Polygamy and Intrusion in West Texas

When the government sticks its finger into private religious worlds, the results are always bizarre and often evoke bigger questions … Continued

When the government sticks its finger into private religious worlds, the results are always bizarre and often evoke bigger questions about ultimate authority. The story of this weekend’s raid of a polygamist Mormon sect’s ranch in West Texas are worth watching and thinking about.

By last night, more than 200 women and children had been taken away on buses from the compound in Eldorado called “Yearning for Zion,” where close to 600 members of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) have encamped for the last few years. The evacuation was peaceful — putting to rest fears by locals of “another Waco,” where a 1993 FBI/ATF seige of the Branch Davidian sect’s compound ended with 82 deaths.

It remains to be seen whether the raid will be remembered as another Short Creek, the 1953 government action in Southern Utah/Northern Arizona that ended up bolstering the power of FLDS leaders like Warren Jeffs, who used their community’s fear of the outside world to control them.

The raid in West Texas and the investigation leading to it were spurred, according to news reports, by a phone call from the compound last week by a 16-year-old girl who said she’d been sexually abused by an older man.

Although there was an initial stand-off over the polygamists allowing officials access to their temple, the events were ultimately peaceful. I spoke Sunday with a friend, J.D. Doyle, who lives in Eldorado.

The fear of another Waco has been looming since 2004, Doyle said, when the Fundamentalist Church bought the ranch clandestinely for $700,000 in the name of a Nevada business man. Since then, church members have been at work constructing numerous structures, as well as a large white temple. Doyle, whose father is the justice of peace for Eldorado, said the sense was that a larger and more brutal confrontation was avoided because the governing bodies were local, as opposed to federal.

Members of the Fundamentalist Church are without a doubt reading significance into this raid, but it’s hard to know how they see it. But my guess is they’re thinking about another raid that happened half a century ago in Southern Utah/Northern Arizona, where state authorities showed up at a polygamist Mormon community in the middle of the night in the summer of 1953, imprisoned many men, and bused off the women and children for more than a year to live in state institutions. The Short Creek raid has been called the largest mass arrest of men and women in America, and was later viewed as a disaster that further isolated polygamist Mormons from American society. That isolation, I would say, bolstered the power of future FLDS leaders like Warren Jeffs, who used the community’s fear of the outside world to control them.

No matter the circumstances, sexual abuse can’t be tolerated. But I wonder about the degree to which authorities reacted in Eldorado with this massive community evacuation. It’s hard to know exactly what is going on down there, but questions of intrusion and authority should be asked, no matter how marginal the beliefs of the FLDS.

  • Mark

    I wonder why ALL the women and children were taken away, instead of just the 16 year-old girl. I also wonder if all the men were jailed, or just the ones involved with the girl? I would certianly hate going to jail because my neighbor did something wrong(sexually abuse a 16 y.o. girl), and I happen to be living next door. While I agree that she should have been removed from the situation, I think the authorities overreacted.

  • larry

    I’ve just asked God for some opinion about this Eldorado story.

  • ND Avenger

    Consenting adults should be allowed to make a choice relating to a lifestyle involving polygamy; however, they should not be allowed to benefit from government programs such as food stamps, social services, or welfare if they are receiving benefits as a second wife–this is stealing from the other hard-working taxpayers who follow the laws of the U.S.

  • ezra

    God is certainly not dead, although religion probably should be. A thousand religions with a thousand beleifs, each one claiming to have the immutable truth… Believe what you wish, but realize you are really following no one’s path but your own.On the topic: pedophilia under the guise of religion is still pediphilia.

  • Bryan

    It would be both courteous and professional to clarify in your article on the FLDS Church that they and Warren Jeffs have nothing to do with the thirteen million worldwide members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, headquartered in Salt Lake City, UT.Mr. Jeffs is a criminal who has abused individuals and the law of our land. He should be punished accordingly. But we should not engender public confusion and prejudice against millions of God-fearing people who have nothing to do with Jeffs or his followers. Anything less than this amounts to second-rate journalism.

  • Davidov

    Figures: You and Nietzsche, my friend. But John Lennon was wrong: a world without religion isn’t much different (see: Stalinist and Maoist experiments). It isn’t religion that makes people weak-willed or collectively insane. Religion is simply an easy identifying characteristic when people act in a weak-willed or insane way, particularly since so many people adopt their stance vis-a-vis religion as one of their primary identifying characteristics. Viewing religion as the problem is a reductivist approach that discounts human psychology.

  • to Lance

    perhaps women will start taking the blame when 50 year old grannies start compounding 15 year old boys. after a few hundred years of this maybe you men would finally be tame enough to stop the horror youve made of this planet. my question to women isnt when will you take blame; when will you take over?

  • dick bohanon

    if you support or dont oppose polygamy(consenting adults)

  • Rose

    When adultry is ok (Spitzer!,Bill!) why not polygamy?

  • Tom

    Where is the 16 years old girl??? Did they ever played the 911 call? hmmmm… Maybe they should investigate first and if indeed a crime was committed put the person(s) responsible in jail, not everyone else… what happened to “innocent till proven guilty”? The way they are acting everyone was guilty somehow, very sad situation….

  • Jake in Salt Lake

    To Tim Singleton:You’re a pretty smart guy and perhaps the most rational of all posters here. I tip my hat to you for your insightful comments!I agree with what you are saying about the double standard that exists in regards to polygamy. We do have a society that is essentially ambivalent towards a guy who is polygamous sexually because he has sex with multiple women and does not marry them. But we then turn around vilify those that practice polygamy as a religious tenet when they assume more responsibilities.

  • S.

    The government has every right to protect the innocent women and children, especially those who are not of legal majority status and whom are being abused, manipulated and held against their will by an selfish, ego maniacal narcissistic sociopath who calls himself a prophet. What bothers me is that my country cries afoul when the government intrudes on racist N. Idahoan White separatists or upon racist, religious right wing malitias or fundamentalist Mormon groups, but no one seems to be bothered when mainstream, legitimate, groups who fight for peace, human rights, diversity, consumer rights, and are activists against the war or stand for differing political ideologies are demonized and censored without the slightest thought about the intrusion upon their rights or about their first amendment protections. The facts are, when you violate the laws of the land and pose as a threat to the innocents under your care or the innocent, law abiding people around you, and purposefully seek to hurt others and suppress others and their civil liberties (i.e. the Neo nazi’s busted in the 1990′s by the fbi in N. Idaho), I am sorry, you lose your first amendment protections. I am sick of the hypocrisy, freedom of speech for hatemongers, warmongers and bigots but denial of civil liberties for those who stand for peaceful demonstration and do fight to protect civil liberties, human rights, the enviornment and seek consumer protections, etc. Get it right, people!

  • Davidov

    Arkadin: Like so much rhyming poetry, your stanza is pretty silly. Serious historians find little to dispute in the idea that our modern era of prosperity, with a notable absence of conditions such as slavery which have been universally present throughout history, has been made possible by religious thought. If you’re interested, take a look at Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Philosophy as a good example. (Russell was an avowed atheist, by the way, who saw religion, as I understand it, as an important, if in his mind outdated and false, step towards modernity.)

  • Tim Singleton

    This idea that religion is responsible for more deaths than any other force in society is just awfully popular with academics and other psuedo intellectuals. The thing is, it is obviously NOT true. Makes them feel all warm and fuzzy as they perform their mental gymnastics supposedly seeking truth while making certain sure that “truth” by definition can never be clearly defined.It is man’s drive to RULE his fellow man at any and all costs that is the problem and if he has to co-opt a religion then, good or bad, he is happy enough to co-opt that religion and use it to justify HIS being in power.A major tenant of most religions…and it is true in all of them…is that God wants you to turn to Him for approval and guidance…not to another human being. Doesn’t mean we should not try to help each other and talk things out, either, which is why we are given teachers. You also have to give God time to respond, too. Sometimes his answer is to hang on for a bit. Ensuring that the right to choose is protected for 8 billion plus individuals has to be a difficult task, especially when He knows he could just impose His will at any time and make us obey.Makes you wonder just what this Free Will thing is, doesn’t it?

  • Geez

    16 is plenty old enough. Whats wrong with this country, its not like she was 8.

  • Dele

    Arkadin: wrote “..All the world’s worst murderer’s were those who saw the light……….”Could you mention the names of those that saw the light amongst the world’s worst murderers?To others: I do not believe the authorities overreacted. It is their responsibility to 1. Uphold the law 2. Once inside the building, if they see probable cause from questioning and whatever is in plain sight, they can effect arrest for other things. I also believe the issue goes beyond polygamy, there is incest and actual rape. If you force a person to marry and sleep with you, that is kidnapping and rape. The condition of the home can also be termed chaotic, which gives DCFS the right to remove the kids. Even if you do not believe in God, know that even nature abhor these behaviors.

  • Hey Tom:Jeffs was already convicted of two counts of rape as an accomplice for his role in the arranged marriage of Elissa Wall and Allen Steed in 2001.He is a criminal.

  • Mike

    It all boils down to the same old argument… “My beliefs are more correct and important than yours, and I’m going to make you realize that.”

  • Cherokee

    Polygamy is ILLEGAL in this country. Why does everyone seem to forget that fact when discussing this case. Those men in that compound are BREAKING THE LAW first of all, but most importantly, they are COMMITTING STATUTORY RAPE AND CHILD ABUSE in the name of their religion.The reason some of the females were immediately put into foster care is because girls as young as 11 were found to be pregnant. The isolation of the FLDS has allowed it to be an unhealthy breeding ground for acts against female members as “ordained” by men. The females are powerless to stop it and have been told their eternal salvation rests on the good favor of the men they serve. They cannot reach the “Celestial Kingdom” unless they submit to whatever the men tell them to do.Those that question the authority of the state to intervene in the actions of the FLDS are condoning the continual rape and abuse of United States citizens. This investigation was NOT an intrusion but a necessary rescue of those who COULD NOT protect themselves from sexual predators who use religion as an excuse to impregnate their young and defenseless.

  • Davidov

    Steph: I agree with you. It’s crazy to me that people get concerned about mass arrests where it seems almost certain that there is probable cause of serious criminal infractions, while arrests for violations of mere zoning ordinances while speaking out against various human rights issues — you name it, Myanmar, Iraq, Darfur, Tibet — or corporate governance issues are largely ignored. We need some first amendment rebalancing in the public consciousness.

  • mthuselah

    Let’s stay on topic, please. The charges here are abhorrent and inarguable: intercourse and impregnation of a 14/15 year-old child by a 50 year-old man.Given the history of this group I see no issues with the local authorities proceeding with an abundance of caution. As to the sweeping measures, it is the FLDS that has removed themselves from the greater society, and can therefore have no expectation of the usual observances and tolerance of the larger community.Don’t confuse “religious freedom” with “freedom” from the rule of law.

  • Dave S

    The religious aspect should be removed from judgment. If the allegations are true, then what is happening here is organized crime. A system is set up thats purpose is to break the law and cover up the crimes. I’ve long believed that allegations against these religious sects should be investigated the same as the mafia, and prosecuted under RICO. As an aside, to Davidov, when Lenin and Mao removed religion from their systems they installed themselves in its place. In a way, the early communist states were theocracies.

  • Bill

    If women nowadays were all submissive I could see the practicality of having multiple wives… but we all know that isn’t the case. Keeping my marriage alive and my wife happy is a full time commitment! How do those guys do it? Maybe they can write a book.If two women can get along to the point that they can share the same man and work in harmony and raise their children together – I admire and respect them!

  • Jake in Salt Lake

    To Davidov:As a Mormon, I find it interesting that so many other Mormons aggressively condemn polygamy with a zealousness that seems to be connected more with our own contradictory past with polygamy than out of a genuine interest for victims of forced underage marriages.When I was at BYU, I got into a discussion on polygamy in an African literature class. We were reading a French African novel written by an abandoned polygamist wife (I highly recommend this book, the translation of the novel is “A Very Long Letter”) and I felt like the acknowledgement of our polygamist heritage caused unease among my Mormon classmates. I sort of felt like we skirted the tough questions and reduced our discussion to the typical PR effort in the church which seeks to distance Mormons from polygamist offshoots such as the FLDS church.I do think it is necessary to point out again and again that Mormons are no longer polygamists. But I’m afraid that Mormons, who were once persecuted for practicing polygamy, have now become the new persecutors and are doing so in order to appear more mainstream. Part of the reason I think this way is because Warren Jeffs, prophet of the FLDS church, received a disproportionately harsh sentence for accomplice to rape. I do not wish to downplay the seriousness of sexual abuse, but I followed the details of this case it seemed to me that Warren Jeffs became the scapegoat for the angst that the LDS Church felt at being unable to put polygamy behind it due confusions between FLDS and the LDS (i.e. Mormon) Church.

  • Homer

    Sodomy used to be illegal in this country. So what we need is a good lawsuit to break the bonds of an imposed morality. Right? Then it just becomes another life style choice. Oh… and any 14 or 15 year old can just go get a nice legal abortion. Bye.

  • Who Cares?

    So what if the girls & women down there are being abused? They’re all homely and no one else wants them so just let’em be.

  • EWilliams

    This episode shows a lot of improvement from what happened at Short Creek or with the Branch Davidians.In America we still need Government to protect us from Evil done in the name or religion. Just like we need it to protect from Evil done for profit (aka crime).Perhaps the Davidians were a federal problem, as they violated a number of federal gun laws. This case shows that early intervention by Government can break up these Evil organizations, before we have to result to violence.The real question for all of us in the community of Faith: Who shall determine what is Evil enough to warrant Government intervention?Shall we disband or deport all Polygamists?In the end, the community of faith needs to decide if we will be a silent backdrop while others are attacked on religious grounds, or if we will voice a call for action against those who practice Evil in the name of religion.Otherwise, we’re just Atheists./Ellen

  • mthuselah

    To Homer:If you don’t like the laws, then change them. Otherwise, shut up and obey them or go to jail. Period.

  • Sickof It

    Don’t kid yourselves. These children/young girls are given to these filthy old men to be used as slaves and sex slaves. They are kept in line by an array of punishments severe enough to do the job. Starvation and beatings are common. This is not about religion. This is about rape, torture and unlawful imprisonment. This cannot and will not be condoned in a free America.

  • James D.

    I agree that polygamy is illegal in the United States, and I do believe that forcing women into a multiple wife situation is wrong.However, what about the wives who -want- this. It might be a stretch for some to believe, but if these women grew up in this environment and have come to peaceable terms with themselves over being a part of a multiple wife family, then what is the issue? I honestly believe in freedom of choice, and if these women choose to live in this situation, and are happy with it, then what is the issue?This is going to be a bad reference, I know, but it reminds me of the old American “Freak Shows” where people with physical disabilities were put on display for money. Normal citizens became enraged, yet the performers wanted to keep their jobs. People often disregard the views of the people in the situation, and instead force their own opinions onto them.Again, for the girls and women who do not want to be there, then by all means get them out. But for those who want to stay, let them stay.

  • No Voice No Choice

    When you are 16, and raised in a community such as this you are not given opportunity to question the morality of what is expected of you. These children are raised in a situation that does not allow them exposure to the societal norms that we know. It is absolutely not an overstepping of the boundaries of the law. In the US there is a clear the right to pursue happiness, and when young girls are forced to marry older men in order to have their children that right has been stripped. Children are impressionable, and they do not have the ability to question the truths of their land. If the authorities turned a blind eye to what happens in this cult in the name of religious freedom they would completely neglect the inalienable rights of the children within this society. The concept of religious freedom was founded, because no religion should be give autonomy over society. This does not mean that natural human rights can be sacrificed in the name of religion. If this were religious freedom the citizens would be give exposure to the world around them, and then they could choose to remain. The optimal word is ‘choice’. Without a voice freedom does not exist.

  • Alex

    Thank you, James D.

  • MJ

    The fundamental issues here are being clouded by emotion and faith based reasoning. Polygamy involving consenting adults is one issue. In this regard, the answer is straightforward. A in all 50 states, a state sanctioned, legal marriage can only involve two people. People can chose to live in many different ways, and there is nothing, per se, preventing one man from being legally married to one women, yet live under the same roof with several other women with whom he has sexual relations. More important from a societal perspective is incest and statutory rape. Incest must be discouraged because of the societal cost of the well known genetic risks to offspring. Statutory rape is illegal to protect children from predatory adults. Most any civilized society would hold that sex between a 50 year old and a 15 year old is just plain sick. There have been a myriad of cults throughout human history, and the FLDS is but one of them — does that mean they should be tolerated?

  • mthuselah

    So James D.,Why exactly does the caged bird sing?How can you even speak of people having come to terms with this abomination? Most, if not all of the “women” were born into this “life.” Theirs was not an informed and “free” choice to adopt this lifestyle. It’s not as though they tried a sample course and decided that they liked it: they were born into this system and have no basis for a free and informed choice.

  • KK from NJ

    Polygamy is illegal. Marriage before the age of 16 in the state is illegal. Sex between a minor and a 50yr old man is illegal.Because in this case it is done due to religious beliefs, it should be allowed to occur?Should murder in the “name of God” also be allowed because it is done in the name of religious beliefs?Whether you agree or not, these actions are ILLEGAL, and therefore should be punished as such.I agree wholeheartedly with Cherokee who posted a similar sentiment above.

  • JOS in AZ

    I think it unwise that the police used buses with the name of the Baptist church prominently displayed on the side, instead of school buses, for example. It gives a flavor of religious persecution.The judge’s order was probably too broad, if it said to remove the women and children to a neutral place for questioning. When you take ontrol of someone’s body and move it elsewhere, that is awfully close to an arrest. Arrests should be based upon probable cause. This was an unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment.It will be interesting to see if the original call was a hoax.

  • Cosmo

    I’m not a fan of the removal of a person’s agency from their decision-making. If the situation is that people are being held against their will and being forced into doing something that violates their agency, then it is fundamentally–and in the sight of God–wrong.Society has placed (well-founded in most cases) taboos on certain behaviors like under-aged marriages, incest, etc. These deviant behaviors continue, however, until the person either has a change of heart or is apprehended by the authorities. In order to protect agency, especially that of children, it sometimes becomes necessary to enforce law. I believe that is what happened here.As for the slant of the reporting, I call on responsible journalists everywhere to cease referring to these outlaw and excommunicate sects as “Mormons.” They are not. They do not belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints anymore than Muhammad was a Buddhist. These irresponsible missives are fired to the detriment of the law-abiding, community-active, Christians within THE Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You can read about their beliefs at www(dot)lds(dot)org.

  • Cheryl

    Polygamy is not the question in my mind. If that’s the choice of consenting adults, it’s none of my business.But this sect is KNOWN for forcing underage females into “spiritual” marriages. They are not of age to consent so whether they want to be in these marriages is moot. Any group that forces its children to have sex needs to be held accountable.I find it interesting that the mainstream Mormon community received appropriate messages from God when needed — such as to end its practice of polygamy and to allow blacks into the fold. Too bad the so-called “prophets” of the FDLS have not received word, yet. But then again, what old man wants to give up unfettered access to numbile females? And, frankly, imho, that IS the issue at hand.

  • plaasjaapie

    This raid was based on a telephone call. So far they’ve not got the caller and are using their failure to justify their dismantling of the entire community.I wonder if the woman who called was even associated with the community?

  • Ken D

    In connection with the difficult questions and contradictions in Mormonism with their polygamist roots who would switch their beliefs in order to conform to public pressure should be sufficient enlightenment to abandon such a religion in favor of a more true to Holy Scripture religion instead of something that adds “another gospel”. My recommendation is Seventh-day Adventism.

  • big picture

    There have been many comments here denying FLDS as mormon. Although there is a HUGE difference between modern LDS and the fundalmentalist splinter groups, mormon is the general term used to describe religions based on the Book of Mormon. The media will continue using this term, although I understand why it would make LDS members upset. Similiar to the the way Muslims dislike the connection it has to Extreme Muslim groups. But it is what it is. An educationed person understands that there is a difference.In regards to:The truth is, governments love religion. The easiest way to control a society is through fear and hope. Who does that better than religion? And without government funding? To the people that say – why can’t they just leave these poor people alone? There are a large number of documented polygamist sects across the western US. The ones that are generally healthy are basically left alone. The ones that have a more “cultish” environment and abuse children and manipulate women are being watched. Some of these compounds have horrible reputation in how they treat children and women. Not only that but many of them seriously abuse the US welfare system. (How do you think one man supports 17 wives and 67 children? He doesn’t – we do with our tax dollars.) This compound has been under suspicion for years – check out Amazon.com for books written by “escapees”. This wasn’t a reckless decision based on a single phone call. I have no doubt the govt has got a filing cabinet full of documentation on this group, and the phone call was just there catalyst to move into action.

  • Latter-day Saint

    Just to clarify, the sect known as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not Mormon. They split off from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a century ago. Calling it a “polygamous Mormon” sect is a misnomer and oxymoron, because anyone in the mainstream LDS faith who practices polygamy is immediately excommunicated.

  • Patrick

    I find it amusing that so many people want to obfuscate this situation by associating rights of free association, free speech, freedom to worship, freedom from illegal search and seizues by the government. Yet the real issue is these people are masquerading behind their religion as a fundamental desire to have sex with young girls. Oh you can pray for it, believe in it, and worship it all you want to in our wonderful country. But if you rape or molest or abuse a young girl under the laws you live under then you run the risk of arrest, a trial and jail time. My advice: Don’t wear anything frilly your first day in prison.

  • Alex

    mthuselah: “Most, if not all of the “women” were born into this “life.” Theirs was not an informed and “free” choice to adopt this lifestyle. It’s not as though they tried a sample course and decided that they liked it: they were born into this system and have no basis for a free and informed choice. “Who decides who has made an informed lifestyle choice and who has not? Unless they are deprived of life or property, or are sexually or physically abused (verbal is a bit harder legally), if they say they want to live this lifestyle, how can they not be considered to be making an informed choice under the law?Would you mind if I do a complete social colonoscopy on you to see if you are informed? I could assemble a community panel of people that don’t even know you to determine if your lifestyle is acceptable to me, and then use government force to make it so. Would you like that? I don’t think you would. I wouldn’t either.Now I realize that there could be some coercion involved, but the fact that it is a polygamist relationship does not make it any more coercive than any other relationship anywhere.

  • Clues in Canada

    To be Mormon. It seems to me a Mormon is someone who uses the book of Mormon as a scriputural guild. I understand the the FLDS does use this book, so therefor would that not make them Mormons? The christen community as a bunch of differant sects but they all call themselves christens. This is an honest question.

  • daveblood

    Polygamy? Illegal? I’ve always wondered why the gov’t is involved in the marriage business anyway! “Marriage” implies a religious ceremony. The gov’t should be involved in civil unions to grant power of attorney, tax hikes, etc. Churches should marry people, just like churches (for example) baptize people. If there were true separation of church and state, the religious ceremony would be completely separate from the civil unions. Then we could argue about the right to a civil union for harems, gays, pet ducks, etc., without bringing religion into the discussion. I would hope no one here condones marriage between a 14yo and 50yo, although to say that someone is religious and brainwashed is redundant IMHO.

  • Kai Knight

    Time for me to chime in, I know the article is not about religion alone, but as the comments flow in, I feel I should make a few religious comments of my own. I join the LDS faith 5 years ago after a long search for the truth that was right for me. I was taught by the Catholics, the Baptists, the Protestants, and by a man who followed the Buddhist faith. BTW I was raised Lutheran. I follow Jesus Christ, the one and only spoken of in the Old and New Testament. I find it offensive when someone calls me a “Mormon”. I do not follow Mormon! Until the LDS faith as a whole stops referring to themselves as Mormons, and starts referring to themselves as Christians, followers of Jesus Christ, they will forever be associated with the latter in which host argument refers. So quite you’re whining and be who you are – who you choose to be. May run and not be wary, and walk and not faint.To your question – why did I choose the LDS faith over the others, simple, when I told the missionaries of my search in other religions, well they encouraged me. The missionaries told me that if I find the truth in another religion that I should follow the truth. So I did, I was taught be each Sect listed above, six months later I followed my heart to the baptismal waters of the LDS faith.

  • Cosmo

    …and another thought: what would have been the reaction of the “authorities” to a call had this been a muslim compound where polygamy was being practiced and men were marrying girls as young as seven?My guess is that the reaction would’ve been…inaction.It’s cool to destroy polygamy when it’s practiced by professed Christians. However, when it’s being practiced by muslims (along with honor killings, blood money, etc.) it’s “intolerant.”Duplicity.

  • Realist

    “I find it interesting that the mainstream Mormon community received appropriate messages from God when needed — such as to end its practice of polygamy and to allow blacks into the fold.”Cheryl: You’re almost there, let me bring it home for you. Replace “interesting” with “convenient,” and you’ve got it.Like all cults, early LDS needed a set of practices to set themselves apart from the rest of society, and it didn’t hurt that polygamy was a strong recruitment enticement for males.When faced with the choice of extermination or change they chose change, which from my (admitedly skeptical) POV indicates that there was no received message, just cold political calculus. Had their god really wanted them to be polygamous they’d have just lined up to be shot, then all gone to heaven each to be a god over his own little world, right?

  • Katie

    To GEEZ:Are you kidding… what if the 16 year old was your daughter or sister? Not to mention… they dont exactly WAIT until they poor girl turns 16 to begin their control, usually by 13, and in this case girls as youngs as 11 were found to be pregnant… does that make it sick enough for you??Seriously… I dont even know what to say to your casual, insensitive attitude on this tragedy of abuse over these girls – all in the name of a “religion” that is written to satisfy these perverts own sexual desires and which distorts and twists the very foundatoins of the true teachings of the REAL Messiah .

  • daveblood

    Polygamy? Illegal? I’ve always wondered why the gov’t is involved in the marriage business anyway! “Marriage” implies a religious ceremony. The gov’t should be involved in civil unions to grant power of attorney, tax hikes, etc. Churches should marry people, just like churches (for example) baptize people. If there were true separation of church and state, the religious ceremony would be completely separate from the civil unions. Then we could argue about the right to a civil union for harems, gays, pet ducks, etc., without bringing religion into the discussion. IMHO religion = brainwashing at any age, but regardless of your beliefs, I would hope no one here condones marriage to a 15yo.

  • Davidov

    Jake in Salt Lake:Acknowledging our polygamist heritage does not cause me unease — nor does acknowledging the Mountain Meadows Massacre, the settling of the Intermountain West, or any other chapter of our history, whether the chapter be viewed for good or bad today. But what does cause me unease — as well as reduced opportunities in the world — is that other people associate polygamy with modern-day Mormonism.I think there can be little doubt that you are right in saying that similar unease causes many Mormons to be more zealous than other people in their denunciations of the illegal and, by most standards (including mine), immoral practices of the FLDS leadership.It was Barack Obama, and not, say, John McCain, who was requested to “denounce and reject” Louis Farrakhan. John McCain wasn’t associated with Louis Farrakhan in the minds of the public. Barack Obama was. Barack Obama recognized that if he were going to be able to communicate his positions accurately, he would need to draw a bright line on that issue.I am similarly conscious of my approach to the FLDS: I draw a bright line in order to clarify a distinction that is currently muddy for too many people. My zeal to denounce the FLDS stems not from a hatred of them as individuals, but rather from a moral repulsion to their practices combined with the knowledge that people in the world will erroneously associate their practices with me. As a result, I am more zealous to denounce the FLDS than I am to denounce, for example, any given Nigerian tribal polygamist group. This is not because I see the practice of polygamy as worse in one instance than in the other — well, perhaps I do to some degree, given how much more the FLDS should be expected to know as participants in our Western society. But mostly my zeal arises because I know that someone, somewhere, will hold me erroneously accountable by proxy for the actions of the FLDS in some way or another. Where, as here, such accountability is erroneous, I feel the natural need to clarify. And I see that need as acceptable, provided that I do not turn into a sower of hate or misunderstanding.As for Jeffs, I’m a finance lawyer, not a criminal lawyer, and I didn’t follow the Jeffs trial closely, so I have only a fairly superficial understanding of what happened at the trial and how the verdict came about. I also have little idea of what Utah sentencing guidelines are like, but I understand that Jeffs was fairly unapologetic, which I suspect can be considered in coming up with a sentence and which probably had much more to do with his heavy sentence than any anti-polygamist feelings did. And the fact that he almost certainly could have been brought to trial on other serious crimes no doubt played a role as well.

  • Peter G

    WTF??? I still can’t believe that we are still in the dark ages where people still need to hang on to factious beings as their leader??And those that try to use religion to hide behind that laws ought to just pack up and leave.

  • cd

    Well, religiously concerned people may want to consider that the extremes of religion have to be moderated somewhat at times to preserve the integrity of the whole.I’m somewhat for raids that do give people inside such cults an exposure to ‘the outside’ periodically, not disrupting their lives too greatly and giving it an element of choice. The problem is that the leaders will, under such circumstances, retrench and eventually take the route of the Branch Davidians in Waco.

  • wow

    There is no question here – this is not government intrusion, this is criminal activity – systematic rape, probably incest, and sex slavery. If Mormons do not like what goes on in these FLDS sects, why all of the special treatment? Why the protection from prosecution? The walking on eggshells? Why not dishonor the invocation of “God told me to do it” defenses, instead of accepting that someone might be the one mighty and chosen? You say they don’t believe what you believe, but their beliefs stem from the Book of Mormon. They claim to believe in the total snow job about Joseph Smith… the murderous, rapist rage in which he crossed the country… the changing story of his being chosen by God as a prophet of a big top religion… the stone in the hat, the whole deal. They believe in the angel Moroni. They follow basic principles, which in those early days included polygamy among other beastly behaviors. So how are these cults not attached to Mormonism? (I’d also like to add that it is impossible to compare the early days, the formation of Mormonism with the early years of world religions. Mormonism was crafted less than 200 years ago. Many people own furniture older than that.)So the better question is why does this aggitated mainstream of the Mormon faith not do something productive? Use close ties with certain political leaders to move that all FLDS tax exempt status be taken away? Don’t have any sympathetic view toward their communities, make them abide by the laws of the land instead of allowing their crimes to perpetrate outside of the public eye. Shine a light on what you think is deplorable. Cast them out. Have Mormon DAs and Governors of states with these sex slave factories use their power to enforce the laws of their states just as vigorously as if there was a porn shop or XXX film studio in the neighborhood. Why haven’t we seen that?

  • Davidov

    To Dave S: On Stalin and Mao, my point exactly. They installed totalitarian autocracies, which were in many ways the functional equivalent of cultish religion. Thank goodness that totalitarian rule with corresponding cultish adherence need not necessarily be associated with religion or government, and these days is (at least broadly) frequently associated with neither.But anything *can* become a cultish religion, and, as has frequently been the case throught history (here I find myself agreeing with Nietzsche, with whom I disagreed earlier), the premiere cults of our day seem to me to be found among those who view themselves as the most progressive (on both ends of the religious spectrum). The irony of New Athiesm is that so many of its adherents do not realize that their belief system is exactly the type of Foucaultian construct they reflexively decry as “religion.”

  • Believing Takes Courage…

    Peter G:I hope that I am reading your comment incorrectly, that you do in fact believe in something… other than yourself and the people around you. If I have… my apologies.If I am in fact reading this as you intended… and you deny the very idea of God. I find it incredibly sad that you accept this messy world as your one and only train stop on lifes journey, nothing to hope for, nothing but the failures of man to experience until your final day on earth. It takes more energy and determination to deny Jesus Christ, with all of the evidence and scientific proof that HE does in fact exist, than it does to take a step of faith and entertain the idea that maybe, just maybe, we humans are not so powerful and in control as some of us (you) think. Check out “The Case for Christ”.

  • shally

    Howdy-

  • Davidov

    To wow: I think you’ll find that Mormons afford polygamists anything but favorable treatment (see my discussion with Jake in Salt Lake). There are polygamists throughout the country, some who split off from the Mormon church 100+ years ago, and some whose origins lie elsewhere. The only place where polygamists have been systematically prosecuted — until now — has been in and around Utah. And that prosecution has come with the open (and at times fiery) support of the Mormon church.

  • Portia

    To Steph: You say, “but no one seems to be bothered when mainstream, legitimate, groups who fight for peace, human rights, diversity, consumer rights, and are activists against the war or stand for differing political ideologies are demonized and censored without the slightest thought about the intrusion upon their rights or about their first amendment protections”Could you please delineate which legitimate groups are losing their First Amendment rights? Which government agency is “demonizing and censoring” these legitimate groups you reference. I must have missed a very important court case (or arrest).

  • AfghanVet

    Get over it. Until you succeed in instituting Shari’a law…I mean…Christian Law instead of our Constitution, the “church” is subject to the MAN-MADE laws of this nation. Freedom OF Religion does not constitute freedom from the law.

  • Kai Knight

    Shally, can you provide proof, documentation of where I can find evidence that there is “no there book apart from the bible”. Not even Catholics can make this claim because of their extensive library of dogma.Also define “The Bible”, since it was complied well after the death of Christ, by Catholic Priests who had a specific agenda.

  • Sam

    This isn’t about polygamy, the Angel Moroni, the golden tablets, or the Ummun and the Thummin. It’s about statutory rape. The girl alledgedly was married to a 50 year-old man when she was 14 or 15, and had a baby before 16. This was not always against the law, but it is now. There was a time in the 60s and 70s when most states allowed 18 year-olds to buy and drink alcoholic beverages. If an 19 year-old now gets arrested for underaged purchase of alcohol, he can’t say “It was legal when my dad was my age.”If a girl becomes pregnant, some people would say that proves she’s old enough to be married and have sex. However, we don’t grant driver licenses to people based on their height (ability to reach the pedals). We don’t sell guns to anyone whose finger is strong enough to pull the trigger. If Bill Gates wanted to have four or five wives, all of whom were above the age of consent, it would be fine with me, as he could well support them, and probably many would would like to be a part of such a situation. Since he’s now worth over $100,000,000 Bill Clinton could support several wives.

  • djah

    The basic problem is simple: objective evil cannot be permitted by society because it is done in Jesus’ name or in Mohammed’s name.

  • Ronnie

    I am so grateful for this raid, and hope and pray that more raids on polygamus compounds just like this sick one, will only continue to be done every month until all the women and children are safe and able to make decisions for themselves, and live free lives for once!! These men are abusive and keeping these women and children as slaves, WOMEN HAVE NO CHOICE IN THE “FLDS” it is a sick and twisted fate for these poor people. Their so called religion, is so twisted-all Warren Jeffs or any other so called prophet ever did was contradict themselves. There principles are not based on any true or good thing from God, they are man made lies!It’s pretty ironic that the FLDS members don’t want the authorites or government to get involved with their lives, but they can repeadetly STEAL MILLIONS of dollars from the government for food, medical care, welfare- IT’S INSANE!! Hello people!!! You are doing extremely illegal things here! You will be prosecuted, and found guilty-if there is a God!INCEST, RAPE ON WOMEN AND CHILDREN, CHILD ABUSE, VERBAL ABUSE, PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE, HELD AGAINST THEIR WILL, ENTRAPMENT, INCEST-INCEST-INCEST!!We should not be paying our hard earned tax dollars for these people to multiply, I am so sickened by this abomination of human rights.

  • TLH

    I was raised in the Mormon Church. Both my maternal grandparents are of polygamous families. One great grandfather father entered into polygamy with Church sanction after the manifesto. Both families hid out in Mexico and in the Church in polygamy with the Romneys until forced out by the revolution. His father taking a second (younger) wife was a blow to my young grandfather (one of 12 children) he never got over. My grandmother (one of 12) was more philosophic being the daughter of the younger wife. There is no doubt the LDS church abandoned polygamy for expedient reasons involving statehood and general acceptance. I am convinced the doctrine is only in abeyance and is secretly still valid. I think most of the kids in these communities accept polygamy on its religious basis. I don’t think most are cohersed into the practice. Brain washed but not cohersed. As to tolerance and free thought, they are as alien to the LDS as to the FLDS. The LDS have zero tolerance for nonconforming behaviour or belief. You get expelled if you dissent. The only real difference between the two monolithic top down organizartions is one still practices polygamy under a prophet and the other doesn’t. the rest is more or less the same except the LDS are more like a big corporation whereas the FLDS are a small business.

  • Portia

    About the FLDS not being “real” Mormons. They are, in fact, practicing the religion exactly as it was “revealed” by Joseph Smith and practiced with such unalloyed enthusiasm by about 30% of Mormon men (and it probably would have been more but there was a “shortage” of women)….Joseph Smith married young girls, including a 14 year old and two sisters who were his foster daughters. He’d had an ‘affair’ with his wife’s maid, but his friends got her out of town before he was dragged before a councel for adultery. He got his wife, Emma, to go along with his 32+ marriages (including 11 women who were already married–we’d call that adultry, but hey! ‘Married’ sounds so much better than ‘sexual perv’)–anyway he got Emma to go along with it by threatening that she would be damned. It’s also the reason he finally got arrested and sent to a town where his buddies didn’t control the law. He burned down a newspaper that was spreading the news about his polygamy.Brigham Young sanction the marriage of brothers and sisters and reserved the right to marry fathers and daughters; he, himself, had two 14 year old wives, and there are accounts of girls as young as 8 being married to old coots. So when Mormons start objecting that “this isn’t us!”–why not ask them why they think the man who established this vile practice of degradation of women and children is celebrated by them as a man who in his own words, accomplished more than Jesus Christ. Really. It wasn’t the Catholics who brought polygamy to America. Joseph Smith was either the innocent, good guy of Mormon myth or he’s considerably worse than Warren Jeffs. He can’t possibly be both.

  • mthuselah

    Alex:Feel free to cast the first stone.Suggesting that young children could be free to “choose” to be forced into abusive and physically damaging and intellectually stifling lifestyles makes me wonder what other interesting ideas you may have fermenting in your febrile brain. Care to share and be adjudged by your fellow man?

  • Kai Knight

    I am not going to wait for an answer because Shally will not be able to provide such evidence because it doesn’t exists. I don’t know why I entertain such frivolous thoughts. Here’s the foundation. To be a Christen is to believe in Christ. That’s it, plain and simple. You can dissect the doctrine and dogma of any religion but want it all comes down to is the faith and belief in Jesus Christ. I would believe the real reason why most people are opposed to calling LDS members christens is that it draws an association with them. So, those who wish to denounce LDS members as christens are doing what LDS members and doing to the FLDS. It is disassociation because of disapproval of actions or life style. Who’s the black sheep now? By Claiming this one and only Bible sure does alienate The Jews (Torah), The Muslims (Koran), and The Lutherans (Martian Luther’s inspired writings) to name a few.

  • scarystuff

    How does one phone call from one girl for help escalate into the removal of over 200 women and children? This is clearly a case of religious persecution, or they would have investigated the allegations like they do in most reported cases, not loaded up 200 people.

  • rainbird

    Legal age to marry in most states is 16. New England states tend to allow younger ages. Massachusetts for instance allows females age 12 to marry with parental consent. This is not uncommon, many states allow 13, 14 and 15 year old girls to marry if they have parental or judge’s consent. In most of these same states, males must be older.In Texas, below age of consent (18) parties need parental consent and permission of judge, no younger than 14 for males and 13 for females.As a religious outsider, I think it is amusing to watch these religious people say their god tells them this is heresy. Obviously the FLDS god told them this is just fine. But in the middle of all this religious finger pointing, we have the government jumping in to raid the place. And that, to me, seems not right.

  • TRUTH, anyone?

    There is no proof behind the alleged abuses because they don’t exist. It is all rumors and lies from those who are against the FLDS. Many people are leaving their comments against the FLDS but I highly doubt if anyone has verified the TRUTH for themselves. You are commenting on people who you do not know or understand. Furthermore, I doubt that those leaving such negative comments want to know the truth.

  • Athena

    For all of you who are questioning the validity of the girl who called the authorities by claiming that “they can’t find her”… Has it occurred to you that she may be in hiding somewhere? Or she was discovered to be the one that brought this down on the group and punished – or worse? I just hope that she is all right.Poly marriage between consenting adults is fine. I know a few people who are married to one person, but in poly relationships or open marriages. However, minors should NOT be allowed to enter into these arrangements. I like the person that proposed that anyone under 25 should not be in a poly relationship.What happens in the FLDS compound is that younger boys are kicked out without any skills, so they become wards of the State. The State of Texas is stuck with cleaning up Jeffs’ mess. The girls, some as young as 11, are forced into marriage to older men, some of whom may be close relatives, and bear more children.

  • Davidov

    Realist: Cheryl’s use of “interesting” was an obvious euphemism for “convenient,” but I’m glad you spelled it out, as I am always a little puzzled by this criticism.What’s the inherent problem with religious practices changing? Many atheists seem to take the Moses approach to religion. They seem to assume that any conception of God necessitates permanent adherence to immutable, clear, detailed proclamations handed down by that God. (If this were *my* perception of the potential set of deity, I would be an atheist, too.) Again, it’s this ironic Foucaultian construction of religion, dogmatically attributing non-existent dogma to others.Mormonism is not so reductive. See my analogy comparing the Mormon belief system to the American system of government. The Mormon belief system is principles-based, not rules-based (at least at its core). Mormon theology allows for God to overrule himself without any cognitive dissonance whatsoever; it’s all contextual. Now you can call *that* convenient if you like — that’s a more legitimate criticism — but it is neither internally inconsistent nor irrational and can thus form the basis of a coherent belief system (unlike, I will repeat myself here, much of New Atheism).

  • mthuselah

    Slightly off topic but germane nonetheless: who exactly do some of you people think the “government” is? The “government” is you. Its powers flow from the social compact that we all enter into by ceding our individual liberties to the state in order to promote the greater good of the group.If you don’t like the actions of those “governing” you, you have two simple choices: change that government through participation (suffrage and public debate) or leave.Barring that, stop complaining and do something.

  • bill clinton

    @ what age are you capable of making an informed rational decision. @ 16 when the law says that you can cruise down the highways with thousands of others at 70mph in a 1 ton vehicle? or @ 18 when you can vote and die for your country. or @ 21 when you are allowed to consume “adult beverages?” in this age where people have endless access to information who decides when one is mature enough to decide what is in their best interest. and is this age uniform across the masses? maybe polygamy being ILLEGAL is as absurd as saying the rate at which people mature remains constant across the nation regardless of differing circumstances.

  • Portia

    Just found the lyrics of the Mormon hymn/anthem praising the first great polygamist and husband of 14-year-olds, Joseph Smith. They just sang it at their all-church conference last weekend:Great is his glory and endless his priesthood. Chorus Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven; Chorus Chorus Praise to his mem’ry, he died as a martyr;

  • Davidov

    Ok, last comment and then I have to go.TLH:It sounds like you had a bad experience. That’s genuinely too bad. It’s too bad when anybody has a bad experience with group or ideology with which they were once affiliated, regardless of the reason.I think a couple of your perceptions about the Mormon church are mistaken — which probably contributed to your bad experience.First is your perception that tolerance and free thought are scarce in the Mormon church. To the contrary, as far as ideologies go, Mormonism is extremely open to free thought — more so than almost any other religious or political ideology I have encountered. For instance, I know devout Mormons who believe in evolution (most, in my experience) and those who don’t, those who advocate the legal right of a woman to abort and those who argue against it. None of those issues are criteria for being Mormon, or for being a devout or “worthy” Mormon. There is none of this Catholic opining that certain people shouldn’t participate in certain ordinances.Of course, there are some boundaries to what beliefs can still be considered “Mormonism.” But that is true of any organization or ideological grouping. If you no longer support IBM’s mission statement, you probably shouldn’t work there. If you don’t believe in Mormonism’s core tenets, you probably shouldn’t be a Mormon. I don’t see that as stifling free thought; it’s simply accepting that “Mormonism” retains a distinct meaning.Now, some (I do not think many) local leaders have definitely been known to be stifling, unfortunately, and to act contrary to the above, even though they shouldn’t. That’s generally because they’re just regular people, volunteering for a relatively short period of time. And I think they’re broadly getting better.Second, I know *very* few people in the Mormon church who think polygamy is in abeyance, particularly among the leadership. It’s safe to say that conventional Mormon thought on polygamy is that it served its function for a specific time, and that was it. In any event, if this board is any indication, there are a *lot* of Mormons out there who obviously want to make it clear that they don’t like polygamy. As Jake in Salt Lake mused, Mormons these days are probably the most vocal and reflexive critics of polygamy, precisely because so many people don’t seem to see the Mormon church for what it is, rather than what it used to be, leading to comments like yours.Lastly, all churches are “big business.” Charities are, too. That’s the way the world works these days (and always has, actually). At least the membership of the Mormon church has a pretty darn good idea where its tithes go — and they don’t go into the pockets of local clergy, nor serve to make superministers of megachurches wealthy. If there’s one area where the Mormon church compares favorably with other churches, it’s the use of its finances.

  • mthesulah

    Alex:What did I mean? What did you mean when you offered a “social colonoscopy?” A bit scatalogical aren’t we? What pray tell did you mean by “fire away?” A moments thought might suggest that tey are one and the same, dear friend.As to your point regarding “informed decisions,” what is your point? Can you seriously be suggesting that any group such as the FLDS, with its well-documented perverse practices of child abuse and sex ratio selective practices (ostracism of young men on pretext) is a community that would be conducive to the formation of independent thought and the basis of informed choice?If so, that is the sort of idea that I would like others to judge you for. Any other intellectually tenuous thoughts that you would like to expose?It is often said that freedom of speech is most useful for the auditors, not the speakers.

  • Alex

    Mthuselah:”What did I mean? What did you mean when you offered a “social colonoscopy?” A bit scatalogical aren’t we? “What I was getting at was that we don’t need the government giving us a thorough investigation just because we are weird. Being weird to other people is not a valid enough reason to investigate. I used the word colonoscopy, because the image says it all. Look, I do not condone predatory crimes, or abuse of any kind, period. That said, I’m also not going to look over the shoulder of someone that I disagree with theologically and wait with baited breath for them to screw up. In this case, I have a problem with them going into the house with a warrant for one reason (getting the 16 year old girl), but then turning and taking other children away. That rubs me wrong.”What pray tell did you mean by “fire away?” A moments thought might suggest that tey are one and the same, dear friend. “All I meant is that if I am to be judged, go ahead and start doing it. If you want to judge me, go ahead.”As to your point regarding “informed decisions,” what is your point? Can you seriously be suggesting that any group such as the FLDS, with its well-documented perverse practices of child abuse and sex ratio selective practices (ostracism of young men on pretext) is a community that would be conducive to the formation of independent thought and the basis of informed choice? “What I think and what the law should permit are two different things. The law should go after offenders, regardless of persuasion. I think a lot of people are weird, but they are not guilty until proven otherwise. I am not prone to smear them, just because I disagree with them. I do not rejoice in scandal in any religion. It doesn’t give me any pleasure.”If so, that is the sort of idea that I would like others to judge you for. “You can judge me for whatever reason you want.”Any other intellectually tenuous thoughts that you would like to expose? “Like what?

  • Anonymous

    Both sides are probably wrong, unfortunately one side wields vastly more power and should therefore have to produce more evidence for their side before committing extreme actions. Unfortunately they don’t.Please trolls, keep your straw-men to yourself, it makes you sound less that thoughtful.

  • FLDS— Live Free

    Long live Warren Jeffs!

  • Jeff P

    To readers that think this just a peaceful alternate lifestyle, and that we as a society just really should mind our own business:I lived in Utah for 15 years, southern Utah for a year-and-a-half. The polygimists were an odd group, some of which seemed to me related to their religion (although that was weird enough, but none of my business.)What WAS my business was this: most all of them were on medicaid/government welfare programs, and in fact used this as a means of at least some regular income; generally none of them were in the public school system, and were, when allowed any education at all, coerced into some “home schooling” that wreaked of anti-government and anti-society; they usually lived in “compounds” of unfinished homes (lack of paint or some external drywall) so that they could avoid paying property taxes on finished properties; their young men were usually out in the construction field by very early ages (10-11 years old in some cases) learning the “trade;” when their religious leaders decided it, the young girls were promised to older men, many with other wives, with no “say” at all. As a physician, I noticed that the “inbreeding” among the families produced some of the darndest autosomal recessive genetic defects that you’ve ever seen, and which were ultimately unhealthy for the group and expensive to us as taxpayers willing to foot the medical bill. I had more life-flight transfers from this population of patients than anywhere I’ve ever practiced. The list goes on. This has nothing to do regarding some poster about how many women he can lay in an evening.It’s not about an intrusion into some peaceful community with some alternate lifestyle.This is nothing less than forced indoctrination into a cultish religion that has caused much human misery among their own, and besides being against the law, is fraught with deception, distrust, and abuse of human liberties not to mention our tax dollars.

  • Raul

    This is an intelligent article and I do agreed with author on many points. Currently we observing the fact of violation of the Constitution of the United States of America – the right to free practice of religion. Both federal government and the government of State of Texas committed crimes against Mormons in Eldorado. This crime will be recodred in the History of Man!

  • Julysun

    First, the CPS (Child Protective Services) by law must come to the aid of children that are being hurt or under threat. They had no choice.

  • Raul

    To Jeff.Jeff, people have their rights to live in accordance to their religion, and parents have the right to educate their children as they wish, in accordance to their religion. That’s the main point. Regarding utilization of social services by Mormons. That’s their federal right. Therefore, your critics have no basis at all.

  • Jeff P

    Raul:The recent national stories of the children who died as a result of their parent’s religious beliefs–trusting the promise of God to heal instead of taking them to a doctor–is also a religious choice. Does the harm done to them fall into innocence because the intention was religious, or freedom of religion? Do you think, in that scenario, that intervention on behalf of those children would have been inappropriate?If so, your credibility is bankrupt in my view. If not, how is that different from what happens to children in the polygamist community? Is the line drawn when something is short of death?

  • Sophia

    Polygamy is not the only issue here. If anyone has done any research on these polygamous cults, they would know that not only is sexual and physical abuse rampant, children are denied education, women are expected to have one child a year, and welfare fraud is extremely common.

  • hhkeller

    Looks like a federal crime at this point.

  • Jeff P

    Raul, polygamy is illegal. Period. It is against the law.Public money spent on a situation where people intentionally break the law, and supporting people who “work the system” to support their illegal activity is not, in my view, the legitimate use of “social services.” I would leave it to other readers to decide whether or not the arguments made are without basis.I’d be curious, have you ever dealt with this community in a personal way?

  • Raul

    Julysun, I am not against the Texas law, but I am against invasion of police in the church and detaining over 200 women, girls and boys for someting what they are not responsible, and inflicting on them great emotional distress and deprivation them of their home and their freedom to practice their religion undfer the Constitution of the United States.

  • Alex

    Sophia,If they have committed crimes, prosecute them for their crimes, but don’t harass them for their religion using the government hand.

  • Raul

    Jeff, Texas law never talks of polygamy. It talks of begamy. Plygamy and begamy is not the same. Also all what is said of every Mormon shall be proven. But few cases could not be basis for criminalization of all Mormons of said Church.

  • Julysun

    Raul, You have no idea why the people were detained. The cops and CPS personell will have to explain themselves in court, if they acted wrongfully they will be held accountable.

  • Raul

    Jeff,Texas law never talks of polygamy. It talks of begamy. That’s not the same. There no facts that all Mormons of said Church were involved in violation of Texas law. Nobody have right to arrest people on the basis of suspicion. There shall be the hard-rock physical evidences. No such facts existed. The telephone call related to unknown person and such fact could not be the basis for invasion and terrorizing over 200 human beings by armed with guns and rifles police.

  • Raul

    I gess those people doesn’t have lawyers when police invaded their home (church). They did not challenged the State of Texas in the District Court (Federal Court) when the police officers arrived in the counpound and started to hurt them and their children with their molesting interrogations.

  • Jeff P

    Raul:Let’s not split hairs.Bigamy:Polygamy:To the extent that you defend any behavior or consequence to individuals within a sect based on “religious freedom,” I will agree to disagree with you. I don’t support any religious freedom that results in harm to a human being.If you are not sincerely seeing the harm done to many children (and women) in this male-dominated hierarchal cultish “religion,” then there’s really not much to talk about.But I would love to hear your take on the recent deaths of children for lack of medical care, based on religious choice, and on whether or not you have any real life-experience with the FLDS church.

  • Raul

    Jeff,Accidental death occurs everywhere, regardless presence or absence of medical care. Yes, ignorance is the factor, not that’s not the crime. The ignorant have no intent to commit the crime. Ignorants have their intent to safe their love one with prayers. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. There nobody to blame on.Please do not substitute few individuals for whole community. That’s not logical. I am not informed on exact cases of children deaths in the FLDS church. Do you? If so, give the facts – names, places, causes, etc.

  • dachef1

    is there a mor-men church anywhere that promotes sodomy? Oops…sorry! some people and groups advocate, and some state DO, permit same-sex unions.

  • Anonymous

    Hundreds of women & children have been removed from their homes and there has been only one “minor” arrest!! Who is being prosecuted and who is being persecuted?

  • AlphaOverdawg

    Government abuse of powers? More like neglect. Just allowing an organization to exist whose OVERTLY STATED tenets contain unlawful practices, much less allowing the practice of those unlawful activities, is a failure by government at any level to do that for which it exists: uphold and enforce the law. Surely it is clear to law enforcement and to commenters here that polygamy is illegal, even in Texas. You cannot practice polygamy without practicing bigamy. Or maybe that is not clear to some. However, it should be clear to everyone that marriages of females under 16 are illegal in Texas, with or without parental consent. There’s also the matter of STATUTORY rape. Is that enough legal authority for you?If not, you are just hiding behind the bogus application of the “separation of church and state doctrine”. These immoral AND criminal activities are being committed under the rubric of “religious freedom”, a value America holds dear. But if abused by those engaged in unlawful acts, the protections and privileges attendant upon designation as a religious entity must be revoked.Clearly, the practice of polygamy and the forced participation of minors in unlawful sexual activity and unlawful marriages is sufficient cause to revoke the religious standing of this organization. And the sooner the better.

  • From the Tribe of Shem

    13 year old girls in our society are encouraged to be promiscuous with multiple sexual partners including same sex partners. The state will provide them with condoms, abortions, vaccines against a std virus that causes cervical cancer etc. But the idea of her remaining chaste (a virgin) until marriage, of actually getting married at an age when her hormones are raging (15) is highly discouraged and even illegal in Texas and some other states even with parental permission. It’s way better that she be jumping from sack to sack to satisfy her natural drive than to adhere to any silly morality that preaches chastity and marriage, oh yeah and responsibility for the child she might conceive. This is not about a 15 year old being forcibly married to a 50 year old man. This is about dismantling any sense of morality and obedience to a God. If indeed there was a forcible marriage as claimed, then that should be punished for the abuse that it is. If there was a marriage that both consented to, and the parents of the minor consented to then what is the crime? The crime is that there was a marriage.

  • colton

    This entire discussion is unbelievable!

  • Pam

    Alex, Bill Clinton, and others:These children (and that’s what they are) cannot possibly make informed choices. They are sequestered from birth and never allowed to encounter an idea that conflicts in any way with that of the elders of the “church.” They don’t have access to libraries, they aren’t allowed to watch (or even to own) televisions, or to go to movies. What education they get is all within the cult – no public schools. They are sealed within the compounds and not allowed to intersect with “outsiders” in any way. They are taught that those on the outside are damned and will try to drag them down to hell with them.They are trapped because they have no way of supporting themselves, and they have children whom they love and don’t wish to leave.Like Joseph Smith, the “husbands” are a bunch of dirty old men who just want to be able to rut like goats with the next sweet young thing who makes their c_ck twitch (sorry to be blunt, but that’s how it is).This is not religion, it’s perversion. It doesn’t fall under the umbrella of any kind of “freedom.”That these people live off the public dole, exploiting law-abiding taxpayers, makes my blood boil. Arrest the men – fry ‘em. Jeffs got off easy.

  • God of Abraham— A polygamist

    Read the Book of Mormons for the truth!

  • Jeff P

    Raul:I’m not certain such a “death” statistic regarding the FLDS church exists, or any religion-based death statistic. Historically, it’s easier to show that religious belief has amounted to much death and suffering very specific to belief (look at nearly every current war on the planet,) but I’m not sure I’m answering your question.(Morbidity and Mortality information specific for someplace like Colorado City, between the Utah and Arizona borders, may be available with some research from the Utah State Department of Health, if you’re really interested.) But my question was in regard to, where do you think it’s legitimate to draw the line into “religious freedom” when the acting on it threatens the lives of children or is ultimately harmful to them? (When I moved from Utah, the then-concern was the “lost boys,” those young kids who were kicked out of the FLDS church because, in essense, there were too many older men who “needed” the young women as wives. There were “social services” helping to locate them with foster families and who tried to integrate them into modern culture.)There was a court case when I was in Utah regarding a kid with a rare form of bone cancer, and the parents chose not to intervene with chemotherapy, and the kid was, I believe, 15 years old or so and ultimately had a say into the denial of therapy. The courts took the kid away, but later changed their minds in this situation. I don’t know if the kid survived or not.The recent deaths in the national news were not accidents. Particularly, Ava Worthington, whose parents (with the encouragement of their church) chose to pray for her instead of allow intervention with antibiotics, has given “religious freedom” a newly fresh critique. That particular church has a dismal history of childhood deaths (78 kids since 1955), but little has been done legally in Oregon City until now, and currently both parents are indicted for manslaughter and criminal mistreatment. Ignorance, while unfortunate, is not a legally defensible position. In regard to the fundamentalist religious, “ignorance” is a word they would vehemently deny. These folks make their decisions very carefully and intentionally. Making an indefensibly terrible decision based on a religious freedom doesn’t neutralize the crime. Hiding in a church compound while law enforcement has made it clear you’re wanted is not a stragetically viable option.Your suggestion that the FLDS people were suffering “molesting interrogations” by the law enforcement officers warrants closer scrutiny, because if it’s true then it should be acted upon with justice. I’ve not heard that particular story.It’s off to work now, but suffice it to say you and I have very different ideas regarding the entitlement given to groups of people who feel they have license to corruption, lawbreaking, and human suffering based on the premise of “religious freedom.”

  • Bill Clinton— Polygamist Wannabe

    Men get bored of having sex with the same woman. Better to have more wives than pay prostitutes. In India, the Mormon religion has statred to florish. Hindus are sick of being stuck in the same marriage as divorces are not allowed by Lord Shiva.Also, they are sick of idol worshipping and bathing in the dirty Ganges River, praying to cows and monkeys as gods.Mormon

  • Alex

    “These children (and that’s what they are) cannot possibly make informed choices. They are sequestered from birth and never allowed to encounter an idea that conflicts in any way with that of the elders of the “church.” They don’t have access to libraries, they aren’t allowed to watch (or even to own) televisions, or to go to movies. What education they get is all within the cult – no public schools. They are sealed within the compounds and not allowed to intersect with “outsiders” in any way. They are taught that those on the outside are damned and will try to drag them down to hell with them. “If that is so, it will come out in court in due time. I don’t know how much is fact and how much is heresay, or an improvement on the facts. My unease with this situation is that they are taking, now 400 women and children out of the compound and into custody–the 16 year old who called not among them. They are carried away in Baptist buses. The alleged perpetrator is not even among those taken into custody! I don’t care if you are right about the FLDS on every count or not, the whole handling stinks to high heaven.When I talk of religious freedom with regards to this case, I am not speaking either to the justification or condemnation of FLDS, but of the freedoms that others enjoy that, yes, even FLDS should enjoy. The FLDS are entitled to that, regardless of anybody’s view of them.I can rest well if they are given due process, just like anybody else. If there are convictions, I am fine with it provided their rights are respected.

  • Jeff P

    Raul:No one supports medical practice that results in harm to people. I’m not sure I see your point.As regards governmental interventions that harm people, yep, happens a lot probably. But we have a democracy (sort of, when we’re not subject to a two-day-a-week workweek Republican congressional rule with corresponding knee-jerk rubber-stamping approval of this Presidential administration,) and a systematic means to change the government when it doesn’t serve the people. There are no such religious freedoms. Religion is not a democratic process, it is totalitarian: God says it, you believe it, that settles it. Falling away from a religious community is much more than just easily switching ideologies, in the FLDS church.

  • Raul

    As far as I can understand what’s going on in the State of Texas now, the governmental agents violated the federal criminal law – the title 18, secions 247-248. The State of Texas violated with police force the rights of over 401 human beings to practice their religion in accordance to Book of Mormon. That’s it. The case is clear so far. Who going after the bastards? I don’t know…

  • Kacoo

    Clearly, something more than one minor and one alleged abuser is involved in the massive police action in Texas. At this point, more than 400 minors have been placed into state custody, and no one is in charge of their spiritual well-being — not the church leaders, not the church followers, and certainly not the state employees. The state has stepped in and disrupted the lives of all those at the temple and no church elders are there for the minors whose lives have been thrown into chaos.How does the state justify the extravagant response?

  • Raul

    Jeff,Now you made your absolutist atheistic doctrine – that any religion based on dictatorship. Clearly, you never study religion in all its manifestations. There no compulsion to believe to God or Buddha, or follow the Teaching of Goodness. One can believe or not – that the matter of conscience. I do, and in the perfect conscience. You don’t. You are the Enemy of every religious man, while I am the Friend. That’s crystal clear matter, I think.

  • Jeff P

    Alex,It comes to mind that when I saw these families in the emergency room in St. George, the elder wife (usually in charge of the other “sisters,” which are the other wives) would do all of the talking, except when the husband was present. These young kids would keep their heads down, (dressed with Little-House-On-The-Prarie headscarves,) never make eye-contact, and would only very reluctantly make any comment when directly asked about the condition of one of THEIR kids. Keep in mind these families were of multiple, multiple kids amongst all of the wives.Many times, I deeply felt that their religion represented ANYTHING but freedom. It was undeniably pitiful. They had no freedom of activity, no freedoms in their choice of “husband,” no freedoms for education, and ultimately no freedom of the ability to critically think or express themselves.When I read your comments on “freedoms” that the FLDS church members should enjoy, it makes me cringe. I’d suggest spending a week in Colorado City (although it has probably changed a lot since the arrest of Jeffs,) to see first-hand how “free” the people of this community really are.

  • Raul

    KACOO! You are absolutely correct!!!

  • Jeff P

    RaulAnd if your religion says that all humans have dignity, and worth, and value–I’d be a proud member of your religion, I suspect. I’d just have to figure a way to get around the dogma.

  • Kacoo

    Raul, thanks for your genuine response.I don’t know law, but I do know common sense. Common sense shows that the Texas authorities are acting excessively and without public explanation as to why.Spousal abuse and sexual abuse are serious subjects, but so are religion and child rearing.

  • Craig

    From the Tribe of Shem wrote:Oh please.”The state will provide them with condoms, abortions, vaccines against a std virus that causes cervical cancer etc.”Yes, because having them not use a condom, get pregnant, be forced to give birth to a child they can’t support, and maybe at the same time getting HPV and later dieing from cervical cancer is much better.”But the idea of her remaining chaste (a virgin) until marriage, of actually getting married at an age when her hormones are raging (15) is highly discouraged”Hang on a minute. Are you actually suggesting it’s a good idea for kids to get married at FIFTEEN? And that raging hormones are a good reason to get married? Seriously?

  • GBH

    Something doesn’t add up here… The original estimates were 300-400 people at the compound. They’ve now removed some 400 women and children. That doesn’t leave very many men, but even if the population estimate was incorrect and there’s still a couple hundred men there, how is it that a mere handful of men could build an entire city, complete with a utilities infrastructure, not to mention a temple as well, and still have any time left for low and filthy habits of sexual abuse against young girls?

  • GBH

    Something doesn’t add up here… The original estimates were 300-400 people at the compound. They’ve now removed some 400 women and children. That doesn’t leave very many men, but even if the population estimate was incorrect and there’s still a couple hundred men there, how is it that a mere handful of men could build an entire city, complete with a utilities infrastructure, not to mention a temple as well, and still have any time left for low and filthy habits of sexual abuse against young girls?

  • Raul

    Jeff, I do look around – the whole planet Earth. I travelling around, I seeing the people of all races, all nations on all continents. Deeply religious persons does not kill one another. That’s not true. That’s you presumption, and the incorrect one, as far as my worldwide experience clearly showing. I agreed with you that some men killing others. Religiously minded or not – not important. We see very clearly that under politics of the current federal government thousands human beings killed by the US-made and electronically controlled powerful bombs. Is they, soldiers, are loving beings? No. They are agents of the government, the US government, who talking of the democracy, freedom and people (in Iraq, for example) – and killing such people… Who following the Teaching of God? Certainly not the soldiers of the United States of America.As for the dogma, look into the dictionary what it means. Any religion based on dogma, because it is the Teaching of the utmost Wisdom of the wisemen. There is some differences in religions, and Buddhism, for example, is based on the principle of dignity of every human being – religious or nonreligious. But the Evil is obviously present in the world on daily basis throughout the thousands years of human history. Religious man standing against it as much as he can. When the army of evil men in the police uniforms appeared – religious man resisting. That’s his imperative. He will go to jail, but his religion – never.

  • Anonymous

    Very interesting discussion, but seems to have missed one key aspect. As I understand law (and commonsense), when we come across an assailant (or offender or aggressor) that threatens the safety of others, we take the assailant/offender/aggressor out of circulation. In the present instance, we seem to have a number of women & girls & children that are abused & exploited & threatened by husbands/elders/leaders that are supposed to protect them. How come it is the victims that are taken out their homes while the aggressors are left untouched?

  • Raul

    Anonymous, There is, I think, the simple strategy, crafted by federal masterminds: divide the church, extract by torture necessary verbal evidences from the weakest and already arrested and displaced female members of the church, outside their home-church, – and attack the male members in the locked up compound, perhap to burn them to death, as it were done in Texas under Clinton’s administration.

  • Geez

    OK you have a point there. While I stand by the earlier remark that 16 is plenty old enough, 11 is almost always STILL TOO YOUNG. Sex before menarche is wrong.

  • Raul

    GEEZ, Are you a sexologist? On what basis you talking about the age-border for sex, what’s wrong or what’s not?

  • Raul

    The male Mormons currently stays in the church cathedral, I think. They are the insemenators of females. They know that federal and state governments will send them to die in the prisons, if they surrendered to the will of governmental agents. They, most possibly, will not surrendered, but will resist the armed assaults from the government – and die as Martyrs of Mormon Religion.

  • Disgusted..

    GEEZ:In what world is an 11 year old EVER old enough to be making the decision to have sex with an adult (or another minor for that matter)?The fact remains that it is illegal to have sex with a minor child, regardles of your religious beliefs. Not only illegal, but sick. I find it sad that adult men (and women in some cases) can look at children this way. Perhaps I will keep an eye out for you on “To Catch a Predator”… since you find nothing wrong with child/adult intercourse…

  • Jeff P

    Well, Raul, world traveler. I’m seeing some shades of politics now, too! Congrats, you’re human! But you’re becoming less and less believable with each subsequent post.Let’s see here:Okay…. I’ve not traveled extensively, and have certainly not seen “all nations” on “all continents” for time and cost constraints mainly, but my job doesn’t really allow me time to travel much.However, I do have the luxury to read people who DO travel extensively, and they seem to reach conclusions that may be a little different than what you describe. In fact, most of the people I’ve known who have traveled the world extensively have come to the exact opposite conclusion: there is no one correct “truth” or ultimate authority in matters of religion. …That religion is a regional phenomenon based on cultural norms, tradition, and societal needs.In all of your travels, have you noticed a few of those recent conflicts–I’ll quote a few from a library book I checked:Palestine: (Jews vs Muslims)Caucasus: (Orthodox Russians vs. Chechen Muslims; Muslim Azerbaijanis bs Catholic and Orthodox Armenians)Balkans: (Orthodox Serbians vs. Catholic Croatians; Orthodox Serbians vs. Bosnian and Albanian Muslims)Sri Lanka: (Sinhalese Buddhists vs. Tamil Hindus)Northern Ireland: (Protestants vs. Catholics)–finally reached a secular peace…Indonesia: (Muslims vs. Timorese Christians)Kashmir : (Muslims vs. Hindus)Ethiopia: (Muslim vs. Christians)Sudan: (Muslim vs. Christians and animists) I have a few personal friends from Sudan, who have shared their stories with me…Nigeria: (Muslim vs. Christian)These are fairly easily verified on the internet from a few worthwhile sources if you’re willing to look.In regard to your constant assault on the integrity of the people working for the Texas government, (and most recent post on the “Clinton administration” with the Waco event involving the Branch Davidians,) I’m beginning to wonder-”In a video made by the Davidians and released during the siege, Koresh stated that he had been told by God to procreate with the women in the groups to establish a “House of David”, his “Special People”. This involved married couples in the group dissolving their marriages and agreeing that only Koresh could have sexual relations with the wives. On the tape, Koresh is also shown with several minors who claimed to have had babies fathered by Koresh. In total, Koresh had fourteen young children who stayed with him in the compound.”By the way, I lived in Waco right before this tragedy. And I moved to Salt Lake City, then, when it was still popular to talk about the I just can’t seem to get away from these deserved religious “freedoms…”And I someday hope to have the extensive world travel over “the whole planet Earth” as you’ve had. You should write a book!

  • Raul

    Apparently, according the islamic history, Prophet Mohammed did not feel sick when he wanted to marry 6 years old girl, and, after her parents ask him to wait until she will be 9 years of age, he married the child… Since then muslims marry children from the age of 9 years of age and higher… I met one time one Islamic man from Morocco, who told me that his mother was 11 when she give the birth, and later she has many healthy children and happily living in large family together. His father had several wives – and all were just fine and happy living together. That’s the fact. I don’t deal with such matter, but I think some people shall have the opportunity for the pursuit of their own happiness – no matter what other persons, company, governments think of that.

  • jd

    I have watched this compound emerge over the years. We all knew what was going on behind those thick walls were not of good nature or even moral nature. I am so thankful that these children and adults are now being given a fair chance at life. My prayer is that they will eventually grasp the fact that their life there was not of GOD… it was of sick men. I pray that they learn to trust the outside world and find peace in knowing that no matter what they face… nothing will be as bad as their life at the compound. It will be a long hard road for them… but in the end hopefully they will see the greatness of this raid.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting that the supposed 16 year old, supposedly abused has not been located and that so many police, ambulances, homes and shelters were located within a few hours of a phone call (from person unlocated).I am not Mormon. I am worried about gov’t abuse of powers.

  • Joe Blow

    Was there really a girl that called about sexual abuse?Or was this another “WMD in Iraq”, so the authorities could go harass those people?

  • Realist

    The fact that the government uses “Eminent Domain” and invokes the right to go where and when it wants is flawed.A piece of paper makes it wrong?…but I can go lay 6 women at once and thats ok.Insane.

  • DCX2

    It’s worth noting that this could both have been a good thing for some of the people involved, and an example of excessive use of government force. Any use of indiscriminate mass arresting is certainly not setting a good precedent. Though it’s good to hear no one died.

  • Brady Bragg – Pflugerville, TX

    While children must be protected, to marry as teenageers is not at all unusual in many parts of the world and wasn’t unusual in the U.S. that long ago. To have our government tread on our LIBERTY is far more disturbing than a religious sect. The current administration has done more damage to American Liberty than our enemies.

  • Recovering Republican

    It seems strange to me that all these “so called” religions that use women as chattels or worse are never called on that basic premise. At some point we need to recognize that polygamy might be fine if it applied to both sexes. It isn’t because it is simply a way to manipulate the masses into accepting that women can be treated this way.

  • non-superstitious

    there are a lot of stupid laws that were forced on to the books to placate you bluenoses, but protecting children is not one of them.

  • ejay

    Organized religion has no place in a modern society. This is proof. All religious leaders pray on the weak who seek help. Yes I said all. The church is a franchise anybody can start one. Our goverment has all the right to go in and get the children out. And its a good thing they did. I am all for believing in god..but you can do it behind your own doors. Its much cheaper too!!!!!

  • Kmael

    “These people bothered NO ONE..They are being prosecuted because they have more than one wife?!”No, they are being arrested for the raped and forced marriage of girls 16 and under.

  • HSteacher

    I am a Mormon, and not one of those seperatist ‘fundamentalist’ criminals. I’m not sure the governemnt has infinite right to go wherever it decides, but I am glad to see human safety and virtue protected from psuedo-god worshipers. I can attest to the LDS beliefs of morality, virtue and respect for women.

  • GJ

    I am not a Mormon but this event concerns me. Authorities responded to a phone call reporting a specific case of abuse. Under what authority have all of these people been removed from thier homes? Were there subpoenas? Were there search warrants? A lot of questions need to be asked. Certainly we cannot condone polygamy and sex abuse but living in a commune in it self is not against the law; just different.

  • Greg

    I am in no way saying that child molesting or rape is right in any culture, religion or situation. But based upon one supposed call they have bussed out hundreds? There are so many questions not being asked! Some reporter should look into this. Any takers out there?

  • David Justin Lynch, Esquire

    Adult men and women can do as they wish in bed. I don’t care who does what with whom. But when children are involved, that’s where I draw the line, a heavy black line. The government has an absolute duty to safeguard the children, and to prosecute those who abuse them.

  • DT:

    The media do us a disservice when they use the term “polygamists” instead of “aleged child rapists” when refering to such groups. Polygamy is a non-issue; what consenting adults do among themselves is their business. However, you are not free to rape children in this country even if your religion touts it.

  • bt

    It’s amazing that people want the government to stay out of others business, but when they want to be saved from stupid financial decisions, they are critical of the government for not doing enough. The way I see it, any religious group that thinks it is ok to force women and children to do anything they don’t want to do deserves what ever they get. It is sick that any adult man thinks it is ok to have sex with a girl who is a minor, let alone that it is against the law.

  • Wayne

    Reporting is wrong here. This is not a Mormon Sect. They have nothing to do with the Mormons. These guys wanted to practice polygamy so the Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) excommunicated them. Mormons have not practiced polygamy for over 100 years.

  • wantobfree

    How many years does a wife have to accept

  • Realist

    Regarding “Pseudo-God” worshippers wasn’t one of the beliefs of mormonism polygamy and only changed due to outside forces?But then magical plates from ET IS pretty out there to begin with..

  • ME

    This sect is not Mormon. For some reason the media continues to try and confuse that.

  • Greg

    I meant THREE but questions keep poppoing up in my head!

  • Tim Singleton

    I would not want more than one wife, nor could I live this lifestyle, but I would like to make the following observation for all the so-called Christians who are outraged about polygamy:1. Why is it okay for Mr. Stud, Mr. Playa, Mr. Pro-athlete to have three or four girlfriends simulataneously knocked up, but if he MARRIES them he should go to jail? Somehow illegitimate births are more acceptable than polygamy in this country. Bizarre.2. If a Muslim who has four wives as per Islamic law finds Christ, YOU PEOPLE would apparently make him choose which sets of kids will have to do without a legal father and drive three of his four wives into a state of divorce.If gay marriage should be legal, then so should polygamy. Set the minimum age for a polygamous marriage to something like 25 so we cna be sure she is old enough to know what she is getting into or whatever safegaurds you like, but this religious persection of these people by THIS society with its degenerate embrace of homosexuality and pornography is, again, bizarre.

  • Wayne

    Reporting is wrong here. This is not a Mormon Sect. They have nothing to do with the Mormons. These guys wanted to practice polygamy so the Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) excommunicated them. Mormons have not practiced polygamy for over 100 years.

  • Uncle Che

    They can not find the 16 year old girl and the supposed husband is in Arizona. It makes me think this was a made up reason for the raid and the state is getting egg on their face.

  • BenWatching

    “I am not Mormon. I am worried about gov’t abuse of powers”

  • freedom

    A man can have more then one wife in its in the Bible. A man can not abuse a child that is in the Bible to.

  • whm99

    As an atheist I feel so left out that I don’t have any whacko cults to join. My weakness is that I can’t manage to believe in invisible beings that live in the sky and talk to Republican followers in English. Apparently belief in aliens, spaceships, and miracles is optional, but recommended. I just never read any headlines like, “200 Atheists removed from Texas compound after complaints of sexual abuse of minors”. It’s just not fair.I want to go to church with the other sheep, wave my arms in the air and try to out-Jesus each other. Oh yeah, and sing incredibly awful songs.It’s just not fair.whm

  • Joan Flange, OR

    This story has nothing to do with personal liberty against the government. It is about a group’s illegal activity engaging in statutory rape of girls, as defined by our law. Instead of a pimp operation, this case takes place in an organization that claims to be a religious community.Don’t confuse our religious freedoms with this case of human imprisonment and sexual slavery. Please protect our freedoms and condemn this illegal sex ring conducted in the name of “religion”.

  • Ex Mormon

    These people are infact living the life that was revealed by there prophet Josephs Myth in the 1800′s They are truley Mormons although the mainstream LDS (Mormons) say they are not

  • ed

    The bible is a non-fiction book. Its 2008 not 1 AD

  • jessica

    This is an interesting story and it would be beneficial to the public to get an objective and factual story.

  • paul elischer jasper, ga

    I am not a member of the lds or a mormon. What concerns me, is that even though the people, beleive something other than i believe, is not my concern. what bothers me the most is what has happend to our rights under the constatution. On CNN a person that lives in that city said that the people live in a fenced community. Big deal, we have people that live in bent tree and big conoe. they are private gated communities. What are we going to raid those place because maybe one of the people living there is selling pills. Or maybe one person is having sex, God forbid, with someone whom he or she is not married to. Lets forget about what somebody else is doing. Look at your self first. Paul Elischer Jasper, Ga. 7708941608

  • Ex Mormon

    These people are infact living the life that was revealed by there prophet Josephs Myth in the 1800′s They are truley Mormons although the mainstream LDS (Mormons) say they are not

  • Sam Hampton

    It appears as though two basic issues conflict–1st–federal, state, and local governments have a compelling interest to investigate if there is sufficient cause to conclude that children (below marriagable age) have been forced to engage in sexual acts, of any kind.2nd–federal, state, and local government do not have a right to interfere in private religious practices, unless there is a compelling reason that the religious practice is so heinous as to be unacceptable to society, and especially if that religious practice constitutes some kind of threat to wider society.Thus, the FLDS case is complicated. I, too, have concerns that the local governments are involved more out of distaste for the religious practice of polygamy than for an interest in protecting children. I suspect that if the FLDS faith stopped the practice of marrying off 14 year old girls to male adults, that the local governments would still raid the camp–and that is where all of this state intrusion in religious practice gets a bit scary. But I readily admit that I do not have all the facts.

  • Crfordy

    These comments are exatly why the juge issued a gag order. All these guesses at what is happening. It will play out in court so just let it playout and stop second guessing the details. It just stirs up more imagination.

  • Steve

    “It’s hard to know exactly what is going on down there,…”No it is not hard to know. The LDS sect has been nothing more than an excuse for older men to have several women as wives, women much younger, so much so that by some standards they can’t even be considered women. Religion makes it possible. It is, and always has been one shield that people like this use to take part in activities that are frowned upon in society. I’m all for live and let live, whether we are operating under a banner of religion or not. However, blatant honesty is necessary here. There can be NO denying that some of these young women do not have a choice; that they are denied the individual liberties that Americans have a right to as citizens. This is the crime here.

  • Tim Singleton

    To Realist: Yes, the embrace of Scientology by Hollywood with its theories on human origins is SOOOOO much more rational, LOL.People should be free to live life as they please and to practice their faith as they like. Is there any serious investigation into how many Muslims in this country practice polygamy privately? I doubt it.What about the honor killings in Texas of two beautiful teenage Muslim girls by their own father? Where is the outrage there on the public’s part?

  • Roy

    Claire Hoffman’s concluding statement: “no matter how marginal the beliefs of the FLDS.” ignores the illegal and inhumane actions that take place in the FLDS community. It isn’t about polygamy and beliefs it is about how women and children are treated. Those who say “they bother no one” are uninformed.

  • Dan

    I deeply resent the idea that sexual abuse of children can be flippantly written off as “marginal” religious behavior. It is a crime (and a sin, for those who believe in the Bible), and should face justice here, and in the hereafter.

  • Messiah Complex

    “…but questions of intrusion and authority should be asked, no matter how marginal the beliefs of the FLDS.”I find it interesting that we deem certain beliefs “marginal” and raid “compounds” in some cases, while the government declines to get involved in others. The Catholic Church was spared the humiliation over fundamentally the same issue because it’s not a cult — which means that it has political power.** (Paraphrasing Tom Wolfe, I think.)Not only are we unwilling to cast a critical eye upon someone’s religious beliefs without resorting to whitewashed euphemisms, but we also seem genuinely concerned about disconcerting whole communities of people in which sexual abuse is rampant.Our priorities on questions of faith are skewed to say the least.

  • Ooops.

    However it works out, and whatever the real truth is, religious liberties are being attacked. Governments don’t like religion, you can’t jail belief, free thinking and faith. Don’t believe me? look at Tibet.

  • Scott

    As previously stated, the “Mormons” do not practice polygamy. This is THE FUNDAMENTALIST church of jesus christ of latter-day saints… jeez… anyway, It’s founder (Joseph Smith Jr.) would agree with the decision to stop all polygamous families. This is because one of the Mormon’s Articles of Faith states, “We believe in honoring, obeying, and sustaining the law.”*for more information regarding who the “Mormons” REALLY are, visit http://www.mormon.org or http://www.lds.org or newsroom.lds.org

  • Redneck

    It would be interesting if one of the network media outlets would unleash the blood hounds from media hell on Eldarado and Schleicher County to see who wants to “Covet thy neighbor’s property”. With 1700 acres and oil over $100 a barrel makes one wonder. In the 1970s the ad valorem tax collected on oil and gas production paid 60 to 70 percent of the county’s public school costs, as well as contributing to road maintenance. Schleicher County oil fields produced approximately one million barrels annually in the 1980s.

  • Jay

    Something like 1 in 5 women are sexually abused from childhood to adulthood in the USA. So maybe the government should lock the whole nation up. I am no supporter of polygamy, but I don’t like the government looking for excuses to invade on peoples freedoms.

  • squid

    When will people ever learn that this kind of “organized religion” is derived from individual hearts and not from a male-directed organization. I realize that it may not be PC to so state, but most of these polygamous relationships are willingly entered into by women (even teenage girls). There are some cases where marriages were forced upon woman/girls, but most were not. The best evidence is that when the dust settles, most of the husbands and wives will return to their relationships even if the state offers the wives/children the world to do otherwise. These people believe that God will reward their sacrifices.Personally I believe that most of these polygamous relationships are not very healthy emotionally for any of the parties (male or female). I have seen some of my friends enter into these relationships, and I feel very sorry for them. Never-the-less, trying to control it by using the Force of the State is a BIG mistake.In My Humble Opinion, the State should only get involved if it learns of a specific Forced/Teenage Marriage, and it should deal specifically with that Situation.

  • Terry

    I wish the media would stop calling these people Mormon. I am sure most people agree that this does not represent the LDS religion. IN fact, I am jealous! Where do I sign up to have my own polygamist ranch, that to me is pure heaven. If the law allowed it, I would want 30 wives! The law does allow me to be Mormon; and which does not appeal to me one bit!

  • BenWatching

    Dan and others thumping their Bible here, you better recheck what is actually written in the book you so freely waive around concerning the age “children” become “adults”. After all, it IS the word of God isn’t it? Funny how people interpret the Bible, isn’t it?

  • TN

    What makes all you think that these women (of legal age) want to get out of polygamy but are stuck? Yes, in the case of the FLDS, there are many women that are trapped. But I know some people who are involved in other polygamous groups and the women are extremely happy. The men treat them with respect, they get along, and they genuinely love each other. Now granted, their particular group waits until the woman is of legal age to make her own decision, but it surprised me that they actually liked the lifestyle. I personally don’t get it and think its wrong, but what do I care if they choose to live it?

  • Thomas

    Many of the people writing in wonder why the government is intruding in private religious matters. I’ll remind them that most of these wives:Is this a religion?

  • Raven Skye

    Exactly how is the magic plates of LDS any more absurd than a man talking to a burning bush and bringing stone tablets off the mountain any less ludicrous? Neither have been found and we have to rely on hearsay as historical proof.

  • Kathleen

    I don’t think this was an abuse of power by local authorities. I think that if the local authorities in Texas believed that children were being abused, then they did the right thing. The girl who called the authorities is very brave, and I admire her…whoever she is.

  • Jim

    Realist, you say these people bothered no one. Maybe a 16-year-old girl is no one to you. And maybe that’s the problem.

  • KR

    This raid is just an ongoing part of the larger debate in America over the boundaries of church and state. We have know for decades that illegal polygamy was being tolerated. The tide started to turn finally when the abuses of Warren Jeffs emerged in the press and courts. I can only hope that other authorities will wake up and decide to enforce the laws of the land.For those who are incensed at what has happened on civil libertarian grounds, or who feel that anti-polygamy laws are hypocritical now given the allowance of sex between any consenting adults, I can understand your feelings and agree that the scope of this raid appears extreme. But we do not know all the details yet. Also, your argument is with legislative bodies that write the laws, so take up the issue with them. Law enforcement must stick to the laws we have and I for one am very happy they have finally decided to act to defend our laws, which is ultimately defending our Constitution, even in this case. Anti-polygamy laws may be antiquated, but until the legislators attack the boundaries of polygamy, and find ways to ensure that the practice does not result in the types of abuses of women,girls and ostracized boys that happens with the FLDS type version, it should remain illegal. I agree with the post above that states that some boundaries of polygamy are needed, such as restricting polygamous marriage to adults only, perhaps age 30. All younger people really deserve a chance at a monogamous marriage. We know that is the best way to produce and raise children, so lets give the survival of our species some consideration here!

  • A mother

    America is about freedom. But not about child abuse. And alot of people think that as being the same as raped. Maybe when the officials went in they pretected alot of poeple. Would you like for family to be lured into somthing like this. Think about your son or daughter ages 6 mo.-18yrs. They will wont freedom oneday, for choice and mind.

  • Jenn

    The FLDS church is not a Mormon sect. Please, media, stop calling them Mormons! Can you get it right–just once?

  • Garland

    This is SLOPPY REPORTING.The article starts by citing the washington post web site, which stated the facts clearly: That Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) are NOT mormons (like this article on this web page insinuates…thus perpetuating myths). A religion’s past is not always a reflection of its current status. What was approved in the past by God, is not now for specific reasons (some unknown to us). Hence the reason we do not cast stones anymore, slay livestock, have polygamy…etc. Continually bringing Mormons into every polygamy issue in the same breath is like reporting on pediphiles and referencing catholics in the same line. It just aims to hurt those not truly at the heart of matter. It shows the ugly underbelly of religion vs religion, when we really should all just be promoting faith in this aethiestic world.

  • JTownsend

    There is not enough information in this article to make a judgement call- but many here have brought up good point.If you do not believe in God, then what standard do you have to say that this is wrong? We are dealing with an ethical issue here: polygamy and possibly child abuse.If someone believes that this is just another example of how religion, any or all, is terrible- then they have to answer why theu think poligamy or child abuse is wrong in the first place. Only an absolute standard, such as that which is derrived from God, can give us a moral compass.Sure, I say poligamy is wrong- but that’s because the Bible clearly shows that the marriage relationship should between one man and one woman. No premarital sex allowed. Someone who is inolved with a poligamous relationship shouldn’t be required to “divorce” a wife- but rather has a larger duty to provide for that family… afterall, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. But that poligamous relationship should not be allowed to “increase”, (gain another spouse).

  • Tim Singleton

    …and…If there is NO 16 year old to be found, those of you who are outraged at this community’s chosen way of life have egg on YOUR face, too. If there is, put the man who abused her in jail. Assaulting this community as a whole is over the top, though. Must be some financial issues between this community and other sectors of the state for this to happen…and now I am just spinning sugar castles out of air. I look forward to actual details so we can know what really has happened.To be clear, no one in their teen-age years should get married, IMO. Minimum age should be 21 for marriage, voting, military service and drinking and all majority decisions as far as I am concerned.Atlanta has polygamous relationships all over the place, I am told. Only instead of ‘marriage’ you have two or three women who are ‘in a relationship’ whatever that means to knotheads of today’s ‘tolerant’ society who have children by the same man. What do you all propose we do to these fellows?…and no, they are not LDS.

  • Todd

    I am vehemently against polygamy! If it were legal, the whole stock of attractive young girls would be taken up by rich old wrinkled men! The young hot girls my age are still held somewhat at bay since the old man can only legally marry one at a time, leaving the rest of the frustrated girls to date guys their own age.

  • CHRISTIAN R.

    I FEEL WE AS AMERICANS HAVE THE RIGHT TO DO WHAT WE WANT TOO CAUSE WE HAVE THE FREEDOM BUT DONT INCLUDE CHILDREN THAT DONT KNOW AND ONLY SEEK FOR PROPER GUIDEANCE AND TRUTH. THERE MINDS ARE INICENT TOO ABUSE AND CORRUPT, IF YOU GET CAUGHT ABUSING YOU SHOULD DIE IN PRISON…

  • Mitchell

    These guys aren’t Mormon (members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). The practice and way of life of this FLDS group is considered gross wickedness and is a clear violation of the laws of not only the land but of God. FLDS IS NOT part of the LDS church organization.Please be considerate to those of us who are “mormon” and not group us with these individuals.These FLDS leadership discussed in the article lack clear moral, ethical and spiritual guidance. What scares me is how many people there were found living in this “compound”. What is being preached there that would attract so many?

  • Paul Elischer

    Most of you are right. it is not about freedom of religion. It is about the welfare of the children. I truly believe that if a child is being assaulted than the person doing the assaulting must be punished. On the other hand children are not 16 yrs old. Once they reach the age of 10 in this country they know more about sex than I did at the age of 16. With what is on TV and the Internet there is more sex than i car to see. most other countries of this world do not have all the stupid laws that we have and they have less trouble with sex then we have. There are beaches where people are nude, and the rape cases are less then here in the usa. something is wrong with us. Take care of your own back yard. Stop being a snoop. Teach your own child what is right and wrong.

  • feminazidie!

    This is a sham. If men and women are equal why is it always the poor woman/girl who needs protection from the big bad man? Does sound equal to me. Does anyone think maybe these women enjoy/want this type of adult relationship? And all these outcries of abuse of the poor 16 year old girls, where were they when boys under 16 are being raped by there teachers? If homosex is allowed under the constitution and polygamy is not, then it is clearly an arbitrary political line that is drawn without reason. And if 16 and under children are being married off, why is the goverment only persecuting the men? What about the mothers’ complicity and responsebility? Why are they not being prosecuted as equals but are treated like helpless victims? It is time women in this country are held to the same standard as men. They should not be able to shed a few tears and cry victim (see hillary)and then be given a pass. This is clearly the hight of feminist hippocracy.

  • CZ

    I think there is a religious war behind this as well. It should be noted that the area around the compound is highly Southern Baptist, notorious for hatemongering other religions that do not fit theirs. Ironic that the buses that “saved” the women and children where from the local Baptist Church. I think an investigation of local authority bigotry should be investigated. Clearly the separation of Church and state is being violated here. The local Baptist church yield too much power in that area of the country and have felt threatened by the influx of FLDS into the area.Check out the facts.

  • Steve in Waco

    It concerns me that the column kept referring to Waco as the location of the Branch Davidian Compound siege. That is not true. There can’t be “another Waco” since there was never one in the first place. Yes, there was a siege of the Branch Davidian Compound, and yes, it did result in tragedy; but, it did not occur in Waco. Why do we do that? … drag some nearby community into something unrelated to them? No one says President Bush’s ranch is located in Waco, yet, it, like the Branch Davidians, is located in a community near Waco, Texas (all three towns are in the same county). The Branch Davidians were, and are, located in Elk, Texas, a small community in McLennan County, Texas. Let’s stop maligning Waco this way and get the facts right.

  • Becky

    If you watch the video segments on sites such as CNN.com, you will see that these people were taken from the compound in church buses. I have every expectation that the “civic center” where many of them were taken is also largely run by a church organization. In your piece, you rightly identify concern about government intrusion; but you do not address the fact that the government is using the resources of one group of “believers” to intrude upon another group of “believers.” This is why true separation between church and state is critical. Our government should in no way be relying upon church organizations in order to manage its own operations. And guess what? As long as we employ the church and make it a part of what government provides, then why shouldn’t government feel free to intrude upon those of supposedly “lesser” beliefs?You can’t have it both ways. Either you want religion in government or not.

  • It’s not our call….

    I’m not religious in the least. I think religion is the biggest lie ever told. However, I AM very tolerant of others and their beliefs. I think if people want multiple wives/husbands then who are we to judge. The REAL problem with this form of religion is that they practice incest and force children as young as 13 into sex and marriage. That’s wrong no matter how you slice it! If, when they are legal adults, they choose this lifestyle of multiple partners that’s their choice but incest should NEVER be allowed for moral and genetic reasons.

  • Rey Gonza

    My biggest concern is the first thing I saw was a bus with a logo on it that said “First Baptist Church”, transporting some of the ladies away. That sends the wrong message. Looks more like a dislike for a certain religion then the locals want to admit. It isn’t like this group just sprouted up at that location overnight. Protect the children at any cost. But I see this more of a chance for local police and religious groups to get rid of those who they don’t agree with, more political then anything else. Want justice, then use a judge that is not tied to the area, try a federal court.

  • www.BlindWine.com

    Preserve our freedoms!

  • WDM

    Texas CPS has had a horrible record lately of discharging it’s duties. In fact Failure after failure So why are they going so overboard and off the scale of reasonableness now. Anyone else think it is kind of strange that April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

  • WDM

    Texas CPS has had a horrible record lately of discharging it’s duties. In fact Failure after failure So why are they going so overboard and off the scale of reasonableness now. Anyone else think it is kind of strange that April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

  • gatormico

    Hoffman, you should modify “government” stick[ing] it[s] finger into private religious worlds to “law enforcement.” Then, perhaps your argument holds water. Or, on the other hand, you can view the government’s involvement similar to that of the crackdown on sex crimes by Catholic priests. Realist, these people are being prosectuted because incest and molestation occured. The last time I checked Texas law prohibits both. Alas, the ATF & FBI were not involved because there was no stockpiling of weapons unlike the Branch Davidian case. There was a peaceful raid like that of Short Creek. The enforcement and legal tactics of today shouldn’t be compared with those from 55 years ago. Those involved will see their day(s) in court. It will be interesting to see where the defense will want to stage their case. As far as the posting concerning the whereabouts of the 16 year old girl accuser purportedly “missing,” I’m willing to believe she’s in some type of protective custody as she will be a key witness in the state’s case against Dale Barlow.

  • RO

    This is just one more manifestation of the biggest problem in the world today. Religion! It is used to justify sexual abuse of women, educational abuse of children, war, unetical business practice, evangelicalism (= “my religion is better than your religion and I’m going to kill you to prove it”) and a thousand other immoral things.Grow up people.What a sad and pathetic state the world has come to, and Religion is a major reason for it.

  • Redneck

    It would be interesting if one of the network media outlets would unleash the blood hounds from media hell on Eldarado and Schleicher County to see who wants to “Covet thy neighbor’s property”. With 1700 acres and oil over $100 a barrel makes one wonder. In the 1970s the ad valorem tax collected on oil and gas production paid 60 to 70 percent of the county’s public school costs, as well as contributing to road maintenance. Schleicher County oil fields produced approximately one million barrels annually in the 1980s.

  • Tim Singleton

    Well, Todd, I am 45 and my fiancee in her early 20′s. She is Catholic. She is marrying me because I am good to her, I have a JOB and am STABLE and can take good care of her and our kids to be. She wants a MARRIAGE and a family, not a roommate to party with.If you feel like you are in economic competition with older men, then get on the ball, get established and THEN get married.As for why my girl is interested in me, I was astonished as well, so I asked. Her response was telling. She said I go to work everyday sick or not, I pay my bills, and unlike probably as many as a third of fellows her own age, I have never had a relationship with another man. (a fourth to a third was her words, though I think (HOPE) that she was exaggerating.)As for me, I have never had children and want them and am ferociously physically active. Most women my age would shoot me in my sleep if I wanted them to have kids with me so a younger Lady is my only choice.

  • Oracle

    A few years ago Iran banned forced marriage of girls under 12 years of age. (Presumably, girls over 12 are fair game). Strange that we accept the political correct axiom that Islamic beliefs are OK, but those of western culture aren’t.Our public institutions must respect the beliefs of the FLDS people, and demonstrate this respect at every step of the process. Although the law must be enforced, law enfocement must not be tempted to disregard the rights due these individuals for convenience. They also must not use their position to advance views that disparage the legitimacy of any religious beliefs.

  • Paul Elischer

    REDNECK the land is owned by them the mineral rights are owned by others. they cannot stop the owners of the mineral rights from drilling for oil.

  • Sari

    These FLDS members are breaking the laws of this country. Our laws forbid polygamy. They forbid marriage at the ages of 13 and 14 and 15. People are worried here about too much government intrusion. Well, how about being worried about the fact that the FLDS openly flouts US laws, emphasizing that it is god’s law they follow, not man’s law. And god’s law tells them that they will go to hell, if they do not marry more than 3 women. These women are not given a choice. They are treated like property. The leader of this cult can marry them off to whomever he chooses and the women must submit. The little girls must submit. Freedom of religion is incredibly important. However, when certain religious cults start saying that god is telling them it is all right to rape a 13 year old child, then that is where their right to practice their faith is limited.

  • lepidopteryx

    Squid:I’m on a similar page regarding polygamy, whether it’s for religious reasons or not.If 15 consenting adults of amy combination of genders want to all marry each other, that’s fine with me. It’s not a relationship model that I would be happy with, but that’s just me.My only objection is when not everyone involved is a consenting adult. And I have to wonder as well about the mysterious phone caller who was nowhere to be found at the time of the raid. Instead of taking everyone into custody, why didn’t the police simply arrest the accused?

  • VultureTX

    A little historical context on LDS. Back in the 1950′s , when that raid occured as stated in the article, the Mormons were considered cultists by the majority of americans as it was seen as newly created religion relatively speaking. (note: now that place is taken by the Church of Scientology)Now the LDS claims that FLDS are cultists. However they can’t explain why FLDS members routinely have their cards that allow them Temple access, the mormon holy of holies. Because they don’t want to admit that LDS members grant them same privileges as their own faithful.

  • Michael C.

    So if someone in your neigborhood calls the police should they come in and cart off everyone on the block, and the surronding blocks as well. What happened to old fashioned police work?

  • Tessa4

    I would agree that most religions, even those claiming to help the downtrodden, have no qualms about using and abusing women, sexually, physically and emotionally. What I don’t understand is why older women seem inclined to help the men in power keep younger women and girls under control. I don’t think it would be possible to harm the young ones without mothers and grandmothers brainwashing their daughters. Maybe they do it out of fear – I don’t know. It just seems so sad. Any child, male of female, needs be taught that only they have the right to determine their life’s choices, free from the fear and guilt that seems to permeate religions and religious practices.

  • Raven Skye

    Here’s the problem. People are screaming for Religious freedom at almost any cost. If we are to believe the Christianity myth over the Muslim or Buddhist more so than any other then by all rights these old perverts should be able to marry 13 and 14 year olds in the name of religious freedom. During the time when Mary and Joseph supposedly lived it was common for 12 year olds to marry “men” who were 18 or older. Mary most likely would have been between 12 and 14. Although if she were married for any amount of time it is doubtful she would have been a virgin since reproducing was job one of the new wife.

  • Paul Elischer

    Mary the mother of Our Lord Jesus, was only about 13 or 14 years old when he was born. Was she wrong? or was it her religion?

  • Bart Stratton

    The core issue is how we define freedom. From the perspective of the male adults who run this religion, they should have the religious freedom to marry their child brides and continue their polygamous practices. This freedom must be weighed against the rights of the girls (and boys) to develop as free, self-determining individuals. Being put into a marriage with a much older man, when you are still too immature to take care of yourself, and compounding this with having children of your own,clearly prevents these girls from ever experiencing the basic freedom to associate most Americans take for granted. Similarly, we know from previous cases the boys of this religious sect are put to work and sent away in order to prevent them from having a love relationship with girls their own age; they in their turn are denied basic freedoms of association that we grant all our other children and young adults.If adults choose to enter into some kind of polygamous arrangement that is one thing, but to allow fundamental freedoms to be snatched from our children, is a wrong we must redress.Religion cannot be allowed shield crimes, or criminals will simply invent religions that protect them prosecution. We, the people, have as much right to intervene in this case, as we did to prosecute the errant Catholic priests who abused the children in their parishes. If we parents give up our fundamental power to investigate the wrong doing of our religious leaders, then we fail to protect our children, and we let our most sacred institutions become the realm of predators. We have the same responsibility to investigate the allegations of child sex abuse in this community as in any other. Freedom is a gift that must be passed from one generation to the next. We must protect our sons and daughters until they are old enough to exercise their own liberty.

  • Robert kenny, Edmonton Alberta CA

    I think part of the problem here and in the Winston Blackmore compound in Bountiful, British Columbia is confusing a religious sect with a group of old, white men engaged in pedophilia and incest and hiding behind their so-called religion to avoid prosecution. Every child seized from these loony-tunes should be given a DNA test and every old, white man in the cult who has committed incest should be jailed for life. Cloaking perversion in the guise of religion should be considered an aggravating circumstance at sentencing.

  • dave

    After reading many of the comments here I see a pattern: People defending the Mormon religion, religion in general, freedom, religions freedom, and the “law”. Most miss the point. This is about adults in control deciding how children’s bodies will be “used”. In some cultures this is acceptable. (In my opinion people who abuse children need to be put away) Our laws in the U.S. do not allow adults to “use” children, although it happens all the time. Because of the nature of being human, freedom must have limits – that is why we have laws. Using the excuse that these peoples “freedoms” are being “violated” is the familiar whine of an abuser. There are children involved here – they have no “choice” – get that through your heads. The young woman who called the authorities is indeed very brave. Adults in control without the limits of law are big and strong and can do much harm to children. Anyone who has been involved in helping abused children knows that their biggest fears are being harmed by their abusers and having other adults not believe them. One in 3 women have been abused/molested as children – and this is the number reported – and we don’t even know how many young men have been abused/molested. There is a darn good reason why the “authorities” have intervened – and the general public does not yet have all the facts.

  • Vivi

    This is not an intrusion on religion. It’s about protecting children from old men who would exploit young girls. How can anyone defend these actions by the Flds not to be confused with the LDS church. I watched a program where some young women had escaped one of the FLDS compounds. To hear their stories leaves no doubt that they were exploited. Where’s the sixteen year old? That’s still to be determined. To the persons who asked, have you thought about the the worst scenario? I hope she’s found alive and well.

  • JP – 3L

    The discomfort many people feel at watching any government entity (state or federal) reach into private lives is understandable. When these large agencies come down on anyone it reminds us that, contrary to what the advertisers say, we are not special, we are all subject to the law, and in some instances we project our own fears of these agencies onto another’s plight. Fortunately for all the victims of abuse we are a nation of laws, not of religious averages.It would be important for people living outside Texas to keep in mind that in our state (and many others besides) a person may wed at the age of 16 as long as either (a) their parents consent, or (b) a court order has been granted approving the marriage. See Texas Family Code Sec. 2.003 & 2.009. Granted the family code does not allow polygamy or abuse, just the marriage.A post above was spot-on in that if people dislike the laws they have redress in their state/federal representative. One more reason not to skip voting; your civic obligation.

  • Antonio

    Claire Hoffman conveniently ignores the fact that the people in this compound were breaking the law and abusing children. To turn a blind eye to such horrible sexual abuse of young girls is to give it silent aproval.

  • james

    i have to chuckle when i see the baptist church buses

  • L.Kurt Engelhart

    “the government is using the resources of one group of “believers” to intrude upon another group of “believers”Government is about a preferred, agreed upon way of living. This way is not always decided upon democratically or rationally. Democracy and rationality are evolving processes of collective thinking that have proven to produce better ways of living. A way of living will always involve some spiritual perspective inseparable from religion. Our problem is that we have been unable to discuss religion democratically or rationally. Fundamentally, some religions are better than others and government will always be involved in promoting a preferred way of living.

  • paul elischer

    Let the 16 yr old girl be found and the person who assaulted her be punished. Cut off his hands and then his man parts. That should be done to all sex offenders. But to take all the women and children out of their homes, should not have happened.

  • Tim singleton

    VultureTX, you have made a statement that is patently untrue and you probably know it to be untrue.Apologize.FLDS members do NOT have access to the Temples of the LDS Church.

  • utahn

    FLDS > LDS. I am mormon and I have one wife. If I have more than one wife, they tell me to leave.

  • Kam

    The authorities have to shut down these places at any cost. Who wants another Paul Schäfer compound?

  • JMK

    vulturetx – No wonder you have made Vuluture part of your name. You must be as loathsome and destructive of those polygamist sexual predators in El Dorado – you just do it differently. You prey on mystery and the unknown and expose it as cultist, devilish, or evil – For those who are curious – the Fundamentalist LDS church is a big thorn in the REAL LDS churchs side. I dont speak for the church – but as a mormon, when we hear of people doing things who are members from splintered of sects of the LDS church (the the FLDS), we just cringe. It adds to fears and prejudices against so many great people who are nothing like those polygamist.We are not them – they are not part of us.

  • sharon
  • JMK

    vulturetx – No wonder you have made Vuluture part of your name. You must be as loathsome and destructive of those polygamist sexual predators in El Dorado – you just do it differently. You prey on mystery and the unknown and expose it as cultist, devilish, or evil – For those who are curious – the Fundamentalist LDS church is a big thorn in the REAL LDS churchs side. I dont speak for the church – but as a mormon, when we hear of people doing things who are members from splintered of sects of the LDS church (the the FLDS), we just cringe. It adds to fears and prejudices against so many great people who are nothing like those polygamist.We are not them – they are not part of us.

  • Raul

    WHM99,You living in unfair world anyway. If so, why not to explore another way around? Small question: you think that you always fair toward every one?

  • TS

    I certainly hope that the Washington Post prints a partial retraction of this “story”. In particular, the FLDS church is not a “Mormon sect” as it is referred to in this article. (Thanks for everyone else that pointed it out, just emphasizing it further.) The LDS church has an excellent media guide on it’s website. Please check it first to get your facts straight.Also, to VultureTX, the LDS church does not refer to ANY church as a cult, including the FLDS church. Here is our official doctrine:”We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”

  • MCTAYLOR

    The issue in this article is child abuse, not polygamy. If members of this polygomous sect are abusing children they should be prosecuted. However, States should rethink the logic behind current polygomous laws. If the majority of American men and women are polygomous sexually, then sexual partners should be alowed to cohabitate and call themselves married. Any man or woman has the right to have sex with whoever is within the legal age or mental capasity to consent. They’re just much better off, in many ways, if they do it within the bonds of legal matrimony.

  • Arminius

    Jeff P,Thanks for putting on this blog a really resounding series of slams to the assorted Neanderthals and common knuckledraggers abiding here. Well done, my friend.Arminius

  • Dan

    Kofi,I don’t know about the FLDS church but the LDS church is thriving in Africa because Aficans are so humble and it takes a lot of humility to be a Mormon. I work with a Bahamian who is Mormon and he is the nicest, humblest person in the world. Not only does he get racist comments at work but negative religious comments too. He just says that it’s their problem not his. The most humble Christian I know.

  • MCTAYLOR

    The issue in this article is child abuse, not polygamy. If members of this polygomous sect are abusing children they should be prosecuted. However, States should rethink the logic behind current polygomous laws. If American men and women are allowed to be polygomous sexually, then sexual partners should be alowed to cohabitate and call themselves married. Any man or woman has the right to have sex with whoever is within the legal age or mental capasity to consent. They’re just much better off, in many ways, if they do it within the bonds of legal matrimony.

  • Davidov

    I will repeat what a number of others have said:The Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints is *NOT* Mormon. It no more Mormon than fundamentalist Muslims are Jewish. The FLDS split off from the Mormon church over 100 years ago (which, in the history of a young denomination, is a very long time). Since then, the FLDS and its ilk have been responsible for bombings of Mormon churches and death threats against Mormon leaders. The only connection between the Mormon church and the FLDS is a mutual dislike.The Associated Press style guide and countless dictionaries define “Mormon” essentially as “a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.” No polygamist can be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; polygamy results in excommunication. Tautologically, then, polygamists are not Mormons.If Ms Hoffman’s beliefs were libeled by a false association with disgusting polygamist sects, if she experienced the misplaced discrimination and even hatred that I have experienced, no doubt she would be more careful in her use of labels. Most members of the American media have finally become sensitized to this point; unfortunately, the Washington Post and Newsweek seem to be behind the times. Count me out of their circulation.

  • Brad

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”So all those men and women that died to protect American Religious freedom, died in vain.I don’t like the fact that Jews turn their girls into women at 13… lets go after them next.Don’t the Baptists scare kids with stories of going to hell… That is cruel and inhumane, we should take away their kids next… Then after that we can go after someone else we don’t like.God it would be great to live in a free country, wish I did.

  • Jim

    Let’s not forget that the FLDS leader, Warren Jeffs, was tried in St. George, Utah, and is now imprisoned in the Utah State Prison. Saying this is a war of religions or blaming Baptists for the mistreatment of these criminals in Texas is inaccurate.

  • Sure

    The primary reason FLDS isn’t recognized by mainstream Mormons is the question of polygamy and how Mormons were beat down almost two centuries ago by the US government, fleeing to Utah as a result. This is a prime example of how internal Christian religious persecution manifested itself in the USA. If we are a “Christian Nation” what version of Christianity do we practice? Even among Protestant sects, there are too many to count. The whole question of state sanctioned religion is one reason the US exists but sadly, one we forget, over and over again. Read your history people, especially Christians. It was Christian men who didn’t want to make the mistakes of England and the rest of Europe, why the wrote it into the Constitution. Ah, how we forget…Remember, Henry VIII kicked out the Catholic church over some pootang and a money snatch, then told everyone they had to worship his churh and his only. It took almost 475 years for England and Ireland to sort that mess out, but he’s a hero, right? That guy playing on “The Tudors” looks WAY better than Henry ever did!

  • A conservative American

    The sexual abuse of children should never be tolerated in our society. The whole idea of polygamy, especially when it involves underage girls, is unacceptable and illuminates an underlying pedophelia by sick, depraved men.

  • Anonymous

    Hoffman wrote : “Members of the Fundamentalist Church are…”What’s fundamentalist about polygamy? Are stupid people fundamentalist? Are you then a fundamentalist? Stupid?

  • CZ

    Jim would have us believe that we are all guilty if one of our leaders is guilty of something. Interesting concept. Watch out thought policy. Make sure you protect your thoughts from the government.

  • PW

    How can we fight the Taliban & allow similar fundamentalists to carry on in our own country?

  • MissouriBoiler

    I am a member(& one of the local leaders) of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) or Mormon if so wish to call us.Please do not group my family and I generally with those of the FLDS. That is wrong. We teach monogamy, living by the civil laws, and respect for women. I disagree with the actions of the FLDS when it comes to underage women and the abusive men. It is quite a sad scenario and if there is criminal action they should be convicted of such. (Thinking of the Warren Jeffs type scenarios.)

  • zeebo

    The real question is, there is nothing fundamentaly wrong with consenting polygamy, if it’s not for you than don’t do it. Polygamy is not inherently evil. it can actually be a really positive way to live if it is not a forced situation but rather a chosen one for all involved, the idea of having multiple role models to share the responsibilities, also while on the subject, what is wrong with gay marriage, the government needs to stop telling people who and how they are supposed to love one another, if it is love it should be legal.

  • Paul Elischer

    JMK didn’t brigham young preach and teach this. and did he not have more then five wifes?

  • Raul

    Feeling great sadness in relation to innocent sufferers from Mormon Church in Texas I praying for them to God. O Almighty Father! Save your Mormon children from evil Texas government!

  • patrick

    Ploygamy is against federal laws. The church breaks federal laws and should be punished. Making religious what is illegal does not work in America. A church already tried to use religion to be pot smokers; which is a federal crime; and the church was shut down, why not polygamists held to the same standard.

  • Jason

    To: Tim S.What form of Christianity are you referring to when you say “Why is it okay for Mr. Stud, Mr. Playa, Mr. Pro-athlete to have three or four girlfriends simulataneously knocked up, but if he MARRIES them he should go to jail?”????????Last time I check Christianity condemns pre-marital sex. The bible also says to honor your wife (Ephesians 5:21-33) not multiple wives or domestic partners. Please don’t mistake this for an attack, simply my rebuttal to your representation of Christianity. The simple fact is this world is broken. Christianity and faith in God is everyone’s choice, not requirement. That’s why God’s Grace is considered a gift and not an inheritance. We can accept the gift or reject it.

  • JMK

    Kofi wanna be – Get over it- Mormons like Black people. We always have. We were persecuted in the 1800′s in Missourie because of our political stance AGAINST slavery – and our politial clout of overthrow it in that state. Our Prophet Joseph Smith housed and fed former black slaves and took them, clothed them, gave them jobs, and introduced them to non-servant lifestyles. Its documented.racists in America were part of every religion in Americas past.I know you want to carry on your crusade – but they only people who hate others because of race, color etc…are small groups of gangs and thugs. There are plenty of them out there. I know. But to classify them to large organizations like whitey or mexicans, or mormons or whoever is just ridiculous. Get out of the 20th century. Move on.

  • Jay

    The FLDS church is NOT associated with or has any ties to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS church). It split from the LDS church over a century ago. The LDS church does not condone or practice polygamy in any form. It does NOT allow members of the FLDS church to attend their temples or participate in church meetings. The FLDS church is NOT the Mormons as referred to in the article. If you want to know what a particular religion believes, go to the source and ask a member of that religion, not your minister.

  • syzetetes

    It would be an interesting study on Mormonism to see where this idea and practice of polygamy originated and the cause of the FLDS split. It sounds like a study in “church” history could be of value for my LDS friends.

  • LennyD

    Two hundred women and children forcibly removed from their homes based on a bogus phone call…When do the government workers behind this start losing their jobs and going to jail?

  • Tim

    I agree that no sect or religion should be allowed to “force” marriage on any underage person. The laws of the land pretty much limit the age of marriage at 18 (17 in some states). If all parties are of legal age, who cares if a man or woman has multiple spouses.However, I get a kick out of the mormons saying these people are “not” mormons. This is like the catholic church saying lutherans are not christians. Every church known to man has had it’s breakaway sects, this is no diffent.Study your Mormon history, originally poligamy was aproved of and encouraged by the mormon church. Right up until the laws were changed in the US to limit marraige to one man and woman.

  • Davidov

    Paul Elischer: Didn’t Thomas Jefferson own slaves? Didn’t our political leaders long prevent women from voting? Times change.

  • Don

    I’m outraged that Eldorado is called “West Texas” and I’m also outraged that none of the other Texans who posted is outraged.

  • Mary R.

    These polygamous communities practice more than just sexual abuse. The absolute control they wield over their women and children makes this tantamount to brainwashing and slavery.I salute the bravery it must have taken for one 16 year old girl to ask for help.

  • Sure

    Brad: “I don’t like the fact that Jews turn their girls into women at 13… lets go after them next.” Good point – what is a child? For most of human history once you could procreate, you were an adult. Physically YOU ARE an adult. And doesn’t God say “be fruitful and multiply”? So what’s the holdup my Jewish, Christian, Muslim friends? Doesn’t this arbitrary age limit fly in the face of religious freedom?Modern society, especially the media, coddle younger adults – it’s gotten so bad anyone under the age of 35 is considered “young”. Funny, when baby boomers were burning flags and bras 40 years ago, they considered 30 and over “middle age”.LennyD: If this were a black girl in the ghetto, she wouldn’t even get a follow up phone call – “Uh, go to the local precinct and file a report. THEN call me. CLICK – Whew! I ain’t got time for these skank heifas!” They’re muggin’ for the cameras, poor little white girl done wrong!

  • Davidov

    Syzetetes: I am 99.99% certain that I have studied far more about the history of the the LDS church than you have (the 0.01% chance being that you are a professional LDS historian). Everyday Mormons like me are very aware of the history of polygamy in the Mormon church (together with the historical relationship to Free Masonry, historical ideas such as blood atonement, etc.).We are also aware of the current status of polygamy in the Mormon church. On that point, it seems a little education could be of value to *you*. Please avail yourself of it from those of us who are giving it to you.

  • MS

    TO FEMINAZIDIEAre you kidding me?! What country are you living in? First – you are missing the main point behind all of this. Second – women and children have always been thought of as second class – no matter their race. Men have always used their power and gender to control and get what they want. In this situation, the women are in fear for themselves and their children if they go against the will of the male in control. This is NOT new to everyone. This has been going on for years and centuries. Maybe its just we all have had enough of it! It takes one male to brain wash followers – but takes a whole society to undo it!

  • Davidov

    I am a polygamist myself!

  • Roger

    What consenting adults do in their own homes is NONE of our business. When it affects a child, or someone is forced to do something against their will, it is a problem. Saying that all Mormon’s practice polygamy is silly, kinda like saying all Baptists are like the Southern Baptists picketing military funerals.Who knows if the phone call that was made was legitimate. That could have been faked just so the local authorities had a reason to go raid the compound. Anyone can fake a phone call and fake where it came from, hell I do that all the time just have fun with friends. A thorough investigation should be done before we draw too many conclusions on this one before we cast the first stone.

  • Rose

    In my opinion, government has double standard. On one hand, it supports Gays and Lesbians life style but on the other hand, Polygamy is trashed.

  • Joyce

    Does anyone notice the massive propaganda that Mormons are spewing out in these comments? I can’t trust a group like that.

  • Sure

    Why can’t I have two husbands? Seven? Two to pay the bills, two for landscaping/household repairs, one chef and a couple boy toys. And if they don’t do as I say, they get a beat down from my three enforcers/male concubines. Why do the guys get all the fun? ‘Welcome to the Hotel California…she’s got a lot of pretty boys, that she calls men…’

  • Paul Elischer

    Yes i agree times do change. yet why go after one religion or a group. If you are after one man or woman you don’t take all the men or women in the neighborhood. Slave holding was and is wrong yet if you know any thing about history you will see that the victors always made slave of the people they defeated. This is not about slavery this is about one 16 yr old who reported she was being abused. Find her and the man that abused her. do what needs to be done to him and let the others alone.

  • Sid

    This is a very confused discussion. Marriage confers certain legal rights and obligations, pertaining to both property and dependent children. The state has every right to regulate marriage according to any law that does not violate the Constitution, and to punish those who violate these laws. Religion has absolutely nothing to do with it. If my religion says I should stone my wife to death if she is unfaithful, I should be prosecuted for murder. Articles like this one only reinforce the perception that religious beliefs, especially if strongly held, create a blinding irrationality, whereby faith is so important that no other values or standards matter. That’s the road to chaos, or at least to strapping on a vest packed with explosives.

  • Jake in Salt Lake

    After reading all of these posts I’d like to make a few comments/observations. In the interest of full-disclosure, I should state that I’m a practicing Mormon.1) Sexual abuse of children is a serious crime and a moral sin, the gravity of which is likely lost in these posts.2) Ironically, religious institutions have long spoken out against child abuse and, at the same time, have been complicit in shielding perpetrators from justice (i.e. Catholic priet child abuse, forced polygamist marriages of underaged children, etc.)3) Sam Hamptom makes a good analysis of the issue: “I have concerns that the local governments are involved more out of distaste for the religious practice of polygamy than for an interest in protecting children. I suspect that if the FLDS faith stopped the practice of marrying off 14 year old girls to male adults that the local governments would still raid the camp–and that is where all of this state intrusion in religious practice gets a bit scary.”4) It’s hard to make a good case constitutionally as to why polygamy among consenting adults should not be allowed by law, especially since a man can have multiple sexual partners. Additionally, it’s equally hard to argue for the right for gay marriage while at the same time arguing against polygamy.5) There are probably religious motivations by a dominant religion that spurred this investigation. As Becky puts it: “the government is using the resources of one group of “believers” to intrude upon another group of “believers.”6) Mormons, who do not and have not openly practiced polygamy for quite some time, are some of the most vocal critics of polygamy. It’s ironic how Mormons, who first started polygamy in the US, are perhaps now the most intolerant towards break-off groups that still practice polygamy. I believe that Mormons want so badly to break into the mainstream of religious practice in America that they are willing to vilify much more adamantly a practice they [Mormons] once openly taught and embraced.

  • Polyandrist

    Even if the emphasis on the plight of girls and young women is well placed, what about the prospects of young men in this cult?For a polygamist society to operate, we need a surplus of females. How did they scare off the excess males?

  • Niels

    It is unfortunate that greed, lust and the quest for power so readily lead people down the pathway to conflict and exploitation. Religion should not be used as a justification for mis-treating other human beings, and especially not the most vulnerable in human society as children, women and the frail generally are. Authoritarian guidelines must at the same time strive to accomodate those in society who may have their own values where such values do not cause a problem to those who are involved or an actual problem to anyone not involved other than that they might not approve on grounds based on their particular beliefs. Perhaps then we could get a more compassionate and less violent world,and that should be a good thing.

  • Davidov

    Daniel: I would challenge you to define what you mean by “cult.” Chances are, your beliefs fit the definition as well as anyone else’s. The fact is that any organization can become a cult, any principle a dogma, and any cause a crusade — it’s all in the mind of the cultist, dogmatist, and crusader.In any event, by any objective definition, evangelicals and New Athiests (the most frequent attributers of cultishness to Mormonism) fit the bill of “cult” far better than the modern Mormon church does. Anyone who has listened to the sermons of modern Mormon leaders will know that they are hardly mesmerizing charismatics, but rather gentle providers of spiritual advice. The leaders of evangelical superchurches and New Athiest movements, on the other hand, are precisely the types of charismatics upon whose backs cults are built, and their followers often characteristically accepting of belief systems without due deliberation.

  • Tim Singleton

    Jason:No problem and I did not interpret your words as an attack. My point, if I may, was that we agressively pursue POLYGAMISTS, but not Studs and Playas. Though they sometimes do have to pay child support, it is a hit and miss thing and society’s outrage at a man with kids by three or four women out of wedlock is miniscule next to our disgust of men with more than one wife. Federline has kids with how many women? Anyone want to jail him? No.There ARE two separate issues here. Polygamy and child abuse. If protections are in place for women (women, not girls), polygamy is at least as acceptable as gay marriage.Also, Mary was young and Joseph was much, much older than her. The 12 young men who fathered the 12 tribes of Israel came from FOUR mothers, all married to Jacob. Solomon was condemned not for his many wives, but for his foreign wives who worshipped false gods. Polygamy is part and parcel of Christianity’s roots and all the whining in the world will not change that.But we are losing site of the 16 year old. Where is SHE and what is her condition?

  • VLM

    One correction: The girl reported that at age 15 she was forced to marry a 50 year old and became pregnant. The article seems to imply it was a 16 year old freely marrying an older man. Also, you might want to check out the history of molestation, rape, and sexual abuse of the leader.

  • RC

    Tim…Mormons saying the FLDS members aren’t Mormons would actually be more like the Catholics saying that the Lutherans aren’t Catholics, which they aren’t.

  • Davidov

    Jake in Salt Lake: On 6), I will admit that I am intolerant towards break-off groups that still practice polygamy. The reason, however, is not because I care about my religious practice becoming mainstream. I merely want it to be understood for what it is. Whether it is then accepted into the mainstream is unimportant to me.

  • Jeff

    Is this what we have to look forward. If this was one young lady who was sexually molested, why were all the women and children bused? Why not just the offending parties, or are they all guily before bring proved? Guilt by association.Will this whoesale kidnapping practice now be used on any group, Boy Scout, Girl Scouts, smaybe like the Presbytians, Lutherans, Methodists, Catholics ect..?I am not in agreement with the practices of the LDS doctrine, but we must protect the lawful right of these groups where unlawful activities do not take place.

  • Darrell

    I keep wondering how a group with so many members on welfare could pay for this compound

  • gj

    All those men there should be hung PERIOD. no man should force a women for sex, especially a young girl

  • scott

    So how do members of the Mormon faith choose which teachings of Joseph Smith’s to practice and which to ignore? Unlike in Christianity, where Jesus’ teachings are given to us second hand (via letters from the apostles, etc..), many of Joseph Smiths actual writings and translations are available.If those works contain elements that are now no longer acceptable to the Mormon faith, what makes any of it acceptable?

  • Bert

    Tim: Yes, polygamy is part of the history of Israel, and Israel’s history is part of the history of Christianity. However, the same can be said of sacrificing animals to atone for sin. Also in that history is the view that sin left unatoned for, even if one doesn’t consciously know about it, is grounds for death.Many things changed over the course of Israel’s history since the days of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.In the New Testament, now, we see monogamy upheld as the standard. Regarding the other examples, of course, no sin is left unatoned for now if you claim Jesus’ blood as the atonement for them, repent, and make Jesus lord of your life.

  • Davidov

    Paul Elischer: There are a couple of issues here. First off, I was responding to your rhetorical question about Brigham Young being a polygamist, and, more importantly, responding to the insinuation that Brigham Young’s polygamist practices would necessarily be relevant to the Mormon church’s practices today. Brigham Young’s practices are no more relevant than Thomas Jefferson’s slavery is to our country’s stance on slavery today.On your broader points, arrests can be made when there is probable cause to believe criminal activity is occurring or has occurred. The 16-year-old’s complaints may have related to a single individual, but I, for one, wouldn’t second-guess the police in finding probable cause to arrest a number of people involved in the polygamist group (probably for a variety of potential crimes, including possibly conspiracy or an accomplice theory).

  • Alex

    Tim:”However, I get a kick out of the mormons saying these people are “not” mormons. “We are not denying the polygamy of our past in any way. Some of my ancestors whom I love and revere practiced polygamy. I am actually quite proud of it. However, if the FLDS want to practice it, they are going to have to practice civil disobedience and face their own consequences, just the same as we did when we practiced it. In other words, they are on their own.For a period of time before the discontinuance in 1890, we practiced it and faced the consequences of it head on. One of my great-great-great grandfathers went to jail for the practice (I have a photo of him in a jail gang in his striped suit.). He was determined to take care of his family that he had, but the federal government was determined not to let him do that (Edmunds-Tucker Act). What we disavow is any connection that would imply that would condone any form of abuse involved, or insinuate a connection of abuse with LDS doctrine and practice if there is any. We are not chummy with child abusers and with forced marriage. My great-great-great grandmother entered into the practice out of her own free will and choice. Polygamy was hard in large part because of the Federal Government made it so.Although doctrinally, I am not currently authorized to practice it, I do have compassion upon the FLDS, but not for any abuse.I do not hate FLDS in any way. That said, I am not going to pick up the tab for their actions either.

  • !!

    LDS timeline of conflict with American values1976 “Blacks have a dark color of skin becuase they are cursed by God” Book of Mormon, Jesus had 3 wifesIf FLDS does not equal LDS, then by your own belief does Multiple Marriage Jesus not = LDS beliefs?

  • Tim Singleton

    Isn’t it interesting how many folks have piped up about this issue or that…but NO ONE is really focused on where the 16 year old girl in question is.Baptists use it as an excuse to attack polygamy and by association the LDS church (that it is the FLDS seems to be just a technicality to them.)Agnostic wants to use her plight as a jumping off board to take away the rights of parents to teach their children their faith. Yes…looking at Columbine and the out of wedlock birth rate in this country sure makes me want to get rid of teaching kids good principles at home. Good call, Agnostic….but the actual whereabouts and fate (and apparently the existence of) this 16 year old appears to be completely secondary in importance.Hmmm.

  • Paul Elischer

    The real story is that there was no WACO. If there had been we would all be talking about the poor children that the government kill. I will always believe that government is getting to big. With new laws being passed every day to keep us in line. then when we become a third world nation, we will do as we are told.

  • aqua

    I moved to Utah from South Carolina about 2 years ago. In the time I have lived here I have made several Mormon (real Mormon/LDS) friends. To say these people covertly support the perverted belief system of the FLDS simply because polygamy is a part of the mainstream church’s history is completely ludicrous. It’s as ludicrous as saying that because my Presbyterian ancestors owned slaves (and once cited the Bible as justification), the modern Presbyterian church supports slavery. Ridiculous. You would never say such a thing. However, throw in an ignorance to a particular church’s belief system and a hatred of anything and anyone different from you, and rational thinking goes out the door. I don’t share most of the beliefs of my LDS friends, but I see how they live every day. These are good Christian people with a strong sense of morality and dedication to the American way of life. Like any other spiritual movement, they have acknowledged enlightenment to be a process. No faithful, practicing Latter Day Saint would ever condone the atrocities the FLDS are committing against the women and children of their sect.

  • Tim Singleton

    Now we have people just making stuff up. The Book of Mormon does not say Jesus has three wives. Yes, I have read the whole thing.Was that you, VultureTX?

  • Travis

    “However, I get a kick out of the mormons saying these people are “not” mormons. This is like the catholic church saying lutherans are not christians”Tim: No, this is not like Catholics saying Lutherans are not Christians. People do not identify the term “Christian” as referring exclusively to the Catholic church, but many believe the term “Mormon” refers exclusively to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints. And, for the most part, it does.I’m glad you get a kick out of it, but as a member of the Curch of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I do not want to be associated with the likes of Warren Jeffs any more than protestants want to be associated with crazed fundamentalist christians. Using the term “Mormon” to describe FLDS is confusing and misleading. The Associated Press knows better, and so should the Washington Post.

  • Lance

    Sounds like the government asserting their “authority” where it doesn’t belong. It is also interesting that “women and children” are always looked upon as victims and men as perpetrators. Did these women have no choice?? Yeah right – when are we going to hold women to the same standards as men? After all, they are supposed to be equal to men, right?

  • Realist

    “In any event, by any objective definition, evangelicals and New Athiests (the most frequent attributers of cultishness to Mormonism) fit the bill of ‘cult’ far better than the modern Mormon church does.”No, just plain wrong.Sure the fundagelicals hate you, except when they’re finding common ground with you on abortion, etc.Sure the atheists hate you, but they equally hate the fundies, too.How is atheism a cult? Who is our leader? Where are our compounds? Where are our members-only temples? Where are our mass suicides? Where is our special magical underwear, hats, charms, etc? How is it that we reject modernity and consensual reality? What is our impending end-times prophecy?Stop trying to play the victim card, and change the topic. This is about FLDS (“provos”), and marginally about LDS (“regulars”) without whom FLDS wouldn’t exist.

  • WB

    It is said that these polygamists do not reflect American values. The Protestants did not reflect Catholic values and they were severely persecuted. We simply have a case here of religious persecution. To the Catholics, the Protestants were immoral. They had real reasons to kill the Protestants. The very same things hare happening in America now. We have a way of marginalizing those we hate or those who make us uncomfortable. This is not a case of civil disobedience. It is about religion. The state should back off when people are practicing their religion. The people should have religious freedom. We Americans boast of it, so why don’t we practice what we preach?

  • Davidov

    Scott: “So how do members of the Mormon faith choose which teachings of Joseph Smith’s to practice and which to ignore?”The way Mormons view God is not unlike the way you might view government. The U.S. government is (ostensibly) committed to core principles like freedom. But the specific implementation of rules designed to create freedom might change over time as we react to different situations.Similarly, Mormons essentially believe the core principles from God are pretty basic: love each other, learn and grow, work hard, live cleanly, etc. Specific rules are designed to implement those principles. Those rules are tailored for our current situation and, basically, subject to change as we do. And sometimes we interpret things wrong and have to correct things.For us, a prophet, like Joseph Smith, is somebody who sets out the current rules, which are tailored for our current situation. There has been a succession of prophets since Joseph Smith. They have changed the specific rules over time. The core principles remain the same, but the adaptation of practical rules will continue.To me, this system makes a lot of sense. I’m fairly sure I couldn’t get myself to believe in a conception of God who proclaims very specific immutable rules that seem to contradict reality (i.e., a conception that embraces creationism at the expense of evolution with no chance of reversal) or that seem forever tied to social mores of the past (i.e., segregationalist attitudes that still pervade so many churches, as Obama’s speech reminded us).In any event, short answer: we don’t have an infallability doctrine similar to that of the Catholic church.

  • ?

    I do not worship Thomas Jefferson, so making the remark about Thomas Jefferson= Good President does not equal prophet Bringham Young= many wifes, I feel bad that the church has total tried to erase the fact that its founder Joesph Smith. The man cheated on his wife EMMA, burn down a newspaper press when he was upset about article written about him, and tried to form any miltia to defeat Missouri. Wow these values are completly out of wack with America, Mitt Rommney for president??? maybe when cows fly!

  • Paul Elischer

    I agree 100 percent. if there is child abuse let the person that did it pay the piper. I would first cut off their hands and then their man parts. if it is more than one person the same to each. times do change. it was only a few years ago that gay and les were not open. now they are. the laws in many states have not been changed. so sodomy is still wrong in those states. should we arrest every one that might even have those thoughts or are doing those things. no. My point is we are losing our freedom every time something like this goes on.

  • WalterFromWaco

    “I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.” “The clergy converted the simple teachings of Jesus into an engine for enslaving mankind and adulterated by artificial constructions into a contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves…these clergy, in fact, constitute the real Anti-Christ.”

  • Davidov

    Realist: I am just plain right, actually. And I am very confident about my rightness on this.But to be fair: you’ll note that I said “New Athiests.” Athiesm is a belief system (yes, it is), but like any belief system, it need not be cult-like. In my experience, however, New Athiesm tends to be fairly cult-like. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met who love “The God Delusion” but haven’t read it and can’t formulate its core arguments. It’s their Bible, plain and simple. They believe it purely because of Dawkins’ cult of personality.Anyway, I’m not trying to change the topic. I’m simply talking about the topic that interests me most. If you don’t want to talk about it, don’t.

  • Figures

    I feel religion is for the weak. “Followers” is what you are called for a reason.This type of insanity will continue within many religions/gatherings of the weak willed.You don’t need some made up thing to make the right choices in life.

  • Fedup American

    The government has the right to remove the girl that was sexually abused as well as jail the person believed to be the offender of the crime; however, I disagree with removing 200 females from the families based on one reported crime. This religious sect is getting treated differently than mainstream religious groups. If a pastor in mainstream America sexually abuses a child then they prosecute the pastor. They government does not remove the children from their family, church, or community. This is another example where the government has gone overboard in exercising its judgment and power.

  • Davidov

    To ?I don’t worship Brigham Young. The Thomas Jefferson analogy is spot on: a former leader of an organization held an attitude that was permissible within that organization. The organization no longer permits that attitude, the former leader’s stance notwithstanding. Saying that Mitt Romney wouldn’t be a good candidate on account of Joseph Smith’s actions is the logical equivalent of saying any American wouldn’t be a good candidate on account of Thomas Jefferson’s actions. It’s rubbish.And the Mormon church hasn’t tried to erase anything about Joseph Smith or Brigham Young. You’ll find each of the episodes you describe in all sorts of official Mormon publications (with, I might add, a great deal more context). The Mormon church has changed over the past 150 years, just as the U.S.A. has.

  • Anonymous

    Pam, fundamentalist mormons is not similar to fundamentalist church. Hoffman seems to relate fundamentalism with stupidity. All Christian fundamentalist churches don’t accept polygamy. Fundametalist Christianity don’t even consider mormonism as christianity. If she wants to equate fundamentalist to stupidity then she’s a fundamentalist by her own definition.

  • Davidov

    Raul:Whether somebody views Mormons as “conformists” is a subjective judgment, not a fact.It is also irrelevant to the question of who the Mormons are.What *is* a fact and what *is* relevant to the question of who the Mormons are is this: the FLDS was founded by people who were excommunicated from the Mormon church.This obviously has organizational implications that are relevant to the question of who the Mormons are, but forget about those implications for a minute — forget about “organizational manifestations.” When Movement B (whether organized or not) breaks off ideologically from Movement A, Movement B does not become Movement A, even if Movement B still views itself as Movement A — unless Movement B becomes so large or influential as to be able to coopt the name of Movement A for itself. From a practical (non-organizational) perspective, it’s that simple.In other words, what is at the “core” of Mormonism can indeed be argued to be relevant. But what is at the “core” of Mormonism must certainly be defined by the observation of those who call themselves Mormon, in which case your interpretation is resoundingly defeated. People who call themselves Mormon overwhelmingly agree that to be Mormon means to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.Sociologists such as Janet no doubt observe Mormons to determine far more accurately than you can, by any objective measure at least, what is at the “core” of Mormonism. And, frankly, nobody other than you cares what your subjective thoughts on the subject are. Nobody other than you cares if you think HD DVD is better than Blu-Ray, either. Blu-Ray won. And the FLDS are not Mormons. That’s it.

  • AlphaDawg

    I have little use for religion. I have even less use for apologists of religion. I have no use for religions that incorporate criminal behavior in their tenets. I have no use for adherents who practice criminal behavior under the guise, color, or rubric of “freedom of religion”. I have no use for those who invoke the separation-of-church-and-state doctrine to deny or impugn the right and responsibility of secular authority to interdict and punish religious adherents who engage in criminal behavior, or to deny or impugn the right and responsibility of civil authority to protect those who are being criminally abused or exploited by religious adherents. Frankly, I have no RESPECT for any of these categories. In consequence, I have little or no use for MOST of the posts on this topic, since I find them to fit into one or the other, or several, of the categories for which I have no use or respect.More importantly, NEITHER SHOULD YOU.

  • Raul

    2 Davidov.If people in the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints, the Mormon community of Eldorado, assaulted by Texas’ government, are not Mormons for you, then you are clearly out of this world.

  • Raul

    Jeff,Did you ever think why 534 women and children did not “escaped” from their community before the “liberation” by Texas government? If governmental “liberation” means the current imprisonment 534 human beings — women with THEIR children — in the ex-military barracks of San Angelo, then something wrong with your understanding of the word “liberty”.

  • Raul

    Earlier I wrote that people from Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints does not have the attorneys. Today I learned that currently they have it and now their attorney(s) filing the motions in the local court, protesting the illegal invasion, illegal search and illegal detainments of Mormons with children of that religious community. I am wonder why they did not filed the federal complaint with appropriate motions in the Federal District Court against the FBI violations of the federal statues (18-241, 18-247, 18-248, and the very essence of the First Amendment)? There also the possibility to fight in the court the activities of US Attorney in the State of Texas – make the request for explanation of the undercover federal activities. There a lot of legal actions could be done in both State and Federal Courts – and timely, without waiting for the governmental moves. Attacking the legal enemy – is the path to implement the Right to Religious Freedoms under First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

  • Alex

    Jeff P: I stand with you in your condemnations of their actions where there is reasonable cause (and there is). However, pardon me if I am a bit more cautious when child protective services picks up 400 children and 133 or so women when there was one that called. I have no reason in the world to doubt that there have been underage girls marrying older men and I am fully aware of and fully acknowledge the law with regards to sexual relations with the underaged (16). However, in this country, we have also had instances when facts and suspicions are later found to be embellished, especially when many of those making the accusations have a religious axe to grind. I see people taking digs at their religion as they tell about the den of iniquity the FLDS is, but I can’t help but question whether some people making comment are improving upon the truth to make it more damning. I’ve been to Colorado City before and have seen these people. I have learned some about them in documentaries. They keep to themselves for the most part. I hope you understand where I am coming from on this.

  • Davidov

    AlphaDawg:Generally agreed. Freedom of religion is not some sort of a “natural” right, but rather a privilege granted to members of our society by us, the co-governors of our nation, through our government. We define the boundaries of that privilege, which boundaries include criminal behavior. By definition, freedom of religion in the U.S. does not extend to criminal activity.However, unlike you, I would not encourage others to draw my conclusions of uselessness without performing the primary research and thought themselves. I mean, isn’t the unthinking acceptance of the conclusions of others what dogma is all about?I would encourage people to read many of the posts here, because I think it is interesting and informative to learn how other people think. I, for one, have no connection to many of the cultural communities represented here in my normal life, so I relish the opportunity to hear a small sampling of viewpoints from those communities (as irrational and uneducated as I might find those viewpoints).I think it’s invaluable to listen. I also think it’s invaluable to use your brain while doing so. And I think it’s invaluable to take note of and control for, to the extent possible, personal anti- and philo-community bias.If we don’t listen, we place ourselves in danger of becoming the dogmatists. I will take painful dialogue with people whose beliefs I find irrational over broad declarations of uselessness any day of the week.

  • Davidov

    WHM99:Take solace; you have plenty of wacko groups to join as an atheist.The only difference is that their primary identifying characteristics are, for the time being, not overtly religious or anti-religious (extremist political groups incorporating atheism as a necessary element of their ideology being the exception).Human psychology is essentially the same in, say, extreme environmental or animal rights groups as it is in extreme religious groups. People in all of these groups undertake extreme actions based on the dogmatic imposition on others of subjective and somtimes irrational thought as truth. (Note that I am not so reductive as to associate environmentalism or animal rights with inherent irrationalism or extremism, as many atheists do with theism.) Those of us who are looking for a quick and simple explanation of behavior latch onto the identifying characteristics of these groups as causes, while they are in truth merely symptoms.Based on your comments, one might think that you are among those looking for a superficial explanation, and in many ways as much a sheep as many religious followers. Your black-and-white internal distinction between atheists and theists indicates a confident acceptance of conclusions about religion based on little more than your shallow availability heuristics regarding religious practice.Look, I have no problem with you atheists. I respect your beliefs and generally enjoy talking about your beliefs with you. What I do have a problem with is when atheists delude themselves into thinking that they are inherently more rational than theists. Agnosticism is the *only* rational course. Every atheist has a personal belief system, whether well-formulated, internally consistent, and coherent or not (the latter being too frequently the case among the most vocal atheists, just as among so many vocal theists).

  • Pam

    Carolyn Jessop lived in the Colorado City, AZ compound of this sect. She was forced to marry a man 32 years her senior, who already had several wives. She later managed to escape with her 8 children.From MSNBC, here’s a brief excerpt from her book about her experience entitled “Escape.” In it, she talks about being totally cut off from the world and not being allowed to watch television or read newspapers or magazines.“Everything you did was monitored and controlled and everybody reported on everyone else,” she said. “It was a police state. You were not allowed to make decisions in your life. I had no power over my life or the lives of my children. It was a terrible way to live.”The alleged control began in infancy.“The method he would use with infants was a form of water torture,” Jessop said of her former husband. “He would spank the baby until it was screaming out of control, and then he would hold the baby face up under a tap of running water so it couldn’t breathe. He would do this repeatedly. Sometimes, it would go on for an hour, until the baby was so exhausted it couldn’t cry anymore. This method he called ‘breaking them.’”To a child, the abuse becomes normal, she said, and resistance becomes unthinkable to most. “With this level of mind control, it’s something you’re born into and it’s generational. The babies born into this, they don’t stand a chance from the beginning,” she said.Still want to defend this as “religious freedom” Raul, Alex, etc.?? Still think the law has no right to step in? If so, you’re as wrong as these men are.Someone below asked why no one noticed these abused women and children, and asked if they didn’t go to school, or see doctors. The answer is no, they didn’t. They are home schooled, and they go to a clinic within the compound, staffed by members of the sect. They are not allowed to know about or see the outside world. This is no way a “choice” on the part of the women and children. You can’t possibly make a choice unless you know what the options are. These people are sex slaves, pure and simple.

  • Alex

    Pam:”Still want to defend this as “religious freedom” Raul, Alex, etc.?? “Pam, please relax. I never once defended the abuse you site on the basis of religious freedom, nor would I. Such abuse is indefensible. I loath it. You are preaching to the choir.The point I am making is that you if you are going to haul out 400+ children and ~133 women into custody on a suspicion of abuse, you had better be right. By the way, I saw that report on MSNBC, too. I believe she is credible as well. I am all for gutting out any individual, organization, philosophy, or religion who is abusing women and children. Just be careful how you do it. You could end up establishing a horrible unintended precedent that ends up undermining everybody’s Constitutional rights.

  • Raul

    I agreed with Alex. If all what is said by Carolyn Jessop is true, the matter with exact individuals would be clearly criminal. However, there no such facts. Just terifying nivelty from Carolyn Jessop. I think, Pam, you never study the U.S. Constitution, the Fourth Amendment’ principles, besides the principles of criminal proceedings in state (of Texas) and federal courts. Don’t get hystrical out of hysterics of 2 person. There is clear need for the facts.

  • Alex

    It is interesting that we have Pam on one side implying that everyone in FLDS is doing it, and on the other side, you have Raul who is suggesting that nobody in FLDS is doing it. Perhaps it is somewhere between the two. I don’t know. Anyway, I am getting it from both directions.

  • Raul

    Jeff, I think you over-reacting. As I said before, if the accusations are true, I agree for certain governmental intervention, but not on the scale which is conducted by the Texas’ government with total shot down the church. I believe the government — state and federal — heard a lot of stories, however without exact names, dates and places. Naturally with such stories government couldn’t proceed with legal actions. Now, perhaps, they do. We’ll see.

  • PV

    Sick men made up he religious laws that allowed them to molest children…plain and simple.Go ahead and believe Joseph Smith…You will get NO protection from US.

  • BL-Maryland

    This sect in Texas may have rights under our constitution, but it doesn’t make what they are involved in okay. God does not create religions, man does. Man, who is basically selfish, will surround him/herself with people of like beliefs. The constant hearing of beliefs of only one’s own creates a totally one-sided and closed mind. It is very dangerous. That is how cults like this Texas group come about. We need to allow ourselves to hear all sides, all the time. As a society, we would do well do be our brother’s keeper and be good neighbors. We need to watch out for the neighbor who has bruises, who is slowly disappearing from school, who has not been out to get the newspaper in a month. But we are so busy and caught up in our own selfish lives. The problem with the men and women in this sect is that they know nothing else. They are ignorant, cut-off, and yes, some are children. They blindly follow what it is they know. What chance does a 14 or 16 year old girl or a 19 year old boy have to do the moral and ethical thing, when all they know is this type of life? Their neighbors are hundreds of miles away. There is no accountability; so the only one to step in is the Government. Once there is even a chance of child abuse, they must act. If you suspect your neighbor of abuse, or neglect, I would hope that you would also act. Forget what their religion is. God is probably not even a part of it. Just act. Be a part of the human race. God would love to be a part of it to if we would only let Him.

  • Bud

    “It isn’t about polygamy and beliefs it is about how women and children are treated. Those who say “they bother no one” are uninformed.”But women, children (and men too) all over the country are treated badly every day. As others have pointed out, 1 in 5 women are sexually abused in their lifetime. This occurs both in and outside of religious communities. Should we bus and lock up the entire nation based on these statistics? I agree that this isn’t about polygamy and beliefs. It’s about government intrusion into the private lives of citizens and what the limits of a government can and should be.

  • Fate

    Raul wrote: “I met one time one Islamic man from Morocco, who told me that his mother was 11 when she give the birth, and later she has many healthy children and happily living in large family together. His father had several wives – and all were just fine and happy living together. That’s the fact. I don’t deal with such matter, but I think some people shall have the opportunity for the pursuit of their own happiness – no matter what other persons, company, governments think of that.”The question Raul is whether that 9 year old girl made an informed decision to marry and have children. Was she in “pursuit of her own happiness”? Or was she a victim of those older than her, marrying her and having sex with her, in pursuit of their own happiness? Pursuit of happiness is one of the bedrocks of America, but that pursuit cannot infringe on the rights of others. How can pursuing happiness through the marriage of a 9 year old girl in anyway be considered consensual on the part of the 9 year old? Her rights to a normal childhood were infringed upon. She had little choice. She may have accepted her fate and even considered herself happy, as Stockholm syndrome will do to people who are imprisoned or under the complete control of others, and as she grew become a good mother, but her rights were violated, that should not be in question. Those who forced her into marriage should be in jail.There are many cases where children who were kidnapped grew up to love their kidnappers and considered themselves happy. Does that make kidnapping right? Does that make the kidnapper a good person? You need to consider the rights of all, not just those who seem to be pursuing happiness, before you accept a crime like child molestation because someone was exercising some freedom. Your logic Raul is completely wrong.

  • Bud

    “No matter the circumstances, sexual abuse can’t be tolerated. But I wonder about the degree to which authorities reacted in Eldorado with this massive community evacuation. It’s hard to know exactly what is going on down there, but questions of intrusion and authority should be asked, no matter how marginal the beliefs of the FLDS.”Agreed. This all stemmed from, the way I understand it, one complaint by one girl? Perhaps a more logical and appropirate response would have been to take that one girl into custody and determine:1) If her story was valid or not.How many instances have we had of a Catholic priest abusing a boy in the last decade? What type of repsonse to these situations has occurred? Hmmm, have we shut down the entire congregation, bussed all the alter boys to a shelter and cast a doubful and cynical eye on all priests that happen to preach in that parish? No, not to my recollection. We have gone after the one (or more) individuals who were directly accused. So, why is this situation so drastically different? Both involve sexual abuse of minors. We as a society must closely examine the reasons why we react so differently in these situations, both from a governmental and individual perspective.

  • Davidov

    WHM99:You’ve got agnosticism wrong. Agnosticism is not “not knowing what you believe.” Rather, agnosticism is the belief that there can be no proof either that God exists or that God does not exist. Surely any person must be agnostic if he uses only the powers of rational thought. In fact, this idea is so widely accepted among both theists and atheists (at least those who are students of rational thought) as to be trivial.Atheism is a belief system. Unlike agnostics, atheists believe in something that is not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof: the non-existence of any deity. This belief is, from a rational perspective, as much “crap” as any theistic belief system.But belief systems need not be called crap. Any belief system — be it theism, atheism, astrology, Nordic mythology, whatever — can be accorded respect, at least by people who value rational thought, if it is (1) not at odds with the rational world and (2) internally logical. Typically, atheistic belief systems have a leg up on most theistic belief systems here, because most atheistic belief systems basically automatically satisfy the first criteria (at least based on simple measures).Where so many atheistic belief systems fall apart is at the second criteria, however. Here is a short explanation of why (at least in many cases). Many atheists, I have found (and New Atheists, in particular), share a construction of the concept of religion that involves the masses unthinkingly adopting ideas from people who claim to know things that are unknowable (the Moses conceptualization). This, they cry, is a travesty. And so it is, where it happens. But popular constructions of abstract concepts being what they are, those who adhere to this construction usually can’t seem to understand that it is a construction, and not religion itself. This leads to a couple of frequent ironies. First is of course the claim to be “atheist” based on such a narrow construction of religion, while in reality the “atheism” of many self-avowed atheists is simply, when it comes down to it, a self-congratulatory rebellion against what they perceive to be the status quo for those whom they wish to view as their intellectual inferiors — the type of thing that happens every generation. But that’s relatively unimportant. The second, and much more important, irony is that the construction fits many atheists all too well. People like Dawkins make interesting arguments, but, stripped of their bravado, they are simply explanations of a belief system. You wouldn’t know that from the religious fervor with which so many of their followers proselytize the “truth,” however.Look, if your belief system meets the criteria set out above, I’m happy to accord it respect I accord any belief system that meets those criteria. But to the extent you are delusional about the inherent “truth” and logic of your belief system, I will point it out to you — in detail, not to criticize you as a person, but to point out where you have gone wrong.

  • Fate

    Bud wrote: “But women, children (and men too) all over the country are treated badly every day. As others have pointed out, 1 in 5 women are sexually abused in their lifetime. This occurs both in and outside of religious communities. Should we bus and lock up the entire nation based on these statistics?”People are locked up every day for sexual abuse. I do not see your point.Bud wrote: “I agree that this isn’t about polygamy and beliefs. It’s about government intrusion into the private lives of citizens and what the limits of a government can and should be.”You seem to forget that these people had been living there for about 2 years with no intrusion. It was the call from a 16 year old saying she had been abused (a crime) that brought the police in. And considering that girl has not been found yet should be of concern to all. It was seeing young girls who were pregnant, a clear crime, that lead to the fear that many were being harmed, and the removal of those deemed to be in potential danger.It is the duty of government to protect its citizens, and intruding into their private lives when a crime may have been committed is certainly the duty of government. The police were only doing that. It does not matter whether the children were happy to be pregnant, or happy being abused. That is something you don’t seem to understand. Bringing up children to accept abuse does not condone the abuse. There are child molesters in jail today who molested children who were willing to be abused. Its not a question of the norms of their society, it is a question of laws being broken. Children cannot make informed decisions about having sex. The laws codify that. Someone wanting to molest a child breaks the law no matter how willing the child is or has been made to be. The government acted properly, and I expect when we find out all that was happening there and how many children are pregnant, we will wonder how such a crime was allowed to happen. Is our society so free of government intrusion that whole communities can abuse children and not be noticed? Didn’t these children go to school, go to doctors? You should be asking why this was allowed to happen in secret for so long, especially if you believe the government is so intrusive.

  • Janet K.

    I’m sure someone else has already called you out for this, but when are writers of articles about religious groups–particularly the Mormons and all their spin-offs–going to finally start getting their terms straight?The FLDS are not a “Mormon polygamous sect.” The FLDS are a fundamentalist polygamous sect. Their only relation to the Mormons (LDS) is that the Mormons denounced polygamy in the late 1800s and made it an excommunicable offense and groups like the FLDS and others disagreed with the denunciation and broke off from the larger LDS body. Both share a common history up until the 1890s and that is it. After that, the two are as different as day and night.I don’t even know why I’m leaving this comment. I’ve spent my entire career as a sociologist of religion who specializes in Mormon culture and life trying to clarify this, and similar, points (as have my esteemed colleagues in this academic field) to no avail.

  • Davidov

    Oh, and on your second theme, have you ever been to the former Soviet bloc? I don’t ask the question for rhetorical value, but rather out of genuine interest, because in my experience it’s difficult to come in contact with the vestiges of Soviet communism and not be impressed by how, in that particular political ideology, atheism fills the same fundamental role that theism did in the theistic regimes of yesteryear. And by any objective measure, I think it’s hard to argue that the Bolsheviks weren’t a cult in their early years. It may not be the colloquial manner of thinking about the Bolsheviks, but it’s really spot on. The Bolsheviks were the New Atheists of the early 20th century.Of course, communism isn’t inherently cultlike. Neither is religion. Neither are (environmental, animal rights, whatever) interest groups. But any of them can be. Cults are psychological phenomena. The trappings are simply manifestations of those phenomena. Extremist groups need not knock on doors, carry books, or proclaim the news that lies along some spectrum of goodness. They simply need to be willing to undertake extreme actions in order to carry out the dogmatic imposition upon others of subjective belief systems as truth. (Most religious missionaries don’t fit the bill; they may be dogmatic, but they’re usually not taking extreme actions to impose dogma.)

  • Davidov

    WHM99:Oh, and on your second theme, have you ever been to the former Soviet bloc? I don’t ask the question for rhetorical value, but rather out of genuine interest, because in my experience it’s difficult to come in contact with the vestiges of Soviet communism and not be impressed by how, in that particular political ideology, atheism fills the same fundamental role that theism did in the theistic regimes of yesteryear. And by any objective measure, I think it’s hard to argue that the Bolsheviks weren’t a cult in their early years. It may not be the colloquial manner of thinking about the Bolsheviks, but it’s really spot on. The Bolsheviks were the New Atheists of the early 20th century.Of course, communism isn’t inherently cultlike. Neither is religion. Neither are (environmental, animal rights, whatever) interest groups. But any of them can be. Cults are psychological phenomena. The trappings are simply manifestations of those phenomena. Extremist groups need not knock on doors, carry books, or proclaim the news that lies along some spectrum of goodness. They simply need to be willing to undertake extreme actions in order to carry out the dogmatic imposition upon others of subjective belief systems as truth. (Most religious missionaries don’t fit the bill; they may be dogmatic, but they’re usually not taking extreme actions to impose dogma.)

  • Davidov

    Sorry about the double-post; the first one had returned an error.

  • Raul

    Dear Fate,I just put two historical facts together. That’s might be wrong in some eyes, might be not.Regarding young person’s consent. That’s very difficult matter, I think. Let me tell you one real-life story, which shocked me one time during my extensive travels. Once I came across the Muslim family in Central Asia. I was excellently received by the family and after the lunch left alone in the room, while my host went away for a short-time. Then came two girls: 10 years of age and 11 years of age. They were sisters and belongs to my host. They started talk with me about my personal life – of having been married, etc. I said to them that I am not married, but I do have the lady of my heart, whom I love. The 10 years old girl said to me: “That’s pity, because you are very handsome man and I’d love to marry you…” Wow! I was absolutely shocked! Being astonished to hear such “revelation” from the child, I feel very uncomfortable to remain alone with them. Happily appeared my host-friend, and he explained to me the Islamic customs of early marriage for girls. Certainly, the consent came in relation to customs. In Muslim societies is normal something, what is abnormal in American society. Logically, the psychology of human being is not universal: it depending on the culture.

  • paul taylor

    Ok, let me get this straight: the police arrested some 200 women and children on private property, because they say a 16 year old girl called in about a rape…and they don’t even know who or where this girl is?Incredible! Is it possible that this girl was a fraud–a set-up to actually precipitate police intervention? And, where in the U.S. Constitution, or in State laws, do public authorities have the right to arrest hundreds of people, including children, on suspicion of suspicion? Let me explain this: they suspect there must be something untoward going on in the compound, maybe because people live there; and they suspect that someone who called them is real, and that her complaint is real. Which makes their suspicions very suspicious. Is this a Bush War-Time preemptive Terrorism measure? Is this a Bush-Era America turning to Fascism or Communism? Or is this simply Texas, inextricably tied in with the Bush mentality, through both cause and effect? And, strange that “Bush” (I’m talking about a certain sitting President) popped up 3 times in MY suspicions. I’m having a hard time thinking of any other possible reason. But I will keep working at it.

  • Fate

    Bud wrote: “How many instances have we had of a Catholic priest abusing a boy in the last decade?”Too many.Bud wrote: ” What type of repsonse to these situations has occurred?”Those who were doing the abuse went to jail, even if the crime happened decades ago.Bud wrote: “Hmmm, have we shut down the entire congregation, bussed all the alter boys to a shelter and cast a doubful and cynical eye on all priests that happen to preach in that parish? No, not to my recollection.”One fatal flaw in your comparison with those incidents and the incident in Texas: NO parents were forcing their children into the arms of priests. None were condoning it, all were appauled that it happened, therefore no need to remove the children from their parents for protection.Bud wrote: “We have gone after the one (or more) individuals who were directly accused. So, why is this situation so drastically different?”See above. Parental involvement in the abuse is clear. We remove children from abusive parents all the time. This is no different. Add to that the environment the children were living in was abusive. Removal of children from abusive environments is a government duty you seem to assume people are free of. Bud wrote: “Both involve sexual abuse of minors. We as a society must closely examine the reasons why we react so differently in these situations, both from a governmental and individual perspective.”I see no difference in how this was handled compared to a situation where a child was being molested in their own home. In all cases you remove the children fromm the abusive environment and those doing the abuse. Your logic is terribly flawed, as usual.

  • Davidov

    Bud:I think the difference between the Catholic situation and the FLDS situation is likely the degree of probable cause police had in relation to other members of the congregation.The abuse of altar boys by Catholic priests runs counter to Catholic doctrine, meaning that it would be reasonable to assume that instances of abuse are fairly isolated and individually carried out. There was no probable cause, I assume, in relation to other members of the Catholic clergy or Catholic congregations.There is reason to believe, however, that the abuse of underage girls by FLDS leaders was part and parcel of FLDS doctrine. Thus, it would be reasonable to assume that instances of abuse among the FLDS are not isolated, or at the very least that other members of the FLDS leadership may have engaged in one or more criminal violation on an accomplice or conspiracy theory. So I suspect that there was probable cause here, where there wasn’t in relation to Catholic abuses.

  • Raul

    Janet K,I love your statement: ” I even don’t know why I’m leaving this comment”… Apparently, your study of Mormons is defective. I tell you why: because you cutted off the history of Mormons and preferred to present the false story of them with “excommunicating” nonsense. Nobody excommunicate anybody from the religion. Religious organizations does separating historically and that’s why new modalites of religion appeared. Consequently, FLDS is the original Mormon Church, while the LDS is just the abridgement of the Mormon Church.

  • Raul

    Paul,There has been long period of waiting for the State of Texas and for the FBI to get the switch up point – the call from the “child” for help. There is possibility of setted up event: the caller was the undercover federal agent, who acted as the 16 years of age “child”. However, once the call was made, the governmental plans for invasion into compound of the Mormon church was set on its forceful and dictatorial motions, step by step, punch by punch – in the faces of all Mormons, from the elders to the babies.

  • Davidov

    Raul:Mormons have been very public in their excommunication of polygamists. Many Mormon excommunications have been controversial and made headlines in media around the world. If you don’t want to pay attention to the real world, fine. But at least have the presence of mind not to present your self-created counterfactual narrative as fact.As far as which entity is the “real” Mormon church, you’re free to argue it however you want. But know that there is a clear and obvious consensus to the contrary in the world around you, and for good reason: the FLDS clearly split off from what, from both an organizational and theological perspective, continued to be the original Mormon church. You can also call Lutherans “real” Catholics if you want to, but clearly Lutherans were the splinter group and Catholics the original group, however much you think Lutheran practices are closer now to what you think Catholicism was originally like or should have been like.

  • Fate

    Raul wrote: “The 10 years old girl said to me: “That’s pity, because you are very handsome man and I’d love to marry you…” Wow! I was absolutely shocked! Being astonished to hear such “revelation” from the child, I feel very uncomfortable to remain alone with them. Happily appeared my host-friend, and he explained to me the Islamic customs of early marriage for girls.”Well lets analyze this … were the girls sexually attracted do you think? Do you think they were capable of loving another person as in a husband/wife relationship does? Do you think they were mature enough to make the choice of marriage? I agree some Islamic cultures marry off girls (though not boys) at a very early age. That does not make it correct anymore than some societies tolerating slavery makes slavery correct. 10 year old girls simply cannot understand marriage or sex. To impose either on a girl is abuse, no matter the cultural norms, just as slavery is abuse no matter the cultural norm.Raul wrote: “Certainly, the consent came in relation to customs. In Muslim societies is normal something, what is abnormal in American society. Logically, the psychology of human being is not universal: it depending on the culture.”There is no consent here since consent can only come from an adult and the girl is not an adult. Cultures may consent to abuse, that does not make it nonabusive. You may not have had the law on your side but what you saw firsthand was cultural abuse of minors not too different from what is being alleged in Texas. Also, did you consider the father left the room in order for you to be alone with the girls, to possibly take one of the little girls off his hands and marry her? That is also a custom in the more backward Islamic societies. That does not make it good or acceptable.

  • Anonymous

    Mormons are law breakers in the U.S. If they want polygamy, better transer to muslim lands where it is practiced. Break the law and expect to be in prison. Why complain? Don’t you understand English?

  • Doctor Bob

    “Under the Banner of Heaven,” an expose of the Fundamentalist Mormons, makes it clear that underage marriage is a basic tenet, as in most polygynist cultures. But I wonder when “concern for the children” (or for agents provocateurs)will be used against other weird religions that abuse children: say Chasidim, who don’t sexually abuse kids, but beat them severely; or the sect that migrated from Canada to Ohio because they could beat their kids more brutally in the US. We’ve come to accept a lot of Constitutionally dubious interventions in the name of preventing child sexual abuse (we don’t seem to care about any other kind of child abuse). It’s only proper that we should suspend the First Amendment without a moment’s thought. Maybe because we really like the Second Amendment better…

  • bob

    I for one will be lumping all religious people in with these perverted ba$tards. It’s only fair, since lately religious people have been lumping us atheists in with Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and other mass murderers. (See: Stein, Ben.)Oh, but I’m sure you’re just worried about these people for the sake of freedom, Claire. Cute. I almost bought it.

  • Davidov

    Raul:Stop misconstruing what people say. Have a real conversation.Many posters here have pointed out the fact that the FLDS are not Mormons. None of those posters denies that polygamy was part of the Mormon church for a time (although not from the very beginning of its establishment, as you claim — it started around 1843, at least according to any reliable historical source). But the Mormon church subsequently disavowed polygamy in 1890 and within 15 or so years had excommunicated (and, in some cases, began actively supporting the prosecution of) practitioners. Some of those excommunicated practitioners formed the FLDS sometime in the 1930s.

  • spiderman2

    Raul wrote : “Father! Save your Mormon children from evil Texas government!”Well, lets see if his devil father listens.

  • Janet K.

    Davidov: Thank you for your clear and concise comments regarding the differences between LDS and FLDS theology and the act of excommunication in the LDS Church.Raul: I hate to throw my weight around, but I will. I have a long history of studying the Mormons and have a master’s degree in Religion and Society from the Graduate Theological Union where I studied and wrote about Mormon culture, theology, history, and life. I’ve presented at academic conferences and symposia on the subject and have shared the dias with scholars like Jan Shipps, the preeminent scholar on Mormonism in the United States. So, curb your tongue when it comes to judging my knowledge about the Mormons.That said, polygamy has not been part of Mormon theology “from the beginning” as you claim. Joseph Smith, prophet though he may be in the minds of many faithful Mormons, was also a very flawed individual. While some of his writings and beliefs may be divinely inspired, it is also true that some were not. There are numerous scholars and people of faith–both within the LDS Church and within some of its offspring like the Community of Christ Church–that believe Smith’s “revelations” on polygamy where not inspired and were simply the misguided desires of a mortal man. Whether they are or aren’t is not really the issue here and is best left to exegesis. Joseph Smith founded the LDS Church in 1830. At that time, there was no polygamy in the church either as a doctrine or as a practice. In 1843, Smith claimed to receive a revelation outlining what he called “The New and Everlasting Covenant” or eternal marriage. This covenant, according to him, included plurality of wives. (See Doctrine & Covenants of the Church Sections 131 and 132.) That’s 13 years AFTER the founding of the Mormon Church.Having said all that, most contemporary Mormons, especially many women, doubt the doctrine of polygamy and a lot of members–men and women alike–quietly hope the doctrine will prove to be wholly false in the overall scheme of the faith’s theology and cosmological view. One of the harshest critics of polygamy in Smith’s time was his own wife, Emma Smith. Though she initially approved his early plural marriages, she later renounced and worked against the practice. (See “Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith” by Linda King Newell and Valeen Avery Tippets)Again, I beg of you, please get your facts and terms straight. I don’t know what your faith is or how you identify yourself, but I would hope I would do a better job at researching your religion than you have done with your information on the Mormons.

  • 2 FATE

    You are correct. Father left the room in order to see how the girls will do in his absence and test my reactions. Later he himself asked me if I want to marry and he can find for me a very nice wife. Important point in this matter was that he was a very influential person, and great number of local Muslims respected him very much. However, I declined his offer: I loved my lady (at my home-city) dearly and I gave her my word never betray her trust in me and my return to her after the travel. That’s it. Thanks the Almighty’s angel, who protected me from the seductive girls!

  • spiderman2

    Hoffman wrote : ” but questions of intrusion and authority should be asked, no matter how marginal the beliefs of the FLDS.”Yeah sure, even if they will sacrifice you and your daughter together as a form of worship.

  • Pam

    Anonymous wrote:Speaking of stupid…the founder of the Church of Latter Day Saints, Joseph Smith, was a polygamist. Therefore, to be a member of FLDS, is to adhere to the foundation of the church (that’s what “fundamentalist” means). That’s what’s fundamentalist about polygamy.Raul, I too have traveled extensively, and you need to pull your head out.BTW, Alex, everything I said in my earlier post (about the lack of contact with the real world for these girls) was said on tonight’s news.And the men are not being let off – they are confined to the compound during the investigation and will very likely face charges.Anyone who supports this behavior in the name of “religious freedom” is as sick as these pedophilic monsters.

  • Raul

    Janet, About Mormons. There is trivial fact: the great number of nonpolygamous people in Mormon religion is the conformists. That’s explains all “excommunications”. As for the state-registered wife of Joseph Smith, its so simple to understand her wish not to be killed by mobs, because she already know WHY they killed her husband… Her husband was a Martyr, but she don’t want to be like him, knowing that she is simply incapable invoke the same qualities of Spirit in herself.The matters with spiritual wives Joseph Smith knows long time before to speak about it. He told of the matter to his followers when the time was right. This does not means that polygamy was not in the core of Mormon Religion.By the way, your academic affiliation means nothing to me. You still don’t see the difference between the establishment of religion and its organizational manifestations. At its core, the Mormon Religion remains to be polygamous. In the manifestations divided.

  • Pam

    Raul, you are a true troglodyte. I am not “hysterical” – what a sexist comment. I think you might fit right in with these FLDS guys. And Alex, don’t tell me to “relax.” That is tantamount to the same thing.Neither is Caroline Jessop hysterical – these aren’t spur-of-the-moment wild accusations on her part, she wrote a book, remember? Why don’t you read it?Others have suggested reading “Under the Banner of Heaven”, but it bears repeating. I’ve read it – have you?I’ve also seen a television expose – I don’t remember now who did it – Sixty Minutes…? Dateline…? Anyway, it was revealing, terrifying, and revolting.And yes, Alex, they *all* do it. All the men, that is. I doubt that all of them abuse babies as in C.J.’s story, but they all keep women as chattel and as prisoners, and the women have no say in anything at all – not in whom they marry, how many kids they have, or what they will do with their lives. If ever there was a fate worse than death, this would qualify.

  • Raul

    Pam, I can’t stop laughing when reading your opnion about me!… In one sentence you wrote: “Raul, you are a true troglodyte.” And a bit later you asking the question about book of Caroline Jessop : “Why don’t you read it?”Well, Pam, no trogrodyl can’t read or use any compluter with an Internet, and you certainly have no logic in your commentary. I think its better for you went back on the kitchen and deal with the visual objects then with abstracts. Your mind too narrowed for the things which is beyond the daily perceptions. However, I might me wrong, but not as much as you has been with your labeling me as “troglodyte”.

  • ugh

    Fate, I’d let it go, it’s like you’re arguing with a tree stump. Straight apologizing for rape and abuse, for the sake of protecting religion … anything for god, huh? The truth will come out the next time someone sues to get the word “god” removed from a building. They sure won’t mind the “government intruding” on that person’s “beliefs and rights” then, will they?

  • Pam

    Raul,

  • lafred

    What the hell is wrong with you people? You’re arguing over the minutiae of religious doctrine when the issue is the abuse of children? You haven’t a clue as to what went on in that compound, yet you’re eager to blame law enforcement for overstepping its authority. Based on anonymous yet credible telephone conversations, the police obtained a warrant and entered the compound. They found pregnant 11- year-olds and plenty of evidence of rape and abuse. It doesn’t matter that they cannot yet identify the original caller. They obtained a warrant based on a credible tip, and executed that warrant legally. If we can’t protect the most vulnerable of those among us, God help us all.

  • Bud

    Fate: One fatal flaw in your comparison with those incidents and the incident in Texas: NO parents were forcing their children into the arms of priests. None were condoning it, all were appauled that it happened, therefore no need to remove the children from their parents for protection.I googled about a half a dozen news articles at random on the issue, and not one of them mentioned any direct involvement on the part of the parents. Most of the articles state that the girls were forced into the marriage by the men in charge, not the parents. If anything, I would imagine that the mothers were very much against it, but felt helpless to do anything about it. Your entire argument rests almost entirely on the fact that the parents were not only involved but were forcing the children into this. I see no evidence of your claim. Therefore, my comparison does indeed seem to be valid indeed.Fate: Your logic is terribly flawed, as usual.That’s your opinion. But for the record, you are the one who presented an argument based on one key assumption that does not appear to have substantial evidence at this point. And to add to that, you resorted to childish tactics like name calling and casting insults in an attempt to bolster your argument. But I have seen many like you; those who demonize and insult others who disagree with them.For the record: I am not “for” child abuse in any manner, shape or form. I am not against (and even support) the investigation of this sect. I fully support the persecution of any individuals that may be found involved and guilty. I am simply against the mass accusation of hundreds of people on the claims of one girl who can not even be identified at the current time.

  • Bud

    DAVIDOV: I think the difference between the Catholic situation and the FLDS situation is likely the degree of probable cause police had in relation to other members of the congregation.You have a valid point, and I agree with you in some respects that there are differences that may render the analogy weak. But you mention that:”There is reason to believe, however, that the abuse of underage girls by FLDS leaders was part and parcel of FLDS doctrine.”Many of the posts here make this very assumption: that sexual abuse is a widespread aspect of the FLDS lifestyle. This strikes me as stereotyping, something I always personally try to avoid. This may indeed turn out to be true, but at this point, without evidence, it is speculation for this particular sect. What worries me is perhaps the persons involved in making the determination whether to raid the compound have the same stereotypes which clouded their judgement? As I am sure you can attest to, we are dealing with a very sensitive subject: the sexual abuse of minors. This subject almost always causes people to lose thier objectivity. People always want to err on the side of caution in these matter.Again, I fully support the actual investigation and intervention in the matter. I just object to the way in which it was done. There were other methods to deal with the situation which would have still protected the children without using government stong-arm tactics.Thanks for your reply.

  • Fate

    Bud wrote: “I googled about a half a dozen news articles at random on the issue, and not one of them mentioned any direct involvement on the part of the parents. Most of the articles state that the girls were forced into the marriage by the men in charge, not the parents. If anything, I would imagine that the mothers were very much against it, but felt helpless to do anything about it.”Look Bud, if the children are living in this communal environment and giving up their children to the abuse of the communal leaders, then the abuse is happening with their consent. The parents would then be accomplices to the crime or at least negligent unless they could prove they considered themselves prisoners themselves, but I find it hard to believe that over 500 people could not escape what they considered to be a prison. It seems evident from what we currently know that these people lived there willingly and gave up their children to older men for marriage/sex. Please read the article at: origin.sltrib.com/ci_8859786 and then tell me the parents, who are not giving up information about their children such as age and birthdates, is not condoning what happened to them.Bud wrote: “Your entire argument rests almost entirely on the fact that the parents were not only involved but were forcing the children into this. I see no evidence of your claim. Therefore, my comparison does indeed seem to be valid indeed.”I see no evidence that the parents were protecting the children from this. This is from one news article:Bud wrote: “For the record: I am not “for” child abuse in any manner, shape or form. I am not against (and even support) the investigation of this sect. I fully support the persecution of any individuals that may be found involved and guilty. I am simply against the mass accusation of hundreds of people on the claims of one girl who can not even be identified at the current time.”Well the one girl’s calls (yes, more than one) lead to the raid. The obviously pregnant underage girls they found lead to taking them into protective custody as reported in the court document. If you were the chief of police and found many underage girls living in a compound where the freedoms of them and their parents were restricted or self imposed, and many were pregnant, indicating rape (sex with a minor is considered rape even if the sex was consensual), what would you do? As a government official your duty requires you to protect the citizens of your state. You seem to be advocating that even with evidence of abuse the children should have be left in the abusive environment. I disagree, strongly.

  • DR

    I have recently taken interest in this subject and upon reading the article and comments, I have 2 things to say:

  • Fate

    Bud wrote: “Again, I fully support the actual investigation and intervention in the matter. I just object to the way in which it was done. There were other methods to deal with the situation which would have still protected the children without using government stong-arm tactics.”Well now I’m curious, just what other methods do you think should have been used to protect hundreds of children who were suspected of being not only sexually abused and physically harmed but being held against their will? The babies of those girls who have had babies were used as hostages should any want to leave. This is not speculation, this was what the 16 year old reported in her many calls. If your daughter was at a summer camp and you got a call from her reporting sexual and physical abuse to the point of breaking ribs, and other girls had gotten pregnant, and no adult would protect her or other girls, just what non-strong-arm tactics would you want the police to use?

  • Raul

    Fate,I think you was out of your mind, when you said: “The babies of those girls who have had babies were used as hostages should any want to leave.”There no such facts. Read the Texas’ criminal code and its definitions before writing anything on the subject of hostage. You acting out as absolutely irresponsible person from the legal point of view.

  • Raul

    DR,You make made false comment that I “refuse to allow someone to state their opinion”. That’s not possible since I am not a sensor on this site. Also you perverted my critical views in the way which convinient for you or someone else.

  • Davidov

    lafred: You’re right — the abuse is horrible. And where, like here, abuse is horrible, it’s important to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice. And it’s equally important to identify who aren’t the perpetrators.If your next-door neighbor abused an 11-year-old in a sensational nationally reported incident, would you be satisfied if the sole media identification of the perpetrator were that he lived within one of three houses, including yours? I suspect you would take issue with such “minutae” as which house belonged to the perpetrator.That’s precisely the reason the “minutae” of religious doctrine is important here. Who’s carrying out this abuse? Answer: not Mormons, but rather a fundamentalist polygamist group that broke off from the Mormon church a long, long time ago.

  • Davidov

    lafred:But where you are also right is that the religious doctrines of the FLDS are wholly irrelevant to the question of whether criminal activity occurred. Freedom of religion ends where criminal activity begins (one of many boundaries on the privilege of freedom of religion we have given ourselves). The primary issue here is criminal abuse (what happened, who carried it out, etc.), not FLDS doctrines.

  • E.

    What the problem now on the site?

  • Edgar

    Davidov,There no criminal abuse committed by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FCOJCOLDS). That’s impossible that 416 children were subjected to the criminal abuse and were in jeopardy. The State of Texas openly lie about Church members’ criminal sexual and mental abuse with governmentally created false story in the fraudulent affidavit written by the State of Texas official and “child abuse professional”, trained as a victimologist (“specialist” in making up “child abuse victim” from normal person). There absolutely impassible for any perpetrator to abuse 416 children who are under 24-hours daily care of their mothers. That’s simple as day and night. What we have so far is systematically planned and conducted religious persecution of Mormon Church with all its members, and the governmental abuse of power by the State of Texas and by the Federal government, who used state’s entities for its own political agenda of subjugation of religious organization to governmental powers.That’s my understanding of the matter.

  • wow

    Holy cow, Edgar. Let me correct your post:”That’s my *lack of* understanding of the matter.”Is that what it takes to apologize for religion nowadays? Forcing yourself to ignore the facts and believe insane conspiracy theories? Pretty sad state of affairs, I’d say.Someone needs to take a good hard look in the mirror, and try to come to grips with the fact that the guy in the reflection is attempting to protect the systematic rape of little girls.

  • None of your business

    Has any crime been committed? So far, I only see a lot of leaked accusations intended to inflame the ignorant.Hopefully when the dust settles we can sue the pants off the judge and other officials who cooked up this “operation oppression”.No, I am not a Mormon or for that matter, religious. I am concerned about the mob rule of government agencies and remind the readers that we have a 2nd Amendment right specifically for keeping our government rulers in line.

  • Davidov

    “Has any crime been committed? So far, I only see a lot of leaked accusations intended to inflame the ignorant.”What *I* see is reports of police action, presumably (necessarily, in fact, unless there was a serious system failure here) based on probable cause. That’s not a leaked accusation — it’s simply what has happened.Whether a crime has been committed or not is a question of fact. And since there’s no chance I’ll be on any Texas jury looking at alleged crimes arising from all of this, I won’t be making the official ex post determination of fact characteristic of our legal system.But, c’mon — is there any doubt some crazy stuff is going on inside these compounds?”Hopefully when the dust settles we can sue the pants off the judge and other officials who cooked up this ‘operation oppression’.”Only if there was “a serious system failure here” (see above). If there has been, then, sure, we should absolutely hold people accountable. But at first glance, I can’t see any obvious evidence of officials acting unreasonably, to be honest. They had a tip, they acted on it, they took (seemingly in good faith) measures to try to ensure the safety of impacted people.”I am concerned about the mob rule of government agencies and remind the readers that we have a 2nd Amendment right specifically for keeping our government rulers in line”Ah, the Second Amendment. I have a hint of libertarian in me, so I can empathize somewhat. As a citizenry, we’ve clearly done a crap job of policing our government recently. But, to be honest, I just don’t think the Second Amendment is a useful tool for policing government anymore. Is the threat of armed conflict between our elected government and its citizens at all realistic? Is it at all useful?I don’t think we need (or, indeed, can effectively use) guns to police our government — we simply need to pay better attention to what’s going on in the political world, and to be much, much more collectively rational about what powers our government needs to keep us safe. We have empowered our government to spy on us, torture people, and do all sorts of other crazy things, all in the name of providing the elusive safety that those very powers ironically are very likely to undermine.That said, this particular episode doesn’t seem overtly troublesome to me. The police got what they deemed to be a reliable tip. They acted on it. Pretty standard stuff.

  • Abby

    I have read your comments and I find some of them quite naive. The government did exactly as it should; especially for the sake of morality, although that seems to missing from the majority of our laws now-a-days. The misery that all of these women, men (non-leadership) and children endured are heart-wrenching. You cannot comprehend it if you have not experience it. Religious freedom stops at sexual, physical and should stop at psychological abuse.

  • Erica

    This is a true example of the failures of “evolution” and how just like ALL other scientific doctrine, it has its limits. As a contiually growing athetistic and secular society in America, we like to believe that we have “evolved” as humans by our own merits and therefore are no longer susceptible to the same short-comings and failures of our hoplessly barbaric ancestors. The disrespect for the greatness of our past is truly grievous. What this all points to is this fact: every generation before us has suffered religions persecution. In fact, our country was built on those who no longer could live in a state that would not let them exercise their religious freedom to act in ways in accordance with their own conscience. We are repeating the same mistakes that we sought to erradicate upon the foundation of this nation, it is in our consitituion. Therefore, this recent breach of personal freedom is unconstitutional and should be condemned. The state acted presumptiously and without justifiable cause. It did not give due procedure, which is another breach of national law. The heavy-hand of the government is infringing upon the personal rights of these citizens. Do not presume to believe that you yourselfs know the nature of true extent of the allegations yourselfs. Our justice system is based upon a principle of “innocent until proven guilty” for reason, do not abandon it. We will suffer exponentially if this type of socialistic rule continues, just as other societies have in the past. What a dissapointment this nation has become. Makes you think that even the greatest of ideals are eventually and inevitably doomed for corruption. I pray that other like-minded advocates for our personal rights secured to us under our consitution pray for the return of these poor children to their righful and God-given mothers and fathers, except in any case where child abuse may have been truthfully and evidentally inacted- which I believe was rare if at all. May God have mercy on our country and forgive us for its never-ending failures.

  • Scott

    Texas has screwed up again and it is going to cost them dearly. Ignoring constitutional rights of the citizens. Taking children from parents. What kind of joke people live in Texas anyway?An no, I am not a Mormon, but incidentally, neither are the FLDS polygamists.

  • Freedom and Liberty

    The FLDS story raises serious concerns and questions? I am not a lawyer nor a sympathizer with the FLDS philosophy; I acknowledge there are allegations of possible sexual exploitation and/or crimes. Nevertheless, this episode seems mighty heavy handed by the government and possibly a violation of the freedom and rights of a bunch of peculiar people. Consider this:The FLDS raid seems like a fiasco, so far. I’d hate to be a citizen of Texas, having to pay for the lawsuit to follow, if the “probable cause” is shown to be bogus or can’t be supported. Moreover, I’d welcome the lawsuit to curtail the heavy handed government tactics for which Texas is notorious.This story seems like 1984 revisited.Richard Hadlock

  • Richard Moore

    Polygamy is illegal….plain and simple. I’ve noticed that any time someone gets caught doing something illegal in this country they lose quite a few rights immediately. That’s the way it works around here and we want it that way. And of course you’re innocent until proven guilty, but aren’t the polygamists in that community telling the world that they are indeed living out a felony by committing polygamy in this awesome country.Yes, a crime has been committed. Now quit with the spin on entitlement.

  • Dawn

    I am of the Mennonite faith and have Mormon cousins, I work on family history and they have always been nice to me, I don’t see nothing wrong with my Morman cousins. This is pure gossip here. I even go to some of their genealogy workships and my past pastors (Mennonite)wife goes to Utah and does research. This is said to put some of my family down. I find my Mormon family to be very friendly. My hairdresser is a Baptist and she has Mormon cousins also, she said the wished people would quite putting each other down to. And also I have a Baptist family of peachers in my family and they also have Mormon cousins.

  • K. Dean

    This is a travesty! Freedom of religion not withstanding, how does this happen in The U.S. As a praticing Catholic I have no interest in the FLDS as a religion. My interests are solely based on the God-given liberties and freedoms garunteed in the constitution…There is no one among us that does not have somewhere in our family tree, a marriage with the age difference that is being reported in this story. It wasn’t that many generations ago that these kinds of marriages were commonplace… As for the polygamus charges, what would be the difference if a man and several women just lived together, and the man fathered children with all the women. As far as I know, that’s not illegal. Men father children with multiple women all the time. I don’t condone this, I’m just saying it happens without law enforcement busting down any doors and child protective services getting involved. The reaction of the state and media seem to be one solely based upon discrimination of a lifestyle and personal beliefs that they don’t agree with. All this hatred of something different is being couched in the refrain of “we must protect the children”…For example,Islam, the world’s largest religion, is not much different in how it treats women and children.Arranged marriages, women being treated as second-class citizens, large age differences between husbands and wifes, honor killings, ect.. Lately, we as a society, have been bending over backwards not insult muslims. It seems to me that we could extend the same courtesies to our fellow citizens.

  • Concerned

    Dawn mentioned that she has friends and family who are Mormon and knows people who have Mormon family members.I’m glad your family and friends are people that you can speak highly of but they are almost certainly not at all associated or related to this cult.Please do not confuse the 13 million members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints with this cult which besmirches the name and reputation of the real religion through their perverse actions.www.mormon.org

  • FreedomFighter

    If a religious group was still practicing Human Sacrifice (which Many religions did) how many of you Would feel so compelled to support human sacrifice…The issue is not constraining religious experience but Preventing the abuse of the most vulnerable members of society…In a Just society (humanistic or religious) we should be fighting for their freedom…

  • Woody

    I don’t care what religion you are in but if you have sex with girls as young as 13 your darn sick if you ask me. I find this as a excuse to commit such sick acts on children. I hope these young women get justice.

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My Life Depended on the Very Act of Writing

How I was saved by writing about God and cancer.

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Sociologist: Religion Can Predict Sexual Behavior

“Religion and sex are tracking each other like never before,” says sociologist Mark Regnerus.

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Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

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From Passover to Easter: Why I’m Grateful to be Jewish, Christian, and Alive

Passover with friends. Easter with family. It’s almost enough to make you believe in God.

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Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

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God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

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The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

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Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.