An excerpt from the chapter titled With Deepest Sympathy and Humble Sincerity – an interrogation of Jodi’s letter to the Alexander family, July 28, 2008.
Jodi: “There wasn’t any kind of magnetic attraction that I could feel, but in that short time we discovered just a few of the things that we had in common; travelling, the UFC, the 49ers, and the drive to create an amazing life. After that weekend, I didn’t expect to hear from him again. But surprisingly, he called the very next day. A few days later he invited me to accompany him and some friends to church in Murrieta. That following Wednesday, he gave me copy of the Book of Mormon. On November 26, 2006, Travis baptized me at the Church in Palm Desert, where I was living at the time. He said he’d never met anyone more prepared to receive the Gospel. Joining the church was one of the best decisions I’d ever made and has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. I know that Travis will be richly rewarded for the role he played in bringing me into the fold.”
Meet the Manipulator. Here Jodi tries to show Travis’ active role in their relationship, when in reality, it was quite the opposite. And how in the world is joining the Church one of the greatest experiences of her life?
But let’s examine it: What did Jodi gain from becoming a Mormon? Well first, she could bond with Travis, and by making this public overture, could get it on in private with less interference (and suspicion) from the Church (meaning Travis’ friends and colleagues).
According to Jodi, Travis abused her and tried to kill her… twice. She and Travis lied constantly to their Church and themselves while they violated the laws of chastity. Fornicating is one thing. Fornicating whilst openly swearing to uphold certain standards and behaviours is a special kind of hypocrisy.
From this toxic, dysfunctional pairing (as Jodi details in her diary entries) – deceit, jealousy, betrayal and threats all came into being, and were nurtured and ultimately became big factors in Jodi’s growing compulsion to murder Travis in the way she eventually would. In this context, are we really to believe joining the Church was the greatest experience of her life?
It does seem like over-exaggeration, but there may be some substance to it. Jodi was a loner, a chameleon who developed coping strategies that many found objectionable and distasteful when they got to know her. Colleagues, her boss and boyfriends all experienced Jodi’s mendacity, especially through her manipulative behaviour, which seems to have become a default setting with dealing with life’s challenges. Her infatuation with the Law of Attraction only worsened her habitual dissembling.
Why I think joining the Church did mean a lot to Jodi is for the same reason it meant a lot to Travis. It gave Jodi a social fabric to belong to, and in that belonging, I think she enjoyed some moments of genuine fellowship, and even joy. While Jodi may have enjoyed the initial social benefits, the events, the sense of purpose, and sense of shared commitments and Christians caring for ‘their own’, I think Jodi’s insecurity and bad habits would make her increasingly paranoid about maintaining control of her benefactor.
After all, it was Travis that was introducing her to this whole new world, and she may have felt threatened by other, more wholesome, more accomplished women, and to neutralise those threats, Jodi would have wanted to monopolise and manipulate Travis’ attention (and affections). And she did. The Church played a huge role in tugging both of them this way and that, but while the faithful tides initially swept them in the same direction, in time Jodi drifted away. She fell back into her ‘old average’ self, which was the duplicity, the double-dealing, the manipulation.
MENDACITY: Jodi Arias: Secret Witness is available on Amazon
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