400 Children.

It’s too odd and vast and difficult a scenario for me to get my head around, but I wanted to give a big heads-up to Guy Murray’s continuing coverage of what’s going on with the FLDS compound in Texas. It’s heart-rending and difficult, but Guy’s blogging has been the best resource I’ve seen.


  1. Hi Steve,

    Thanks so much for the link. It gets even more strange and the story unfolds.

  2. Thanks. My heart goes out to those children in so many ways. There was an interesting observation about the kids from a Baptist (!) volunteer in sorting out the kids in the Times today:

    “They are like aliens — or we are like aliens to them,” Helen Pfluger, a volunteer at a local Baptist church who helped to care for the children, told The Times. “They know nothing of the outside world. The children and their mothers did not know what to do with crayons. Our food makes them sick because they are not used to processed food.

    It’s a lot of kids to be taking away from their families and into the foster system in Texas, if that is their destiny. Although I do not support polygamy or the abuse of these kids, if that is occuring at the ranch, I am not sure whether the Texas social services system is going to serve them much better by placing them in fundamentalist Baptist homes. It’s a very difficult situation.

  3. It all makes my stomach turn, the gross violation of due process and disregard for civil rights, or the needs of the children.

    What bothers me about all this also is the way that story is being picked up internationally. There is virtually no distinction between the LDS church and the LDS church. For instance Russian media outlets are reporting, “In a Texan Ranch LDS Church cult members kept 400 girls and raped them… The police already freed 180 hostages…” Nice. And missionary work comes to a screaching hault.

  4. What the Baptist lady also said was that she (gasp) actually saw 8 year old little girls playing with real babies and not dolls! She then added that is how they learn to become mothers. Is it foreign to people for young children to play with babies?

  5. (Does anyone who reads here actually believe that FLDS parents do not know what to do with crayons?)

  6. I am not sure what to make of this yet. I want to hear more about the actual situation in the compound first.

    There are a lot of scared little kids who are about to be wrenched from their parents/siblings. The whole thing makes me sad.

  7. I love it how the media keeps saying “The FLDS church is in no way related to the Mormons…” So now we better say we are Mormon, because if we say “LDS,” someone is bound to hear “FLDS”.

  8. I think Texas may have been posturing this to create another Branch Davidian situation. As I have followed this story over the last few days, Texas authorities and law enforcement made a big show about how there might be large casualties because they were going to search the temple. I wonder if they are actually disappointed that there wasn’t a huge shootout — after all they rolled in all those ambulances.

    Over at Guy’s blog, a commenter asked when it became the practice to take away the children of all the families in a group just because one family is suspected of abusing the children.

    If children are being abused, then they need to be removed. But it appears that the touchstone of abuse here is that young women were being put into arranged marriages. Unless they actually marry while underage (Texas raised the legal age from 14 to 16 when the FLDS rolled into the state four years ago — apparently 14 is fine for fundamentalist Baptists but not FLDS), I fail to see how the prospect of an arranged marriage constitutes grounds to remove a child from its parents or its mother. The trauma of that action is severe. I have young daughters and I can’t really imagine their terrified reaction if they were seized from me and my wife by surprise one day and taken to a warehouse somewhere to wait for an undetermined amount of time. I can certainly imagine their terror though and it gives me chills.

    There but for the grace of God go we Latter-day Saints, by the way.

    mmiles, even the Times of London, which ostensibly doesn’t have any difficulty with the English language, is running the story under the headline of “400 children saved from Mormon sect amid allegations of abuse”. Tried and convicted, all in one headline.

  9. Yeah–the UK and Austrailian outlets have been terrible.

  10. bbell, that is a good point that I hadn’t even thought of yet — the kids are not just wrenched from their mothers, but from their siblings. Observing my daughters — how much they love each other and cling to each other — my hearts breaks at the thought that these children could potentially be farmed out to whatever horror lurks in the foster homes of rural West Texas, possibly away from their siblings.

    My 6 year old daughter wept bitterly when my 4 year old daughter broke her arm in February during a trip and had to be rushed to the hospital with my wife and mother-in-law while I waited with my other children and father-in-law for them to return.

  11. This whole thing is starting to stink to high heaven.

    All the articles I’ve seen defending this action seem to be based on “everybody knows” evidence.

    Now sure these people have some wacky beliefs, but they are still Americans, and last time I checked “everybody knows” is not sufficient to take children away from their parents- you ought have some actual evidence- and from everything coming out of the police this does not seem to be apparent.

  12. I don’t think the Russian media had a language problem either..I think it’s much worse than that.

    What bothers me too is why the hubub about white FLDSers, but what about the African immigrants who come with 2 wives and many children? It seems to be more readily accepted as a cultural difference, or worse, it’s racism. If white immigrants came with 2 wives, would that be a big deal?

  13. Do not the FLDS people consider themselves Fundamentalist Mormons? Don’t they call themselves Mormons?

    To refer to them as a “Mormon sect” is accurate. I would just hope that the journalist distinguished between this group and the LDS church.

  14. Bob, societies over here consider Mormonism itself a sect and that is how they refer to Mormons — as a sect. So a headline that says “Mormons sect” says nothing more than that the Mormon Church itself did something. At least, that is a very likely interpretation here of such a headline.

  15. Plus, the word “sect” carries strong, strong connotations. Once that word’s in the story, any pretence of objectivity in the story is gone.

  16. StillConfused says:

    I read the actual court filing. Mention was made of people who did not know who their biological parents were. That is rather sad.

    I am not a fan of compounds; I think it leads to extreme behavior.

    I cannot say that I am against the raid. I am waiting to hear more. I just hope that the 16 year old girl was a fraud and is not, as I fear, a real woman who has met with a demise over this matter.

  17. Well there goes any dim hopes for Romney to be VP.

  18. StillConfused says:

    On a light note — I really love the gals’ hairdo’s. I wish my mom had done my hair like that when I was younger.

  19. StillConfused, claiming not to know who their parents were was a common tactic taught to children during the latter half of the 19th century by their polygamous parents in Utah. When asked by a federal marshal who their parents were, a common response was “I don’t know, for all I know YOU could be my father”.

    I think they are being disingenuous, which is not surprising under the circumstances.

  20. News coverage in Prague is terrible too. Little distinction being made between FLDS and mormon, even on the english-speaking international outlets (CNN and BBC).

  21. Researcher says:

    If hairdos are fair game, I think they’re hideous. They could take a lesson from the Amish.

  22. I am not a fan of compounds; I think it leads to extreme behavior.

    Amen. I once spent a harrowing two months in this compound.

  23. Steve Evans says:

    Someone’s gunning for a Niblet.

  24. StillConfused says:

    Don’t be hatin’ on the hairdos… I love the puffy thing on top and the braid in the back… kinda like a cross between a mullet and the Amish-do.

  25. an Amillet. (pronounced like omelet)

  26. Maybe their fashion sense could be given to Eve on Kristine’s thread. Now those dresses are down right sensible! No ruffles at all!

  27. david knowlton says:

    Thank you for the link Steve. I have been wondering about the actions in Texas. They were seeming extreme. The link helped clarify. The action in El Dorado. The action taken by the State of Texas seems ill planned and ill advised. It also sounds like religious persecution. Like the blogger whose link you provide I feel that individual cases of abuse should be prosecuted. I am opposed to child marriages and sexual abuse. But religious freedom also needs to be respected.

    I heard stories from older women, when I was young, about federal abuses of Latter-day Saint polygamists and I am paied to see what is going on now.

  28. But, mmiles, they have puffed sleeves. (cue Anne Shirley style sigh)

  29. On a more serious note, I really have mixed feelings about this. My gut and brain says that most of those women and children have been abused and need to be helped. So part of me is really glad to see something being done about it.

    However, things like this must be done very carefully, so as to be above reproach. I don’t see much, if any evidence of careful planning, research, efforts to understand, foresight or even much compassion. I see more evidence of a shoot-first ask questions later mindset. What bothers me most is that the ham-fisted rule-bending approach being taken has been largely overlooked due to religious prejudice.

  30. I appreciate the pointer to Guy’s coverage, Steve. Thanks. I’d been trying to follow it in the news and the coverage has been just awful.

    What a horrific situation! A nightmare. Those poor kids. Their poor parents. And to pull that many people with no plan to care for them? What are they thinking? Talk about emotional abuse!

    Poor babies. Given such an odd shake in the genetic lottery in the first place and then held against their will by the government that should be protecting their freedom.

    Save abused children from their abusive parents. Leave children with their families otherwise. Pulling all of those children from their homes to save them from being raised weird is just immoral, and surely illegal.

    There are so many risk factors for neglect and abuse: poverty, religion, large family size, young parents, the list goes on and on. If we begin removing all of the kids who are in high risk situations, no institution in the world will be big enough to handle the fallout.

  31. #29 I think that is bang on. Certainly their could be issues but due process is not pulling 400 kids out of their family.

    I personally think the actions of the Texas CS and police has been suspect from the beginning. It would be laughable if it was not so sad.

    A similar situation at Bountiful in British Columbia in Canada has led the police to decide to intervene only in cases of abuse. One has to question why Omish, Mennonites and Hutterites are not tarred with this same brush. To me this is purely polygamy issue, and the anger of some at the practice.

    And yes those hairdos and dresses look right out of the 19th century.

  32. It seems to me that for many of us Mormons, there are some lessons here:

    1. The Evangelical Right are not our friends–regardless of how much their definition of morality coincides with ours.

    2. The small-government paleoconservatism that drew many of us to the Republican party is largely dead, replaced by big-government neoconservatism that is dangerous to unpopular minority groups like the FLDS (and, possibly, us as well). Mormon Republicans (I include myself) need to take action to re-enthrone the principle of small government in the Republican party, or else quit giving it their support.

    3. We need to initiate a policy of rapproachment with the FLDS. To a certain degree, the FLDS are what we have made them–our strident condemnations of polygamy (and the actions thereon by largely-LDS Utah law enforcment authorities) have perhaps made them less likely to get help against predators, who then remain and thrive in the FLDS community. Moreover, an active, healthy dialogue with the FLDS would give us a unique insight into our own past.

  33. Ola Senor says:

    It is no so much the different clothes, or the withdrawl from the world that makes the FLDS church unsympathetic to me. It is the culture of corruption and dishonesty. I would not say that all FLDS members are involved (and I hope they are not), but there have been significant issues with this in the Az strip. Misappropriation of funds, etc. When Texas authorities see this, and combine it with their history of past extremists…. well you can see why Texas authorities might not be so understanding.

    As far as the research, it would be difficult to conduct a lot of research prior. The FLDS adherents are not exactly the most open. Further, according to an interview I heard on NPR, most of the children have no official records. No birth certificates, ids, vaccination records etc. Nothing that would identify who they are, and who is their guardian. The children change their names from day to day, and have several names in common.

    Additionally, the shoot first, ask questions later attitude is what is required in our juvenile protection system now. Whether or not this is the proper system is another matter. Certainly this system has problems, but if they delayed and a child was raped or killed, which would be worse?

  34. Whether or not this is the proper system is another matter. Certainly this system has problems, but if they delayed and a child was raped or killed, which would be worse?

    Yes. And you would think so too if ‘someone’ called and said terrible things were happening in your neighborhood so they drove in two buses from the Jehovah’s Witnesses to load up your kids and take them away to a warehouse where the Scientologist would then take care of you all. They can’t investigate first, they say, your kid is in danger, that’s what they’ve heard. And did you know they sacrifice babies in those Mormon Temples? and rape virgins?

  35. Ola Senor says:

    I would rather have a child taken first than be killed.

    Mmiles, you avoided my question. Which is worse? A probable violation of due process or a rape or abuse?

    Your analogy is disingenuous. This isn’t the first concern that has been raised. Inflammatory exaggeration and hyperbole certainly aren’t helpful here.

  36. Ola Senor says:

    Wow – that was dumb – exaggeration and hyperbole – now who is overstating things.

  37. Ola Senor,
    There clearly needs to be a balancing; I think that the U.S. system of due process generally does well (with, of course, exceptions). It’s a balancing act, protecting families and personal liberty on the one hand and preventing rape or abuse on the other. It’s relatively clear to me, and a number of other people, that Texas invoked the “protect the children” meme to overstep that line. That is, they responded with a too-heavy hand where they could have been more surgical or better built-up their case for the heavy hand.

    Caution can sometimes have bad results, and due process occasionally lets a bad person off or abets somebody’s bad action but, in the net (and specifically in this situation), ignoring the due process seems to have led to a very bad result.

  38. Jennifer in GA says:

    “One has to question why Omish, Mennonites and Hutterites are not tarred with this same brush. To me this is purely polygamy issue, and the anger of some at the practice.

    I think these religions aren’t tarred with the same brush for a few reasons. One, they have a history of pacificsm, which is not the case with FLDS communities. Two, these religions encourage their young people to live “in the world” for a time, before they become full fledged adult memebers.

    As far as I can tell, none of the teenage girls are being encouraged to leave the FLDS community to see if polygamy is what they really want before they are married off as the third wife of a man thirty years her senior.

  39. Hmmm . . .

    (#32) The Evangelical Right are not our friends–regardless of how much their definition of morality coincides with ours.

    Outside of fundamental religious principles, I think a Christian fundamentalist can have compassion and sympathy for an LDS fundamentalist over government crackdown.

    You might be surprised.

  40. Ola Senor,
    I actually think due process and protection of civil liberties trumps the threat of crimes being committed. In other words, to me the risk that an atrocity will be committed is worth it if my liberty, and the liberty of others is maintained.
    If we don’t maintain this standard, there is no reason to expect that at whim the government could not take my children when they decide my lifestyle is threatening.

  41. Mmiles, you avoided my question. Which is worse? A probable violation of due process or a rape or abuse?

    The founding fathers determined that due process violations were worse. Which is the reason for the Bill of Rights, the Exclusionary Rule, and a host of other evidentiary statutes.

    One, they have a history of pacificsm, which is not the case with FLDS communities.

    The FLDS have a history of violence? (Not counting domestic violence, plenty of which has also occurred in Amish communities.) Enlighten me, please.

    Outside of fundamental religious principles, I think a Christian fundamentalist can have compassion and sympathy for an LDS fundamentalist over government crackdown.

    I probably over-generalized. I hope you’re right, Todd. But the involvement of the Baptist church at El Dorado with the forceable separation of four hundred children from their parents–probably three hundred of whom were in no immediate danger of anything more pernicious than being told that Warren Jeffs is a prophet of God–make me worry. As do the rumors I’m hearing in certain circles of the internet about the local Baptists taking this opportunity to “witness” to the FLDS internees.

  42. sister blah 2 says:

    Ethical question: is dooming a huge percentage of your community’s children to an indescribably horrible genetic defect (called fumerase deficiency–I’d include a link but they always cause my posts to get lost–flashback to AP Biology it disrupts the Krebs cycle, symptoms range from mild retardation to no muscle tone, inability to sit up or walk, seizures ranging from occasional to near constant) enough to constitute abuse?

    The libertarian in me says no, but the pragmatist and feminist in me says get those children out of there like yesterday.

    Though the pragmatist in me also says maybe they should have thought through the logistics of taking responsibility for 400+ kids at once before they marched in there.

  43. Jennifer in GA says:

    The FLDS have a history of violence? (Not counting domestic violence, plenty of which has also occurred in Amish communities.) Enlighten me, please

    I didn’t say the FLDS had a history of violence. I just said they weren’t pacifists. There’s a difference.
    However, my comment was in regard to the 1953 raid on Short Creek, but I’ve read so many articles on the subject today that I can’t find what I thought I read. (If that makes any sense.) It’s entirely possible that I’m wrong, so I’ll withdraw the idea that Mennonites/Hutterites/etc are left alone because they are pacifists.

  44. One thing to remember about the Baptists is that when they use the word “ministry” that can mean to administer aid and charity- and not imply preaching.

    All the Baptist posted articles on the subject have used the word ministry in this sense.

    So I don’t think there was an intent by the Baptists to use this as an opportunity to preach their religious beliefs- although they are certainly tone deaf to what their statements sound like.

  45. #42 Exactly what part of feminism supports tearing 400 children from mothers who have not been proven incompetent as parents? They have not even been named in affidavits.
    and how is that practical?

  46. Steve Evans says:

    mmiles, when it comes to the preservation of the safety of minors, the state is generally empowered to intervene even if the parents have not been “proven incompetent.” These acts are temporary, pending final deliberations of custody, etc., which are done in family court.

    You’re correct that it has little to do with feminism, but your implication that the state should have waiting for final proof of abuse/incompetence to act is simply not the standard for virtually all state agencies in the U.S. SB2’s first reference to pragmatism is most likely referring to the ‘practical’ result of removing minors from suspected imminent harm.

  47. #46-
    I did not mean to imply that the state should wait for final proof, but thus far I see no evidence or just cause. I’ve persoanlly written reports to submit to child protective services. They included photographs (though didn’t necessarily have to), testimony and very specific claims of abuse. Usually when these things are reported by phone they will send a case worker to the house to look into the claims, not arrive with buses, police and church members and media, ready to take everyone away.
    Of course you are correct:p and it is in the interest of the state to protect the innocent with justifiable cause, but I could never have written “There appear to be pregnant minors,” and have it been worth the paper it was written on as evidence that state custody was warranted.

  48. I do believe that this was an overreach by the TX CPS. I am no FLDS fan obviously

    You can say based on the high percentage of unwed teenage mothers in large urban city high schools in the US that if you use the standard “there appear to be pregnant minors” that CPS will soon be raiding high schools looking for the 18-19 year old fathers of all the pregnant 15 year olds in class and in many cases going down the the onsite day care facilty to round up the kids. Want to find a culture in which large numbers of underage girls get pregnant by older males you do not need to drive to Eldorado TX to find it.

    Nobody of course is advocating this. This is where I think the religious bias comes in.

    This may end up like the Short Creek raid after the dust settles

  49. #48 – What bbell said.

    All other issues aside, I hate double standards. I worked with schools in inner-cities and rural areas throughout the Eastern US for years – including Southern Texas. If this action is justified, they need to start raiding lots and lots and lots of urban neighborhoods and rural towns – since the numbers are MUCH higher in many of the urban cities than at this compound. It’s not even close.

  50. Been doing some more digging. A Texas Blog here:


    Mentioned the fact that the typical (Texas CPS protocol) hearing held within 24 hours after a child has been removed to determine if the removal was justified has been waived by the judge.

    Makes sense considering the large numbers- but it worries me if the is no planned hearing in the future for these children.

    The post was not clear on whether this hearing was completely waived or if it was just postponed.

  51. I think BBell that there are compelling reason to think the young pregnant ladies aren’t getting pregnant for the same reasons as the high rate in say inner cities. For one they aren’t allowed to socialize in the same manner. Even the high rate of pregnancy among fundamentalist Evangelics can be tied to socialization (i.e. dating). Second, there is evidence that there is a tradition of marrying young women in the community by older men (or even young men over 17).

    Don’t get me wrong. I’d lay really good odds, based upon my experiences in the inner city, that there is probably far more child abuse there than what I suspect is going on at the FLDS. So there undeniably is a double standard. But I think the state has some justification to approach organized and systematic abuse as more heinous than individual cases.

    Once again I’m not saying Texas acted properly. I don’t think we can say that until the facts are out. I think the assumption that Texas was forging evidence and so forth as inappropriate until there is compelling evidence they did.

  52. This is being reported

    The 16 year old girl making the call, however, has been identified (name of minors withheld by law) and is the two-year bride of Dale J. Barlow, a 50 year old cousin of Dale Barlow of Colorado City, AZ, convicted in Utah and Arizona of the rape of a child.

  53. live one says:

    Warren Jeffs showed up in rural Colorado while he was on the run with several brand new Cadillac Escalades and tons of cash.

    Who supports their movement since most of the members don’t seem to hold any jobs? How can they buy such large tracts of land, build large buildings, and feed hundreds of children? Are they all offspring of millionaires?

    After the Branch Davidian fiasco Warren Jeffs should have likened Texas to one of the plagues of pharoah!

  54. Most of the members do hold jobs. The FLDS, and other fundamentalist, are some of the best in the construction industry. In fact, we have built many of the LDS buildings in Utah and Arizona. My husband works construction with a fundamentalist that’s framed many LDS chapels. When the Stake Center in Snowflake was remodeled, who did the LDS Church hire? Once again, fundamentalist. We’re grateful for the work we do for the LDS Church, and we hope to do much more.

  55. Steve Evans says:

    Wait, Amanda — I thought that you guys were confused at crayons and mystified at processed food. What are you doing on the internets?

  56. Steve,
    Amanda even hangs out at FMH from time to time, shhh.

  57. oh boy. I sense a-shunnin’ is a-comin’.

  58. Amanda,
    Where are your blogs? I’ve run in to them before–what’s the scoop? What is everyone thinking in your neck of the woods?

  59. MikeInWeHo says:

    It’s creepy that they found a wedding bed in the polygamist temple. I don’t think that’s anti-polyg propaganda, either.

  60. That is creepy, very, very creepy.

  61. Yeah, Mike, that little detail was creepy – and it’s going to be assumed by millions that ours do, as well. Ouch!

  62. No wonder my friend looked at me funny today when I told her that my sister was married in a backyard civilly, and then we went straight to our temple so she could be married there. Hmmm.

  63. The sad thing is, supposing there is widespead systematic abuse–a lot of that evidence is going to get tossed, and the case is going to get appealed. Civil liberties must be maintained. If the evidence was obtained illegally, it should be tossed. Texas blew it.

  64. Hey folks . . . let’s slow down there just a bit on the “wedding bed” report. That’s not what the affidavit says. That’s a conclusion of the MSM which has been overwhelmingly anti FLDS. I’m about to put up another post on the second affidavit.

  65. MikeInWeHo says:

    That’s why the official approach toward these groups is problematic. To say: “They’re not Mormon! They have nothing to do with us!” is akin to to moderate Muslims saying of Al-Qaeda: “They’re not Muslims! They have nothing to do with us!”

    In both cases, to outsiders it just doesn’t appear that way. Why can’t the LDS say “We’re concerned about these groups which represent a perversion of our faith, and here’s how we’re trying to help…..” ??

    Why are Baptists taking care of these women and children, and not Latter-day Saints?

  66. sister blah 2 says:

    I’m totally with Guy on the wedding bed thing.

    Think about it, our altars totally look like beds, what with being cushioned and those doily things on them. A tad small for a bed, but theirs was bigger, I could see it being misconstrued. (yeah, yeah, don’t nobody get on my case about talking about the temple–they make those interior photos public, doilies and all).

    I’m not ruling out that they actually DO have beds. But the doilies were the first thing that popped in my head when I heard that.

  67. MikeInWeHo-
    Don’t play dumb. Surely you’ve read that the sheriff called the Baptist church and tipped them off and asked for their help. The Mormons weren’t invited to the party. Lots of other people were. http://www.khou.com/topstories/stories/khou080409_tnt_shelters.4a2d12fb.html

    Although I think we probably share a little more with these kids and might understand a little better what they’ve been taught–I think us jumping in might make us look all like the same church (not that that is reason not to help).

  68. What are crayons? ;) The Short Creekers are probably a little more sheltered than most fundamentalist, but I seriously doubt they don’t know what crayons are. I guess that’s what happens when you learn about fundamentalist Mormons from a Baptist.

    I don’t agree with the FLDS view of Mormonism, but I think this raid was a bad idea. Many in my community were children during the Short Creek raid in the 1950’s. They are extremely paranoid about outsiders. Many of us that are more progressive have tried to open up our community, but this raid will make things more difficult for us.

    Personally, I’ve been a little scared by this. It’s not very comforting to know that if anyone claims abuse against another family in my church, that the state can come in and take my kids away with no cause. Can you imagine that? How can we not view the government as our enemy?

  69. Amanda,
    If I were in your shoes, I’d be scared spitless.

    It has been widely reported that the sheriff called the Baptist church and asked for their assistance. The Mormons weren’t invited. But lots of other people were.
    I too think we could help them feel more comfortable, and maybe understand where they are coming from. However, our helpfulness might be seen to others as evidence we are all in the same group–not that that is a reason not to help.

    Better? I deserved it.

  70. re # 67 I guess that’s what happens when you learn about fundamentalist Mormons from a Baptist.

    Bingo. Thanks for that succinct statement of the problem here.

    Amanda, my heart goes out to you and your FLDS community. I do not share your religious belief in polygamy but wish I had some avenue to protect your rights and the rights of your children in situations such as this. Maintaining due process would be enough.

    It’s not very comforting to know that if anyone claims abuse against another family in my church, that the state can come in and take my kids away with no cause.

    This is precisely the point. When did it become the standard operating procedure to take the kids away from all of the families in a group because there are allegations that one of the families in the group has abused a child?

    I hope that no LDS reader here thinks that what is going on to the FLDS is tangential to our lives. If this course of action flies, it will create horrible precedent for what a state can and cannot do based on what level of evidence.

    To a fundamentalist Baptist, we LDS look just as deplorable as the FLDS and it is pretty easy to think that an affidavit can be drafted based on double and triple hearsay that LDS children are in danger of being raised weird and therefore should be removed and exposed to whatever horrors await them in a failing, underfunded state foster care system that is already lacking in space.

    Fundamentalist Baptist hillbilly sherriffs in rural West Texas might genuinely believe that Jesus Camp is a more normal and proper upbringing for an FLDS child but the question is who gets to decide such a thing? If it is the government of the State of Texas then, as someone who grew up in Texas, all LDS and not just FLDS should be very concerned about what is happening in El Dorado.

  71. Peter LLC says:


    Who supports their movement

    They do. From CNN: “An unknown number of men and women were at the ranch while authorities completed the search of the gleaming 80-foot-high temple, a cheese-making plant, a cement plant, a school, a doctor’s office and housing units.”

  72. re # 53, also the FLDS are not Amish. As Amanda noted, you will see them doing construction jobs etc. If you live in or visit Southern Utah, you will often see FLDS women and children shopping at Walmart.

    On the broader issue of removing the children, LDS lawyer and blogger Blake Ostler has made the following observation over at Guy’s blog:

    It also appears to me that the lawyers for the FLDS are doing a half-assed job of defending their rights. This appears to be more about turning the kids over to the Baptists than about getting a hearing in time to get to the fact necessary to support even removing one child. I will state categorically that there is not a sufficient basis for removing all 400+ children from the compound. The Constitution has been violated and no one cares because these people act and look differently that those in Texas. Given the Texas track record of convicting perfectly innocent children, and the number who have died in foster care, the people carrying this out ought to be fired and competent people should take over.

    I would never condone child abuse or the kinds of marriage between older men and young women. But the answer is not to displace all of the women and children and blatant disregard for their Constitutional rights. Where is the outcry against this blatant violation of rights? It seems we have early Mormons and the rest of the nation all over again — except this time the Mormons sit silently on the sidelines while it happens.

    I likewise would never condone child abuse but removal of children from their mothers and siblings because of a hearsay allegation that they are at future risk of being “conditioned to expect and accept sexual activity with adult men” will cause a lot of trauma for these kids.

  73. I don’t understand all the animosity toward the Baptist church – is there anything to suggest that as a church it is doing anything more than trying to help house the children? That they don’t agree with the lifestyle of the FLDS is certain, just like many of us don’t agree. That some Baptists may be in power in the government is even likely, but as a church, are they responsible, or are they just doing their best to help in a horrible situation.

    I wouldn’t want people to assume if the children were taken to an LDS stake center in LDS minivan caravan that we as a church were condoning what the government did. And don’t think our kids wouldn’t be saying the same ignorant things if we were the ones doing the volunteering (as enlightened as I try to be, my children squirm when they hear a prayer or sermon that has a holy roller sound to it)

    I don’t know where the line the government crossed is, but taking 400 children from their parents and siblings for one case of abuse (either alleged or real) seems extreme. I want the government to protect children from their parents when necessary, but this couldn’t have been the best way to do so.

  74. Well, as soon as they do something about all the “baby daddies” in the inner cities and take all of the children out of that situation (the FLDS don’t seem to have many pregnant 9 or 10 year olds, the local inner city hospital gets a couple every year) I’ll feel more sympathetic.

    On the other hand, they do seem to be taking them out as family units and there isn’t any resistance of note from the women involved.

    Should be interesting to see how it all works out. Two or three sides to every story.

  75. Re: # 71 — LDS minvans? That’s a new one on me. I’ve never seen them. Lining up the Baptists to come save the children on the other hand seems like an obvious case of religious rescue with blatant disregard for the rights of all 400 children and their parents.

  76. . . . is there anything to suggest that as a church it is doing anything more than trying to help house the children?

    I still think it’s fishy that the whole thing was so well planned. It’s almost as if the Baptists knew beforehand that they would be getting a large influx of children. Had the number of children at YFZ not been drastically higher than anticipated (TX authorities apparently believed the YFZ ranch contained a total of four to five hundred residents, including adult males), this would have been a textbook “evacuation” and the Baptist church could have handled the whole thing themselves.

    The polygamy beat reporter at the SL Trib mentions that she had initially planned to visit the Baptist church during Sunday services to see their reaction to the affair; but developments called her elsewhere. I think she missed a heck of a story.

  77. It wouldn’t matter if it were Baptist or our church members taking the kids. Either way, its an eye opening experience for everyone involved. Any fundamentalist Baptist, if they were that…the Baptists vary in their approach, is a major improvement over some child marrying, seperatists, anti social, reportedly abusive community.

    I think the kids will be better off for leaving that compound. Marrying children out of puberty is sick in my book. Any 50 year old man thinking its ok to marry a 14 year old is not any man I would trust, work with, or respect. I am for cracking down on these communities. This behavior is not in line with our laws or our society.

    I live in the south and nobody knows us as LDS nor do I refer to myself as LDS. I say I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and then mention Mormon and they immediately tune in, so I hate when the split off churches refer to themselves as Mormons, darn it!

  78. And to add, taking children away from a family that is breaking the law is done every day. There are not enough workers to keep up with the case loads…so what was done here is exactly the same as taking away crack babies from their inner city crime ridden families. It just so happens that it was easier in this case since the families all lived together. Marrying someone younger than 15 is against the law in most states. Marrying multiple partners is against the law period. There was not much right about this community.

  79. Richard, neither this post nor the comments to it, even those expressing outrage at the State’s actions here, is substantively defending polygamy or arranged marriages or under-aged marriages, or child abuse of any kind. The issue here is due process of law and the well being of small children in being subject to this kind of action.

    Your comparison with removing children from crack houses is inappropriate, as is your apparent approval of removing the children of all of the families in an entire group because of allegations of abuse from one child of one of the families in that group.

    It’s like the local Baptist church sending a van over to your house to take away your kids because a young woman in your ward alleged that your bishop or her father abused her.

    On the Baptist church angle, by the way, it is just a curious side detail that buses from the Baptist church hauled these people away and that Baptist volunteers processing them are telling the Times of London that they are like little aliens and don’t know what to do with crayons or processed food.

  80. I would agree that these workers are overstating the kids’ conditions as most social workers do. I think it may have even been planned ahead of time for a group of volunteers to do this, maybe set up by the county or state….

    Its not the same thing as someone coming to your house or my house. This community is not our neighborhoods, our society, our towns. It is a community of illegal marriages where incest has to enter in somewhere. The first thing social workers will do by state instruction is remove a child from its home when there are allegations that are believable or when there is proof that something wrong is going on.
    I agree with you and others that this isn’t always the best thing for the child but that is how states operate. Here you have basically an illegal community, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers..knowingly breaking the law. There may not be any horrible sex abuse or physical abuse going on and there may be. The scenerio meets criteria for the state to interfere however, and they have made a decision to do so.
    There is no doubt that shielding their children from the outside world will make them seem different, from a different culture, a little alien to what we are used to. I don’t fault the Baptist church members for thinking so.
    Also, to the above comment about the Baptist thinking the children would be better off in Jesus Camp, I think the writer was thinking of our more evangilical, Pentecostal, or Charismatic brothers and sisters. No doubt a few Baptist children do make it into a Jesus Camp, but its not the norm for Baptists. they do Vacation Bible School…a whole world away from Jesus Camp.

    And why are we so freaked out about removing children from homes where alleged abuse might be taking place? This happens. Its like we are unaware of our own laws or something. Did Texas get carried away? You can think so. I think the fact that this compound existed made for easy overreacting or over reaching maybe..but these folks are not law abiding citizens, so maybe they made it easy for this to happen. I do feel for the children. This is their way of life and they have been taken out of their element. There has been truama done, no doubt. I hold their parents responsible for much of the pain they are enduring now though.

  81. Antonio Parr says:

    I will be happy for this story to pass, as it is too painful of a reminder of what I believe to be a most unfortunate period in the otherwise glorious history of my Church.

  82. I say wait for the evidence before complaining about the Baptist church, for all we know they were fed a story about children being abused and needing to take them in. I know I would take them in. I would rather assume charitable motives with a church, as I would want others to assume with mine (ie I didn’t like it when people complained that the only reason the church was helping Katrina victims was to convert them), especially considering the church isn’t the one with the power, the government is.

    As for the sects referring to themselves as Mormons – it’s hypocritical not to allow these people, who are living what used to be Mormon, not to self-identify as Mormon because they differ from us doctrinally, while we also complain that other churches do not consider us Christian based on doctrinal differences. It’s fine to point out that we reject their practices, but as long as they refer to themselves as Mormons, the media will follow their cue.

    I wonder if polygamy were not illegal if it would be easier to monitor these communes for child abuse without such drastic measures?

  83. Good points, Mel.

  84. Amanda–my heart goes out to you and your community. I agree with the sentiment expressed by many others that this is the wrong way for the authorities to approach this situation.

  85. Yeah, Mike, that little detail [temple marriage bed] was creepy – and it’s going to be assumed by millions that ours do, as well. Ouch!

    I thought of this too, when I heard the story. Twenty years ago, when I was about to marry in an LDS temple, a neighbor of my mother’s rushed over to warn her that my bride and I would be consummating our marriage right there in the temple, in front of witnesses. I’ve heard this nonsense floated around by others as well, and this FLDS story will likely give it new life.

  86. Chalk me up as skeptical about the “marital bed” accusation against the FLDS. Remember, Elissa Wall had a perfect opportunity to describe such a ritual in her sworn testimony against Warren Jeffs at the Jeffs trial. She did not. Instead (if memory serves) she testified that her marriage was not consummated until some weeks after the wedding.

  87. re # 80, good point about the Baptists involved here, Mel. My bad.

  88. I’m sensitive to the concerns about such heavy Baptist involvement here. I don’t necessarily feel that they are just doing this out of the goodness of their hearts.

    On the other hand, from what I’ve seen of them, the FLDS leadership have been involved in things that cross the line from just ‘weird’ to activities that are outright perverse and corrupt.

    I’m concerned about the fact that the word Mormon is getting dragged through the mud right now – but I’m having a hard time feeling bad about the FLDS stranglehold on these families being broken up. There needed to be some intervention. The fact that this is happening in Texas probably means there are going to be Baptists involved no matter what.

    I don’t really hate Baptists either – I just know better than to think they are completely objective regarding anything that might be even slightly related to Mormons.

  89. Remember, Elissa Wall had a perfect opportunity to describe such a ritual in her sworn testimony against Warren Jeffs at the Jeffs trial. She did not. Instead (if memory serves) she testified that her marriage was not consummated until some weeks after the wedding.

    Point taken, but remember that Elissa Wall was married prior to the construction of the FLDS temple. It’s no stretch to think Warren Jeffs may have introduced additional practices, once an actual temple was in place for them, just as LDS ritual differed when there was an actual temple in place vs. other locations.

  90. The story about consumating the marriage in front of witnesses does float around. I have also heard about “getting married naked” from uninformed nonmembers

    J Stapely do you have a comment on this?

  91. I wonder… the Texas foster care system is overwhelmed right now.

    Might it be a good thing if LDS families were to offer to provide a temporary home for the displaced children (and mothers)?

    I mean, I suspect that these children would be much less scared and more comfortable if they were living with a family that has Book of Mormon study, and pray using the Mormon prayer pattern rather then families who have completely different religious traditions.

  92. However Nick this marriage bed info is really based on double hearsay.

    It’s an agent who says that a Sheriff told him about the marriage bed and that the Sheriff was told about it by an informer.

    Could it be true? I guess- but it’s hard for me to wrap my head around. Sounds more like something somebody made up.

  93. Southern Baptists are involved in everything around these parts. They make up about 20 percent of the population in Georgia. They are the most influential church in the South.
    I suppose if this was in Idaho where there are about the same percentage of church members as Baptists in other states and a situation involved the Church moving in to help, non-members would have the same concerns. I just think its wrong to be so suspicious or critical of people who are just trying to help. I give them the benefit of the doubt.

  94. Cicero, I agree it would be nice to see the LDS more involved. It appears, however, that there is no LDS presence in Eldorado. The nearest stake is based in San Angelo, nearly an hour away.

    I’m going to back off on my suspicion of the Baptists for now. Some Baptist news services are reporting that the local Methodist Church and Church of Christ are also involved, and that apparently no one except CPS personnel are allowed any contact with the internees. See http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=27776

  95. Steve Evans says:

    bbell, why would you need Stapley to chime in? It’s never been part of our temple ceremonies, but both have been common antimormon claims for years and years.

  96. I think bbell is assuming that Stapley has done this particular deed before?

  97. Steve Evans says:

    Maybe looking for pointers?

  98. Whoa. What Steve said in #93.

  99. I was just wondering if there had ever been a anti-LDS “expose” that had pushed the topic.

    These stories are coming from somewhere and J Stapely usually has researched almost every topic… So I was wondering what he knew about the stories

    I actually have had non members ask me about it and if I had done it.

  100. Yeah, that is all fiction.

  101. J. Stapley, perhaps I shouldn’t ask this here, but . . .

    It’s also not (and never was) an element of the 2nd anointing–right?

  102. Wow. This thread is going down hill fast.

  103. I like the humor interjected but perhaps this lends to others thinking such strange things about us..ha!
    To end my part in this commentary, its a serious situation and I hope the state of Texas moves carefully through this case.
    I don’t feel sorry for a community that should know better though….

  104. Sex has never been part of the temple ceremonies.

  105. Steve Evans says:

    JimD….no. and no, it’s not appropriate to discuss.

  106. From what I understand, in southern Utah at least, the boys work in construction from a pretty young age, and the girls are married off [without choice] at extremely young ages to much older men. Plus, there are a lot of genetic problems from too much intermarriage. And the teenage boys are runoff from the community to make more wives for the older, more powerful man.

    If you don’t get how this is different from a 15-year-old who chooses to have sex with her 17-year-old boyfriend, I can’t help you.

    I understand the concerns about civil liberties violations [I am lawyer who has seen many prosecutorial violations of all sorts].

    However, in this case, I don’t understand why we in the Mormon community aren’t as outraged that these children are trapped in their cult, and given no skills with which to escape. All you have to do is learn about the group Tapestry, which is women trying to escape from polygamy, to understand that these victims do need our help and sympathy. Just because our ancestors behaved in some ways like these people, in a different economic, educational, and political culture, does not mean that this isn’t a cult that is problematic at the very least in its treatment of children.

  107. If you don’t get how this is different from a 15-year-old who chooses to have sex with her 17-year-old boyfriend, I can’t help you.

    Did anyone argue this here?

  108. Even if noone did, You go Natasha!
    I thought I was finished here…sorry…

    I think though everyone here with any problems were dealing with civil liberties issues. As reminded by john, noone here is condoning how the FLDS community in El Dorado governs itself or what it has done wrong and what it may have done that really transends wrong. If wives were beaten in front of the other wives, if young girls were sexually abused, if boys were run off to make room for daddy, then the FLDS digs its own grave and I don’t feel sorry for the adults of that community one bit!
    There has been sympathy thrown out (beyond for the children) and that is kind of whack. These adults have blatently disobeyed God and the Law of the land.

  109. Natasha: “I don’t understand why we in the Mormon community aren’t as outraged that these children are trapped in their cult, and given no skills with which to escape.”

    We aren’t?

  110. (104) Cult is a nasty word. It has been lobbed at me way too many times by people I love. Choose a different word. As much as people lie about our practices and beliefs, I do not find it difficult to believe that many of these rumors are huge misrepresentations about the FLDS.

    I know LDS women and children who have been abused in their marriages and families, it is not a teaching of the church. Individuals are sinning against what they have been taught. It happens in many religions. Perhaps it happens with the FLDS as well. I don’t know.

    I agree with Mel (80), legalizing polygamy would go a long way towards protecting those who believe in it from the abuses that can occur. If you aren’t even supposed to be married how do you get help without admitting that you are engaged in an illegal activity.

    In today’s society, it is ridiculous that polygamy is illegal. Homosexuality is fine, polygamous homosexual partnerships with more than two people would (I assume) be legal. Couples living together, even having several sexual partners living together, is legal. But marrying more than one person and living together openly is illegal and can get your entire family (even your entire community) thrown into jail and foster care. That makes no sense to me. None.

    And lest I be accused of desiring a polygamous come-back in the church, let me just say: ain’t no way, no how, I’m gonna do polygamy here or in the eternities.

  111. What Jami said.

    I think it does very little good to go about treating the abuses that are being committed within the polygamist communities by persecuting everyone involved. If anything, it’ll make the community more insular and will probably make it harder to deal with the abuse. Persecution is one sure way to reinforce someone else’s way of life, even if they aren’t that keen on it in the first place.

  112. Very well said, Kristine. Maybe I’m being too harsh on the 50 year old men scouting the Sunbeams for future wives…
    No, but really, well said. You can indeed strengthen that group by closing in on them like this. They circle the wagons and become more resolute.
    I guess supporting the children in any way would help. Is there a division of Tapestry that goes to the children caught up in these situations?

  113. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: cult

    If that compound in Texas isn’t a cult, what on earth is??? Shall we banish the term altogether?

    I agree that polygamy should be legal, but there are serious age-of-consent issues involved in this case. A group that coerces 14 year olds into arranged marriages with old men should not be allowed to have 14 year olds around the compound, imo. If adults want to make arrangements like that later on, knock yourselves out. Plus, it makes for great TV.

  114. From Breitbart.com

    “Doran declined to say whether the informant was in Texas or other sect compounds in Utah or Arizona. It wasn’t until after the search had begun that Doran learned about marriage beds in the temple and the forced marriages of underage girls to older men.

    But state authorities defended their decision to leave the sect alone for the four years it had encamped in West Texas.

    “We are aware that this group is capable of (sexually abusing young girls),” Doran said. “But there again, this is the United States. We are going to respect them. We’re not going to violate their civil rights until we get an outcry. I’ve said that from day one.”

    When authorities finally gained entrance to the three-story building, no one was inside.

    But on the top they found beds allegedly used by husbands after they married underage girls on the top floor of the temple.”

    What will men do in the name of Religion?
    Sad and sorry lot, indeed.

  115. sister blah 2 says:

    Jami, I’m totally with you on the overall arc of your comment. About this though:

    In today’s society, it is ridiculous that polygamy is illegal. Homosexuality is fine, polygamous homosexual partnerships with more than two people would (I assume) be legal. Couples living together, even having several sexual partners living together, is legal. But marrying more than one person and living together openly is illegal and can get your entire family (even your entire community) thrown into jail and foster care. That makes no sense to me. None.

    I’m not sure how you can claim that homosexuality is more legal than polygamy. Seems to me like they are equally legal and equally illegal. You state this yourself in the above, that both can live together unmarried, and neither can be legally married.

    And “ridiculous” that it isn’t allowed? There are 100% boring, practical reasons why it doesn’t make sense. Divorce, custody, inheritance, hospital visitation, property ownership, basically EVERYTHING that has anything to do with marriage in the law, cannot be applied to polygamous marriages. Example: husband is in the hospital in a coma, doctors say time to end life support, normally wife has the final decision–but what if polygamous wives disagree? I’m not saying it *couldn’t* be worked out, but the laws would have to be completely rewritten. So the point is you can’t just say “ok! Polygamy allowed!” without a complete rewrite of the laws.

    So, the laws totally don’t accommodate it, but if anyone wants to pretend they’re married to lots of people, they are more than welcome to do so.

  116. I know that the term “cult” is abused and that people lob that term our way. I also think that the laws against polygamy are a rusty old vestige of the Victorian era. However, this really is a cult. Seriously, the mind and life control, the fact that kids get limited skills that lock them into their lives. The interbreeding, all that. It’s a cult.

    in re (107) When I stated that we should be more outraged at the polygamists, I should have clarified. Perhaps before the blog writer start getting upset about the civil liberties violations there could have been more of a disclaimer to the extent that 1) we are outraged by these sickos but 2) their civil liberties shouldn’t have been violated. Just talking about their civil liberties is insufficient: there is a reason public sentiment is pretty much for this raid: the content of their possible crimes is pretty scary and should be addressed.

    in re (105) My comment about 15-year-olds was a response to #48, to wit: “You can say based on the high percentage of unwed teenage mothers in large urban city high schools in the US that if you use the standard “there appear to be pregnant minors” that CPS will soon be raiding high schools looking for the 18-19 year old fathers of all the pregnant 15 year olds in class and in many cases going down the the onsite day care facilty to round up the kids. Want to find a culture in which large numbers of underage girls get pregnant by older males you do not need to drive to Eldorado TX to find it.”

  117. So, where’s the zeitcast?

  118. aw crap! We forgot!

  119. Let’s say that I know someone in my fundamentalist community is abusing a child. Based on what happened in Texas, if I report this abuse then I’m likely to also have my children taken away. Would this make me more or less likely to go to the authorities? If I don’t report the abuse then the abused child stays in a dangerous situation. If I do report the abuse then every child, including my own, will be taken from the loving, non-abusive parents in our community and placed in a dangerous and abusive foster care system.

    As far as cults go, I’d say that any group that teaches that their leaders are infallible and will never lead you astray is dangerously close to cult-like, and opens the door to priestcraft. However, if someone wants to place their trust in the arm of flesh then they have their agency to do so. Those in our group are fervent believers of D&C 121:34-40.

    I’ve also never met a plural wife that was forced into the marriage. Plural marriage is hard enough without having a wife that doesn’t really want to be there. Also, why would a man place himself in that kind of danger? All a disgruntled wife has to do is make a phone call to Tapestry, or any legal authority, and the man will soon loose everything he’s worked for. It may be hard to believe, but polygamist men don’t fare too well in the legal system.

  120. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, Amanda? If a child is being abused and you don’t take the most immediate and effective action you can, how is that justified under any law, secular or religious?

  121. I think Amanda’s point is that she would want to avoid provoking a reaction like that seen in El Dorado in which her reporting of the one abuse of one child precipitates a raid in which the children of all of the group members are removed.

  122. John, I think I understood her point, but I don’t think that necessarily resolves the debate.

  123. Cult. A four letter “c” word that I find extremely offensive. So offensive that I do believe it should go the way of the six letter ‘n’ word and the six letter ‘f’ word so that only the most ignorant bigots would still use it. Try sect or church or group or religion. The FLDS are all of those too.

    The word ‘compound’ also bugs me. To the people who call it home, I’m guessing they call it a settlement or a community. Or maybe even Zion. (They do believe in the restoration after all.)

    I am disgusted by sickos. Especially people who abuse children. But until there is proof I do not believe that an entire community has bought into the kind of deviance being described here and elsewhere. It sounds like over the top melodramatic justification of a phenomenally stupid choice by CPS.

    This type of rhetoric does nothing but alienate people further from mainstream life, moving them that much further away from access to help. And don’t forget there is a possibility that abuse only affects a few of the families who live there. I pray that it only affects a few.

  124. sister blah 2–

    I’ve never heard of children being stolen en masse from any other type of multi-partner family situation, but even so I hadn’t really thought about all of the legal difficulties regarding legalizing polygamy. No clue how that could be handled. (I’m not a lawyer nor do I play one on the Internet.) Perhaps some form of civil union would cover the situation. All I was really thinking is that to object to polygamy on moral grounds is silly in today’s moral climate.

  125. Steve, here is an excellent link about the Texas CPS system:

    grits for breakfast blog article

  126. Steve Evans says:

    Saw that one. Thanks for the link Stephen.

  127. sister blah 2 says:

    Jami, in a lot of places they will certainly take children from same-sex couples, or not allow them to adopt in the first place. Google Michael Gregg Valdez and Michael Oberg, a case that happened in Utah.

  128. How sad. Hard to imagine that happening here in Northern California. Would they have been able to deny custody if the children had been biological children of one of the fathers?

  129. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 126

    In Utah or another uber-red state, quite possibly. Horror stories abound.

  130. There is a lot of comment on young girls getting pregnant by young boys, and how what essentially amounts to poor judgment by two immature children (I’m sorry, you are a child at 18)is equivalent to a 50 year old man having sex with a child that is young enough to be his daughter. In both situations, the girls may be ignorant, but I am sure a 50 year old man is fully aware of what he is doing and is little more than a pediophile. What is equally nauseating, is how these men would hide behind religion to cover such actions! Who in their right mind would “arrange” to have their teen age daughter married to an old man of 50 years old, and why would anyone not see the need to progress away from such sickening and antequated behavoir is beyond me. We no longer live in a time when we marry off our daughters at thirteen, and should have the sense to realize that such behavior deprives these girls of their childhood and innocence to fulfill the sick needs of depraved old men. I believe in freedom, but this takes the cake. I think if they are found guilty, they should be jailed for life so they can experience first hand what it’s like to be raped against their will.

  131. Steve Evans says:

    It’s ironic that someone named Grace is essentially pleading for the forced rape of another. I agree that the behavior is sickening, but becoming monsters ourselves doesn’t seem like a good answer.

  132. No Grace we dont arrange marriages, now we hand them condoms and tell them to “be careful”.

    So much better.

  133. It seems these 50 year old men could have used a condom. Trojan gives them out for free! If these girls were educated and allowed a choice, they would at least know to “be careful” as you say. But to have sex with a young girl in ignorance of what is being done to her and in ignorance of the consequence is wrong. Education is what is lacking here, ignorance should not be encouraged by any faith, nor protected by any “freedom”. These girls deserved a chance to become something other than a brood mare.

  134. #133 – Such assumptions might or night not be true, but assuming them is instructive.

  135. Kevin Barney says:

    My understanding is that fundamentalists are not looking to legalize polygamy, but simply to decriminalize it. Only one marriage would be recognized by the state under that scenario, so it would not take a massive rewriting of marriage laws.

  136. I have read with interest all of the comments posted here. Some of these comments seem to be from other countries so I understand that you live in socialist regimes that makes everyone property of the state. However, I grew up in a very dogmatic baptist environment in the south of the united states. I even went to one of those cult sect private schools you are so quick to rant on about. One thing i did get out of the experience is an education on the meaning of the constitution. The state of Texas has basically urinated and defecated all over it. That is the issue. We are supposed to have freedom of religion, and be secure in out persons for starters, then their is that pesky thing about self incrimination too. We are supposed to have the “Rights” to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. I think we even fought a war based on these principals. I agree that the allegations against these people are horrid. However, when did we abandon the principal of presumed innocence? Is all of America clueless or what?

  137. I’m a plain non-polygamist Mormon, but this scares me. This means that if some fruitcake I go to church with abuses his kids, CPS can come take away MY kids — guilt by association.

    If the law holds that I must not associate with potential child molesters, then I need to stop going to church and give myself a 10% raise.

    Maybe I’ll be avoiding Mormons for a while, lest I put my family in jeopardy.

  138. cmark411 says:

    Texas CPS has kept pregnant adults in foster care. The CPS workers stating that the women were adolescents. CPS did this by denying the validity of their documents. Once the babies are born, the mothers have been sent away because sudenly CPS has validated their age, and sure enough, they are adults! The babies kept in custody. CPS denied the validity of the documents to get custody of the babies. Just for fun, lets pretend the mothers were 15years old. They would be a victim, not a criminal. So why would CPS victimize the mother again. What has been the rational for taking these new borns away from their mother? No matter how you look at this it is evil.