Confessions Of A Former Member Of A Polygamist Cult

May 13, 2019 | No Comments » | Topics: Life Experiences

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How many wives did you father have? How many siblings do you have?

My dad had 27 wives and I have over 200 brothers and sisters from other mothers. I’m the oldest of 11 children from my biological mother

I’ve always wondered if kids, or even fathers/other mothers, remember ALL 200+ of their siblings and their names. Don’t they just kind if blend together after a while?

My dad doesn’t know half of his kids names. When John Daniel Kingston went to court, the judge asked him to name all his kids. He couldn’t name half of them.

How do the various wives deal with their husband constantly laying down with other women? Living under the same roof while this occurs has to be borderline torturous, right?

Most of the women don’t really know their husbands very well. Even so, there is so much jealousy in my cult. One of my half moms actually tried to run over a new wife with her van, who was marrying into our family. Most of the wives only live with another wife for the first 6 months to a year after they marry into the family. Most of the women have too many children to live together anyways.

Can you tell us some stuff about the logistics of a household/ community that size? Like grocery shopping and stuff

In my home, we got our food from the garbage. We would hop in the dumpster at Smiths every Saturday night to find whatever we could eat. Then, we would buy the rest of the Order grocery store on Sunday after church.

As far as bedroom, we had 5 girls share 1 bedroom and 3 boys in another bedroom. My mom had her room and my dad had his own room even though he was never there.

My mom owned a Ford Aerostar van and we never wore seatbelts. There weren’t enough seatbelts for that many kids

How did anyone make enough money to support that many children/wives?

In my group, the men don’t financially support the wives. They own the house for the family and the woman is expected to pay rent to the man. Most of the women are on government assistance or they don’t eat.

How do they get government assistance?

They are able to claim single mother and get help from the state.

Does the father have to pay child support? In other states when a mother and children get state assistance the father must pay child support to off-set the assistance.

The women claim they don’t know who the father of their children is. They are taught to lie to the state about everything including the paternity of their children.

Wow. That is massive fraud. How is that not investigated further by the state or feds?

There’s really no way to prove it. When they tried to charge my dad with incest, he sent all his related wives out of state until the order expired.

How do the leaders square this with the group’s religious beliefs?

They believe the government is evil so it’s not a bad thing to take money and resources from them. It’s called “bleeding the beast” and most polygamous groups practice it

Do you believe that your father actually believes what the religion preaches (especially in regards to polygamy), or does he just use it as manipulation for personal gain/desire?

I think he believes in polygamy and the LDS doctrine, but I think he’s taken it and practices it in a way that just hurts people

Did your cult call themselves “Mormons”? Did they take a lot of their beliefs from that religion?

We called ourselves fundamentalist Mormons and yes, most of the doctrine is the same. We believed the LDS church fell away from God when they stopped following polygamy and consecration and that’s the reason our particular group was formed in the first place.

How do groups like this operate without attracting attention from the different authorities?

My cousin Jacob Kingston is currently in prison pending a trial for fraud and money laundering of 500 million dollars. If you google Heidi Foster, Jacob Kingston, John Daniel Kingston, David Kingston, all these people have been in prison or have had charges against them. They don’t prosecute polygamy because it’s hard to prove and it’s recently been decriminalized. (not legalized)

What was the extent of your contact with the outside world while in?

I went to a public school for kindergarten and 1st grade and then my dad pulled everyone out of school to keep outside beliefs from getting in. I went to college when I was 15, but wasn’t allowed to see anyone outside class. We were not allowed to make outside friends. The order (the cult) owns grocery stores, their own school, etc. We never had access to the outside world. Even our employment was at an Order business.

When was the first time you realized “wait a minute, something is off here?”

When I was gang raped at 6 years old.

Is that normal within the cult? Are many of the girls experiencing this?

Almost every girl I grew up with in the cult was sexually abused in some form or another. It’s more rare to find a girl who was not abused.

Could someone report the sexual abuse of children in the cult to the Dept of Social Services? Wouldn’t they have to investigate?

The problem with reporting is the statue of limitations. I was sexually abused at 14, and I didn’t know I could even report it until I was 18. By that time, it had been 4 years and the statue of limitations had expired. I’ve reported abuse for my siblings, but they are so afraid of the outside world that they won’t cooperate with an investigation

How do people in the cult come to terms with child abuse, domestic violence, etc that go on?

In a cult, you are taught that the law doesn’t matter. God’s law is higher and the leaders determine God’s law.

Was there one person in particular that was the voice of reason and persuaded you to get out? If you can talk about them without worrying about outing them of course.

When I was about 16, I started sneaking out to go to a martial arts class. My sensei would listen to my crazy ideas and then debate with me about them. He would research my questions and help me see things from an outside perspective. The more I questioned my belief system, the more I realized the religion was abusive and wrong

What was the last straw for you to actually make the decision to leave?

My dad sat me down on my 16th birthday and told me I had to get married. I knew I was leaving about that point even if I couldn’t admit it to anyone yet

How old was the cousin they had arranged for you to marry?

I had a choice between a first cousin and a second cousin. 1st cousin was 19 (I was 17). 2nd cousin was 27 (I was 16)

Was your cousin into the idea of you two ending up together?

Yes, he cried when I told him we weren’t getting married

Why were those your two choices, why not one of the few thousand other people that weren’t related to you? Do they not know that marrying close relatives can result in so many issues with reproduction?

Getting married is a business transaction. You are given to a man as payment for something else (money, a business, strengthen family ties, etc.)

Are members concerned about genetic issues due to first cousins marrying? Did you see a lot of genetic problems within the community?

They have recently started genetically testing people before they get married due to the high birth defect rate in recent years. This was not a thing when I was there though

How exactly did you escape? What was the plan and how did you follow through with it? (Housing, money, running away, food, etc)

One night, when I was 17, I packed my photo album, journals, and some clothes in the back of my car and I disappeared. I was homeless for a month, before I found a friend who allowed me to stay with him. When I contacted my family, they brainwashed me into coming back. When I was 18, I left again. I stayed with a boyfriend’s parents while I waited tables and struggled through college.

You had a car/had access to a car?

I had a car because I threatened to turn my father into the authorities if he didn’t allow me to spend my money to get a car. It was much easier to leave after I was 18. I was able to legally be free of my parents.

How did you get money for it?

I had been employed since I was 11 years old. I was not allowed to spend any of the money I made. I ended up leaving most of my money in the cult after I left because I couldn’t prove it was mine.

Have they tried to reach out and get you back into the cult? And were they accepting of your wish to leave or did they try to stop you?

They tried to get me back into the cult for the first 2 years after I left. They finally gave up after I tried to help the authorities arrest my dad

Were you shunned when you left? Are your siblings technically not allowed to speak to you?

When I left, I was definitely shunned. I was not allowed to see or speak to any of my siblings. When I showed up on my little sister’s birthday to give her a present, my mom called the cops on me for trespassing. It was very difficult when I left. The only thing I could do, is assure my brothers and sisters that I was there for them in any way I could be. I’m the oldest of 11, so I raised most of them while my mom worked 2 jobs. Eventually most of the older ones reached out to me, even though none of them have had the courage to leave the group. I’m currently close to 3 of my full siblings, though our relationship has stayed secret

I’m really curious about the mothers and children on why they stay. Especially your mom calling the cops. Is it simply brain washed? Are they told lies about the outside word? Are they happy with that life style?

They really are brainwashed into believing the Order is everything. I’ve tried so hard to have a relationship with my mother, but it’s impossible because she will always put the cult before everything else, including her children. It breaks my heart

What do you feel is the worst part of your upbringing? Do you see any benefits to your upbringing?

The worst part of my upbringing is the extremely traumatic physical and sexual abuse. Also the brainwashing.

I guess the benefits would have to be: I graduated high school at 14 because I wasn’t allowed to go to a real school. I had to do an online distance program. Also, I learned a lot about running a business. My dad was a lawyer so I learned a lot about the law too

What was the biggest “WTF. that’s not true” realization you had regarding the FLDS teachings after leaving?

My family is very racist and we were taught that African American people had an extra bone in their body because they were descended from a monkey. I felt so stupid when I voiced that belief lol

But what was the extra bone?

The extra bone was in the leg. This allowed them to jump higher

So, is it like just one extra bone? Or an extra bone per leg?

One extra bone

So they believe in evolution?

They claim they don’t. Most of their beliefs contradict each other though

How are you doing now? What have you been up to now?

I’m pretty boring now haha. I have PTSD and Bipolar 2, which comes from the PTSD and I’m in therapy and on medication to deal with that. I’m hoping to be off medication in the next 2 years.

I’ve been running a licensed home daycare for the past 5 years, and I’m 3 classes away from a bachelor’s degree in business management. I have kids and a husband whom I’m pretty happy with. (yes it’s the same husband I write about in my book lol).

I love writing and I love fitness.

What has been the hardest part of raising your children differently than you were raised?

Because I have a licensed daycare, I am required by the state to take child training classes. (20+ hours a year.) These classes have been my lifeline in raising my own children, because I didn’t have a blueprint to take with me. Even if my mother and I were on good terms, I would never trust her to care for my children.

Have you found it difficult to maintain relationships on the outside after growing up in such an environment? Have you done any kind of therapy to adjust?

After I left the cult, I became very promiscuous and actually avoided relationships. When I met my husband, he encouraged me to go to therapy. I have been in therapy for about 3 years

What part of mainstream life do you think we who have never been in a cult wouldn’t realize how close it is to cultlike behavior?

lol I’m still trying to figure out mainstream life haha. I would probably have to say consumerism. We really don’t need 98% of the things we buy

Ae you related to the girls who do Escaping Polygamy?

They are all my first cousins. Shanell and I are actually still very close

Is that show fairly accurate? I’ve always wondered if it was all scripted or not

It’s actually pretty scripted. I think only a couple of the escapes have actually been real time

Have you read/heard of “Under the Banner of Heaven” by Jon Krakauer, and if so, how accurate is its portrayal of Rulon and Warren?

Yes I have read Under the Banner of Heaven. I really enjoyed the book and found it very accurate. I’ve recommended it to many people who have been curious about my backround

How have your beliefs in religion changed after you left?

I don’t believe in organized religion at all. I do like the idea of spirituality though.



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