Friday, June 10, 2016

Life is the ugliest thing you've ever seen!

This morning, as I was catching up on RfM, I was reading a thread about the Huntsville, Alabama mom who apparently killed her two kids and herself a few days ago.  Apparently, I'm not the only one who suspects that the mom may have decided to end it all due to the custody battle and her ex husband possibly leading their kids away from Mormonism.

One person wrote about how his TBM ex wife left him after a very long relationship, mainly due to her belief that God is more important than love.  Granted, this person's post wasn't very long and didn't include a lot of information, but basically he wrote that he and his ex wife had a lot in common and were very compatible.  According to the poster, a bishop told his ex wife that God is more important than one's spouse.  So she went to the temple, prayed, fasted, and decided that a divorce was the answer, because she needed a man to go through the temple with her and take her to the Celestial Kingdom.  The poster concluded that the Mormon church ruins families.

Bill's ex wife did something similar before they split.  She went to the nearest temple, which at that time was in St. Louis, Missouri.  She later claimed that while she was praying in the Celestial Room, Heavenly Father told her to divorce Bill.  She later told him about it-- and, for the record, I think Heavenly Father was dead on-- and used that as one of her excuses to split up.  She said that Heavenly Father had told her she would not be alone, but she wouldn't be with Bill.  Go Heavenly Father!  

Bill was, of course, devastated.  In retrospect, the divorce was the best thing that ever happened to him.  But he loved his kids and knew that if he divorced their mother, he'd eventually lose them.  The thought of not having access to his kids was crushing for Bill.  So he asked his ex wife if she thought he was a good husband and father.  She said, in a very cold tone of voice, "Maybe to another family."  I'm sure she said this as a way to humiliate Bill.  I can only imagine how powerful yet disgusted she felt, seeing him on his knees crying and trying to convince her to work on their relationship.

Looking back on it, I think Ex was right.  Bill is a good husband to someone else and, given a chance, would have been a fantastic father.  But she didn't say that to make him feel better; she said it to diminish him and make him feel beneath her.  

Now, I still don't actually know why the Huntsville mom apparently decided to kill herself and her children.  However, I have read some follow up articles that indicate she may have been very depressed and anxious.  I have also read that she was very TBM.

What a lot of people unfamiliar with Mormonism don't understand is that, for many women, getting to the temple is paramount.  The temple is the key to the Celestial Kingdom.  Women can't get to the Celestial Kingdom on their own.  They need a temple worthy husband to get them there.  For that reason, they tend to exert a lot of pressure on their husbands to stay faithful and worthy.  The women keep their men on a straight and narrow path and make it very costly for them to stray from it.  A husband and father who leaves the church is very dangerous to a woman who believes in the Mormon gospel with all her heart.  But after divorce, the woman no longer has as much control.  Divorce laws, at least outside of Utah, make it difficult for ex wives to keep ex husbands on the straight and narrow.   A man who doesn't automatically acquiesce to the mother of his children and realizes that, as a father, he also has rights, is dangerous to a TBM woman who hopes to make it to the highest echelon of Heaven.

My guess is that Mrs. Foster and her ex husband were married in the temple and had been sealed.  One of Mrs. Foster's complaints after her divorce was that her ex husband wasn't taking the children to church.  That makes me think that he must have been in the process of leaving the church, but perhaps hadn't resigned.  Mrs. Foster was probably not sealed to her second husband.  She was probably sealed to her first husband, who was slipping into unworthiness.  To a very devout Mormon woman, being sealed to a man who can't take her to the Celestial Kingdom is potentially devastating... depending, of course, on how much one believes in Mormonism.  From what I've read, Mrs. Foster was very devoted to the church.

When a Mormon couple divorces, if they have been sealed to each other, they are divorced only in the eyes of the law.  They are not divorced in the eyes of the church.  Divorcing in the eyes of the church requires what is known as a sealing cancellation and, from what I understand, sealing cancellations are difficult to get.  A woman must have a worthy priesthood holder who can step in and permission must be granted by high ranking church authorities.  She can only be sealed to one man.  And, if she has children with an ex husband and is sealed to him, the children will remain with him.  I have also heard that any other children born to the woman after the divorce will also "belong" to the first husband in the afterlife.  Divorced Mormon males, on the other hand, can be sealed to more than one woman.

I have heard from multiple sources that not even a resignation from an ex husband cancels a sealing.  The reason for that is because there is a chance the ex Mormon husband could decide to come back to the church.  If he comes back and is re-baptised, all of his former "blessings" would be restored.  On the other hand, I have also heard that resignation cancels everything.  When it comes to sealings and resignations, the jury seems to be out as to what Mormons actually believe.  However, some male posters on RfM have resigned and, when an ex wife decides to get sealed to a subsequent spouse, they've gotten a letter from her bishop informing him of the new sealing and asking if there is any reason why she shouldn't be allowed to be sealed to her next husband.

Bill has never gotten a letter from Ex's bishop.  My guess is that she hasn't been sealed to #3 because she probably throws it in his face that she's sealed to Bill.  This is the kind of thing she does to humiliate her partners and keep them in line.  She triangulates and keeps people competing for her attention.  She filters and skews information and never lets anyone in her sphere speak directly to one another.  The end result is that they burn with resentment toward each other, but never actually talk to each other and compare notes.  But again, I doubt Ex actually believes in the Mormon church. She simply uses it as a means of controlling other people.

Mrs. Foster, on the other hand, was apparently a true believer and was distraught over the breakup of her marriage and ensuing custody issues.  She was not keeping the kids from their father, at least not initially.  She did not appear to be trying to poison them against their dad, as Bill's ex wife did.  She may have been afraid they would fall under her ex husband's influence and abandon the church, which would mean that they'd also be abandoning her in eternity.

Again... this is all purely conjecture on my part.  For all I know, Mrs. Foster and her kids could have been murdered by someone or they could have died as a result of a freak accident.  We still don't have the whole story as to what actually happened to them.  But based on the fact that she was a devout Mormon and her ex husband was fighting with her over custody issues, I think it's possible that she became depressed and overwhelmed at the prospect of her kids not making it to Mormon Heaven with her.  She feared them losing the gospel and not being with her in the afterlife.  She may have thought that murder and suicide was the only way to protect them from the "evil influence" of an apostate.

To someone who knows nothing about Mormonism, and I'd venture to guess that many people don't, this kind of reasoning seems ridiculous.  I will admit, when I first married Bill, the whole sealing aspect of the church was a bit upsetting.  I realized that on some level, Bill's narcissistic ex wife thought she had an eternal hold on him and they'd be together after we're all dead.  But then I realized that the whole "temple marriage" thing is a bunch of hooey.  Even if it were true, Bill wouldn't be going to the same place Ex is, simply because he left the church and won't be going back.  The whole temple marriage/sealing shit is mainly a way to keep church members obedient.  But to those who believe in it, the concept of forever families is very powerful.  There's great pressure for Mormons to try to be perfect.  Divorce and apostasy are sources of great shame for some members.

I think the concept of temple marriage is a source of significant stress for those who put a lot of stock in it.  Add in a bonafide mental illness like clinical depression and generalized anxiety disorder and you could end up with someone driven to the type of desperation that can lead to suicide, homicide, or both.  Mrs. Foster may have felt that this was the only way she and her children could be together in the wake of the divorce.  Or she may have been exhausted fighting for control of the kids and determined that killing them and herself was one way to take control, once and for all.

Many people who read this blog may think that I'm overly interested in Mormonism.  I'm sure more than one TBM has stumbled across some of my posts and been very offended by them.  I doubt most church members think about this stuff very deeply.  For one thing, they don't have time!  Life keeps them busy.  They have kids, jobs, and church callings to occupy them.  I, on the other hand, have a lot of time to think and research.  I have come to the conclusion that in many families, as long as everyone in a family loves the church or is willing to go through the motions, Mormonism can work. However, if someone in the family decides the church isn't for them, problems arise.  That's why I think Mormonism can destroy families.  And, if there is any truth to what I've written today, my guess is that the church had a hand in destroying Connie Foster and her family.

In the same RfM thread I linked, another poster wrote:

"Trying to get a custody agreement changed from "shared" to "sole" simply on the basis of 'he's not mormon anymore' is not a slam dunk. It's easy to speculate that her attorney would have let her know this. If she feared that she wasn't going to have her way, and that her husband (who was probably making in-roads with the kids on the Sundays he had them) would still be in their lives, I can see where with the appropriate derangement she could justify taking the kids' lives and then checking out to be with them."

He concluded his post by writing, "Life is the ugliest thing you've ever seen."  Thinking about this situation makes me conclude that he's probably right.


  1. You get a different answer on the cancellation of sealing issue depending upon whom you ask and depending upon where you are in the current lunar phase when you get around to asking. For the most part, the real answer seems to be that if you WANT a cancellation, forget it; sealings are absolutely unrevokable. If you actually WANT the sealing to still be in effect, however, forget that; if you resign, the blessings of the sealing are no longer available to you. (Rebaptism does restore "blessings" of ordinances in the view of the morg.) So basically the curses of the sealing are with you come Hell or high water, while the blessings of the sealing may be manipulated at whim. This is, of course, merely the Word of God as told by the LDS church according to the interpretation of Alexis. Someone in Salt Lake City might say something entirely different, depending upon whom you happen to ask and equally influenced by the lunar cycle. So all poor Bill has to do is to say the word and be re-baptised and can, once again, be joined at the pelvis with the Cluster B witch from Hell for all eternity. But we know he ain't gonna say the word.

    1. Except that Cluster B Witch from Hell may have obtained a sealing cancellation or dissolution so that she could be remarried in the temple to her next victim, in which case the hereafter becomes rather complicated.

    2. Right. But it was my understanding that because Bill could come back, the church would ask him if it's okay for her to be sealed to #3. Of course, Bill would heartily agree and Ex's pride couldn't take that. Aside from that, I know she tells #3 that he's only her husband for time, anyway... Probably anytime he tries to use his priesthood authority... ;)

  2. This is totally unrelated to our other comments, but I really wonder about people who have this idea that God should be so much more important to us than should be other people in our lives. I'm presuming a great deal when I try to make assumptions about how any God would think and feel, but still, it seems to me . . . Anyway, I agree with something my pseudouncle said in a thread at RFM once about how, as a parent, while his kids are only babies and he's having to sort of guess how he'll feel about this once they're a bit older, but that it would seem much more important that his children treat each other well than that they kiss up to him like miniature Eddie Haskellls while treating each other like shit. I suspect God would feel the same way. I'm not really sure what I believe about the nature of God anymore beyond my belief in there probably being a creator or creative force involved in the origin of our universe. Still, if God exists in the sense that God is portrayed by any of the Abrahamic religions, it's hard to see Him or Her as this Donald Trump-like egotistical force who demands and revels in adulation and applause all the time. It just really seems like a God in possession of any sensibilities would be all about how we treat each other, including or perhaps especially how seriously we take commitments we make to our spouses. I have no idea how things are going to go down for all or any of us in the end, but I do suspect some people are in for a few big surprises when they find that putting God ahead of family members doesn't earn them the divine rewards they expected. I'm not deluding myself into believing that, whatever happens after this life, I'm going to be in any better position than will be the next person. Still, I can't help believing that anyone who on a consistent basis poorly treated anyone else in his or her lifetime in the name of God is going to someday be sorry for it unless it all ends for everyone when we die, in which case it still would seem that such might have been all the more reason for caring more about people and less about heaping flattery upon any God. Even from a Christian perspective, Jesus said "If you love me, feed my sheep." God is a big boy or girl and can presumably take care of himself or herself and doesn't need or particularly want us kissing up with our words incessantly.

    1. Some Christians make God sound like a megalomaniac.


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