Christine Marie Katas, received her B.S. from Brigham Young University, completed an MBA, and is currently a PhD student at Fielding Graduate University studying Media Psychology. She is an educator, advocate, and author, having published 19 educational books. Christine converted to mainstream Mormonism as a teen, served an LDS mission and married in the temple, but life took an unexpected turn. She found herself a divorced, single mother with a wonderful future ahead of her when she was targeted by an independent polygamist-turned-prophet with his own brand of fundamentalism. Through the use of deception, religious coercion, false claims of ecclesiastical authority, contrived miracles and tests of faith, this “mouthpiece of God” and his helpers were able to manipulate Christine until she lost everything a woman holds near and dear to her heart, including the will to live.
Fortunately, she was saved from total tragedy before it was too late when the prophet’s bodyguard and accomplice had a change of heart. Overcome with remorse, he revealed that neither he, nor the prophet, nor his “followers” (including her “sister wife”) believed in God at all. Rather, they were ex-Mormon atheists helping the prophet-impostor deceive and exploit a true believer for their own benefit.
This experience left Christine in shock, homeless, penniless, and battling post-traumatic stress disorder. At the same time, she was grateful to the man who heroically defied the prophet and gave her life back to her. Finding help was difficult, especially since so many Utahns considered polygamy a victimless crime among consenting adults. However, after being asked to share her story with a human trafficking expert in California, she was identified as a potential survivor of human trafficking and referred to an agency for screening. To Christine’s surprise, she qualified for services as a survivor of human trafficking, making her possibly the first survivor of fundamentalist religious manipulation from Utah to be formally classified as such. This was a defining moment for Christine. Few in Utah had even heard of the term human trafficking at that time, and even fewer applied it to circumstances involving religious deception and coercion. Emboldened to help educate others, she created “Polygamy and Trafficking,” the first online information and research center dedicated to helping lawmakers, professionals and advocates understand the intersection between patriarchal polygamy and modern-day slavery.
On the bright side, Christine’s personal experience and education have given her a unique expertise in ecclesiastical abuse, undue influence, cult mind control and human trafficking. She continues to inform the public about the violation of human rights that can hide under the banner of so-called “free choice” polygamy. Christine has repeatedly advocated for trafficking organizations to add “religion” to their descriptions of the tools used to entrap people into modern-day slavery. She is the author of Why Religiously-Mandated, Patriarchal Polygamy is Not a Matter of Consenting Adults. She is the founder of Voices for Dignity, an organization that promotes awareness, empowerment and happiness for survivors of cults, religious abuse, and other forms of oppression. In 2015, she was invited to be on an expert panel regarding cults and trafficking in Washington D.C. at the International Cultic Studies Association. She submitted a significant amount of research and information to the law firm writing the Amicus Brief on behalf of the Sound Choices Coalition regarding the appeal of Brown v Buhman. She has appeared on the television shows “Sister Wives,” “Escaping Polygamy,” and more. Her own story (although fictionalized and sensationalized) was featured on Investigation Discovery, History Channel, Slice, Lifetime, Crime Investigation, and many other networks around the world. Most importantly, today she is actively involved in helping survivors of patriarchal polygamy recover and reclaim their lives and their dignity. Christine and her husband take polygamy’s refugees into their home and use a positive psychology approach to help them on their new life path toward freedom and fulfillment. Christine Marie is a compassionate, positive and engaging voice for those, whether in polygamy or out, who have yet to find their voices. She is also a blogger, digital lifer, happiness advocate, and lover of vintage, gingerbread, storytelling and photography.