Monday, April 28, 2008

FLDS Thoughts

I'm still working on something for the next post - #400. Zoinks!

I'm still intrigued by the FLDS issues. I'm not normally a news junky, but...I can't help but follow the twists and turns. Maybe it's because I have a personal connection? Maybe it's because I have children of my own and can see all sides of this issue? I don't know.

One thing that is interesting (and that may be too nice a word), is the way the LDS newspaper, The Salt Lake Tribune is covering the story. In the beginning, the were quick to disavow this sect. "Oh no. That's not us. They're nothing like us." Well...yeah. They are, actually. In fact, if you go strictly by who's following the religion you believe in, in the most orthodox ways, then the FLDS have more right to claim the name Latter Day Saint than do the people in "mainstream" LDS. How can you "disavow" something that's so intricately woven into your own history? And, thus...I believe, the reason we're seeing a curious new approach evolve in the Tribune. The tone of the articles have changed. No longer are we seeing the knee-jerk, "run away, run away", "these people are "doing it wrong"" mentality in the reporting. Most, if not all, of the articles seem downright sympathetic towards the FLDS. There isn't as much distancing going on - drawing a line between "us" and "them", if you will. So, why the change? Children are still being abused in Hilldale, Utah. So, is this sudden, sympathetic switch a way to try and shake responsibility for what has been happening, by the very same people, who aren't all that far from Salt Lake? Is it a subconscious attempt to make what's going on in your own backyard seem less horrible than what was going on in the YFZ Ranch? Too close for comfort?

I'll be honest. I don't feel exactly the same as I did two weeks ago. I'm not backing down on my opinion that this is an, overall, good thing to do. Teenagers are still considered minors for a reason. I have a teenager. She's mature. She's bright. She's everything one might ask for in a young lady. Still...there's no way she could consent to marriage. And, I can't think of a circumstance where I would allow her to consent to sex or childbearing at this age. What was occurring on the YFZ Ranch, with regard to raping, molesting, and entrapping teen aged girls (and that's what it is: Entrapment) is bullshit. Those fathers and mothers that perpetuated that abuse and dressed it up in jewel-toned, strangling collar religious rhetoric are criminal. On that, I have not waivered.

But, there's also this part of me that says, "mistakes have been made." And, when you're dealing with something of this magnitude, maybe mistakes are inevitable. That doesn't make the mistakes acceptable. A two year old ending up in a hospital, being treated for shock secondary to dehydration, is one of those mistakes. Let's look at the odds. Odds are, this toddler's mother is a child herself. The dehydration seems to be a result of the abrupt cessation of breast milk and food the toddler is used to. Say what you will about the FLDS, they're hardcore about breastfeeding and eating healthy foods. Even at two, breastfeeding is common in most parts of the world and it really pisses me off when the media acts like two years is perverted or wrong. Why could they not have allowed this toddler to stay in a home close to her mother? Pump the breast milk...if you need to separate them for whatever reason. Have the FLDS moms bring the foods the toddlers are used to into a drop off station. This kid has just had everything she ever knew ripped out from under her...it's not a shocker that she would refuse to eat or drink or even get so stressed out that she makes herself physically ill. Blah, blah, blah... I'm rambling. I just think this could've been done better, but that's Monday morning quarterbacking.

I feel for the state of Texas. As sure as I am that there have been mistakes, I'm also sure that none of the state's services anticipated the gravity or magnitude of this situation. And, the truth is: this should've never, ever been allowed to become this big. These abuses have been catalogued for YEARS! Hell...right before the SLC Olympic games, they rounded up some polygamous and tossed the book at them (Tom Greene, anyone?). That's like putting a bandaid on a gaping head wound. Utah did a "hey...look over there. Don't look at that mess to the south." But, the truth is that the FLDS were largely ignored, despite the knowledge that children were being abused and molestation, incest, and violence were common. And, I doubt you could've found one person in Utah who didn't know about it. Texas would be entirely justified, in my opinion, in asking the state of Utah to pony up. And, Utah needs to own some of this.




14 comments:

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

The first mistake was not going in when the abuses became known. Just think of the pain saved by not giving religion special treatment under the law.

Gramomster said...

Just saw a headline that I'll have to explore in more depth when the grading is done:
"31 of 53 teen girls taken from FLDS ranch pregnant or had babies."
Yikes.
That is a considerable percentage, that is.
"We never saw ANY of that!"
And you have a lovely bridge to sell too....

Joe said...

I'm 47 years old. If I have sex with a 15 year old girl, its a felony and to prison I go. But, if I'm in the FLDS, I get a free pass. This, in itself is wrong and sick. That's why the State should go in and put a stop to it. There's no absolute right to freedom of religion.

collette said...

Why can't you stop talking about us? I am sick of you going on about how horrible we are without any reason. You don't know what you talk about. Why do you accept the stories of the people who left when it was their sin that took them from the Principle as Heavenly Father commands? It is a lie that women are trapped. They can employ their free agency and leave when they want. Only a few have left which says to us that this life is not all bad. I want to talk about the rest of your lies.
Maybe it's because I have a personal connection? Maybe it's because I have children of my own and can see all sides of this issue? I don't know.

Your personal connection is an apostate and don't think we don't know who she is. How do you feel you are as a mother giving your children nothing. Atheism is empty of the glory of belief. You say we are neglectful but you are the one who neglects to give your children purpose.

In fact, if you go strictly by who's following the religion you believe in, in the most orthodox ways, then the FLDS have more right to claim the name Latter Day Saint than do the people in "mainstream" LDS.
This one observant is the only truthful thing you have said about us.

How can you "disavow" something that's so intricately woven into your own history?
Their hearts are filled with sin. Thats how.

Children are still being abused in Hilldale, Utah.
LIES & MORE LIES. HOW CAN YOU PROVE THIS?


I don't feel exactly the same as I did two weeks ago.
That is heavenly father working on your heart don't close it up to him and you may be salvaged if even not blessed.

I have a teenager. She's mature. She's bright. She's everything one might ask for in a young lady. Still...there's no way she could consent to marriage. And, I can't think of a circumstance where I would allow her to consent to sex or childbearing at this age.
Do not think you can say when our lovely girls are ready. It is their decision not ours. Your daughters have been corrupted by worldly things. Our girls are more mature because they are taught how to handle a life of perfect servitude to god as commanded by our god and leadership. This is not bad. It's a wonderful blessing to give your heart and receive god's gift but your daughter is raised to serve herself and the evil of outside society.

And, I can't think of a circumstance where I would allow her to consent to sex or childbearing at this age.
Blacks and Mexicans do this all the time so you look the other way for them but not for us.

What was occurring on the YFZ Ranch, with regard to raping, molesting, and entrapping teen aged girls (and that's what it is: Entrapment) is bullshit. Those fathers and mothers that perpetuated that abuse and dressed it up in jewel-toned, strangling collar religious rhetoric are criminal.
We do not rape girls such things are lies made by a loathesome woman in another state. Girls promise to give themselves to the authority of their husband and bear his children for eternity. What is wrong with that compared to a single mother who has six children from six fathers because they can't sublimate their sexual greed or see the purpose of sex which is reproduction - the end.

Shar said...

What has happened to the girls is beyond horrific, especially in the US, that is certainly without question. But, the one question I keep coming back to is, where have their teenage boys gone?

The sex ratios are about even until you get to the early teens, where the girls end up outnumbering boys by about 5 to 1.

I've heard of sects doing all sorts of things, from making sure some boys meet accidents, to some just kicking them out into a world they have been taught is hell, to being kept in a separate place and used as slave labor. I know what happens to the girls, and it breaks my heart beyond words as a very ardent feminist. But I don't know what happens to the YFZ sons. Isn't it child abandonment on top of the other abuses?

Oh, I have no doubts that unfortunately mistakes have been made, and will keep being made, as Texas waited way too long to put an end to this. Why are the other communities kept intact?

Atheist in a mini van. said...

Why can't you stop talking about us? I am sick of you going on about how horrible we are without any reason.
Hrmmmm...let's see...almost sixty years of DOCUMENTED spousal and child abuse; millions of dollars "bled" from the government beast (aka welfare); boys as young as thirteen run out of town for listening to music or smiling at a pretty girl HIS OWN FREAKIN' AGE; and ignoring doctors when they tell you to stop inter-marrying because you're now creating babies who are born with a disease that, prior to twenty years ago, had only known four incidents WORLD FREAKIN' WIDE...but the FLDS communities have a few kids a year with this disease and many die. Lady, I don't know about you, but that's quite enough to draw some attention your way.

If you want a quiet life, then stop allowing thirteen year olds to be raped by sixty year old men and have your husbands pay to raise their own freakin' kids.

Why do you accept the stories of the people who left when it was their sin that took them from the Principle as Heavenly Father commands?
Because, there's very little divergence in their stories. Typically, when a few hundred women and children describe the same, exact situations, I find their stories believable. When women like you come along attempting to suggest that they're evil or sinful, it tells me that you're just batshit enough to actually be a part of the things that they alledge.

It is a lie that women are trapped. They can employ their free agency and leave when they want.
That's why the FLDS have been known to CHASE DOWN girls who leave, then, huh? And, what are the odds that a nineteen year old with little education, no experience with the outside world, and four children is going to feel as if they can escape?

Only a few have left which says to us that this life is not all bad.
Very few people left the cult of Jim Jones and look at how wonderfully that turned out.

I want to talk about the rest of your lies.
This should be fun.

Your personal connection is an apostate and don't think we don't know who she is.
Wow. Words fail me. You claim to know who she is, but you aren't really holding any grudges against those women who can just leave on their own anytime?


How do you feel you are as a mother giving your children nothing. Atheism is empty of the glory of belief. You say we are neglectful but you are the one who neglects to give your children purpose.

If the glory of belief includes my thirteen year old being given to a man whose old enough to be her grandfather, then I'm okay with that. I have to say that, in all frankness, I don't respect your standards of parenting. Any mother who would give her daughter to her brother or father has lost any and all credibility with me. As for giving my children purpose, I find this to be an amazing example of irony. You outright claim that girls are only on earth to serve one purpose - making more babies. Whereas, in my home, my children have individual and multiple purposes and talents.

Do not think you can say when our lovely girls are ready.
Trust me...I know I don't, but I wish I could. Fortunately, I don't have to...Texas has already done that.

Your daughters have been corrupted by worldly things. Our girls are more mature because they are taught how to handle a life of perfect servitude to god as commanded by our god and leadership. This is not bad. It's a wonderful blessing to give your heart and receive god's gift but your daughter is raised to serve herself and the evil of outside society
Mmmmkay. I'm just leaving this one alone because it's too crazy to acknowledge with a rebuttal.

Blacks and Mexicans do this all the time so you look the other way for them but not for us.

*Boggle* You know. I don't think I've heard of African Americans who systematically marry off their teen daughters to older men and use religion as the excuse to do so (in this country). As for "Mexicans"...WOW! This is rich. How many colonies is it that you guys have in Mexico, Guatamala, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica now?


promise to give themselves to the authority of their husband and bear his children for eternity.
But, they can leave anytime, right?

What is wrong with that compared to a single mother who has six children from six fathers because they can't sublimate their sexual greed or see the purpose of sex which is reproduction - the end.

At least the chich with six baby-daddies had a CHOICE in her life. And, my irony meter is pegging off the chart with your mention of sexual greed.

Perpetual Beginner said...

Actually I have only one burning question for colleen, which has not already been addressed.

There were 53 teenaged girls in the YFZ compound - and 17 teenaged boys. What happened to the missing boys? Below puberty there are about equal numbers of girls and boys. Does the earlier maturity you say your girls are blessed with extend to your boys, such that they're prepared for their probable future lives on a street corner in a culture they've never been taught to deal with?

Perpetual Beginner said...

Ack - collette, not colleen. Sorry.

rubyawake said...

I do think it's interesting in how the media seems to be reaching for anything and everything to villify the FLDS. Certainly, I don't agree with much of what they do, but like you, I don't see that breastfeeding a two year old is horrible, for obvious reasons. If Luke were taken away from me tomorrow, I guarantee he'd be a wreck and probably refuse to eat solids, wanting his source of comfort.
I saw a report today stating that approximately 40 of the children taken showed some signs of broken bones, and the underlying statement was the allegation of physical abuse. And to be honest, that BOGGLED my mind. Of all the children they took, 40 of them having broken bones seemed about an average number. I know that it's rare for me to not have a student with a cast or crutches! Kids hurt themselves. Granted, there may have been physical abuse, but I don't think that 40 kids with broken bones at some stage in their life is absolute proof of this.

shady (it's just a name) said...

This is the way religion - especially organized - works. It is a personal convenience. Other LDS folk disassociating themselves with the FLDS are doing the SAME thing that most catholics did after the priests-raping-little-boys scandal. “well, that isn’t the case everywhere and those priests are bad.” It still happened, and the people that did it say the same prayers that you do.

I guess God really does work in mysterious ways… maybe because he only exists in the minds of stupid people that make shit up as the go along.

Amy said...

I have to agree that big mistakes have been made. The case you pointed out with the toddler (And surely there must be dozens of other cases similar to her's if they're not allowing any children over 1 year old to nurse), or the mother who can't find where her son is placed...very sad. I would be beside myself. All of the women and children who have been removed have undergone an extremely traumatic event, how much more damaging to have it compounded in such a way.

Robert said...

wow, I gotta say Collette's personal testimony here is what really convinced me that something needs to be done to pull the children out of such a fucked up mindset.

shudder.

Flux said...

I have to agree with rubyawake on the fractures. What type of fractures? Where? Can they be explained by something other than physical abuse? I wouldn't be surprised if physical abuse is the explanation in a lot of those cases, however, I think there are still a lot of unanswered questions, at least for those of us not on the inside of the investigation.

That said, the sexual abuse that has occurred for ages and ages is absolutely inexcusable.

ozatheist said...

OT

Sorry to hijack your post PM, but I thought you might be interested in this little bit of information:

Your mate the Pope is visiting our fair shores soon and his final gig in Sydney is on 20 July. 2 weeks later a music festival is on in Byron Bay (about a days drive north of Sydney). Guess who is the headline act?

Devo

coincidence? divine intervention?