This post originated on another journal and is being added to HDJM’s canon
Oh, the last two episodes have just been heartbreaking. Kassie once asked me how on earth I could watch this show, given my opinion and crusading against polygamy. Well, I think I figured it out. I’ve been out of the church and away from that mindset for enough years now, that I almost think I’ve exaggerated things. That I’ve skewed things out of whack. Embellished.
And then another episode of Big Love airs, and I remember more, and it’s all there on screen for EVERYONE to see, and it’s complete and utter validation for all the stuff I’ve been talking about to y’all over the years. So, it’s like… proof that I’m not crazy. Here are some images – don’t you love all of those blonde, blue-eyed Indians that see Jesus?
My very first “youth conference” trip (a way to have Faith Building trips for LDS youth) was to historic LDS sites. The one place we didn’t go? Palmyra. It’s seriously Mecca. Every other place they visited, though? That was my trip, too. Read those cards, took those pictures… I remember big family road trips, too. Caravaning a couple of cars to Utah… One big trip my sisters and I took with my aunt and uncle (the ones that won’t speak to me now) was a great one: we had paper bowls and plates and ate cereal and PB&Js in our cramped hotel rooms – their six kids, my aunt and uncle, and my two sisters and I in the SAME ROOM – before pushing on. Efficiency, walkie-talkies, time tables… Good times. That was the trip my sister busted her nose in a cheap motel’s pool. Side track, sorry.
What hit me where I lived in that ep was the forced faith. “We will see these things that we’ve been taught have Meaning, and we will Believe once our eyes are on them.” In my book, I have a chapter about that trip I took when I was fourteen, about seeing where Joseph Smith was imprisoned, where he died, how we were expected to Feel upon seeing it. I loved that picture Bill tried to take with everyone being depressed and unhappy. Yeah, I get it.
Last night’s ep… Oh, the poor, poor women. Every single one of them with no control in their lives. The stupid little things that they CAN control to feel not so buffeted by the power of the Priesthood. Like Margene forcing Nikki to quit and getting some of her unhappiness under control. Nikki desperate to have SOMETHING be her choice, not forced on her. Oh, poor poor Kathy. Her braid!! Oh, that just sucker punched my soul. That shit is REAL, goddammit. Selma and Hollis Green? Those creepy woman sentinels that helped that asshole get Kathy to that barn? I would bet my eye teeth they are the LeBarons. I’ve talked about them before, and how I worked with one of his escaped daughters. They’re actually crazier than the show is showing, if you can believe that. Oh, it just makes me ill.
I have to say it again: this show is changing the names and places of REAL THINGS and putting it on every Sunday. This isn’t fiction, guys. [clutches heart]
I freaking loved that Lois was telling her grandsons some horror stories. Grace Zabriske is a fan-freaking-tastic actress, and I love her to pieces. And oh, Wanda… Jennifer Aniston!! I love that she made her “schedule” with Brangelina and Aniston trying to get in the middle. Bless.
OH MY GOD, the papers. I completely forgot. So, my cousin is married to the Taylors. The Taylors are the descendants of John Taylor, the third prophet of the LDS church, the one after Brigham Young. He was the one that swore polygamy would never leave the earth, and he’d die before he let it. Woodruff was the leader after him, and the one that signed the agreement with the US gov’t saying the church WOULD stop it. It’s well known that the church didn’t. Well, it’s well known to old timers who lived in Utah all these years. Anyone with a basic knowledge of US history will recall the Smoot-Reed Act, which led to the Great Depression. Smoot was a Mormon congressman, who was almost kicked out for being a polygamist. 1894 when the “no more polygamy” act happened, and 1929 when the Smoot-Reed act was signed. Polygamist AFTER the “no more” ban. Hello! It’s also well known (again, to old timers in Utah – those from pioneer stock) that the church was STILL sealing multiple wives to men up through the early decades of the 20th century. In Salt Lake City. But since that goes against the image the church has carefully crafted over the past twenty or so years as law-abiding, honest citizens, and because people evidently have short memories, any reminders of that are a big No No.
Back to my cousin. Her husband’s family is, oh, 40% polygamist, still. And why? Because John Taylor, their patriarch and prophet of God for the LDS church called family members (and others) to keep polygamy going, in secret. People were sent to Colonia Juarez and Ciudad in Mexico to keep it up. Or just to central Utah in the middle of nowhere, where my cousin lives. They have documentation somewhere that was written BY THE PROPHET giving them the authority to keep it up. So that paper they talked about? Yeah, I totally believe it’s real, and I totally believe the church has already bought it and buried it in the archives, where no one can go, unless given explicit permission from the prophet or his lieutenants.
Side note, the last, I noticed that they’re filming in Fillmore, AZ. Fillmore is a TEENY town south of the Arizona Strip (read: Colorado City) that has a population of about 600 folks. They’re all either descendants of polygamists, polygamists, or native Americans. That’s where they’re filming some of the Juniper Creek scenes – it’s on the north rim of the Grand Canyon and it’s just desolate. The houses are just shit holes. Poor people that make just enough to eke out a living, but never enough to leave. (Something a resident told me once about living in southern Utah. As true as it gets.)
The music was gorgeous. I need that soundtrack. And every time I tell my kids to “be sweet” I gag a little. It’s so fucking ingrained, and I hate that. Bleh.
Anyway, I can’t stop watching that show. Oh, Kathy. She is maybe the most realistic character to the real people I’ve ever seen. I really think she must have descendants that were polygamist. Her family is LDS – she went to BYU. Nothing like some realism to make it all the more real…
So the Hendrickses on the road to Mormon Mecca. Palmyra, New York, where Joe Smith cried in the woods to know which church was true (this story changes depending on who you ask – the officially accepted story is the one in the pageant) and where he dug in the Hill Cumorah and found a stone box containing a golden book of scriptures with The Truth. By the way, when Bill was kneeling outside the stadium crying and praying, that’s the mirror, except I read someone’s blog saying it was the Angel Moroni flying in the sky. Nope, that was Jesus. Side fact: the Hill Cumorah Pageantl (the big day to go is July 24th, Pioneer Day, if their week-long schedule lands on that date) was written by Orson Scott Card.