt second-class. I see the way I suffered and how much of my youth it really did steal from me.
I look back at the situation with Steve. I can't blame the church for all my problems, or all my conduct, or every consequence - but I see how it contributed. I see how it helped ruin my relationship with one of the people I've loved the most in my life. The way it helped split us apart. The way it emotionally damaged me. I should have been overjoyed to find love. I should have enjoyed intimacy and sharing myself after an abusive childhood. Instead I was suicidal and horrified and scared of eternal punishment and being a rotten person not fit to live.
I see the way it has mentally, emotionally and spiritually damaged and scarred me. It will take years to recover. And people wonder why I'm so upset?? They wonder why I speak out against the church? They wonder why Samuel does? IF ONLY THEY KNEW!!
I see the way the church almost stole my son. I see the way they stole my niece. I see the way they lie, manipulate, brainwash, re-write history, steal children, steal money (tithing), and pretend to be Christian when it is anything but.
Now I see people that I love...still obsessed, still consumed, still fully brainwashed and dedicated to the cult...paying their hard earned money (so the church can buy malls and pay to steal kids), wearing 'magical underwear', taking satanic/masonic vows and rites in a fake temple, and reading silly books that were made up and have been PROVEN to be frauds. Yet the cult continues.
That is why I wrote this email. I hope you will share it. This is my story of my involvement with the cult. I know it's long. I tried to keep it short and skimmed through it - but such a tale does need telling and can't be confined to a few paragraphs. This is a synopsis of the 8 years that the LDS cult stole from my life.
It's the tale of two children--one that was nearly stolen, and one that was. It's the tale of how that cult hurt me, and damaged me, and made me live in terror and guilt.
I won't deny their are some good things about the church. There are good people. And on the outside it looks like a respectable, goodly Christian organization. But if you dare to scratch beneath the surface...the layers begin flaking off, and you discover the truth. It is a cult. It is a bad one, only an illusion of goodliness and Christianity.
I know the truth and I won't stop telling a single soul until I die. And I personally consider it one of my missions in life to help bring down the LDS cult in my lifetime.
I hope that those who might happen to read my story will discover the truth about the fraud and cult that is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I hope that any young mothers out there will know that they deserve to keep their children, and that there is nothing wrong with being a single parent if you are doing your best and love your child. Please know you don't have to give your child away.
This is not God's church, and it isn't God's will. You're not bad for getting pregnant, and we're not evil sinners for making love, or having a beer, or not paying tithing, etc. I hope and pray that the LDS cult will be stopped, and that no one else falls victim.
Lastly, I sincerely wish that someone would investigate LDS Family Services. While it may do some good, it also works in secret codes of silence, suppression, force, manipulation, and literally is kidnapping countless children with absolutely no one to answer to.
It's pretty difficult for a parent or parents to stop a multi-billion dollar corporation/cult with endless resources, money, and a mega PR and spin doctor machine/ campaign. It's absolutely stunning that this is happening. Someone needs to stop it, and these poor parents need to be helped.
Like the ones that phoned/emailed my brother - they feel helpless. They don't have the money or backing to fight the church, they can't find their children, they lose in court and they have no one to turn to. Let's never let this happen to another parent again.
As for my brother...he is doing okay. He was very depressed and suicidal for awhile, but he has pulled himself out of it and is managing. He has a good job, some good friends, and I've moved close by him. We are close and see each other very often. He hopes to one day see his daughter, and says that eventually he wants to have more children when the time is right and when he's with the right person.
All I can say now is: I urge everyone, everywhere, to leave the LDS cult, to investigate the TRUE FACTS and to help others still caught in the deception. This organization is even more evil than most of us know...
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