My Name is Kaeleen Kalaniku (Ka’akimaka) Martinez
I was born in Honolulu on December 21 1971, the second child of a family of 8. My parents became members of the LDS cult about right when I was born. My mom was the faithful follower of the church, my dad not so much. I did the Primary (it used to be after school on Wednesdays – there was only sacrament mtg and gospel class on Sundays back then) and I remember questioning why things changed.
My community was local people, meaning those born and raised in Hawaii…mostly dark/brown skinned, I was fairer skinned than my peers and cousins.
I rode dirt bikes, horses, surfed, danced hula, etc…anyways, because I thought I knew so much I was chastised for being “presumptuous” or “the star” or wanting to be in the limelight, but I did that for attention and praise, to feel loved and valued. I wasn’t shy to sing or play music, singing and speech contests, giving a talk at church …was easy. (Bearing my testimony was so uncomfortable though and made my heart beat fast and I hated that feeling- mostly because it was fake and I wanted to please everyone else.)
My dad is Hawaiian (kanaka maoli), my mom is a “haole” (which means foreigner) from Michigan. I heard someone call my mom haole in a derogatory way and that’s the first realization of the divisive world I lived in. Being from both of them I struggled to know my place as I grew up here in Hawaii. I believed that being Hawaiian was the greatest privilege and the pride I felt gave me immense pleasure. I immersed myself in learning about my culture and kept my discoveries deep inside myself. I learned humility and acceptance…and Aloha.
LDS teachings were almost diametrically opposed to my cultural beliefs, except the Book of Mormon. I couldn’t dance hula Kahiko which is an older style of dance from chanting because – well it’s a long story but basically my mom felt it was worshipping false gods and against the LDS religion.
That BoM is what converts most Hawaiians to the LDS religion…and being the reader that I was, I tried to read it but never understood it. It was a bunch of ancient people and historic gibberish and metaphors and I couldn’t really understand what it was about at a young age.
I went to seminary a few times and the very first assignment was to pick from a list of scriptures for scripture mastery and mine was D&C 1:37. You know the one that goes “search these commandments…” I searched and searched, and could not find any of the answers to questions that I had. I understood about the “sealed portion” that would be the greater part of the word that would come forth in the latter days. I knew I lived in the latter day times and that there was much more to the gospel…I just didn’t know what or when. I asked so many questions to those in church but they seemed stumped and never gave me answers that made sense.
I often skipped out of seminary with a few others to go smoke a joint or make out with the current guy I was interested in. My mom let me stop attending seminary after I told her I missed the bus a few times and complained I wasn’t getting enough sleep and would fall asleep in class which affected my grades.
Otherwise I was forced to attend every activity, fireside, Womens conference, etc. I would try to make the most of it by looking for some cute dark skinned guys to flirt with only to find out they were a cousin or related to me…ugh! Believe me, living on an island with half the population being your blood relatives had its good points but the part of finding out he’s a cousin was disappointing.
My mom stressed the importance of dating only Mormons – when I turned 16 – hah! It was in my early teens that I decided I knew more than my parents (yes I was sassy) and although I lived my whole childhood trying to please my mom (my dad never placed high expectations on me) I decided to only show her the side of myself that she wanted to see. Away from her I did the devil; sex, drugs, alcohol, criminal activities. I got caught a few times but I knew how to manipulate her into believing I was truthful or repentant and sorrowful.
I got arrested shoplifting with some of my girlfriends because we were high on LSD and too stupid to be good thieves. I worked at the police station the summer before and knew the officers well, the Captain drove me home because my mom refused to pick me up from the station in her disappointment. I knew I pissed her off and I didn’t care. I had plans to get out of the house and go to college as soon as I graduated but things would turn out different for me.
My dad was a fireman on Oahu and had moved all of us up to the big island trying to get a job transfer. When my mom got a full time job I was the one who had to look after my younger siblings and all they did was fight with each other. Pretty normal in most families, especially in Hawaii, it’s a blow fest…siblings be wrestling until someone gets hurt and whoever cries first get more cracks. I had responsibilities that were normal for a 16 yr old girl but I longed to get away from my strict and judgmental mother.
I had my patriarchal blessing at 15, right before I moved to Hawaii island. I had a boyfriend at the time, he was Mormon too but we were having sex with each other. We didn’t care, we enjoyed it. He came with me to get my blessing. I remember thinking how ridiculous that blessing was. The “high priest” knew nothing about me and said all these things about me like I was some “Saint Kalaniku”, how I would have many children and bring them up in the church and if I was faithful they would be faithful, etc etc…I called bullshit, my LDS boyfriend saying how good it was. I think I still have it somewhere and smile whenever I read it.
I was 16 when I met my husband, Junior. We just moved from Oahu island to Hawaii island. I was already involved with someone else, but something about my husband was so unique and different that I couldn’t help the feelings and my heart told me that I needed to be with him, don’t know how else to explain it. I ditched the other guy and left with this enigma of a man. I thought he was Hawaiian, he wasn’t, I found out later. (To this day most people believe he’s a Hawaiian, he doesn’t bother to correct anyone, his mom is Filipino and dad is Portuguese. We laugh about it because I look like the haole girl).
So 2 months after we dated I became pregnant from Junior. He would come to church with me since that was the only way he could be with me on Sundays. After church we could go and do things that normally my mom wouldn’t allow, like swimming or fishing at the beach or in the Valley rivers, riding horses, rodeos, cattle brandings, basically having FUN on a Sunday. So when I got pregnant I wanted to live with him but couldn’t because we weren’t married. Guess what I did? Here comes the bride. Bye mom & dad.
I was allowed to marry him at age 17, in my senior year of high school I skipped the prom and had a wedding being 5 months pregnant. He wasn’t Mormon and if I could compare him to an exemplary one then he was the total opposite. I felt free at last.
“You see, you young women, what happened to Sister Kalaniku’s baby because she did not follow the lord’s commandments…”
Yup! That’s what our bishopric’s 1st counselor said to a roomful of us young women when I brought my newborn Down Syndrome baby to get her infant blessing. She was born with a heart defect also, which I couldn’t bring her home from the hospital right away. From that moment he said those words I knew I wouldn’t go back to THAT church. He was Polynesian, many of the members were, but I was heartbroken for him thinking my baby was anything but a blessing, or rather a punishment from God. That really affected the way I felt about the church and stayed away for years. It’s not like I was forced to go anymore. I was married and with a man who loved and supported me with whatever I wanted to do.
I got pregnant again within the next year with my son, he’s 15 months behind his sister. The year after that I asked my doctor to tie my tubes so I wouldn’t have a shitload of kids, the doc was reluctant because I was only 20 years old but after pleading my case he agreed to do it. I was relieved that I couldn’t get pregnant again, I hated being “hapai” but I loved being a mother. I’ve taken in kids throughout the years who needed a mother’s love so I didn’t miss out on having a bunch of kids.
We struggled financially but as long as I could buy diapers and basic necessities I was happy. We sometimes sold illegal drugs to get by and I rarely ever went to church but always was my mom sending me all kinds of church related materials through the mail (they moved back to Oahu right after I got married so I felt they moved to the big island just for me to be here).
I immersed myself in everything with my Hawaiian culture, learning many things that contradicts LDS culture so I was easily turned off by missionaries dropping by my house or home teachers and relief society visits. I could say that from an early age I learned to march to the beat of my own drum and though I followed along with some of the church’s teachings I usually did what I wanted and hid from my mom’s and others’ judgements.
I remember going to a temple preparation class and the bishopric (in another ward) telling me he will be asking permission from my husband to go to the temple without him because he was a non member. My husband was like, “huh? she don’t need my permission” but anyway I was so excited to see what the temple was all about.
I went to the first class and got the manual/guidebook and looking for something, answers I guess, and found nothing of interest. I ended up not going back to the class or church. In fact I remember later that month having a threesome with my hubby and a friend after some alcohol and drugs. Oooops! Not worthy to go to the temple now are we?
Okay, next attempt to go back to church I was sick with a kidney infection and felt I had to confess all my sins to the bishop of our ward. He didn’t know how to respond to me and my confessions. He told me that I need to ask the Lord forgiveness. I told him I already did and you know what he told me? He said, “How I know that the Lord forgives you is when I see you and I don’t think of what you’ve told me your sins were” or something to that effect. My husband laughed at that and then I knew it didn’t matter anymore.
Junior took the lessons 3 separate times from different missionaries and always refused to be baptized LDS. He later told me he only sat and listened to them for my sake and would never ever join the Mormon church, his church was “in the mountains and forest”.
I’ve done so many different things in my life and learned so much but I have to go back to my childhood and recall the time I was 6 years old. In 1977 or so our Waimanalo library brought in the Apple computer with its 5.25” floppy disk drive. I was enthralled with this technology and somehow knew this would be the way for me to learn all the things I needed. I went to the library everyday just to learn more about this computer. We couldn’t afford a computer but when I was a few years older I would manage to get my hands on one, taking it apart, putting it together, figuring it out on my own and absorbing what I could.
When AOL came out with the dial up internet access it was like Christmas morning to me. I eventually became the network techie and was pretty savvy in Word, Excel and other MS applications. I was the go-to person for everyone when it came to setting up computers, networking and software. Of course I had older wiser friends who knew more tech stuff than I did but that’s why I valued them as friends…they always helped me learn. I never went to a real college/university and thought it a waste of time and effort.
I did well in my jobs and got paid enough to get by and help supplement my hubby’s modest earnings. I was an office manager and then went into marketing because I could use photoshop and other graphics or media software with ease.
I did go to community college classes so I could become a substance abuse counselor. I was good at listening to people, had my own drug use issues but finding the underlying cause of abuse and helping others navigate through it was easy for me. I was way more effective as an office administrator than a counselor though…I didn’t have to go through the horrific experiences that they had to endure but I felt their pain deeply as they recalled those traumatic moments. I realized that the curriculum they wanted us to use to counsel was not working at all for these people who were mostly court ordered to attend treatment…and at the time I had my own opiate addiction so I was relieved when I was laid off due to budget cuts. I didn’t have to lie to myself or anyone else anymore.
I went back to IT and administrator jobs in real estate and then decided to just take care of my daughter who needed me more often since my son graduated from high school. I was given the ultimatum from my husband to get off the pills or get out of the house. I quit cold turkey and life sucked for 9 days straight while detoxing but I also became depressed for awhile after….until I found the Work.
Now to finding the Work. I believe I would’ve found it at some point in my life, seeing as how my life played out and the choices I made in life have all led me to finding the Work and our True Messenger.
It was early 2013, my younger brother moved in with us and we were both interested and fearful in what’s going on around us. We shared YouTube videos with each other and there’s so many of them out there. There was an attempt to genetically modify Kalo (Taro) which is a staple food for us. This was against our cultural beliefs. Then there were videos about aliens and lizard races of people, and there was the attempt of TMT (thirty meter telescope) to be built on our sacred mountain. I was so upset and terrified of what was happening, angry at the haole’s for imposing their lifestyles on my people. I realized that I was prejudiced or racist, and being of different ethnic races made me question everything about myself. Getting mad at haole folks is so easy here, it’s common to see the entitled attitudes and lack of respect of our home from tourists. But it was after viewing the lizard alien people videos that caused me to drop to my knees in tears, cursing to God, “Who TF are You?” I was a mess. It was a few hours later my inner voice said to “google it” and guess what pops up? A YouTube video of the first chapter of Human Reality.
This very video caused a “burning in my bosom” so to speak. I’ve heard of others feeling the spirit and other dogma but it never happened to me until I saw that video. Curious and still trembling, I looked into the Marvelous Work and Wonder website and found other treasures like The Sealed Portion, Joseph Smiths autobiography, 666, etc. It was like getting a blast of dopamine to my brain! I knew it! I knew I would find what I was searching for all these years!!! I knew that technology would lead me to answers.
I just had to share it with my brother and he was amazed too. We both started listening to these radio shows that Christopher did and we’d come to find out we weren’t to share it with anyone. I shared it with our baby sister and she read Sacred not Secret, that being the “out” she needed to leave the LDS church. My brother told me he was going to show the video to our mom and I told him – don’t tell her…that we weren’t supposed to. He didn’t listen to me. He showed her anyway and that will be her story to tell so I won’t say anymore about that.
It’s been 7 years since finding the Real Truth and the peace and joy I have since finding it is wonderful. The hardest part is dropping my pride and my cultural beliefs that my genealogy or royal lineage is more important than solving poverty. I’m still on my journey and it’s been a long and lonely one.
Oh, and my husband doesn’t follow the work. He is aware of and supports me in all that I do and believe in with the MWAW – so that’s that. He is who he is and that’s the man I love, my best friend on this earth for over 30 years and still counting.
As for my Hawaiianess and culture, so much of my perception has changed since, that’s huge for me. The Humanity Party is what our world needs and the only solution. I’ve seen a movement of Hawaiians (most my ‘ohana (family) on top of the Mauna (Mountain) start to implement some of the humanity party’s ideas and solutions…and then realize why it won’t work their way. It was hard to watch my family and friends up there on the mountain without feeling like I needed to be with them and the convos I had with Chris at the time was a sharp sword yet comforting where I could stay humble and continue to just love myself. My husband reminded me that if the Mauna called me to be there then I should go but I knew it wouldn’t happen.
I’m climbing up to 50 this year, I’m a grandmother to two beautiful girls from my son. I enjoy babysitting his (almost) 2 year old, seeing so much of myself in her.
My daughter loves her nieces and we spend time outdoors with our animals or indoors doing what they like to do…coloring, music, etc.
There’s so much more that I could write about myself and this Marvelous Work but I think I’ve said more than enough. What I’ve learned throughout these past years is that I really don’t know much about anything outside of myself and that I’m no one special unless everyone else is. I feel so much love for Christopher and the Brothers and the least I can do is support the Work the best that I can which is why you’re getting this long ass About Me story. And with that…..my Aloha!
Kaeleen Kalaniku Martinez