Facing a Difficult Subject

Today, I am honored to have author, Helga Zeiner, as a guest blogger.  She will be sharing with us the story behind her new novel, Section 132. 

In her book, Helga deals with issues that are often avoided, disguised or ignored.  She brings her readers face-to-face with some of the awful realities of fundamentalism.  While her book is fiction, Helga has done extensive research into the topics it addresses.  

As she will discuss later, her book deals with children being forced into polygamous marriages by fundamentalists sects, such as FLDS.  Please note that the mainstream Mormon Church (also known as the Church of the Later Day Saints) renounced the practice of polygamy in 1890.


Section 132 is the title of my latest novel. This refers to the part of the fundamentalist Mormon (FLDS) Doctrine and Covenants, which covers the "Principle of plural marriage." Behind this flowery description hides a life-style that is forced upon millions of women and children all over the world: polygamy. 

Unfortunately, polygamy is currently enjoying a distorted presentation by our western media – one might even call it a ‘celebration’ – which I find not only repulsive but outright dangerous. Reality TV shows like "Sister-wives" and series like "Big Love" are hugely successful. They prove that the topic intrigues many. In both programs, the sister-wives happily bond with each other, don’t mind sharing their one-and-only husband, have a say in running the family-business, can make independent decisions and so on and so on. The whole polygamous set-up is portrayed as desirable. 

I worry about young girls, living in small families, missing the companionship of siblings or the interaction with caring adults – as it so often happens in our modern society. Those girls are susceptible to the idea of bonding with a group of happy/giggling/care-free peers, sharing the joys of giving birth and the responsibilities of child rearing. They can’t imagine the jealous bickering of sister-wives fighting for the attention of their ‘husband’, or the added burden of making ends meet because there are too few wages to cover the huge living expenses of a large family. All this is not shown as long as the cameras are rolling.

No, watching the ‘pure joy of living polygamy’ on TV lures them into the sickening concept promoted by religious fanatics and pedophiles. Did you know, there is even a website called - Looking for sister-wives

I can not understand why Hollywood and Co. chose to assist a dangerous sect like the FLDS in twisting the disgusting truth. Current trials in America and Canada brought shocking detail of this secret society to light. There is proof of child-bride trafficking, sexual exploitation of minors, slavery … even water torture used on babies! 

It may be time to correct the sugar coated image our television producers want us to believe and show the other - the truly horrific - side of this fundamentalist cult. 

In my novel, Section 132, I have opened the secret door. I make no secret out of the fact that the fictional Mountain Glory compound where Bishop Jake controls his flock in utter isolation is a mirror image of the infamous Canadian FLDS sect, Bountiful. All references made to the Fundamentalist Mormon Church, the Doctrine and Covenants and its Section 132, the raid of the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Texas, the child-bride trafficking, the Lost Boys and much more are researched facts. 

By creating a fictional novel with a fast-paced plot and passionate protagonists, with twists and turns and surprising elements, I chose the literary path of ‘enlighten through entertainment’. Maybe, after you have read this novel, you will look at those TV shows with different eyes – and maybe you will take the time to encourage your teenage daughter to do the same. Maybe you will talk about it, with her and with your friends. It might just raise public awareness of what is really going on in those hidden sects. If my novel can achieve that, it would make me very happy! 

Don’t forget: Section 132 is fiction – based on facts! 

About the Author: Helga Zeiner is a bi-lingual German-Canadian author. At the age of 18, after completing her Arts degree in Bavaria, she left Germany. In the following 14 years, she has lived and worked in Australia and Hong Kong. Her time there gave her the inspiration for her first 5 novels, which she wrote in her spare time. They were all published in Germany. Since 2004, she has lived with her husband on a country estate in the wilderness of British Columbia. There, she is finally able to devote all her time to writing. 

Her first novel published in English, titled "Section 132" is a fiction-based-on-facts tale about a polygamous sect tucked away in a remote corner of Canada. 

What ‘Section 132’ is all about – brief summery 

Lillian grows up in an American fundamentalist Mormon sect which still practices polygamy. At thirteen she is forced by her father to become the child-bride of a Canadian Bishop. His compound is located deep in the wilderness of British Columbia, totally isolated from the rest of the world. Lillian wants out, but rebellion against her omnipotent husband is dangerous. When the land developer, Richard Bergman, buys the property next to the Bishop’s compound, he gets drawn into the sect’s secret. After discovering the true nature of his neighbor’s clandestine dealings, Richard is confronted with his own moral shortcomings and has to make some serious life-choices, which affect everybody involved.

About the title: Section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants (an attachment to the Book of Mormon) covers polygamy. It states that members of the Mormon Church, who want to enter heaven, must enter “the principle” of plural marriage. Men are supposed to have several wives, while women are required to agree to their husbands having more than one wife. The mainstream Mormon Church (also known as the Church of the Later Day Saints) has renounced the practice of polygamy in 1890. A fundamentalist group, the FLDS, formed, who insist on their right to practice plural marriage, usually in secrecy. The American and Canadian authorities suspect some FLDS members of trafficking underage girls between the countries with the intent to marry them to deserving Church elders.


Kath Fearing said…
Thank you for bringing such an important subject to light. I hope your book is hugely successful.

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