Happy Wednesday, all. I was thinking about writing a very different post this morning, as I remember our sweet Arran. I think it’s finally sinking in for Bill and me that he’s gone. We’ve both been a little bit “blue” this week, as we realize that Arran was a constant for literally half our marriage– right down to the actual midpoint of our 20 years and 4 months together. We had Arran for 10 years and 2 months.
I’ve already had a cry this morning, as I watched a few videos on YouTube that are a dog’s eye view of a human battling breast cancer. Noyzi joined me for the last one and gazed lovingly at me. I thought maybe I’d write about how I felt after spending five months treating Arran’s lymphoma. I know there are a lot of dog folks out there who are grappling with the decision about what to do after a cancer diagnosis.
But… I have decided I don’t really want to write about that today. I don’t think I’m quite ready. I’m not sorry we had five extra months with Arran, especially since he was mostly pretty well the whole time. I’m also not sorry we made the decision we did on Friday. It was time. I do miss him a lot, though. I think I will be ready to write a post about the experience as a whole soon. I suspect that many people will find it useful.
Anyway… onward to today’s topic.
Lately, I’ve heard a few tragic stories about women who married seemingly God fearing religious men, only to find out that their pious husbands are complete and total creeps. The most glaring example of such a person is Anna Duggar, who has been married to her sex pest husband, Josh, since 2008. Josh Duggar, as we know, is currently in prison for a truly disgusting crime involving sexually abusing children. He is, himself, the father of seven children with Anna. And although he hasn’t even “celebrated” a year in federal prison in Seagoville, Texas, Josh has already gotten into trouble and lost some of his “good time”. He was supposed to be released in August 2032, but now it looks like he’ll be getting out of prison in October 2032… and that’s if he doesn’t screw up again.
Anna Duggar was raised in a Christian “fundie” cult, and she married Josh, who was also raised in a Christian “fundie” cult. She probably believed that God would provide her with a “godly” husband, who would love and protect her and their children. Instead, she got married to a criminal, had seven kids, and now has sharply limited choices. If I were Anna, I think I’d want to write a book and cash in to being married to a Duggar… but that would have its own consequences. Look at what’s happened to Prince Harry.
Josh is a creep for sure, but at least he’s not a killer. I’ve read many awful stories about women who married supposedly “Christian” men who turned out to be capable of murder. Most recently, there’s been news about a LDS dentist from Colorado named James Toliver Craig who allegedly murdered his wife, Angela.
I first heard about this case yesterday, as the news reported that Dr. Craig’s wife died rather suddenly and the dentist was being held without bond in jail. According to several news accounts, Jim Craig was having an affair. He also had issues with porn addiction and gambling, and his dental practice was being “run into the ground” by his misdeeds.
The Daily Mail is admittedly not the greatest source for information, but according to a very recent article, Angela Craig had expressed concerns about her 16 year marriage to her sister. The couple, who had six beautiful children together, appeared to be a “perfect” family. But, behind the scenes, Angela was struggling to maintain her relationship with her husband, who repaid her by being unfaithful and allegedly poisoning her to death. Every time she mentioned wanting to leave him, he somehow talked her into staying in the marriage. Not listening to her gut has, unfortunately, led her to an early grave.
Even as Angela was dying in the hospital, Dr. Craig was sending her long, “loving” messages… with no obvious clues that he was apparently behind her being hospitalized in the first place. He flew his mistress to Colorado from Texas, while Angela languished in a hospital room. Multiple news outlets have shared links to the couple’s shared Facebook account. The social media accounts paint the family as practically “perfect”, with all of the trappings of success, right down to perfect, white smiles.
I’m sure when James and Angela married, Angela had visions of him leading her to the highest echelons of Heaven, according to the Latter-day Saints’ beliefs. Mormons believe that marriage is between one man and one woman, and the couple has to be righteous, and “sealed” in the temple in order to get to the Celestial Kingdom. Children who died before they’re eight years old also go straight to the Celestial Kingdom. The first step to that highest level of glory is for a woman to marry a temple worthy man, preferably one who has served a mission for the church. I’m sure Angela thought she’d found the right man when she married James Craig, a friendly dentist who, if we’re to believe some of his customer testimonials, had a thriving business with loyal patients.
It was probably important for Angela to marry someone who had the same religious beliefs she had. I’m sure that when the couple had problems, Angela relied on her faith to help her persevere. She probably hesitated to divorce, in part, because divorcing in the LDS church can be very fraught with issues, especially a couple is “sealed”. Even a legal divorce doesn’t cancel a sealing. Men can be sealed to more than one woman, but women have to get a “cancellation of sealing”, or a “temple divorce”. They aren’t always easy to get. A lot seems to depend on who a person knows, and how much money they’ve tithed.
According to news reports, Jim Craig had a history of drugging his wife. He had drugged her on another occasion, ostensibly because he was planning to commit suicide and didn’t want her to stop him. When she was in the hospital, Angela had told her husband that she felt “drugged”. Craig’s response was,
“Given our history I know that must be triggering. Just for the record, I didn’t drug you. I am super worried though. You really looked pale before I left. Like in your lips even.”
Authorities found evidence that Craig had researched poisons on his work computer and even had some delivered to his practice. A co-worker discovered the poisons and reported finding them to the police. From ABC:
While Angela Craig was hospitalized for the final time on Wednesday, one of her husband’s business partners told a nurse about James Craig’s delivery of potassium cyanide at their medical practice, noting there was no need to have the chemical in the office, the affidavit says. The nurse then reported this to police, setting off the investigation into Angela Craig’s death.
Craig had suggested his wife was suicidal, but there were no indications of her having suicidal intentions in her medical records. When Angela Craig died on March 18th, Craig would not consent to an autopsy. He allegedly said that if the doctors couldn’t figure out what had happened to his wife when she was living, he didn’t want them poking her when she was dead. Naturally, Craig’s objections to the autopsy have now been overruled.
What does Josh Duggar have in common with Jim Craig, besides being locked up and having issues with pornography? Both are men who, on the surface, appear to be very faithful to Christian based religious beliefs. But they join a large group of religious men who turn out to be much less “godly” than they appear. The piousness is a cover up for who and what they really are. And both men are married to women who were or are determined to stay married to them, most likely because of their religious beliefs.
I’ve written at least once about Ed and Lois Smart, parents of Elizabeth Smart. The couple divorced when Ed came out as gay. I think it’s too bad that Ed couldn’t simply love the person he wanted to love, rather than spending years “faking it” in a heterosexual marriage. But, at least in the Smart family, everyone is still living. I just think it must have been very hard for the Smarts, not just because their daughter, Elizabeth, was kidnapped by a fundamentalist Mormon rapist psychopath, but also because they felt they had to live by the intrusive and restrictive rules of a religion. Lois Smart no doubt married Ed believing that he would usher her into the Celestial Kingdom someday. That can’t happen now, unless she gets a temple divorce and marries someone else who is worthy.
I don’t mean to be disrespectful. I know there are a lot of people who are very grateful to religion for helping them cope with life. However, I’ve been exposed to so many stories about people who are caught in faith related crises. Most of the people simply have issues regarding their beliefs, and whether or not they can maintain the cognitive dissonance required to keep believing in the unbelievable, as they also struggle to keep to the rules. But some people end up in truly horrifying situations that would be awful enough if religion weren’t part of them.
I mean, even if Anna Duggar weren’t a fundamentalist Christian, she’d still be struggling a lot right now. The fact that she has deep rooted religious beliefs that keep her tied to a man who will be in prison for years only complicates matters. She doesn’t have a formal education, so getting suitable work in order to support her large family is difficult. Now, she’s stuck under Jim Bob Duggar’s authority. And if she hadn’t been super religious, she might not have had seven children. I’m sure she loves all of her kids, but taking care of a family that size, especially when your husband is a notorious criminal, is an extremely difficult task… even if you do have God on your side.
And Angela Craig– just 43 years old, with plenty of time to divorce Jim Craig and find someone much better– is now dead. Her six children are now, no doubt thrust into a chaotic situation. My heart goes out to their children who are still minors, as their father is likely to be in prison for many years, if not for the rest of his life. I admit that I don’t know anything about Angela, other than what I’ve read, but I do wonder if she would have considered marrying other people who might have been better people, but weren’t members of the church.
My own husband’s experiences with religion have also led to complications. In his case, the religion was used as a parental alienation tool against him. And being in the church wasn’t very useful to him, but it cost him a lot of money in tithing and time to consider what he should be doing with his life. Ultimately, joining the LDS church didn’t save his marriage to Ex, either… but I don’t see that as a negative thing.
I think if there’s anything to learn from these cases– just two of many cases involving true crime and religion– it’s that you can’t always trust what you see on the surface. People who appear to be super religious quite often turn out to be awful people. Like anything else, they use the religion to hide what lurks deep down. According to The Daily Mail article I linked, many former patients claimed that he ripped them off by doing unnecessary work, and some wrote that the work he did wasn’t of good quality and had to be redone. But he maintained a facade of goodness, by working in an anti-bullying campaign with the Denver Police Department called “WE CAN HELP”. Yeah… it all looks good on the surface, but it’s all a front to hide something sinister and evil. Too many religious situations turn out to be abusive and hypocritical, at best.
I feel sad for Angela Craig’s family. I hope they get justice. And I hope Anna Duggar eventually wises up and divorces Josh, who, according to Katie Joy, is apparently cheating on her with a transgender inmate, anyway.
I’m not an atheist myself, but I’m really glad I’m not hyper-religious. And I’m glad Bill isn’t, either.