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Watch 2022 online sermons » Joyce Meyer » Joyce Meyer - Life After Polygamy

Joyce Meyer - Life After Polygamy

Joyce Meyer - Life After Polygamy
TOPICS: Talk It Out, Polygamy, Mormons
Joyce Meyer - Life After Polygamy

Ginger Stache: Hi everyone, welcome to a bonus edition of Joyce Meyer's Talk it Out podcast. You did not even know this was coming and it's gonna be so good. We are talking about some really important things here today. These are things that are happening right under your nose. And it's also, something that you can make a difference with. We're talking about life after polygamy. And you may hear that think, "What?"! But I'll tell ya, we've seen it firsthand. So, I'm Ginger Stache, along with my friends Erin Cluley and Jai, and we're here to talk it out with you today. And our friend, Rachael Athearn is here with us today. Hey Rachael!

Rachael Athearn: Hi!

Ginger Stache: Many of our friends already know you because you joined us before. Rachael is on our list of favorite people. Which we have a long list of favorite people because there are so many wonderful ladies around here. But Rachael and I recently had the opportunity to go with our hand of hope media team to see what is happening in one particular place in the United States, where there is incredible need, especially, for women and girls. And you've probably seen this on the news. This was a very sensational news piece when a polygamist cult leader, named Warren Jeffs, was arrested and sent to prison. And they began to see the destructive power that he had, not only among his family, which included 70 plus wives, and they don't really even know exactly how many, all of the children. But his tentacles spread all the way into the city and this entire town in Utah, right on the Utah-Arizona border, and just devastated so many lives. So, our Project GRL initiative is all about helping women and girls all over the world. But this is another one of those opportunities, right here, in the United States, to really make a difference. So, we wanna talk more about it. But what we really want to share is the heart behind what we saw. And what women and girls are dealing with in this situation, but so much bigger than that. All over the world, right here, in the us, this was a situation where this one man asserted complete control over this community and especially over the women and the children, who had very, very little to say about what was happening. So, it was not only a controlling type of abuse, because it was very manipulative. He's in jail now, for sexual assault of a child, of a minor. But it was also religious abuse because it was, it was called the FLDS, which is the Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints. It's not,it's a, outbreak, I guess, of the Mormon church. And so, these people were told that this man was the prophet, that basically, he was their God, he heard from God, he knew things about them because God would tell him. So, he had this undue control over all of them. But as Rachael and I, and our team, were there, we had the opportunity to work with the short creek dream center, which is working with Project GRL, and Joyce Meyer Ministries, to help all of these women and children because of the great needs that they have now that this man has been pulled out. But they're using this site, which is a miracle in itself, of this man's former home. So it's a very, very large home, it has 40 some bedrooms, a bathroom, with everyone, because he had such a large family.

Rachael Athearn: Multiple kitchens.

Ginger Stache: Yeah, exactly. And as we were walking around, Rachael, I know you had to feel this way. I just felt like, "Can this get any more depraved"? It was just one step, after the next, after the next, of finding out how bad this situation was.

Rachael Athearn: Yeah, it was like peeling back the layers on an onion, kind of. It's just like how,like, layer after layer of evil.

Ginger Stache: Walking into secret rooms where there were tunnels and hidden things, cameras everywhere.

Jai Williams: Sounds like a movie.

Ginger Stache: It does. Exactly.

Jai Williams: It just sounds unreal.

Erin Cluley: Like, "That's not real," right.

Ginger Stache: And there have been very,a lot of documentaries about it because of that exact thing. Going into a room where he had the ability to read everyone's email, to hear everyone's phone calls, where he,everything was tapped.

Jai Williams: Wow.

Ginger Stache: So, it's just astounding. So, you can imagine the hurt and the devastation of many of these people who really had no choice. They were born into this sect, this cult.

Erin Cluley: Do they understand that, that's not right, and that's not how your life is supposed to live? Or is it,like, is it normal to them?

Ginger Stache: I don't get that impression until they get to a certain point. I mean, it is how life is for them. Especially, if they were raised in that situation. And talking with these women, you know, they would get to a point in their teens, where they would be assigned a man, and that would be their husband. And one woman said it, so beautifully, she said, "How are you supposed to trust and 'fall in love' with the man who is your rapist"? Because, essentially, you're given to this man as a minor, as a child, and that's your life. And then, if anything went wrong, with anybody, Warren Jeffs had the ability to say, "This is not your husband anymore. I want this to be your husband. You're gonna go to this family now". We talked to one young girl, named Liddy, 16-years-old. And, for whatever reason, she was just a strong young woman. And she knew,she began telling her mom at about age 12, "I can't do this". You know, "This is not what we should be doing". And you have to respect that coming from a 12-year-old, because these women were told to, what they called, "Keep sweet," where they weren't ever allowed to share their real feelings, ever show that anything's wrong, ever disagree with anything. They had to, "Keep sweet," or they would be punished. So, for Liddy to speak out and say, "This is not what I want, and I'm going to run away, mom, if you don't help me," and then, it got to the point where this young girl said, "I can't live like this". So, the mom facing this life or death situation of her child, did leave, and took her children with her. And you think of the bravery of these women to stand up and do this. And some were held against their will. Many, many were raped and abused.

Rachael Athearn: And it's not just, you know, I mean, they're stepping out into something completely new. I mean, the outside world, they've been completely isolated from the outside world. You know, and so, they're not only leaving just, you know, taking themselves out of that situation. They're bringing their, you know, 3, 4, 5, 6, 12 children. So, you have a lot of single moms in this area, as well. And so, it was just sad.

Ginger Stache: They don't know how to survive outside of this world. And so, there's so much that we can do, as Project GRL, and coming in, and working together, with the short creek dream center, which is an amazing place. But it's very slow. It's very,you have to be very careful in this work because we can't come in and just start throwing God around and say, "Here's your answer". Because the God that they've known, was not who God really is. So, it comes down to just loving them and being there for them, and caring for them, and meeting those physical needs, education, and all of those other things, first. So, that's really where they're seeing the difference.

Rachael Athearn: Yeah, it is. I was talking to a girl named aida, and she was very much in the middle of the program. And it was so cool because we were with her the day before, and we were watching some of the women do the equine therapy because they have different outlets to be able to help process different things,

Ginger Stache: All the trauma and the crisis.

Rachael Athearn: Yeah, all the trauma. And so, she was telling me, she was saying, you know, "I found myself crying on that horse because I couldn't even remember what I like to do". Because she was taught, like the other women, many of the other woman, "I am a baby-making machine. I'm supposed to have a baby a year," and, you know, everything that comes with that. And so, you know, that was their only purpose. They were not allowed to dream about what they want to be when they grow up. "What do I want to do for fun"? It was very much laid out for them. "This is what you have. This is who you are". You know, "Be obedient, be quiet," you know, things like that. And just, "Have children, and I'm going to have other wives and you're just gonna deal with it, and this is normal". And so, to see her have that moment where, you might think, you know, is a horse really gonna help someone, you know. But she had this breakthrough where she said, you know, "I loved horses. They brought me so much joy as a teenager. I forgot about that. And in that moment, I remembered that. And so, I don't know what else is next for me. But, right now, I'm just gonna focus on, 'this will bring me joy. So, I'm gonna go back to the horses,'" you know, and so, it was really special.

Ginger Stache: Warren Jeffs took all the toys away from this entire town. They took all the children's toys and they got rid of them. It's just a decision he made one day. They were told what to wear, they were told what to eat. And so, after all this was over, Briel, who is an amazing young woman, who actually, went to court and got this house, and said, "We all need so much healing". And began working with the dream center to make it a place of healing, instead of a place of crisis and abuse. But she said, "At first, you sit down to order at a restaurant, and you think, 'i don't even know what I like. I don't even know what I like to eat,'" and, entire new way of thinking, for all of these women. And all of these children, coming up in this, it's such an important time for them to have the real example of who Jesus is: his love, his freedom, you know, his grace, instead of that thumb of control on all of their lives.

Jai Williams: That was gonna be my question to you. Like, how receptive are they, now that they don't have this overarching, you know, person telling them what to eat, what to wear, what to, even their perception about God? What is the tone? What's the temperature there?

Ginger Stache: It's a long road for them. You know, it's not an easy transition. But what we are seeing is, in time, they begin to talk about, "These people, who are helping us now, are so different than what we were ever told God was".

Erin Cluley: So, they're seeing it acted out.

Ginger Stache: Exactly. They're seeing the love of God being acted out, in,

Jai Williams: Practical, real ways.

Ginger Stache: Yeah, in obvious ways, exactly. Instead of just being handed a list of rules to live by.

Rachael Athearn: Yeah, I loved what one of the directors said, you know, "We're here to redeem the word 'church' because, right now, it's such a negative thing". It's a symbol of abuse for a lot of the women. And so, just having this be a marathon and not a sprint, you know, is really necessary, because I would say, we are there for the long haul. You know, it's gonna take time for these women.

Ginger Stache: Have to be.

Rachael Athearn: Yeah.

Jai Williams: I just believe that so many people that are probably watching this, can identify, even though, like you said, like, they may not have come from communities of polygamy. But I've said this, so many times. So much of my adult life, I've been unlearning what was learn, you know, what I was taught. Like what I had learned over the years, and so many people that have experienced negative experiences in church, or in different, you know, family situations where you have to like, really, unlearn it, and it's a process. So, for me, although, I have no idea what these women have experienced, I still, personally, can identify with like, what that process could feel like on the level that I'm,you know, like, that takes a lot.

Ginger Stache: That's how it relates to you.

Jai Williams: Yeah, and I think it's important for us, in any situation that we hear about, whether it be nationally, like, in the United States, or internationally, it's for us to like, take a step back and say like, "Man. Like, how can I identify with this in different ways"? Because that's where empathy grows. Where you can say like, "Man, it's gotta be tough," and, "How can I make a difference"? And, "How can I, you know, partner with something like Project GRL, to help these women, right here, in my country"? It's important to do that, so.

Ginger Stache: I was talking to one of the women, who is so amazing, she's a chaplain there, now. But she once was one of those women, who was living at the house, getting the help, because of the horrible situation, she'd been in. When she was a child, in this cult, her mother died and their whole family was told, "Don't cry," you know, "You don't show any grief, and we're not going to talk about her again". And she had such trauma in her life going through all of this. And then, when she had the opportunity to see who Jesus really was, and how he loved her in a completely different way, it changed her life. And so, now, she is the chaplain there, one of the chaplains there, sharing that with those women. So, they can respect it from her because she's been there, she's the one of them, she's seen the difference that it makes. We can all make a difference. And, as women, we gotta stand together, because God wants to do so much in their lives, but he wants to do it in our lives, too. And that's why he lets us all be part of it, together. So, if everybody would love to be a part of this, if you go to, this is the perfect opportunity, on giving Tuesday, to make a gift toward Project GRL to help women and girls, not only exactly where we're talking about, but all over the world, and even, getting that message to people just like you, who need to know how loved and valued you are, and the hope, and the future that God has for you, this is what we're all about. So, be a part of it with us. We would love to hear from you today. Giving Tuesday, it's the perfect day to give and to make a difference for somebody else. Thank you all, we appreciate it.

Erin Cluley: Thanks for sharing.

Jai Williams: So happy to be a part of something that's making such a difference.

Erin Cluley: And sometimes, it's really hard to hear those stories. And sometimes, it's easier to just pretend that they don't happen. But we need to know what's happening, and also, the amazing opportunity we get to be a part of. So, thank you for sharing.

Ginger Stache: Thanks, Rachel.

Rachael Athearn: Thank you. Happy to be here.

Ginger Stache: Thank you all for joining us for this bonus episode. We'll see you next time.
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