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Self-sufficiency was a cornerstone of the Joseph family and their extended family of followers. Their community motto was “Get Tough or Die”. They referred to the routine activities of their lives as “dailiness” and their interactive and interdependent communal lifestyle as their “demonstration”.

They raised as much food as was possible in the harsh dessert environment they inhabited. They had their own militia, firefighting team and two midwives. All of the children were homeschooled with the basic academics covered by one or more of the adults in the extended community. From the beginning I was offered open access to many dimensions of day to day family life and Kingdom activities and events. Often, I was intrigued and moved by the simultaneous and contrasting qualities of toughness and tenderness I witnessed while in the midst of their lives.

The darkest “moment” I spent with the Joseph family was during a home birth when Leslie’s and Alex’s child Marshal – was still born. This is a story which needs time to tell and the spoken word to fully express the deeply moving drama that unfolded during a seemingly continuous 48 hour period. This series of events will be the center piece of the video journal – TERRIBLE/WONDERFUL. This event tested their system of beliefs and was a dramatic demonstration of their philosophy of life.  Marshal’s still birth and all that I witnessed in the aftermath was deeply revealing and a totally unforgettable experience.

[a selection of photographs from the complete portfolio]

Note: A video journal of this subject is currently in development and will be posted here when complete.

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