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Wicca and Christianity.....

Today's discussion topic is about Wicca/Paganism and Christianity and my thoughts on both.

Though Christianity, Wicca and Paganism are all very old-even ancient-religions, Christianity, or at least some sects of Christianity, are fairly new. The same goes for some Wiccan sects. My belief, and correct me if I am wrong, is that most Wiccan and/or Pagan sects are much older than Christianity, even dating all the way back to the very early beginnings of Humanity itself.

Though Wiccans, Pagans and Christians share some of the same values-or at least some Christians claim to share some Wiccan and/or Pagan values and claim them as their own-I have found that there are more Christians practicing intolerance and persecution toward other faiths/religions than many of the other faiths/religions I have studied or learned about/and or practiced. But that's not to say Wiccans and/or Pagans aren't guilty of it as well, because to never admit wrongdoing is foolish and folly. Many Christians today have forgotten their religion's most basic principles.

Wiccans and/or Pagans-or at least many sects of them-follow Nature-based Paths and worship the All-Mother and the All-Father, or the Lord and Lady, or the Egyptian, Hindu, Greek, Roman or other ancient/current civilization's pantheon of Gods and Goddesses. However, not all follow a Nature Path or even the Wiccan Rede. The Rede, like the Christian Scriptures, is simply a set of guidelines to live by. Many Christians have forgotten that their scriptures are just that-guidelines for living-instead of Black and White laws set in stone. The King James versions of the Christian Bible is guilty of that.

Christianity-or some sects at least-was based upon love and religious tolerance. Their basic principles dwelled on that and have even adopted some Wiccan and/or Pagan holidays. However, not to be confused with the Wiccan/Pagan holidays and to avoid confusion, Christians twisted them around and changed their names and dates for their own ends. Christians, though their praying is similar to casting a Spell, do not believe in Magic. In fact, what they do not realize is that their most famous figure in their New Testament and founder, Jesus, practiced a form of White Magic and was actually considered a Healer. The King James Bible twisted him and his story around to make him the Son of their God and to make the Christian religion look better (my opinion).

Like Christianity, there are many sects and subsects of Wicca and Paganism. So many, in fact that, to name them all would have to be in a separate post all together.

Well that's it for now! Hope you find this informational or, at least entertaining.

Sincerely,

Rebecca M.
me

Dear Grammy and Pop-Pop.

Dear Grammy (Grandmother) and Pop-Pop (Grandfather),

You have both taught me so much. You both taught me to have great respect for all life on Earth, be it Human or otherwise. You both taught me the Ancient Ways of Wicca and Witchcraft. You taught me to respect and about the way the life energies that surround us and bind us together work and their uses. You taught me patience and tolerance for others, even if they don't treat me in the same manner. You also taught me how to love, yet be tough at the same time.

Grammy, you showed me how to honor Mother Earth and all of her children, human and otherwise. Grammy, you showed me the secrets to having a successful flower garden as well as a fairy garden. You also showed me and taught me about birds and their individual names and habits. You, Grammy, treated them the same way you treated your Human children. You also taught me about flowers and their individual names and habits, as well as their likes and dislikes and also treated them as if they were your children. Grammy, you also taught me the basic core values I have now and about Karma and its workings. You and Pop-Pop were the first ones to teach and show me unconditional and undying love.

Pop-Pop, you taught me to respect, or at least be tolerant of, those that follow other paths and/or religions, even if they do not show me the same respect and/or tolerance. You also showed me how to plant a successful vegetable garden. You, Pop-Pop, showed me all of your secrets to growing huge, tasty tomatoes and having the biggest, juiciest watermelons. You also showed me the secrets to cooking the finest snap beans and pole beans ever. Pop-Pop, you disciplined me and taught me everything I know nowadays with nothing but love in your heart. Even when I acted in a deplorable manner, you and Grammy disciplined me and set me straight in a gentle, loving, non-threatening manner. You and Grammy never yelled at me nor did you strike and/or spank me. And you both treated me like an adult in my later years-even supporting me in, and guiding me in, my individual Wiccan/Pagan path.

To both of you: I love and miss you both. Even though death may keep us apart physically, you are both still with me in Spirit, Heart, Mind and Soul. One day we will meet in Summerland. But not today. You both are still loved and missed, if not by your children, then by your grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

With Love,
Your Wiccan/Pagan granddaughter
me

What Wicca and Paganism mean to me.

What do Wicca and Paganism mean to me? To me, Paganism is the worship of the many Old World Gods and Goddesses, such as Egyptian or Greek Gods and Goddesses, in addition to the worship of nature. Just as there are many sects of Christianity or Islam, there are many sects or branches of Paganism. In addition events or even rituals are a part of Paganism. Magick or Magic is another, minor part of Paganism and so is the worship of the magickal creatures.


However, Wicca is a little more clouded and mysterious to me than Paganism. To me, Wicca is the worship of nature, but can also encompass the worship of many Gods and Goddesses or just one God and Goddess. Wccans also worship magick or magic and the creatures involved. Although similar to Paganism, Wicca is also very different. Wiccans, even though they too have different sects, participate in events and rituals, also practice their craft on their own and/or in a small group called covens.

However, as with any religion, both have many sects and sub-sects.

So this is up for polite discussion or polite debate. Please be gentle because I am still new to this and still learning my path. Thank you.
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Photos from my Facebook. Enjoy!

https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1596568033914181&id=100006829980556&set=a.1407984626105857.1073741829.100006829980556&refid=17&_ft_&__tn__=E

https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1596573050580346&id=100006829980556&set=a.1407984626105857.1073741829.100006829980556&refid=17&_ft_&__tn__=E

https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1596579177246400&id=100006829980556&set=a.1407984626105857.1073741829.100006829980556&refid=17&_ft_&__tn__=E

https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1596571287247189&id=100006829980556&set=a.1407984626105857.1073741829.100006829980556&refid=17&_ft_&__tn__=E

https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1596568177247500&id=100006829980556&set=a.1407984626105857.1073741829.100006829980556&refid=17&_ft_&__tn__=E

I know that the bird photo is unrelated but I found that during this troubling time for my family, I find it very relaxing to do a bit of gardening and planting new growth as well as taking photos of plants and nature. It's like a mixture of practicing a bit of meditation exercises and creating a bit of Magic. It is that relaxing. I also do a bit of birdwatching, hence the photo of Goldfinches gathering twigs and leaves and building material for a nest. Both activities are very relaxing.

If anyone has any family problems, I find that the best escape is to get outside, go for a walk, take nature photographs, do a bit of gardening, plant new plants, prune old ones, and the list goes on. I also practice a bit of healing meditation (self) and Self-Healing Spells (Beginner). This list is a great way to escape family issues. I also find that drawing, writing, listening to relaxing music, and talking to friends are great escapes too. So if anyone has any family problems-please don't hesitate to try any of these and reach out to friends for help.

Also, I would like to add a spell that would be helpful if it is okay with the maintainers. I will write down that spell in another journal.

Sincerely,

Chaos (Rebecca M.)
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Dear Maw Maw (paternal grandmother)

Dear Maw Maw, I already miss you, Maw Maw (my paternal grandmother), even
though you haven't Crossed Over yet but are getting ready to
and are so close to doing so. May you leave this world in peace
and in serenity. I don't know how my family and I will manage
to stick together without you but we will make an effort to.
When you pass a part of my soul will be ripped out of me forever. I know and knew that you were/are battling terminal
cancer and were/are in a lot of pain. You see, death is never
easy, even though in some cases it is a blessing. Some never
Heal at all after losing a loved one. Some are driven to insanity
while others try to find ways to join their loved ones. You see,
death is never easy and is always a hard road. I do not know how I will be able to function as a normal, functioning, living
being in society without you. Without you, I am stuck, unable to
move forward or backward without you. Without you I feel like
I'm nothing. Without you, I feel lost and that I cannot go on.
But I must find my way. I must go on and live your memories! I
have inherited your good looks, your youthful appearance(s), your artistic talents, your understanding of the natural world,
its Magick and Magick in general. From you, even though you
decided to convert to Christianity two months ago, I learned
the art of witchcraft and Solitary Wicca in general and I thank
you for teaching me. I thank you so much from the bottom of
my heart and the depths of my soul for teaching me to respect the natural world, the living things and beings in the natural
world, the Magick the natural world and its beings create and
Magick in general. I thank you for passing your knowledge and
acceptance of other religions down to me. I will try to live your
memories in your honor, but please understand that I need to
live my life too and that I need to make my own memories and my own way in this world. I may make mistakes along the way,
but with your gentle guidance and the guidance of my
ancestors and Spirit Guides, I will learn from my mistakes. I
don't know how I will manage but I must. I may heal from your
Passing but not completely. You see, one may never
COMPLETELY heal from losing a loved one because a part of one's soul is taken away from them when their loved one dies.
I am just glad that my ancestors will be with you when the time
comes for you to Cross The Veil. Please go peacefully with
both your, as well as my, ancestors and do not look back.
Have no regrets and don't worry about the living anymore. I
know that you have suffered and had joy too. But if it eases your Crossing, know that I will do my utmost to keep your
memories alive and that I will make an effort, although
monumental one, to move forward in my life and help others
move forward with their lives as well! When you Cross Over, please update my ancestors on what is
going on, in this world. Please let them know about me and
the rest of the family and how we are doing. Please tell my
maternal grandmother, maternal grandfather, and paternal
grandfather that they are sorely missed and that I, Rebecca G.
McCord, would like them to visit me in my dreams. Also tell my pet familiars, two dogs, a Miniature Schnauzer named Chelsey,
and a Beagle/Pit Bull named Whiskers, that they are also sorely
missed and that I would, when the time comes for ME to
Cross Over, like to see them playing near the Rainbow Bridge. I understand that you are tired and must go soon. All I can say
is Bon Voyage and you will be missed sorely. As someone wise
once said, ''With Life comes Death. With Death comes New
Life. That is the way of things.'' And that is so true but with
Death comes Grief and with Grief comes the promise of a New
Dawn and New Life.
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"Bones: The Witch in the Wardrobe" written by Kathy Reichs

The show opens with firemen putting out a house fire in the woods. Inside a wardrobe in the house they find a skeleton dressed in a wedding dress. Booth and Brennan are called to evaluate the skeleton and Brennan finds a body under some debris. The body is wearing red shoes, is wrapped in white, and glitters. When the body is uncovered the feet curl up (like in the Wizard of Oz).

The skeleton is identified as belonging to a (nonexistent) victim of the Salem Witch trials, a woman who was pressed to death. (No women were pressed to death at the Salem trials). They seem to assume that because she was killed in the trials she was a "Witch". An assumption no rational person could reasonably make.

The more recent body is of the owner of the house. Her brother testifies that she had taken an interest in Witchcraft. Dr Sweets finds the website of a local "Wiccan" coven and pretends to be female to get an invite to a ritual! (WTF! I have done open rituals, but not with a single gender group, not for sky clad. A closed group would meet new people on neutral ground before giving directions to a ritual.) Booth and Brennan go to the ritual but hide in the bushes to watch. The all female "Wiccan" coven burn some sort of effigy and dance naked. Booth makes a comment about unattractive people getting naked. Which is odd because all of the woman in the Coven are young and beautiful.

Booth and Brennan interrupt the ritual to ask questions and the Coven leader mentions something about the perils of practicing the "Dark Arts". It is asserted several times that the dead woman put curses on people for money, and had nothing to do with the Wiccan Coven. Except one of the coven members is descended from the Salem skeleton found in the wardrobe.

This episode was written by the forensic anthropologist Bones is based on. It was worse than I expected. I couldn't even begin to explain how many things were wrong with it. I really hoped for better from a forensic anthropologist. It looks like she did no research at all on Wicca or the Salem Witch trails. The only good thing was that they asserted that Wiccans are good...Collapse )

I really prefer the way Witches are depicted in Harry Potter or Charmed. At least they don't pretend to get us involved. I've seen Wicca referenced in popular TV before where it wasn't too bad. But this was really bad.
goddess and god

"The Witch in the Wardrobe", Religious Tolerance, Religious Intolerance, Video

Really, Turkish Delight is not nearly as good as it sounds I made it for my friends and family last Yule.

Bewitching 'Bones' episode
by Bill Harris, Toronto Sun, QMI Agency, ‎May 4, 2010‎
"Booth and Brennan of Bones are headed to Narnia.

Oops, wait a minute. We misread that.

This week’s new episode of Bones — which airs Wednesday on Global and Thursday on Fox — is called The Witch in the Wardrobe, not The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Well, that makes more sense.

Anyway, The Witch in the Wardrobe actually was written by author Kathy Reichs, the real-life forensic anthropologist who was the inspiration for the series.

A cabin burns down in the woods revealing two bodies: One of a modern-day witch, and one dating back to the Salem witch trials. This leads Booth (David Boreanaz) and Brennan (Emily Deschanel) into the world of Wicca to find a killer.

Note to Booth and Brennan: Stay away from the Turkish Delight, just to be safe. "
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This is a very nice article about religious tolerance.

The common bases for Hindu-Muslim dialogue
By Maulana Waris Mazhari (Translated from Urdu by Yoginder Sikand), TwoCircles.net, 5 May 2010
"The first step in the quest for inter-community dialogue is the search for common ground. Religious and cultural differences divide Hindus and Muslims from each other. This diversity need not necessarily be seen as intimidating, however. In fact, the Quran explains that diversity is natural. The Quran instructs us thus: ‘If God so willed, He could make you all one people’ (16:93).

Commenting on the above-quoted Quranic verse, the noted Islamic scholar Imam Razi writes in his Tafsir-e Kabir that this refers to the fact of diversity of religions and customs among human beings.

Nature desires diversity, not uniformity. That is why we should aim not at eliminating these differences but, rather, to tolerate them in accordance with the demands of Nature.

Man is a social animal. It is ingrained in his nature to seek to live in peace with others. That is why there are no two communities in the entire world that have nothing in common between them. It was for the common purpose of protection, peace and justice that the Prophet entered into a treaty or pact with the Jews of Medina. This is an instance of practical inter-community dialogue based on common values and concerns.
[...]
Hindu-Muslim dialogue, or inter-community dialogue more generally, must focus, among other issues, on addressing and removing mutual misunderstandings, which are often rooted in deeply-held but misleading negative stereotypical images of the ‘other’. Some of these misunderstandings are rooted in our traditional ways of thinking about the ‘other’."
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I hate it when they say "religion" but they mean Christianity. And what they are really talking about here isn't even Christianity, it is conservative group membership. Strong religious organizations are networks of social support, which means they reenforce social norms and are resistant to change. Because Agnosticism and Atheism are not the social norm in our culture people who choose those identities are more likely to choose other counter-culture positions. Concluding anything else is just bad social science.

Love Thy Neighbor? Not If He’s Different
New research reveals that people connected to organized religion are more likely to harbor racial prejudice.
By David Villano, Miller-McCune, May 4, 2010
Universal brotherhood and tolerance toward others remains common fare at Sunday church sermons everywhere, but does the message have any impact? Apparently not. In a new study drawing on nearly a half century of data, a team of researchers report that religious adherents in the United States — especially fundamentalist Christians — are more inclined than agnostics to harbor racist attitudes toward blacks and other minorities.

This “religion-racism paradox,” as University of Southern California social psychologist Wendy Wood explains it, is deeply embedded in organized religion which, by its very nature, encourages people to accept one fundamental belief system as superior to all others. The required value judgment creates a kind of us-versus-them conflict, in which members of a religious group develop ethnocentric attitudes toward anyone perceived as different. The study, “Why Don’t We Practice What We Preach? A Meta-Analytic Review of Religious Racism,” appeared in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Review.
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I think this video is very nice. She seems like a nice person and a lot like many of the real Wiccans I have met. I know that the only comment I will probably get about this is that Wicca isn't really "ancient" to which I say: Can't you people ever find anything constructive to say? Why do you have to be so picayune? You really aren't helping anyone with that behavior.

VIDEO: Witches, wands and how to cast a spell
05 May 2010 10:46 AM
"Think of a witch and most people will conjure up a vision of a cackling old crone, casting wicked spells and whizzing around on a broomstick.

But think again: the 21st Century version comes in a very different costume. Ruth Francis-Foster of Luton Road in Toddington is blonde and blue-eyed, looks vaguely hippie-ish and drives a sporty dark blue Vauxhall Tigra.

Ruth – secretarial support manager for legal services at Luton Borough Council – has been practising the ancient Wicca religion for about six years.

She said: "It just made perfect sense – the freedom of it all, the way it's connected to nature and the earth. I started getting really into it because some friends in the village are pagan and it was nice to find someone else with the same ideas. It chimed with what I was thinking.""
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goddess and god

Wicca in the Air Force

Pagans get worship space at academy
AirForceTimes.com, Jan 31, 2010
"The Air Force Academy will add a worship area for followers of “earth-centered religion” — pagans — with a dedication ceremony scheduled for March 10.

A stone circle located on a hill overlooking the Cadet Chapel and visitor center will join Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist sacred spaces at the academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Tech. Sgt. Brandon Longcrier, a pagan who worked with the chapel to create the circle, said he did not encounter resistance to the idea.

“There really haven’t been any obstacles for the new circle,” he said in an Air Force news release. “The chaplain’s office has been 100 -percent supportive.”

Longcrier said earth-centered spirituality includes traditions such as Wicca and Druidism. Wicca is the largest religious group in the Air Force after Christianity."


Respect healthy for different faiths
By Erik Holmes, AirForceTimes.com, Sunday Jan 17, 2010
"Servicewide, about 80 percent of airmen in 2008 identified themselves as Christians to the Defense Manpower Data Center. Nearly 17 percent gave no religious preference, and about 3 percent listed non-Christian faiths. Less than 1 percent — 0.68 — said they considered themselves atheists, those who do not believe in God or any deity.

By comparison, 76 percent of the U.S. population told the Census Bureau that they practice Christianity. Roughly 13 percent stated no religious preference, and about 10 percent identified themselves as religious but not Christian. Again, less than 1 percent — 0.71 — listed themselves as nonbelievers.

In the Air Force, Wicca — witchcraft — is the largest non-Christian faith, with 1,434 followers. The breakdown of other religious minorities: 1,271 Buddhists, 1,148 Jews, 678 Muslims and 190 Hindus."
goddess and god

U.S. Air Force Academy Chapel Adds Outdoor Worship Circle

In more cheerful news:
Academy chapel to add outdoor circle to worship areas
by Staff Sgt. Don Branum, U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs, Posted 1/26/2010
"U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- The Air Force Academy chapel will add a worship area for followers of Earth-centered religions during a dedication ceremony, which is tentatively scheduled to be held at the circle March 10.

The circle, located atop the hill overlooking the Cadet Chapel and Visitor Center, will be the latest addition to a collection of worship areas that includes Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist sacred spaces.

Tech. Sgt. Brandon Longcrier, NCO in charge of the Academy's Astronautics laboratories, worked with the chapel to create the official worship area for both cadets and other servicemembers in the Colorado Springs area who practice Earth-centered spirituality.
[...]
The stones that now form the inner and outer rings of the circle once sat near the Visitor Center, where the chance of erosion made the rocks a safety hazard. The 10th Civil Engineer Squadron moved the rocks to the top of the hill in spring and early summer. Once finished, the circle will also include materials from a smaller circle that Sergeant Longcrier briefly set up in Jacks Valley.
[...]
The Academy's chaplains have supported Sergeant Longcrier's efforts every step of the way, the NCO said.

"There really haven't been any obstacles for the new circle," he said. "The chaplain's office has been 100-percent supportive."

"Every servicemember is charged with defending freedom for all Americans, and that includes freedom to practice our religion of choice or, for that matter, not to practice any faith at all," said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) William Ziegler, Cadet Wing chaplain. "Being in the military isn't just a job -- it's a calling. We all take an oath to support and defend the Constitution, and that means we've all sworn to protect one another's religious liberties. We all put on our uniforms the same way; we're all Airmen first."

The presence of diverse worship areas reflects a sea change from five years ago, when reports surfaced alleging religious intolerance at the Academy. Sergeant Longcrier became Pagan shortly after arriving at the Academy in 2006 and said he believes the climate has improved dramatically.
[...]
Earth-centered spirituality includes traditions such as Wicca, Druidism and several other religious paths that, while relatively new, trace their roots to pre-Christian Europe, Sergeant Longcrier said."


Air Force Builds Worship Space for Wiccans
by Daniel Burke, Religion News Service, Friday January 29, 2010
"The U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado will set aside a worship space for followers of "Earth-centered" religions such as Wicca and Druidism, according to an Air Force news release.
[...]
The Air Force has been accused of allowing evangelical officers to openly proselytize and pressure cadets of other faiths. In 2005, the Air Force issued new guidelines pledging to "accommodate free exercise of religion and other personal beliefs."

Tech. Sgt. Brandon Longcrier, who worked with academy officials to create the space, said in the news release, "there really haven't been any obstacles for the new circle. The chaplain's office has been 100 percent supportive.""
goddess and god

Wiccan and Pagan Event, Christian Unity, Fundamentalist Polygamy

Lifetree Cafe to highlight Wicca, Pagans at event
The Fort Collins Coloradoan, January 29, 2010
"The appeal of Wicca and Paganism will be explored at 7 p.m. Sunday and noon and 7 p.m. Tuesday at Lifetree Cafe.

The program includes filmed interviews with Pagans and a Wicca woman who describes her journey into spell casting.

"People are intrigued with Wicca and witchcraft," said Craig Cable, Lifetree Cafe representative. "But there's a lot of misinformation floating around. We'll hear from people who know the facts - and discover what the appeal is of Wicca and Paganism. Might you have a witch living next door? We'll find out."

Admission to the hour-long event is free. Snacks and beverages are available.

Lifetree Cafe is at 1515 Cascade Ave. in the Group Publishing building.

For more information, call (970) 292-4697."
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Full Text of Archbishop Hepworths Letter
Catholic Online, 1/29/2010
"Europe, and the world that Europe colonized, has been shaped in its languages, its politics, its law, as well as its religion, in large part by those animosities. The identity and culture of people and nations have been significantly shaped by religious conflict and division.
The healing of religious division has been one of the most welcome features of 20th century Christianity.
[...]
At the same time, Christians in Europe and in the Third World began to experience the challenges of a militant and fundamentalist Islam. Confrontation and persecution began afresh. In Europe and the developed world, a renewed interest in pagan and humanist philosophy, combined with a diminished sense of identity of Christians with their churches led to a dramatic diminishing of religious practice and belief."
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Hey! Don't go mixing up my neo-paganism with your fundamentalist monotheism! This "mental burqa" problem is all yours.
The Mental Burqa: National Geographic and Every Woman's Right to Be a Slave
by Jeanette Pryor, David Horowitz's NewsReal Blog (blog), 2010 January 29 ‎
"Today, the radicalized branches of most organized religions promote the “Mental Burqa,” an extremist, neo-pagan concept of the woman and her social significance. This vision considers women, not as an individuals with autonomous significance or unique potential for contribution to society due to their specific talents and aptitudes. They are seen, rather, as contingent, interchangeable, biological functionaries, mindless generatives. They are feared as potential intruders in the “domain of men,” as sexual distractions and, in cases of “aberration,” as superior intellects threatening man’s right to governance.

The Evangelical patriarchy movement, many Traditionalist Catholics, the radicalized Muslims, the Ultra Orthodox Jews, and the Fundamentalist Mormons are all weaving the “Mental Burqa.” Pretending to counter Feminism, it is this error’s mirror version of the Marxist construct of gender struggle."

Pryor is upset about this National Geographic article, which she quotes out of context. I found the article very balanced.
The Polygamists
By Scott Anderson, February 2010
"Yet Melinda's defense of Jeffs underscores one of the most curious aspects of the polygamous faith: the central role of women in defending it. This is not new. In Brigham Young's day a charity rushed to Utah to establish a safe house for polygamous women seeking to escape this "white slavery"; that house sat virtually empty. Today FLDS women in the Hildale–Colorado City area have ample opportunity to "escape"—they have cell phones, they drive cars, there are no armed guards keeping them in—yet they don't.

Undoubtedly one reason is that, having been raised in this culture, they know little else. Walking away means leaving behind everything: the community, one's sense of security, even one's own family. Carolyn Jessop, the plural wife of Merril Jessop who did leave the FLDS, likens entering the outside world to "stepping out onto another planet. I was completely unprepared, because I had absolutely no life skills. Most women in the FLDS don't even know how to balance a checkbook, let alone apply for a job, so contemplating how you're going to navigate in the outside world is extremely daunting."

It would seem there's another lure for women to stay: power. The FLDS women I spoke with tended to be far more articulate and confident than the men, most of whom seemed paralyzed by bashfulness. It makes sense when one begins to grasp that women are coveted to "multiply and replenish the earth," while men are in extraordinary competition to be deemed worthy of marriage by the prophet. One way to be deemed worthy, of course, is to not rock the boat, to keep a low profile. As a result, what has all the trappings of a patriarchal culture, actually has many elements of a matriarchal one.

There are limits to that power, of course, for it is subject to the dictates of the prophet. After hearing Melinda's stout defense of Jeffs, I ask what she would do if she were reassigned.

"I'm confident that wouldn't happen," she replies uneasily.

"But what if it did?" I ask. "Would you obey?"

For the only time during our interview, Melinda grows wary. Sitting back in her chair, she gives her head a quarter turn to stare at me out of the corner of one eye."
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