Saturday, April 05, 2008

52 Children Removed from a Polygamist Ranch in Texas

Apparently sometime late Thursday night/early Friday morning, child welfare authorities and police armed with search warrants converged on a 1,900 acre ranch outside Eldorado, TX, which is home to as many as 400 followers of Warren Jeffs, who is currently serving 10 years on two counts of being an accomplice to rape, charges related to a marriage he performed in 2001. He faces trial in Arizona on eight charges of sexual conduct with a minor, incest and conspiracy.

They removed approximately 52 children, ranging in ages from 6 months to 17 years old, and currently 18 of those children have been placed under the temporary custody of the state. A few articles I've found have stated that a number of the female children are pregnant.

The compound was built by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The congregation, known as FLDS and led by the reclusive Jeffs since his father's death in 2002, is one of several groups that split from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints based in Salt Lake City decades after it renounced polygamy in 1890.

I've studied Polygamy and the FLDS cult on my own for a number of years. The lifestyle is both fascinating from a cultural standpoint, and appalling to me as an individual, at the same time. I do not even begin to propose that I have any understanding of how it can be either an appealing, or a workable, lifestyle. However. If an adult sincerely feels it is a lifestyle that is correct for them, ok. I can certainly appreciate an adult's decision.

I do, though, have a problem with what seems to be rampant misogyny, sexual and physical abuse of both women and children, inappropriate financial dealings, and general secretiveness of the FLDS cult. I also recognize that this cult is a non-official Mormon offshoot, and that the majority of good Mormons are as appalled as I am by these people.

Too many times in the past, authorities have turned a blind eye to the activities going on in some of these compounds, to the detriment of thousands of children who never had a choice.

I have to applaud the Texas authorities for stepping in. I hope the increasing media spotlight - between the Warren Jeffs controversy, and more events like this raid - will help to shed some much needed light on a very disturbing, and extremely hidden, situation in our country.


blog template by : header image by Vlad Studio