Thursday, July 16, 2015

Escaping Polygamy - 7/14/14

Escaping Polygamy tells the story of Andrea, Jessica and Shanell, former polygamist sisters (children of Daniel Kingston) who have escaped and now vow to help others do the same.

The show tells us the polygamist culture that they were in rules by fear and intimidation. The women on the show told stories of being courted by family members, being abused and other horrible things. The women set a goal to get out, and they did. They want people to realize that they won't be punished for leaving the abuse and pain they experience in their religious sect.

A text was received from one of the girls' sisters saying she wants out but doesn't know who she can trust. When we met her, we found out it was 18 year old Melanie. She was going to be involuntarily married, and didn't want to do so.

Melanie had a poor upbringing and had to dumpster dive. She had to go to grocery stores and say she'd be giving things to charity but it was really for themselves. She grew up eating rotten food. The church promised that everyone would have a great life and be rewarded with heaven. In the order, they believe everyone else is going to "heck" (her words). Melanie once questioned if there are good people outside of the religion, and she was told that the people in the religion are the chosen ones.

She's seen her dad beat up her family. She's been raped. She realizes this is wrong, and people shouldn't have to go through that to go to heaven.

A trainer at Melanie's gym had offered her a place to stay, but she had to get out while her family was out church. One of Melanie's full sisters (the women featured on this show are her half sisters) tried to escape and was beat to the point where she almost lost her life. Additionally, per Fox News:

“Getting out is a [multi-]step process. You physically move your stuff out, but you also need to emotionally get out and mentally [you need to] stop thinking the way they have trained you to think,” she said. “For some people, that’s the part where they can’t stay out… they can’t make decisions for themselves. They can’t think for themselves.”

One of the sisters (Jessica, I believe) got a video showing a church service where the leader exerted his dominance over the group. In the video, she watches her sister proudly disown the family members who left the order. She, and the other kids featured in the video, are brainwashed into believing such things, according to the women who left the cult.

The show then referenced Kollene, a sister who'd left the order. I believe we met Kollene on Sister Wives. The women want the home that their mom lives in condemned because it's not liveable. She's placed there because that's where her husband wants her. She's not a favorite wife so she is neglected and living somewhere unsafe. They broke the news to their mom, who wanted a reason. They cited safety. Their mom didn't seem terribly upset. The health department gave the family options: issue a notice that things must be fixed, issue a non-enforced letter or make the unit unrentable. She chose the non-enforceable letter.

Andrea, a law student with a goal of helping others, went to visit Ethan, a man who was kicked out of polygamy because he was competition for older men. He turned to drugs, but eventually decided to pursue rehab. He was going from inpatient to transitioning status. Ethan recently visited his dad, and from that, realized he can be an adult and not seek approval.

Melanie's intent to leave was discovered and the sisters had to get her out immediately. Jessica and Shanell met with someone named Cody to break Melanie out. They spoke to Andrea, who suggested having a cop on the scene. As Melanie tried to leave, people screamed at her rescuers and wouldn't let Melanie leave; they physically held her down. The police officer arrived and helped, and Melanie was able to leave. Melanie was hurt because she was hurting her family and loves them, but she knew she had to go.

Melanie, a few weeks later, visited her brother Elic. He's 27 and still has to sneak out of his mom's house because of the cult rules. Elic seemed very emotional when Melanie asked if he still wanted to be in the order.

My thoughts on this show:

This show is great. It exposes the pain and danger that goes on in a cult environment. It's horrible that people have to live in such situations, but it's possible that a show like this can help those in need.

Some things in this show seem very dramatized, but I wouldn't be surprised if many things are reenactments, not real events. This is a reality show, after all - it's not 100% real.

I was a little confused about how the girls were in touch with their mom, who's still in the cult. Isn't she risking everything by being on this show? Can this be real? It's a little confusing. Perhaps she's already left the cult and this is a reenactment of an event that occurred.

1 comment:

Unknown Blogger said...

This show, Escaping Polygamy, is for sure 100% real no matter what the author of this article says. The three young women who star in this show would not put their very sanities and lives on the line to help people get out of polygamy and survive it to have the show not be 100% real. What is displayed in the show, Escaping Polygamy, is the truth and I support and bow down to all who help the stars and crew of the show 100% because what they do is completely right and true. And, thank God that HB99 passed with flying colors!!! It is time that both the adult men and the adult women were held accountable for the crimes against children and for the millions of dollars of fraud that they have comitted. And, Paul Kingston, Daniel Kingston, Warren Jeffs and Lyle Jeffs all make The Grim Reaper look like Mickey Mouse!!!! May all of them rot in the very lowest depths of hell for all of eternity!!!