LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES
Interview With Former Wife Of Polygamist Jeremy Kingston
Aired August 20, 2003 - 19:37 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: A Utah polygamist is scheduled to appear in court tomorrow on the charge of incest. Jeremy Kingston is a member of one of America's largest polygamist clan. The incest charge stems from Kingston's 4th marriage. A 1996 union with his cousin Lu Ann. Lu Ann Kingston left the marriage three years ago and later asked state officials to prosecute. She joins us from Salt Lake City tonight along with Rowenna Erickson, another former polygamist wife who is a founding member of the group Tapestry Against Polygamy. Thank you both for joining us tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're welcome.
ZAHN: So, Lu Ann, I know that you want your ex-husband to bare the fullest brunt of the law. What is it that you would like to see happen to him?
LU ANN KINGSTON, FORMER 4TH WIFE OF JEREMY KINGSTON: Well, I'd like -- well, I'd like him to get penalized for what I had to go through being married to him at such a young age, and I want others to see what's happening. Others in the group.
ZAHN: And Lu Ann, so our audience has an understanding what you had to endure, your family actually forced you to marry your husband that age of 15, right? And he was 23. What was was your life like together?
KINGSTON: He was basically a boss more than a husband. He didn't care about me. He didn't care to have a relationship of any kind with me me.
ZAHN: And who were you sharing him with?
KINGSTON: Three other wives. Bennie, Alice and Mary.
ZAHN: How many children did he have among those women?
KINGSTON: Between the three of them, probably about 14.
ZAHN: Fourteen children. Now, he says to this day, he cares about you and your children and your family deeply. You don't believe him at all, do you?
KINGSTON: I don't, because he never showed any sign of caring about me before, when I was actually with him. So, for him to say that now, it's kind of -- kind of a contradiction in his actions.
ZAHN: Rowenna, you liken the Kingston clan to a cult. Why do you think it's so tough to get out and describe to us why you think it is a cult?
ROWENNA ERICKSON, FORMER POLYGAMIST WIFE: It is a cult because we are in doctrinated totally and completely all of the time. In that, it's brainwashing, out-and-out brainwashing. Most all of us were there, we were born and raised in the organization, so you're controlled by fear. To separate from that, it's very difficult to leave and function normally, because you need a lot of counseling, therapy, in order to be average, normal, to be able to function.
ZAHN: And Rowenna, at what point did you decide you in fact had been brainwashed and it was time to get out?
ERICKSON: I had the opportunity of taking som hypno therapy training as I became a certified hypno therapist. And in the training, they talked about brainwashing, isolation deprivation, hypnosis and torture. I already suspected that's kind of what had happened. Then, that just confirmed it. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I had been duped. Next, how was I going to change it.
ZAHN: Well, we appreciate both of you sharing your very personal stories with us tonight. Lu Ann Kingston and Rowenna Erickson, thank you again for your time tonight. We should make it clear that Jeremy Kingston has not yet entered a plea. His attorney did not return our call. Seeking comment on the case, we do have a statement from the president of the church of the Later Saints, or the Mormon Church.
Gordon B. Hinkley says, and I quote "I wish to state categorically that this church has nothing whatever to do with those practicing polygamy. They are not members of this church. Most of them have never been members. They are in violation of the civil law. If any of our members are found to be practicing plural marriage they are excommunicated, the most serious penalty the church can impose."
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