“Escaping Polygamy” continues to amaze each week on A&E. Last night, cult leader Daniel Kingston was working to lure his older children back to the order–succeeding with some, not so much with others. But, what was truly amazing was seeing the effects such an organization can have and continue to have on an individual, even after they have supposedly left for good.
Take Vanna, for instance. She is a young woman who the sisters helped escape from the FLDS several months ago, along with her sister, Ariel. On the one hand, Ariel appears to be adapting well, just looking at the way she now presents herself. She has gotten a stylish haircut, is wearing makeup, wearing nice clothes. Ariel is more quiet on her current belief system than her sister, not really speaking out for or against the FLDS or its leaders, but she just appears to be adjusting better.
Vanna, on the other hand, still looks like she is part of the cult from which she and her sister escaped. She has not changed her appearance like her sister has–no new haircut, no makeup, clothes that, while not her FLDS get-up, are every bit as drab and dull. And, she is very vocal about defending the cult leaders. Last night, she was defending Lyle Jeffs, the FLDS leader who was arrested on charges of committing food stamp fraud and money laundering. It was really sad–and confusing. Why did she even leave?
Meanwhile, on the Kingston Clan front, the sisters’ half-brother, Joe, took a meeting with Order leader Daniel Kingston last night. He looked nervous, but also looked like he was thinking of returning, and just did not want to admit it to his sisters. He seemed really lonely, and no doubt that had to be a factor in his even taking the meeting.
Joe’s situation was different, because he did not choose to leave; he was kicked out. Even so, we had to wonder why the sisters did not give him more social support after he left; Jessica even said she had not seen him since he came out. And, it was obvious that he really missed his family. But, fortunately, he did not go back. And, about three weeks after the meeting with Daniel, he confirmed to Jessica that he did not want to return to Order life, and told Jessica he wanted to “continue to find more people like you and other people that can help me emotionally, because that’s for sure the hardest part.”
It’s understandable that the sisters cannot spend huge amounts of time with ALL of the people who leave The Order; they have their own lives, too! But, it does still seem like, with a sibling, regardless of the fact that, as Jessica said, they were not close on the inside, reaching out to him when he was kicked out would have been the right thing to do. Jessica may have felt a bit guilty about that, too, since she went to the trouble to explain, “I have over 130 siblings. So, I didn’t have a relationship with him in The Order, and since he left, our paths haven’t crossed.” Hopefully, the sisters will at least check in with him from time to time after this near-miss. We realize, he was not an escapee who they helped leave; he was kicked out. But, he’s still their brother, if only a half-sibling. And, they knew he was on the outside; checking in with him may have been a nice gesture, at least?
On the other hand, the sister that they helped escape earlier this season, Jennifer, went back to The Order. It sort of seemed like she never wanted to leave when she did; now that she has returned, it has to make one wonder: Did she do it all just to get leverage for marrying her first cousin, Michael? Icky, yes, but she wanted to marry him, and that was not the man who was picked out for her. Coming out like she did, she got Daniel to agree to let her marry Michael if she came back, which she did. So, it just makes a person think: Did she just play the sisters to get what she wanted with The Order leaders? Hard to say, but the end result is the same, as the “insider” said last night: Another incestuous marriage in The Order.
Sometimes this show just goes from amazing–and not in a positive way–to downright depressing.
- For those who are interested in finding out more information about resources on organizations that help women escaping polygamy and assist victims of sexual assault, visit the official A&E “Escaping Polygamy” website.
“Escaping Polygamy” airs on A&E on Sunday nights at 10/9c.
Image: Courtesy of A&E, Used with Permission. Photo by RIVR media. Copyright 2016.