I am in my last few days of writing the rough draft of my 19th book. That seems unbelievable to me. Though I’ll finish the 19th in a couple of days, I’ll spend a few work days on a reread and then flushing it out. Without much pause, I usually take some time between projects; I’ll go straight into #20. #19 is part 2 and #20 is the last installment of a trilogy I’ve been working on. Indecently the 1st book in this series was the one an agent just read, fell in love with and had to turn down due to it being outside of the box her agency tends to market. (Sigh, one of these days my fiction books will find a good home, but all is well . . . it’s a business, I get it!)
This trilogy is Christian Fiction Fantasy. It has required me to do a lot of research in Biblical times; more specifically King David’s family. As a result I was reading up on anything I could get my hands on regarding this, and plural marriage. King David had quite the harem and that was one household I would not want to have attended family reunions. In total he had 8 wives and 10 concubines; which doesn’t compare to his son Solomon, but that’s beside the point. His children are quite the cast of characters.
I found myself reading the book, Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs by Elissa Wall and Lisa Pulitzer. Since I have no real concept of polygamy, reading about others that practice it can help me write the explosive dynamics of what I could imagine King David’s harem could have resembled.
This book is so beyond sad. In it Elissa Wall tells her story of growing up under Warren Jeffs. She was forced married off at 14 to her first cousin that she never liked. She repeatedly begged to get released from the marriage. She was threatened with isolation from her family if she dissented, and was raped on regular occasions. All the while misquoted scripture was flung at her to justify the actions of this cult. It was out of shear desperation she finally made her way out of the cult, and later was used as one of the witnesses to get Warren Jeffs behind bars.
In all my years that I’ve heard about cults or read about them the misuse of scripture, and running of the masses by fear are common threads. No matter the group there always seems to be a measure of truth in the teaching, but then it gets really off; like way out into left field off. As Elissa kept trying to leave fear is what kept her there. Fear of losing her family, not getting into heaven, and fear of not being a good girl. When finally she breaks free she decides if being free was hell she’d rather go there. What people who grew up in these environments may not see right away is God isn’t a god of fear. He doesn’t control people. This is religion talking, not a relationship with Jesus.
Typically of cults there are leaders that interpret scripture for the people. But people aren’t encouraged to hear from God on their own. In truth the people don’t even know what the word of God really says. I believe God wants to warn us all from this.
2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV)Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
In the KJV version instead of be diligent it says ‘Study to show yourself approved’ in other words don’t take what someone says the Bible to mean and assume its fact. Go look it up for yourself. Find out what it really said, and look at the context in which it was written. Not that is wrong at all to have a pastor, or someone preaching. You need that, but you also need to know what the Bible says for you, so that you can’t be deceived.
While yes there is a Holy fear, or reverence to God. But God does not dominate or dictate by fear. He does not hold your salvation over your head for you to one day obtain. Through Jesus Christ, one can obtain it, and walk it out.
2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
I found myself praying for this young survivor, and praying that she could get through all brainwash, to find a real relationship with Jesus Christ.
No matter who you are it can be very easy for any of us to get deceived. But in the Bible it says on the earth that in the last days many would be deceived. (2 Timothy 3) You can make sure that’s not you, but using your Bible for more than just a dusty book that becomes a paper weight on your shelf. Open it up. Study it. Let it become very real to you. Ask the Holy Spirit what you should read, and allow Him to speak to you. Be on your guard and don’t allow yourself to be deceived by outside sources.
Remember God has awesome plans for your life. Get excited!