Thank you, Wesley
(That's what we'd hoped to achieve)
We are grateful for this review on Amazon.com
from Wesley G, who gives us hope that our book is doing what we hoped it would do:
“An eye opener, and it is not restricted only to her religious organization. This book is so much more about mind control than the physical control exerted over the multiple wives.”
77% of readers: 4 or more stars!
The harm from institutionalized intrusion
into your (and your children’s) personal life
From within a cult, what should by all rights appall you may instead seem like a harmless or even a wholesome routine. A good example is the Mormon (LDS) Church’s institutionalized intrusion into members’ personal lives known as the “bishop’s interview.” It is a one-on-one meeting where your bishop asks you questions about your “personal worthiness.”
We recommend this post. (Click on the image.)
Some of the questions are seemingly innocuous, like whether you observe the church’s prohibition on coffee, tea and booze. But some are deeply intrusive, such as questions about your sexual behavior. Mind you,
a bishop receives no formal training in social work, much less medicine. He (always a he) is an ordinary neighbor who has been “called by inspiration” to lead you for five or so years.If that fails to creep you out, consider that bishops conduct annual “worthiness interviews” with children, beginning at age 12. Ironically, a culture that generally opposes sex education in school sees no harm in letting an adult male neighbor ask their kids about what they do with their genitals.The interview itself is a form of child sexual abuse. Sometimes the interview gives kids ideas.
The Mormon church is rife with tales of parents who ask their kids, “What on earth gave you the idea to try that?
” only to be told, “I never heard of it until the bishop asked if I’d ever done it.” When an organization makes your personal business its own, it erodes your individuality, your will to be yourself, and your ability to recognize it and stand up to it when authority overreaches. This is a cult hallmark.
No wonder a good number of people raised Mormon fall prey when yet more oddball cults come along, from polygamy to political extremism.
For a stirring story of standing up to a cult, we commend to you this post by “Scarlet A” on the website Ex Mormon Mavens
. It is a lovely tribute to her father who helped her stand up to cult abuse. We hope not just Mormons but all parents read it.
• • •
“I absolutely love that Joanne told her story
with accountability and humor. Her book is
witty, irreverent and very refreshing.”
Our thanks to ex-polygamist wife Sal, who posted this review of “It’s Not About the Sex” My Ass
I am all too familiar with the story the author tells in this book; being a polygamist and first wife myself. The title “It's Not About the Sex” My Ass is the best title I've ever seen on a book about polygamy! I don't typically read polygamy books because the “poor me” perspective gets very old. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying at all that there isn’t abuse, neglect, mind control, oppression etc because there absolutely is. I think the numerous female authors describe very well how difficult it is to stand up for ones self and “buck” the system. They describe honestly how threatening it is to leave a society who was once family and friends, but who then become haters if you start to question the religion. While everyone has their own perspective and experience, there has to be some degree of personal responsibility taken as well though, from men AND women both. I have been a member my entire life and am currently still a member so I feel very qualified to make such a statement. Just sayin’...
A few chapters in, as Joanne described finding and marrying wife number two, I was breathing into a paper bag, completely nauseated and hyperventilating, as my own long-buried memories came bubbling to the surface. It was fantastic to read a frank, honest account of the feelings one goes through when that event happens. I felt like she barely scratched the surface though. Personally, I was much more interested in her perspective of the everyday grind of being a polygamous wife rather than the activities of the group as a whole. When you struggle with a sister wife, husband or the leaders, you don’t dare speak about it openly because doing so would only show your lack of commitment and your weak testimony. You ought as well tattoo “I SUCK” across your forehead for all in your church to read so they can feel justified in their righteous judgement of you. Instead, you suck it up, berate yourself and feel shame and guilt for being so weak. Personally, I think it’s the women in the church who wield the mightiest sword against each other. Often it’s the women who will have you believing all of the problems are your fault and that you have no other recourse than to beg your husband and God for forgiveness of your petty weaknesses. The women truly are the “neck that turns the head.” ....... stepping down off my soap box now .....
I absolutely love that Joanne told her story with accountability and humor. Her book is witty, irreverent and very refreshing. Accepting, living and leaving polygamy is a complicated head trip, not one that is as cut and dry as it seems to casual observer. Joanne’s description of her journey is very entertaining. Well Done!
Readers post new reviews on Amazon.com
★★★★★ “Very heartwrenching”
From Claire F: “Excellent book. True from the heart. We all can be sucked into cults. I love the truthfulness in this book.” (May 29, 2013)
★★★★★ “Open and honest”
From Timothy B: “An excellent book by a very entertaining person. It was hard to put down and I ended up reading it in one day.” (May 27, 2013)
Wow — mostly four and five stars! We’re grateful that readers seem to like “It’s Not About the Sex My Ass”
★★★★★ “Humorous and well written”
From Rod: “This is a short book and hard to put down once started. It is written by a woman about her true experiences in a Mormon polygamist cult. I’m an agnostic so I had no problems with it but it’s not recommended for Mormons. It all started when her husband announced he was going to join. She ended up divorcing him.” (May 26, 2013)
“All the belly laughs about subjects
from which one might never have imagined
that so much humor could be wrung”
Read the Free Inquiry magazine review here
We received our copy of the new issue of Free Inquiry
magazine in today’s mail. What an honor!—page 58 is devoted to a review—a positive one, no less—of our book, “It’s Not About the Sex” My Ass. No less than Free Inquiry editor Tom Flynn
writes, “... the most harrowing and intimate account of a woman’s life under contemporary Mormon polygamy is doubtless Carolyn Jessop’s Escape
... if Carolyn Jessop had fired her most capable coauthor, Laura Palmer, and teamed up with [former Daily Show
head writer] David Javerbaum instead, the result might well have been ‘It’s Not About the Sex’ My Ass.”To read the entire review, you really should subscribe to Free Inquiry, or at least march down to your nearest bookstore and pick up a copy. Barring that, you could read on this website by clicking here or on the image at right.
Read Tom Flynn's review of “It’s Not About the Sex My Ass” by clicking the image above.
No, the Mormon church isn't using
Boy Scouts to bring back polygamy
Not that this much is news, but American Family Association spokesperson Bryan Fischer is up in the night.
Yesterday Fischer suggested that the mainstream Mormon church’s OK on gay boys becoming Boy Scouts is a ploy geared to pave the way toward the re-establishment of its prior practice of polygamy.There is no evidence to suggest that the church is posturing for a return to polygamy. Fischer appears to have pulled this from his butt.
esides allowing gay boys to become Boy Scouts (but not gay men to become Scout leaders), the LDS Church has “softened” its stance on the LGBT community only in two respects. Before a Salt Lake City Council meeting a year ago, it supported nondiscriminatory employment and housing practices; and nowadays it says a same-sex attraction isn’t sinful per se provided one doesn’t act on it.
The church still opposes same-sex marriage and marriage-like unions, and considers homosexuality—or, at least, homosexual acts—sinful.Oh, and it opposes polygamy, too. We don’t expect to see that change anytime soon. As we observed in a blog post last week
, the average octogenarian male can handle only so much.To watch a video clip of nutcase Fischer and read more about him as reported in AMERICAblog, click here.
Don’t expect the mainstream
Mormon church to reinstate official
polygamy anytime soon
Opponents of same-sex marriage love to worry aloud that legalized polygamy is next, to be followed by legally marrying your dog. We suggest they look up “non sequitur.”
Either way, we’re fairly certain you won’t see the mainstream Mormon church seek to officially reinstate polygamy anytime soon. Why? Pure pragmatism. When founder Joseph Smith started polygamy, he was a libidinous young man in his 20s. Today you don’t get to be a Mormon prophet until you’re well into your 80s. Big difference in appeal, drive, stamina and, we suspect, capability.
Of Mormons and Mrs. God
The Mormon Church believes that God is married. And that Mrs. God is humankind’s Heavenly Mother.Mormons avoid talking about her in public.
The only official
allusion to Heavenly Mother appears in the lyrics of the popular Mormon hymn O My Father
, penned in 1845 by Eliza R. Snow (one of church founder Joseph Smith’s 30-50 polygamous wives). You can also infer the existence of Mrs. God from the fact that Mormon doctrine stipulates that a man must marry to attain godhood (the whole a-man-can-become-a-god thing is another topic Mormons avoid in public). Church leaders have alluded to Mrs. God over the pulpit, but if need be such can be dismissed as opinion-not-doctrine. This allows for plausible denial on an as-needed basis. If you happen to think the concept is cool, Mormons can proudly own it. If you happen to think it’s weird, they can disavow it.Today’s edition of The Salt Lake Tribune
features an interesting look at Mormondom’s Heavenly Mother. Click here to read.
Elizabeth Smart on why teaching “abstinence only” isn’t such a great idea
Doubtless you have heard of
Elizabeth Smart, who in 2003 was famously rescued from a dangerous, polygamist abductor-rapist-nutcase. (News of her rescue was what prompted the Vogue
magazine to feature Joanne and her family in the wake of their own departure from the polygamist cult in Manti.)
After the ordeal, Smart returned to and served as a missionary for the mainstream Mormon Church. Actively participating Mormons are discouraged from contradicting the church’s official stances. This makes her recent statements
at Johns Hopkins all the more courageous. Smart
suggested that human trafficking victims may not run away if they have been raised in conservative cultures that push abstinence-only education and emphasize sexual purity because they may feel worthless after being raped.We cheer Ms. Smart’s insight and courage. To read more about her presentation as reported in ThinkProgress.org, click here.
Coming soon: video interview with Joanne
May flowers are well and good, but May is really
cool when it brings you a new interview with Joanne Hanks. Especially one on video! Jo is a little abashed about that, but Steve thinks it’s great.
The interview, conducted by Spencer L Jensen of TrueBelievingMormons.com
, will be posted in the third week of May. (Which, observed Jensen, “... Exmormon Mavens
has declared as Sex Month.”) As soon as the interview is posted, we’ll provide a link, so be sure to check back.
Joanne Hanks interview to be on TrueBelievingMormons.com in the third week of May