Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Don't Mess with the Reich of Texas: The Abuse of Children by the State

On the basis of an alleged anonymous call and an anonymous informant who saw a female hair on a bed and claimed that a teenage girl was pregnant, 416 children were forcibly removed from home and many have been separated from their mothers.

I was in New Orleans when I saw CNN's heavy coverage on the raid on the strange religious compound of the Fundamentalist Latter-day Saint (FLDS) Church in Texas. Sadly, my reaction was a selfish one. I cringed and felt embarrassed to have anything in common with these religious cousins, and wished that modern polygamy in these strange groups would just go away and stay out of the news. Here were 400 children being ripped away from their home and their families by the power of the State, one of the most traumatic things that could happen to them, and my reaction was to think about me and possible PR problems for my religion ("no, we don't practice polygamy! those people aren't us!"), while ignoring the trauma of fellow humans in my own nation who might have much in common with me. I apologize for my pettiness.

I erred in not raising questions sooner about these actions. I accepted the media coverage at face value - something a lifetime of experience has taught me to be foolish. But then some questions began percolating. I recalled some of my painful experiences with the Hmong community, where teenage marriage is a common part of their culture, even here in the U.S. In my experience, the child protection authorities rarely do anything severe in these cases. Raiding a Hmong family or "compound" with a pregnant teenager and taking the kids away would be unthinkable here (and that's a good thing). I know one case where a 25-year-old man "married" a 13-year-old girl, who soon gave birth to a baby. This was over a decade ago, when I think the laws were enforced a little more vigorously. The man had serious legal trouble and was convicted of a felony, but the child was not removed from the home, the marriage was not broken up, the man was not imprisoned as far as I know, and the family remains a healthy and happy family to this day. The woman tells other Hmong girls not to do something as stupid as marry at age 13, and says it made her life "hell" for quite a while - but she has triumphed in so many ways and is a remarkable mother, woman, employee, and now a college graduate.

I know of recent cases where 18- or 19-year-old men married 14-year-old girls who soon gave birth, and the girls attended high school and the couple seemed to live in the open without having to flee from authorities anxious to take kids away. There have been times when I wished the authorities would have stepped in and saved a young teenager from being pressured into marriage. In one case, at the request of a 16-year-old girl, I got involved with the police when an older (age 19) man who had sex with her and had been pressuring her to marry him got angry and told her to commit suicide. He gave her a bottle of pills to swallow, and she took them (she was OK, thanks to her mom getting her to the hospital quickly). Shortly after she got out of the hospital and the 72-hour mental health watch (as I recall - it's been a while), I was there with her mother trying to help the police understand that this guy was dangerous, that charges should be filed and that he must be kept away. How shocked I was when a woman police officer who had just interviewed the good-looking man came to talk with the girl. In the officer's view, it was just a wonderful love story. I can still hear the voice of that officer: "But he loves you." How sweet - it was all just a misunderstanding and now the couple could be reunited. He ended up "marrying" her and took her to Minnesota, where her life was hell. She finally got the courage to take her two boys and leave him. Her life was set back terribly though all that. How tragic. I've seen things arguably worse than the alleged crime in El Dorado be pretty much ignored by the authorities. Yes, there are differences and gaps between regions, but when I look at what's going on in Texas, it seems more like an intergalactic void than just a regional gap.

The point is, in this day an age of rampant sexual promiscuity, I don't see a lot of raids occurring because a 17-year-old man gets a 16-year-old girl pregnant. Maybe Texas has much higher standards. If a 16-year-old was improperly married to an old man, then investigate that case and file charges against the man. But how dare we sit back and allow an entire community to be raided? How dare we ignore the cries of mothers whose children have been ripped away from them?

Wake up, fellow Mormons. You could be next. Like me, you're a bunch of crackpot loonies teaching your children bizarre things about angels, gold plates, miracles, prophets, and revelations, and you build strange compounds you call temples. Some of you and your kids sit through three-hours of mind control each Sunday, reinforced by early morning seminary for tired teenagers at 6 am each weekday morning to cement their minds with your rigid religious views. And then there's your cult-like/gang-like programming of young men in the Boy Scouts of America, complete with uniforms, colors, and strange hand symbols. How can the all-powerful state allow this kind of deranged parenting to go on? It's not about Mormon mommas and poppas, it's about the children! You can do anything in this world "for the children."

And you Protestants could be on the list next, right after us, and you Catholics, and everyone else. Some of you even live in homes with beds - beds that may very well have an tell-tale female hair or two on them. Which is about the extent of the physical evidence that got 400 kids hauled away from their families in Texas.

The removal of 416 children from their families in the state of Texas is beginning to look more like the Third Reich or the Cultural Revolution of China than the Land of the Free. (Kudos to Guy Murray for his coverage of the case. His blog, Messenger and Advocate, is a good source for tracking the play-by-play action.)

After the broadcast of grieving FLDS mothers a couple days ago, the Texas authorities explained what this action was all about. Pay attention to their words, or rather, to the tone and the messages behind the words, for I think they reveal what you really need to know. The following text comes from a KSL news story, "Texas Defends Separation of FLDS Mothers from Children" by John Hollenhorst and Marc Giauque:
After the sobs and tears of FLDS mothers were broadcast around the world overnight, Texas officials are defending their removal of children from parents. Texas officials aren't backing down a bit in their two-week battle with the religious group led by Warren Jeffs.

Marleigh Meisner, with Texas Child Protective Services, said, "Quite frankly, it's not about us, and it's not about the mommas. It's about these children whose cries have been unheard."

A total of 416 FLDS children are now in state custody, mostly at the Coliseum in San Angelo. Eighty-two mothers of younger children remain in the shelter; 57 mothers of older children were sent away by order of state officials; 51 of those returned to the FLDS compound, and six asked to be taken to safe shelters elsewhere.

A TV station in Texas is reporting that some of the children have been taken a very long way from home. Buses arrived last night at Boys Ranch, just outside of Amarillo. That's in the Texas Panhandle, about 350 miles from the FLDS compound in Eldorado. There was no direct confirmation from state officials, but they did acknowledge that about 20 adolescent boys from the FLDS group have been bused away from San Angelo. There's no explanation yet as to why that group is being handled differently.

Under federal and state laws, the children are entitled to a showdown in court on their status. That will happen Thursday.

Today there were some hints that state officials might allow some of the children to see their parents, at least occasionally, in the future. . . .

For the FLDS members, it was an unheard of public relations strategy: they opened the gates last night and allowed news crews to talk to moms. Their tears drew national sympathy. One mother said, "Where are my children? I don't know who's taking care of them."

But Texas officials are giving no ground. One Texas legislator, Rep. Drew Darby, said, "In Texas we have a saying, 'Don't mess with Texas.' Well, I'm going to change that up a bit and say, 'Don't mess with the children of Texas.' And that's what this is about, is protecting those children."
It's not about the mommas, eh? You're darned right it's not. What about these "unheard" cries of children - who do you think they are crying for? So if some girls are at risk of marrying older men, or if some have gotten pregnant from older men, explain to me how "protecting those children" requires taking them - all 416 of them, a whole community! - away from their homes and especially away from their mothers? Get an injunction to keep older men away from the younger girls, if you must, but to haul off little kids and strip them from their mothers? Their cries are certainly not being heard by those who are abusing them, the officials of Texas.

The message that needs to be heard in that quotation above is not the self-righteous proclamation of concern about the children, but the message of trashing parental rights. This isn't about the mommas, and it's not about the children (why abuse them this way if you really cared?). It's about the power of the State, supreme in power over its citizens, able to trash parental rights at will.

Get a bunch of religious weirdos together, have some anonymous tipster point a finger, and then send in the dogs, the troops, or, in the case of Waco, the guns, tanks, and incendiary devices. Tear away all the children, or burn down the whole compound and everyone in it if needs be. By Gov, the State will stand supreme. We can say "good riddance" when it's someone we fear or even detest. But who will be there to stand for us when it's our turn? Because when it comes to religious weirdos, many, perhaps even most of us fit the bill, nutcases who believe in heaven and God, or Allah, Buddha, Elvis, whatever. We're all mentally ill enough and certainly - atheists included - incompetent enough as parents that that a totalitarian State can easily find reason to march in and take away our kids, as long as they can round up an anonymous accuser, or claim there was one, and then find a hair or two on a bed, a child who looks untidy, or evidence of religious mind control like Bibles or Books of Mormon. Not to mention food storage - what are they going to make of that? Let's get this over with and just lock me up now.

This case is not about the children. It's about the power of the State. No apologies. No backing down. No care for the children who are being traumatized and abused as they are torn from their mothers. It's all for their own good and protection, just like the Cultural Revolution.

Can you imagine going into downtown L.A. or the projects of Chicago and, on the basis of allegations that there are some abused kids there, sweeping in with the police and taking away all the kids from the community? There may a variety of crimes that have taken place among the FLDS Church. There may be genuine abuse that needs to be addressed. But the grotesque, massive overreaction of the State of Texas is about something far more than protecting a pregnant 16-year-old, and cannot be compatible with the noble principles of the US Constitution. Let them get away with this abuse, and we will all be at risk in the future.

The Washington Post in an April 15 story provides further insights:
One woman, Marie, said the women weren't allowed to say goodbye to their crying children.

"They said, 'your children are ours,'" said the sobbing 32-year-old whose three sons are aged 9, 7 and 5 and who would not give her last name. "We could not even ask a question."

She said the children at the ranch have not been abused, but she feels like "they are being abused from this experience." She said the children have been "have been so protected and loved."

The women believe the abuse complaint that led to the raid came from a bitter person outside their community.
"Your children belong to us." That's what this story is about. Not how much we dislike a religion, but who children belong to. Parents, or the State? The control of the rising generation is always the key issue when a state expands it power to dangerous levels. It is a dangerous current that can sweep everything else away in time, and we are already knee-deep in the flow.

I think the FLDS Church is dreadfully wrong and hope its members will get out. I am oppose child abuse, teenage marriage, polygamy, and forced marriages. But those accused of crime still rights and require fair, honest due process based on credible evidence, not hysteria and bigotry. And traumatizing children by separation from their parents should be a last resort only when truly needed to protect the child from eminent harm. If a 16-year-old was abused, if a 14-year-old was pregnant, if one suspects that a bed was used for something other than sleeping, how does that require that little boys and girls be stripped away from their mothers who may only be guilty of having strange beliefs, perhaps only marginally stranger than yours and mine?

Anyone out there dare to speak out? There isn't much time left.

Update: Anderson Cooper's blog has an interesting interview with Kathy Jo Nicholson, a former FLDS member who warns of how harmful the FLDS system has been. More reasoned and credible than much of the coverage. Troubling stuff, yes - but my question is whether the heavy-handed community-wide actions of authorities were justified, and whether it sets a precedent that can be used to haul away children of other strange groups, like the real Mormons, or the Baptists, when anonymous calls are made and "everybody knows" the group is extreme or harmful in some way.

121 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh, but didn't you hear the briefing from Marleigh Meisner today? She assured the world that the children "have recovered" from the trauma of separation from their parents. She knows this, because she saw a group of boys playing kickball with some officers.

So all is well. The children "have recovered."

Connor said...

Thanks for posting on this, Jeff. I've started an online petition that I hope will gain traction, which I will then pass on to Texas authorities. Small dice, yes, but at least it's something..

Free the Innocent FLDS petition

deanna said...

Forgive me if I do not feel much sympathy for mothers who allow their 14 year old daughters to marry 50 year old men. To me this cycle of abuse has to be broken.
Yes, we do live in a free country, but these kids have no freedom. They are forced into this life from birth.
Hard for me to understand any of you wanting these children back into that compound.

Guy Murray said...

Hey Jeff,

Good analysis and post. Thanks for the link. I've likewise linked yours in my latest

Patrick said...

I'd rather live in a world where bad men can be bad, than live in a world where all are forced to live another's definition of good.

I'm willing to live with the tyranny of agency. Give me freedom from the tyranny of "do gooders".

Halibut said...

Jeff---that is one of your greatest posts. I remember calling the police once because a Hmong girl had been forced to have sex. The parents called the next day and said the police did not show up. I called again and they finally came to their house. If that had been a white girl.......

Jeff---the FLDS is our sect. We are all the same---Jews, Christians etc. What is happening is downright wrong.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, I'm normally a huge fan of this blog, but I think you are dead wrong about this case. I don't agree with all of the methods being used, but this is a sick community and drastic measures need to be taken. This is the same group that kicks its boys out so there will be enough girls for the "elders" of the city. This is the group that has a history of tolerating sexual abuse, and will separate children from their mothers to make sure the mothers don't take those children to safety.

I appreciate your sensitivity to the precedents we set for infringing on religious beliefs, but this isn't one of the more moderate polygamous groups. This group is evil and it's time to call a spade a spade and do something about it.

Anonymous said...

Deanna,

"Forgive me if I do not feel much sympathy for mothers who allow their 14 year old daughters to marry 50 year old men."

Remember first, we do not know the whole story, two, anytime you a group of humans togother there is forms of problems or abuse, third, many of these women grew up in this and may not know of a way out from this. I could use many examples to show my point but I think Jeff did a good job of this. You cannot say what you would do if you were face with this same life. They should be able to worship as they please within the law and I am sure the state could have found out a better way to deal with this. But we will try to have sympathy for you as a mother if anything like the state taking away your rights or family from you.

Aaron said...

I can appreciate the compassion and concern about the children. I have done a lot of thinking about them since this situation started making headlines. There is a lot of emotional scaring I'm sure for parents and children alike.

I have seen many situations here in the state of Missouri that have made me sick to my stomach, concerning how the state has dealt with parent and child issues. Usually they seem to make things worse.

With this situation I think I will have to disagree, although things I'm sure could have been handled better. This group of people has made a mockery of Free Will and God. Teenage daughters being married off to 50 year men, young boys being kicked out for trivial offenses, whole families being assigned to other men, Defrauding the government for Welfare. This is a group that did a lot of evil in the name of God.

I will though pray for these children, who I am sure are feeling lost right now.

Mormanity said...

Amazing. So someone has an evil religion. This justifies stripping away young children from their mothers?

"Deanna" - just a name with no identification linked to it, could have been anybody using that name once - feels the action is justified because the parents "force" their kids into that religion from birth. Whoa, I know a whole lot of parents who are pretty set on raising their children in their faith. Sure makes me nervous about that Jewish compound down the street. Why don't we raid the synagogue and free those children? Maybe I can find some literature about what an evil religion it is, too. Hey, there's a bookstore right here in Appleton that might help. Has plenty on how every religion but Protestantism is evil. Nice section on the Mormons, too.

Anonymous @ 11:42 has heard rumors that this religion separates its children from their mothers so the mothers won't take their kids to safety. Thanks for that helpful information. I trust you gave this anonymous tip to the authorities to help justify the raid? Although I'm puzzled so see that these 416 children appear to have mothers who appear to have been allowed to be with their children, until your helpful call triggered the forced separation by the great Reich of Texas. Maybe I'm missing something, but it seems like the mothers main concern is getting their kids back out of the hands of the State, not out of the hands of the church. Don't you see just a bit of irony and perhaps a logical disconnect in justifying the raid based on a rumor about children being separated from their mothers? Hello?

Ah, I see, the religion is "evil." There's the principle we can use to justify who can parent and who can't. If someone belongs to an "evil" group, what right do they have to be parents? Evil, I tell you, must be stamped out at all costs, even the cost of personal liberty and Constitutional rights. So let's strip children from parents who believe to evil groups like the FLDS. Or the Mormons, the Jehovah Witnesses, the Southern Baptists, the National Rifle Association, or the obviously evil National Education Association (my wife is a member and we both allow NEA materials into our home, influencing our children -- and yes, it's easy to see plenty of evil in what they support, so lock us both us up). Each of those groups have a history of evil in one way or another and to this day are actively promoting somebody's definition of evil. Save the children! WE must do it for the children, no matter how much they cry over being rescued and sent off to an orphanage or some place for their own good.

And "aaron" said that the raid is justified because of other allegations he's heard about the group, including welfare fraud. Right on, brother! And this brings me back to my recommendation that we just sweep through the poor parts of our major cities and round up all the kiddies because you KNOW that there is abuse and we KNOW that there is welfare fraud and we KNOW that some kids have been kicked out and mistreated. Let's take the kids away en masse.

Who can be trusted with children? Only the State. Der Staat über alles. Über alle Familien. You've all got some defect, some history of evil in your family or your church or your community or your organizations that justify anonymous complaints against you. So what right do you have to raise and influence your children, forcing them into your own religious and political beliefs? Doesn't the State have a compelling interest to make sure that kids are given the right education and upbringing? It worked in Germany, it worked in China, and it's working just fine in Texas. What's your beef?

Interesting that the people most willing to point their finger, cry evil, and call in the authorities are ones who hide behind anonymity.

Anonymous said...

"Jeff, I'm normally a huge fan of this blog, but I think you are dead wrong about this case."

Of couse you would you have never had your rights violated by the goverment.

"I don't agree with all of the methods being used,..."

Always with the "but" it is ok if we think we are doing good even if it is against your constitutional rights.

I can think of alot of intercity problems (gangs) where I would like to send in the national gauard and sweep up everyone then think about the innocent later. Not really. As bad as things are we have to take things one at a time, case by case not in a sweep. I think you need to go back over your bill of rights or think about another country. I plan to move out of the United States because I do not trust our goverment. I love this country but there are to many people that think that this type of thing is ok. I just hope it does not happen to you.

Anonymous said...

"Texas court officials said more than 350 lawyers had volunteered to represent the children free of charge. "

Do those lawyers make you proud? Free of charge as they sue the state if the goverment will allow them to. Where is the ACLU when you need them?

Paul said...

The word “cult” raises my hackles. Those who use it cannot define it. No matter, because the word is meant to defame rather than describe. Most of the time, it means nothing more than "a religious group that I do not like."

And often that religious group is mine, the LDS church.

On one web site that I frequent, emotions are running high against the FLDS. Some are saying that children should be taken away from the FLDS and their parents thrown in prison. No trial is needed because everyone already knows that the FLDS "cultist" are child rapists. Others have gone further, saying that prison is too good for these evil “cultists”: they should be put to death.

Those who have expressed some concern about the way the Texas authorities have proceeded in this case are immediately accused of being sympathetic to child rapists — or worse, of being child rapists themselves.

The LDS church has stayed out of the controversy (rightly so, in my opinion). Nevertheless, in the minds of many, there is little distinction between the FLDS and the LDS groups. Both are dangerous non-Christian "cults" started by those servants of Satan, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.

Given our history, Mormons should be the first to insist that the rights of unpopular groups—even "cults"—be protected. Otherwise, we could be next.

Anonymous said...

Good Day Jeff and All,

I read this post with some interest. What I found was a great deal of cynicism and some very misguided statements. The first point I would make, is that you really shouldn’t take what the media tells about these cases very seriously. You’re only getting a fraction of the necessary information. In a case as large as this, involving as many Children’s Protection Workers as this case would necessarily involve, there is a whole other side of the story that you can not know, because those caseworker’s are absolutely prohibited by law from telling their side of the story. You can bash the state, and criticize these caseworkers for pulling these children from their mothers, and these caseworkers can say nothing in defense of their actions. All you will ever get from the media is one side of the story, most of which will be supported by minimal and distorted factual information.

You’ve criticized the state of Texas for pulling these children from their mothers. I would point out to you, at the risk of receiving a great deal of criticism, that the mothers of these children are just as guilty of a crime as the father’s are. Both parents have broken the law by engaging in polygamy, not just the men. Perhaps that seems a bit harsh, but, it is a factual statement. Both the men and the women are bound by the laws of this country, and both are required to follow the laws of this country, regardless of whether they know about the laws in question. If both parents are engaging in criminal activity, both parents are at risk for imprisonment. That being the case, the state is faced with the prospect of having to remove the children from both parents; it really wouldn’t be a choice.

The comment you’ve made about the children belonging to the state utterly misses the point. This isn’t a case dealing with who controls the children; it’s a case dealing with protecting children from child abuse. Forcing young girls, who are in fact children, to marry old men is by its very nature, abuse of a child. Teaching young boys, and young girls, that it is a God given right and proclamation for old men to marry multiple young girls is brainwashing and is abuse of a child. No matter how you cut it, what was going on in this compound was very serious criminal activity, not religious activity.

The mainstream LDS church gets a great deal of criticism because it taught polygamy, and engaged in the practice for many years. Young girls were married off to old men during the time that your church taught that polygamy was okay. While your church has done all it can to distance itself from polygamous practices, your LDS Church supplied the roots for the FLDS Church to exist.

You may believe that all the police had was an allegation of polygamy and abuse. What you probably don’t know, is that they also had enough evidence to convince a judge to give them a search warrant to enter the place. You can’t know that because, you weren’t involved in the investigation. This compound has most likely been subject to investigation for many years. All the phone call was, is a catalyst that lets the police enter the compound to gather evidence for crimes which they already knew were being committed. They just needed a triggering event to allow the prosecution of the crime to begin.

I found it interesting that you were willing to say its okay for a 25 year old man to marry a 13 year old girl because his culture and religion allow for it. In his country, that may be an accepted practice. In this country, it’s called statutory rape in virtually every state in the union. The same holds true when 18 and 19 year old men marry 14 year old girls. In most states the age of consent is 16, not 14. In many states the age of consent is 18. That’s one of the reasons you may not see prosecution of those 16 and 17 year olds.

I agree with the fact that we are granted religious freedom in this country. It generally holds true that we can practice our religions completely free from government interference. That is one of the greatest aspects of our country. But, even the government has to draw the line somewhere in terms of religious freedom. That line is drawn at breaking the law. At the point of committing a crime, your religious freedom does end. This makes complete sense if you consider the case of Satanic Cults. As distasteful as it may be, Satan worshipers also have religious freedom just like us Christians. But it seems to me a major practice of Satan worshipers is that of human sacrifices. Shall we simply allow them full religious freedom so that we don’t violate their civil rights? Do you realize how crazy that sounds? But that is what you’re suggesting in your comments about the government controlling religion. Religions that teach and practice criminal activity as part of their religion just simply are not, and should not be allowed complete religious freedom. Your own church teaches adherence to the laws of the country and state. This is one of the reasons your church no longer practices polygamy; it’s illegal. Would you not be violating your own church teachings if you now engaged in polygamy in violation of the laws of the country? That’s part of the undertone of what you suggest in this post.

In closing, I want to leave this thought. This story about the FLDS church is sensational, and attention drawing. It insights passions about how harmed these mothers are to have their children torn away from them by the government. The media will play that angle up for all it is worth. But keep in mind you will always only be hearing one skewed side of the story. You won’t hear the other side of the story; you won’t hear the government’s defense of their actions, because they can’t tell that side of the story. You won’t hear the truth, because the truth lies somewhere in the middle of what the media is telling you and what the government would say if it could tell its side of the story. So keep that in mind when you’re posting comments about this event.

Sincerely,

Catholic Defender

dave d said...

Two weeks after the raid and the tipster has still not been found. Maybe it was just some teenager playing a prank. There has been enough evidence of teenagers who act without thinking of consequences lately - videotaped beatings come to mind.

Besides having 100s of children torn from their mothers based on a phoned-in tip, I have seen another development related to this that disturbs me. There are several cases of which I am aware where a teenage girl decides she is mad at dad/grandpa/uncle or wants out from under the tyranny of parental control after she violated curfew again. So she cries "abuse" knowing the authorities will come sweeping in. She exacts her revenge or gets away from dad and/or mom by working the system, leaving the accused in an awful legal mess. The accused becomes guilty until proven innocent (despite what the law says) because there is a child involved. If her character is attacked in defense of the accused, it usually backfires because you are picking on a child. So it becomes his word against hers and to "protect the innocent", the accuser usually wins. I doubt this is unique to Texas, but that is where I live and where I have seen this happen too many times.

Brian D. said...

I don't think I would have had much sympathy for these mothers before I had my children. Now, I think I know how they must feel. My thoughts and prayers are with them, as is my heart as I grieve for their hopefully temporary loss.

April said...

I completely disagree. This isn't about PR for our religion Jeff. We need to realize that what these people are taking part in is ILLEGAL. No matter how they've manipulated the legal technicalities to their advantage, you can't argue that it is "right" to have underage girls submitting (even willfully) to their male elders. One cry for help is enough, even by someone who may have lied. It doesn’t matter if everyone in the compound is “happy” or “willing” because these children have grown up thinking it’s acceptable to be in polygamous families. They’ve grown up thinking that having sex with a 50 year old man is right, and getting pregnant at the age of 14 is ideal. I don’t care about the past, this is NOW. How were they to determine which children were being forced against their will to have sex? Test them all? Ask? No, it’s not enough. The mothers, and fathers for that matter, should have thought about what they were doing and how in America we refuse to tolerate that disgusting activity. We ARE punishing the mothers, and for good cause. We are punishing the children too, but someone needs to open their eyes.

Anonymous said...

People have the right to their crazy beliefs, but they do not have the right to perpetrate illegal acts on others. The constitutional rights of an FLDS man ends when he commits stautory rape on his "spiritual wife".

The children are safer outside of this cult.

Anonymous said...

I think if the FLDS are complaining that their "right to worship" has been violated, they need to look at themselves. What they have done in the practice of their faith is break the law. No one is above the law. Sould the state of Texas go after all cases of statutory rape? Yes, but in this case, where the crime was so obvious, they were right to act.

And as LDS people we believe in obeying the law, that is stated clearly in AoF 12. As long as LDS, or anyother people keep the law they have nothing to fear from the state.

Never mind the fact that Wilford Wooddruff saw in vision what would happen to people who continued to practice polygamy after 1890. He clearly stated that lands, bulidings, and people would be impounded by the state and that the right to worship would be stopped. This is what has happened with these misguided people.

I feel sorry for the FLDS mothers, but at the same time, they shouldn't have let their daughters be raped, and their and themselves husbands break the law. They are getting what they deserve. If you break the law, expect to accept the consequences.

One Handed Applause said...

The other issues aside--and they are very grievous--is it possible that the officers going into the FLDS temple will have set a precedent for someone who is dying to know what goes on in LDS temples to start a rumor, and the "law" come charging in to scope it out?

Anonymous said...

Jeff,

Frequent reader, but first time commenter. While a few of your points are well-taken, I think as a whole you're off base on this one.

Remember: The men (and to a lesser extent, the women) in these polygamous relationships are living in open, flagrant violation of federal and state laws. There is NO PARALLEL to any comparable LDS practice; rather, the LDS church is clear that they teach and expect all members to comply with the law of the land, wherever they may be. c.f. Article of Faith 12.

This case sets no precedents regarding infringing on religious liberties. This principle is already crystal clear in both statutory and case law - claiming "religious freedom" does not give anyone cause to violate the laws of the land.

Have we so soon forgotten that the leader of this group was on the FBI's ten most wanted list? You don't get there by teaching strange religious principles; you get there by committing numerous and/or heinous crimes.

As someone who has personally known many FLDS people, and personally known many people who are close to FLDS people, I can second the poster who mentioned that EVIL, EVIL things are taught and perpetrated. But this is not the reason nor the justification for the government intervention - the violations of the law are.

Anonymous said...

From Carlos U.

Jeff, most of the time I agree and love what you post, but not this time. To paraphrase myself on anoter blog:

I’m a practicing, faithfull, historically aware member of the Church married to a descendant of poligamist pioneers.

None of that makes me feel the least ammount of sympathy for child molestors, child rapists, people who transport minors with the purpose of engaging in sexual acts, etc. I thank God the state of Texas had the cojones to do what Utah and Arizona have been too cowardly to do. These perverts engage in pre-meditadet, systematic, ongoing conspiracies to commit ilegal and inmoral acts with CHILDREN that have been condemend by our church authrities. And mental gymnastics about the constitution don’t negate the primary issue: The state and the Fed have the authority and the MORAL OBLIGATION to step in and stop this evil secret combination.

Let me put it this way: What would you thing of a group that purposefully grooms young girls to be sexually abused and exploited by older man? How are these people different from the many groups that engage in sexual slavery? I don't see much difference between them and the Russian and other Mobs that take young girls and makes them sex-toys for older, paying men. Free agency? What free agency do these girls have? None. They are married aganist their will, and if their husband doesn't cut the mustard with the leaders, he's kicked out and then they belong to some other man, free agency be damned.

Let's not confuse the extremes with the normal. This was an extreme case, and it needed extreme intervension.

deanna said...

I agree that most of the facts the state has have not yet been released. Jeff, I think when the all the facts come out you are going to be emberassed to have defended this compound and their illegal and immoral practices.
One fact I did hear from the state, was that in this group of children there were 20 girls ages ranging from 13-16 that were pregnant.
This blog seems to have it's fair share of bomb shelter digging far right anti gov. types. While I am normally on the side of less government intervention, this is one time where the state needs to step in and end this cycle of illegal activity and child abuse.
Again, any mother that would allow their 14 year old daughter be married to and have sex with a 50 year old man has lost her rights to that child. Hiding behind your relegion does not fly.

Neal said...

The two main facts that show that the state of texas overstepped their bounds are that

1)they took away the female children under 12, when there have been no allegations that pre-teens (or pre-puberty) were being abused or married off.

2) they took away the boys of all ages too.

If you read the affidavit, there are only a handful of girls who were suspected of having babies between the ages of 14 and 16. And none younger than 14.

Yet the state removed all children of all ages, before finding out exactly what's what, and who's who.

There was absolutely no justification in the affidavit for an emergency removal of children age 12 or younger.

What about those adult mothers whose children were all under the age of 6? There was no alleged threats of abuse to children that young. And six year olds and babies are not going to give any credible information in the interviews.

There could easily have been interviews performed of all the teens on the compound without having to resort to this mass kidnapping.

The removal of teenagers and maybe children as young as 12, might have been justified, but the wholesale removal was just beyond the pale.

And those who are repeating allegations against the FLDS just haven't read the affidavit. READ IT.

Anonymous said...

What is it with Texas?

First the incident at Waco, during the Clinton years and now this.

All for the children!!!

jayleenb said...

Because it is illegal... for ages it was illegal for two men to engage in sexual relations. Should we have rounded all the gays up and put them in camps? What about the children purposely placed in the homes of gay couples?

While that way of living repulses me and I don't agree with placing children in those homes... the point is that increasingly the State is being allowed to make these decisions and they are the lease qualified to do so. And now that it is no longer 'illegal' does it make it 'right'?

Maybe all Catholic children should be rounded up since there is so much abuse by Catholic clergy (NO, I don't agree with this, I'm just making a point!) And clearly the parents are also guilty since they bring their children to the church and allow them around the Priests, etc.

It is so easy to make accusations based on faulty information and bigotry.

The State is deciding that 'hate crimes' may include anyone speaking out against homosexuality. Are you Protestants going to defend the State when they round up your Pastors and all the children of your church because they feel 'hate' is being preached to them? And the parents are equally guilty because they bring their children to church to hear it?

They have other options to deal with specific allegations. To move in and take all the children away is a travesty. I have some experience with Foster care and I can tell you, some of the families and people 'qualified' to take in children would curl your hair. And yes, I know several who are marvelous Foster Parents. But I know of some who have abused the children far more than where they came from. I can't imagine how they must be scraping the barrel for people to care for all these children.

And Jeff, I had the same thoughts at first as you did.

Ryan said...

This is a witch hunt. Rule of law is just as important as having laws -- apply them equally to all or don't apply them at all.

It's pretty clear that quite a few people making passionate comments here have no experience dealing with CPS and their ilk. If a phone call sends CPS to your door you have no rights and are guilty until proven innocent. Assuming you still have kids after that first visit, social workers will prowl around for weeks looking for excuses to make trouble. They'll pull your kids out of school and ask leading questions about how you treat them. It's illegal for cops to do that, but not CPS. You'll find out about the "interview" when the kids come home freaked out. You'll be held to a far higher standard of parenting than those who never entered their crosshairs. Employers *love* seeing it on your record, too. Oh, and the neighbor who made up that awful stuff about you will see exactly zero repercussions for ruining your life.

The problem with CPS is that the workers must necessarily make snap decisions to deal quickly with the situations they face, but then absolutely refuse to budge or change their minds as evidence mounts against the initial (wrong) impression.

I knew a widower whose only daughter died in her sleep. The police and CPS were all over that house like ants, poking around, questioning, and flat-out accusing him of everything that horrifies a parent... all before the body was even cold.

The autopsy revealed the cause of death was a massive overdose of the medication she had received at the hospital the day before -- it turned out three different nurses gave her the dose and forgot to mark the chart, then sent her home to die.

Months later the formal charges had still not been dropped and police were still prowling around his house and harassing him at work... all because they had decided he was guilty the moment he dialed 911.

This FLDS case smells the same to me. Sure, some or even most of the people caught up in the driftnet will turn out to have done something wrong, but (a) that's guilty until proven innocent, last I checked, and (b) it is all too likely that NONE of those children will ever return to live with their parents because the state had decided so before the raid collected the evidence to justify it. The innocent, be they few or many, are hosed.

Maybe I'm naive, but if the evil-doing was so pervasive and obvious enough to justify rounding up every member of the community during the raid, why were police unable to get individual warrants long before then? What does an anonymous phone call about two people have to do with the other 400+ ?

So, those who claim "break the law, expect to be prosecuted" are absolutely right, but this is absolutely the wrong way to have gone about it. No person should ever have to fear getting arrested because the police happened to get a warrant for the neighbor's arrest. If the police think I broke a law, I would appreciate them getting a warrant for *my* arrest before breaking down my front door.

Oh, and don't get me started on whether foster care will actually be a step up for most these kids...

Mormanity said...

CD - I absolutely did not say it was OK for that 25-year-old man to have sex with a 13 year. I just reported what happened and gave the aftermath - no condoning it. I was as shocked and troubled by it as anybody and have been a vocal opponent of teenage marriage in the Hmong community, while trying to help the Hmong people at the same time. I'm troubled that you would spin my words to say I'm endorsing child abuse.

Hans said...

I think that Jeff makes a great point here. It is obvious that none of us agree with many of the practices of the FLDS so any criticism of Texas' actions should not be construed as supporting some of the things that FLDS are doing.

That being said, I think that Jeff is trying to say that we put ourselves on a very slippery slope (constitutionally speaking) if the rights of an entire popular group are stepped on.

We can all agree that any actual charges of abuse or any illegal activity should be investigated or prosecuted to the fullest extent. If there was a call reporting abuse or there are such claims, I hope that the state investigates. But based on the limited facts that we all have due to sensational 24-hour news or government spin controllers, it is hard to see the justification of removing every child from the compound without probable cause, let alone reasonable suspicion.

What I think Jeff is saying is that when a group is super unpopular, whether for cultural, national origin, racial, or religious reasons, we seem more willing to allow the actions of a few (perhaps more, we don't know all facts at the moment) to justify terminating parental rights of such a large group.

Has not US history taught us to be careful about prejudging groups of unpopular people? It is safe to say that Japanese Americans were just as unpopular during WWII, and look at what we did in the name of "security". There are so many examples in our national history that it is sad that we have not learned.

The time could come when each of our personal beliefs could be considered wacky, and something that a segment of the group does illegally could terminate the parental rights of others who have done nothing illegal.

This sets a standard that we find ourselves being measured against. I hope that any illegal activity is stopped and those who need help receive it, but I also hope those who are being pulled into a dragnet because of what others have done, are not punished by means of guilt by association.

Mormanity said...

Good grief, folks, the presence of a heinous crime among a group does not merit locking up everybody. If 50% of the men are rapists, lock them up. If a 16-year-old girl is a victim, get help for her. But they've rounded up little children and separated from their mothers. Hundreds of them.

I'm saddened that so many people don't care about these kids and their moms, no matter how evil their leader is and how offensive their religious and marital practices are to us in our modern culture. Deal with the actual criminal cases, but to round up a whole community and treat them this way is disgusting and a serious violation of the Constitutional rights of American citizens.

If these guys were just Clinton-style of Hollywood style adulterers, they'd be in much better shape. Of if Warren Jeffs were just another Hugh Hefner pervert living with a flock of young babes in his mansion, the press might be falling all him with praise and admiration.

SH said...

Does anyone know if they were LEGALLY engaged in polygamy? Was Warren Jeffs, or whoever performed the marriages, legally recognized as an agent of the state and authorized to perform marriages? If not they were just "living together," a practice which might be immoral, but is not illegal.

It does sound like there might be statutory rape cases, though we should always remember that we profess to believe a person to be innocent until PROVED guilty. The state should certainly investigate such cases and prosecute those who have broken the laws.

However, inasmuch as the allegation is that older men might have committed statutory rape with underage girls, I see no legal reason to separate the children from the mothers. Would we take the child from a rape victim because she was raped? Would we take a child from a rape victim because she might teach that child behaviors that would lead to rape? Are we now going to convict people for what they might do?

I believe this is a clear case of abuse of state power. I hope the mothers all get wonderful lawyers and fight for their children in court.

Ryan said...

Just to clarify, I think the things that went on in that compound were completely abominable and reprehensible. Get warrants, prosecute them, and lock them up! But use due process.

RWW said...

I'm surprised at all these people crying about laws being broken. Other arguments may be valid, but whether or not the FLDS were breaking the law has no bearing on the rightness of their actions. The state is not God; when it enforces bad laws, it deserves criticism.

Anonymous said...

Jeff,

The crimes in question are not just statutory rape. A significant amount of physical abuse is going on, perpetrated by fathers against their children. Let's look at a single-family parallel:
Father is an abuser. Child is a victim. Mother is well-aware of the abuse, but is complicit in it by not intervening or reporting for a number of years. When any state CPS learns of such a situation, of course they will remove the child from BOTH PARENTS - because both are involved. Only after establishing it is safe to do so would a child be returned to the care of someone who knew the child was being abused but did not help the child.

It is no different here. These women are victims many times over, but their children have also been victimized by their mothers who knowingly failed to protect them.

loveathome said...

My great grandmother married my 23 year old Great grandfather on her 14 birthday.

I have a hard time flipping out over the age thing, unless they can prove that it was coerced.

Our culture accepts so many deviant things as "normal" but not this, because it is done by a fringe religion, they, and ultimately us, are fair game.M

RWW said...

Heck, I met a couple on my mission that married at 21 and 14.

Bookslinger said...

I know a doctor, vascular surgeon, from India who was born when his mother was 14.

Anonymous said...

Hi Again,

Jeff if I’ve misinterpreted what you said, I do apologize for that. I will tell you though that when I read your post, it appeared to me that you were condoning the actions of the Hmong people. Its entirely possible that I misread or misinterpreted what you were saying.

To SH-you pose an interesting question regarding were these folks legally practicing polygamy. Or were they just living together. Follow your LDS teachings as well as just about every other Christian denomination’s teachings on the subject of living together. If you do that, then even living together would be a violation of God’s commandments. If that’s true, then it would be inconsistent for an FLDS member to merely be living together with an unmarried spouse. These folks were married in every sense because that’s what their teachings tell them God expects. Additionally, I would point out that in many states, it actually is a crime for unmarried couples to live together. It’s usually classified as adultery or as lewd and lascivious conduct. Neither is prosecuted very much, but that doesn’t make the actions any less criminal. Texas being a bible belt state most likely does criminalize the act of living together, though I’m only speculating on that based on my knowledge of that region of the country.

To Ryan – your comments about CPS and how that system works belies someone who knows little more about the system than is portrayed in a movie of the week on the Lifetime network. You know the ones I’m talking about. They have the stereotypical social worker yanking the crying babies from their innocent mother’s arms merely because the state can. The real world of CPS is far different than that. In the real world, a CPS worker is called upon to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect. In most of those cases, the CPS unit is understaffed, under-funded, and under appreciated for the work they do. A state as big as Texas has a limited number of caseworkers to cover a state that measures the size of much of the east coast states combined. You are correct that CPS workers often do have to make snap decision based on limited information in order to protect children. But, let’s hear the rest of what happens. They make those decisions, the courts still have to become involved and either sanction that decision or say no to the action the CPS worker is seeking to take. Every step of the way there is oversight by the courts, by attorneys for children, and attorneys for the parents. The average parent coming into the system isn’t the stereotypical wrong parent you see on TV. Many of them are there because they did do something wrong to the children. There are exceptions, but not many. The other thing you need to know is that at every stage the parents due process rights are being adhered to. In terms of whether those children will ever be returned to their parents, I would say virtually every state in the country mandates CPS to work toward returning children to the home of their parents if at all possible. Whether that actually happens falls on to the parents and their actions after the children have been taken away. For some of these children, foster care is better. For some of them it may not be. How that plays out depends upon what the home life was in the home they were removed from. None of us know the answer to that question. Again this comes down to the fact that we on the outside are only getting slanted facts from the media.

To Neal – the State of Texas did not overstep their bounds in removing all of these children. Every child in this community, if all of the facts turn out be true, which I recognize may not be the case when the dust settles, is the victim of abuse. In terms of the teenage girls, no one would question that being forced to marry an old man is abuse. In terms of the boys the abuse is much more insidious. See every one of those young boys that was removed is being indoctrinated into believing that it’s their God given right and duty to marry multiple young teenage girls and force them into submission to their husbands. This is what we call brainwashing. For each of these boys, the abuse is more difficult to perceive, but the problem with what they are being taught is that it is normal for old men to marry young teenage girls and force them into submitting to the whims of their husbands. For everyone of the younger girls and boys, those under six, the same form of indoctrination will be occurring. That indoctrination is being perpetrated by both parents, not just the dads. That’s why all of the children were removed. They are all being victimized.

To Loveathome- when your grandmother was 14, it was culturally acceptable for kids to get married. That’s no longer the case in this country. 14 years old will get you 14 years, that’s statutory rape. The other point I would make, is that 14 years old is the age of consent in a very small number of states. Most states its 16 or 18. That means it’s still a crime regardless of what the cultural and religious norms are. Even if people choose not to prosecute the activity, it still is a crime.

I happen to agree with the constitutionality points raised by a few of you. This could be a very slippery slope. But that really depends on what all of the facts are. We don’t know all the things that the police knew before taking these children from their parents. We don’t know all the things the state knew before CPS put these kids in foster care. We aren’t going to know all of the facts. All we’re going to know is what the media chooses to put on the television. That is only a fraction of the facts available because the media is only going to tell us the information they think will sell the story, not the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth. If you want to criticize here, start with the sensational and yellow journalism that’s being broadcast into our homes every night about the event. If you want to change things, demand that your reporters and broadcasters tell all of the facts, not just the ones they think will sell newspapers and television ads.

Catholic Defender

April said...

MORMANITY SAYS: "If these guys were just Clinton-style of Hollywood style adulterers, they'd be in much better shape. Of if Warren Jeffs were just another Hugh Hefner pervert living with a flock of young babes in his mansion, the press might be falling all him with praise and admiration."

These babes in the Playboy mansion aren't 13 and 14 year old children.

Why aren't the FLDS held to the same standard as everyone else? Why is it okay for them to commit statutory rape, abuse their children and wives, be an accomplice to rape etc... When no one else is?

If you were to remove ONLY those girls who are over the age of 12, instead of ALL the children - you think it would really stop? Aren't we blaming those girls in general? They would feel completely at fault and blame themselves for the horrible acts committed by these disgustin men. The wives shouldn't have their children back until they can stand up to their husbands and stop the abuse.

Kalola said...

April wrote:

"We are punishing the children too, but someone needs to open their eyes."

Indeed, the children ARE being punished.

What is the answer? Would the children be punished further by returning them to the YFZ Ranch? or Would the children be punished further by keeping them from the only home they've known?

My heart is so heavy right now.

deanna said...

Please tell me how the state would be correct in allowing young children, especially young girls, to remain in a home with a mother who has just allowed and encouraged her 14 year old daughter to be raped by a 50 year old man?
Being against the government is one thing, but come on how about a little common sense? The governement is not always the evil dark side some of you make it out to be.
After reading this blog for about a year, this is the first time I have ever disagreed with you Jeff. In this case you are way, way off base.

deanna said...

Please tell me how the state would be correct in allowing young children, especially young girls, to remain in a home with a mother who has just allowed and encouraged her 14 year old daughter to be raped by a 50 year old man?
Being against the government is one thing, but come on how about a little common sense? The governement is not always the evil dark side some of you make it out to be.
After reading this blog for about a year, this is the first time I have ever disagreed with you Jeff. In this case you are way, way off base.

RWW said...

Follow your LDS teachings as well as just about every other Christian denomination’s teachings on the subject of living together. If you do that, then even living together would be a violation of God’s commandments. If that’s true, then it would be inconsistent for an FLDS member to merely be living together with an unmarried spouse. These folks were married in every sense because that’s what their teachings tell them God expects.

They must be legally married, because it's immoral to live together without legal marriage. So they're breaking the law, because it forbids such marriage. Nice logic.

I can't speak for the FLDS, but if I were a practicing polygamist, I would marry my wives in a purely religious ceremony, and count that commitment every bit as binding as a state-sanctioned one. The government does not establish moral law.

Anonymous said...

I'd just like to say people should know what they talk about. You say polygamy is illegal in the USA?
Do you really know the meaning of this word? Or the history? By what I see in america the whole secular society is in a polygamorous sexual relationship.Having sex with anyone other than your 1 sex partner is practising a form of polygamy. It is common for teen pregnancy here in the USA,an teen sex is condoned and pushed for by all public secular grade schools.
Abuse is far more prevalent in foster homes and is far worse. 1 in 5 american secular women are abused by a family member.I think society had a problem but have now blown it all out of propotion by choosing to see the human body as a sex object. And pushing everybody into a sexual age. The whole american expericence is all about sex an perversion of sex. People are all becomeing diseased from std's and all forms of strange std's are appearing. And people are becoming quite stupid,you have no knowledge of reality,history or basic right or wrong.When does the government have the right to tell someone else how to live an what to do? Do I have the right to tell you what to do? We the people are supposed to be the government.But this is no longer the case. Government has become a tyrant. Some power hungry people that do not care about us, but of what they can get out of us.
America was founded by people who wanted to self-govern. These people set up their leaders and made their laws for their group. England most likely referred to the founding fathers as a cult too.But being that the population of the colonies were europe's oppressed,and we wanted to be free, england didn't win, but the international banksters got richer.The time is fast approaching when the government will outlaw all but one religion are even all the religions. If the international banksters put in Obama than islamic/muslim will begin killing all that is not islamic, and outlaw all religion an religious worship that is not islamic. Islam has child brides as young as 11. And since when does the victim get removed, it's supposed to be the offender. Ah but such easy victims the poor innocent sweet obedient children. The law says that law enforcement cannot talk to underage kids without their parents are a guardian, when did this change? oops I forget this is texas, they make up/ change and do whatever the hell they want too. What's with that comment "Don't mess with texas kids"? They weren't messing with texas kids, they brought their own children from utah/arizona.You see there is a big ongoing debate right now, the state and the government of the USA, says;we own your body an the offspring thereof. So State says it owns the kids, because actually your body isn't your own either but belonged to the state so by default your kids are not "yours" but belong to the state to do with as they see fit.Can anyone tell me who this STATE is?

Anonymous said...

To Anon @ 1:14 PM:

You begin your post by stating that people should know what they talk about - then proceed to dump a stunning amount of ignorance. Thanks for the laughs :)

In particular, I loved this whopper: "The law says that law enforcement cannot talk to underage kids without their parents are a guardian, when did this change?"

Could you elaborate as to which law are you referring to, perchance? Is it a state law, or a federal law? Maybe it is a judicially-created common law? If so, which circuit is it in? Can you give us a citation to the law in question?

BTW - I'll save you the trouble. No such law exists - certainly not in the form you stated.

The ignorance of some crackpot tinfoil hat right-wingers is stunning. Here come the international bankers to put in Obama and kill you because you are not Muslim! Soon all religions will be outlawed! ZOMG!

Amazing stuff.

daveja vu said...

I'm another frequent reader, occasional commenter to Jeff's blog. And while I normally enjoy and respect Jeff's views and opinions, and agree with them the vast majority of the time, this time I have to respectfully include myself within the ranks of those who disagree. As a matter of fact, the Jeff that wrote this post did not sound like the usual reasonable Jeff I'm used to reading, with opinions and facts backed up by gentle reason and common sense.

It seems here that two major issues got mixed up within this case: first, the illegality of what's going on within the FLDS cult and what their followers are indoctrinated to do; and second, the admittedly heavy-handed response of the Texas authorities. Yes, the government has frightening power to step in and take people's kids away almost on a whim and without proper due process of law, by frequently overworked, poorly-trained social workers (and yes, I've had to deal with CPS and juvenile courts before, so I know what I'm talking about). And I agree that we should be wary of the abuse of that power especially concerning groups that may have views and practices different from the mainstream, provided that their practices aren't ILLEGAL and MORALLY WRONG. And that's where the problem is, folks. My sympathy for the FLDS is nonexistent because they are led by a convicted sexual predator who uses a twisted version of our scriptures and history to justify his acts. These people are indoctrinated into thinking that it's OK for 14 year olds to be forced to marry 40-50 year old men. That is so wrong on so many levels, I don't know where to begin. Maybe that was the custom back in the days of the Old Testament, but I thought humankind had evolved enough to realize that such practices today are unhealthy and harmful to children. I hope that the mothers that understand this will get their kids back, but the ones that don't I have little sympathy for. My sympathies are reserved for the children caught in the middle, between parents that teach them that WRONG and ILLEGAL practices are right, and a state that is no better equipped to care for these children than the parents themselves.

Even though I may disagree with their practices and beliefs, I never want to hear of the government sweeping down on Jehovahs Witnesses, the Amish, Wiccans, etc. to take away their kids on account of different religious beliefs, so long as there is no evidence that the kids are being EXPLOITED and ABUSED. I do believe in due process of law, and those who have not violated any laws or placed their kids in dangerous situations should be exonerated. Remember, Warren Jeffs is a CONVICTED sexual predator posing falsely as a prophet who teaches his people that such practices are okay and sanctioned by God. We are instructed to shun and avoid the appearance of evil, and if this doesn't appear evil, I don't know the meaning of the word. That is why I can't offer any sympathy to the plight of the FLDS. Any other issue, including the supposed overreaction of the Texas authorities, is secondary.

Anonymous said...

Here's what I'm wondering. Those of you who are outraged by the state of Texas' interference with this mild group's practice of their religion, how far are you willing to stretch your tolerance?

What if the group practiced female genital mutilation along with forced marriage at age 12-15?

What about those from the Middle East whose religion includes Arab practices such as arranged marriages within families (i.e. a young teenaged bride forced to marry a cousin)? What if the girl wanted to take her child and leave the marriage and leave her religion? According to Sharia law she would be threatened with physical harm or death?

Do we tolerate those practices because, after all, who are we to judge their culture? Or do we cry out that that is injust because it violates what we have come to recognize as basic human rights?

But we refuse to cry out similarly against the FLDS because: 1) The look more "like us;" and 2) As Jeff points out, they are our "religious cousins."

We need to tread lightly with our defense and sympathy, because it could swing in the opposite direction.
-Bull Moose

Connor said...

Well, this has certainly been an interesting thread to read. Jeff, I applaud you for speaking out and taking a stand, regardless of the opposition from some of your faithful readers.

If I may, I'd like to clarify something for all those who are against Jeff's words. I feel that some are misreading his intent, and that of others who agree (such as myself).

In no way are we supporting ANY form of abuse among the FLDS, or any other group of people. Abuse (in all its forms) should be investigated and punished, to the fullest extent of the (morally justified) law.

That being said, the fundamental issue here is not abuse, but freedom.

We are not talking about the freedom of those involved in the alleged abuse. We are talking about the freedom of their friends, neighbors, family members, and others who have had nothing to do with these alleged events.

Are they to be punished? Are they to be swept up, simply because they share the same faith, belief, or culture?

This is akin to me having an LDS neighbor who abuses his child. If the state comes to intervene, should be my child be taken because of the close proximity and shared faith?

Innocent women and children, even if they support the plural marriage to young children, cannot and should not be punished for a belief. They can only be charged and condemned for an ACTION that is contrary to established law.

And that is precisely what is being ignored in this matter.

Instead, an insanely broad warrant has been granted to invade their community, search their buildings, kidnap their children under the color of law, and deal with the situation as they see fit.

All, again, on the basis of one anonymous, unverified phone call. And some "observations".

Do we Latter-day Saints forget what it felt like to be on the opposite side of the line in such matters? To be considered on the fringe? To have our beliefs frowned upon by the state, and to be persecuted accordingly?

Again, those that take this stand are not supporting any abusive, coercive action. But belief is an entirely different matter--one that should not be punished.

Mormanity said...

Yes, I recognize that I could be wrong and that there may be evidence that has not been released which may show that Texas authorities had reasonable information about each of the children taken away from their parents to show that the action was justified and according to proper legal procedures. Perhaps the ACLU knows this and that's why they haven't spoken out. But based on the information I've seen, it appears that when the authorities decided to haul away 416 kids, that decision was based on the allegations of one informant - who saw a bed with a female hair on it - and a mysterious call from an alleged victim. And I can understand rushing in an rescuing that victim, if she exists (does she?). I can understand acting to protect 13- or 14-year-old girls who are currently being pressured to marry some old geezer. And I can understand digging deeper and identifying a variety of crimes, one by one, but to assume that every mother of every young boy and every young girl is automatically unfit to remain with that boy, as if she were an immediate physical threat to her child (not just a bad example and poor guide), strains reason.

Anonymous said...

From Carlos U.

Jeff, I do see justification for a wholesale taking of kids. Basically every adult there is either a)A criminal, or b)an accesory to a criminal, or c)a long time whitness to ongoing criminal conspiracy who has not come forth. Every girl in there, regarless of age, is either a)At least a statutatory rape victim, or b) is being groomed to become one. Every boy there is being groomed to a)become a statutatory rapist (and who knows what else), or b) is going to get kicked out to a world for which they are not prepared.

This is one big mafia that rapes and abuses children. Period. Yes, they do it in the name of religion, etc. But they are not being prosecuted or persecuted because grown women choose to have a man a a common husband. It's because children are being griveously abused.

And the goverment needs to use means similar to what they would to break up any other pedofilia ring or sex slavery mafia.

Anonymous said...

From Carlos U.

Jeff, these people have a well-known pattern of behaviour. And once the authorities were there, they found several very young teens who were pregnant or have had kids, sometimes many. I think the facts are self-evident.

If a cop comes to your house because he has a warant for you for stealing, and he happens to see your 6-foot tall marihuana plants, they surely can get you for both charges.

Hans said...

Come on Carlos U, you can't make a blanket statement like that about a place with hundreds of people. We know that there are bad people like Jeffs and most likely much, much more of them. But can you account for every person that has committed a crime or account for every child that has been abused?

The only thing that people like us who are disturbed by the raid is that while catching the guilty of crimes (which they most assuredly will), there is most likely those who have not done anything wrong. Therefore, how can a parent's right be terminated without cause. Again, if there is reason to show that a certain child or person is being abused, we by all means want the law to step in. But do you not see the precedent this would create.

Those of us like Jeff and Connor are simply saying that those who are guilty should be punished for rape. If you do not have probably cause that a person is committing a crime that merits a warrant, the 4th amendment protects us against such government actions.

I thought we knew better than to make such statements implying that we already know that everyman is a rapist, every woman is an accomplice, every child is a victim, and etc. Such blank and white views of the world do not take into account all the facts, which I believe everyone here has acknowledged we don't have.

daveja vu said...

Thank you for your response, Jeff. That sounds like a much more reasonable and understandable argument for your position than what you initially posted. I too am leery about the gov't seizing a whole community's kids based on a couple of flimsy tips. Right or wrong, I do get the feeling that the state was looking for any reason to conduct such a raid against the FLDS, and these tips provided their justification. But my shortage of sympathy towards the FLDS still stands. The gov't is right to cast a wary eye towards a group that promotes and practices what amounts to statutory rape. And I don't consider the FLDS as cousins to us Mormons, maybe seriously wayward ancestors at best. I still think we would be wise to avoid comparisons to them, for fear that our church would be painted with the same brush that marks the FLDS (as if that doesn't already happen).

Knowing full well what the law of the land was regarding plural marriage and particularly marrying children to old geezers, the FLDS provided more than enough ammo to the state of Texas to release their admittedly Gestapo-like child welfare authorities on the group. Flaunt the law, and sooner or later the gavel will come crashing down on you.

daveja vu said...

Quick note to Jeff: my reply was to your post before your previous one. I'm a little slow at posting.

Hans said...

To Carlos U.

"Jeff, these people have a well-known pattern of behaviour. And once the authorities were there, they found several very young teens who were pregnant or have had kids, sometimes many. I think the facts are self-evident.

If a cop comes to your house because he has a warant for you for stealing, and he happens to see your 6-foot tall marihuana plants, they surely can get you for both charges."

Carlos, we whole-heartedly agree that where there is probably cause, there must be an investigation. If what you say above is correct information, then there should be an investigation. Do the facts you state above about pregnancy apply to all 416 children? Would you seize all children in 25% were pregnant, ignoring that the others were not harmed? The fact is that we don't know and Texas can't possibly know that every child has been abused.

One more point regarding your hypothetical above about marijuana. The exception to seach without a warrant you list is called the Plain View doctrine. That is because the criminal act is in plain view of a legal search. However, having a pregnant 14-year old does not fit in to your example. This is because it is not in plain view who was doing the impregnating (caught in the act). We are all assuming we know who did, but for the sake of the law, if it was an underage boy, no statutory rape would have occurred under the law. While I am splitting hairs and playing devil's advocate, I am just trying to illustrate that it is not safe to make assumptions because when we all do, it becomes fact despite facts that we do not know of.

I do hope that the guilty are found and punished, but also hope that 4th amendment and family rights are not violated at the same time. The time may come when our own associate with a group that does bad things becomes imputed to us, even though we are innocent. I would rather the government meet the burden to show why each parent's rights should be terminated, not the other way around.

Mormanity said...

I disagree with teenage marriage and have counseled many people against it (it still happens frequently among some immigrant groups from cultures where it's the norm, and in the US they rarely face serious legal action against them these days - for that, you have to be part of a detested religious group).

But some of you talk like marriage at 16 is an inherent evil. I'm against it and think it's foolish. In today's society, I think it is wrong for several reasons, including the educational opportunities that are lost and the social, emotional, and financial stresses it creates. But do you think that age 18 is some kind of divine, biblical standard? Would you be shocked if Abraham, Enoch, Solomon, Isaiah, or other great names in the Bible married women under the age of 18?

Would you be shocked if Mary, the mother of Jesus, was betrothed as a young teenager?

If Luke 2 had had taken place in Texas today, I suspect baby Jesus would have been stripped from the arms of his grieving mother by wise men with guns and affidavits, tipped off no doubt by anonymous tidings.

Our standard age of 18 for marriage is a relatively recent development. The laws of many states still permit marriage at age 16 with parental consent. According to Wikipedia's article on marriage age, in New Hampshire, you can be legally married at age 13 (parental and judicial consent are needed). Girls at age 14 can be married in New York (same conditions). And decades ago, some state laws permitted much earlier marriages, as did English common law for a long time (and common law in Colorado may allow a 12-year-old girl to be married, according to a recent court case, though I'm not sure I can believe that). So yes, the FLDS group, as far as I know, is guilty of promoting marriages that our current laws say are too young and otherwise improper, but let's understand that the evil we think is inherent, obvious, and appalling is one that is common to many cultures and many times. What is "statutory rape" in one state, nation, era, or culture might not be a few miles (or a few years) down the road. It's based on the local statutes and mores.

So how many of those 416 kids were being spared from the immediate risk of actual rape or physical harm, and how many are just scared little kids wondering why they can't see the mother who loves them? Who's actually being abused and by whom?

Ryan said...

CD said...
To Ryan – your comments about CPS and how that system works belies someone who knows little more about the system than is portrayed in a movie of the week on the Lifetime network.

Boy, I wish I had seen *any* of this on TV... As I said before, this is all personal experience. I actually don't own a TV, and haven't for years. I have never heard of "the Lifetime network."

Again, my problem is not that overworked, underpaid social workers don't always make the right decision. They are human after all. It's the too-often refusal to reconsider that initial decision later that bugs me. The courts often don't step in until months later, and the mess may or may not get cleaned up fully even then.

Of the half dozen times I or my wife has seen CPS get involved, only once did the system seem to work like it was supposed to -- the Mom turned her life around after they took the kids away, and about a year later (just a month ago) got her kids back permanently and her case closed. Even this case had its wart, however. The foster care the kids went through was "suboptimal," to put it mildly.

As for the FLDS, those who are guilty should be punished, especially parents who are exposing their children to harm and abuse in the process. And, while it's awful to separate a child from its parents, that must be done in situations like this (just ask yourself which harm is greater). The part that has me and (I believe) Jeff upset is the heavy-handed guilty-until-proven-innocent power trip that seems to be unfolding. Unfortunately the almost-certainly-guilty targets in this case muddy the water an awful lot.

Anon. @1:35 said...
BTW - I'll save you the trouble. No such law exists - certainly not in the form you stated.

Hmm... it looks like you're right. My mistake. According to http://criminal-law.freeadvice.com/juvenile_law/, a minor has the right to refuse questioning if parents have not given consent, and minors have the same Miranda rights as anyone else. However, the authorities are not really required to inform them that they have that right, AFAICT (ie evidence remains admissible if they don't). It also looks like they're allowed to lie and tell the minor they have parental consent, as well as keep attempting questioning if they think it will "encourage" the minor to make an incriminating statement.

Anonymous said...

Jeff:
Would you be shocked if Mary, the mother of Jesus, was betrothed as a young teenager?

If Luke 2 had had taken place in Texas today, I suspect baby Jesus would have been stripped from the arms of his grieving mother by wise men with guns and affidavits, tipped off no doubt by anonymous tidings.


Interesting.

Roxy said...

I see many teenagers getting pregnant all the time. My own sister had her first child at 14 and she's not even married. But its really different when you're talking about 12-16 year olds getting pregnant by men decades older than them. As if its so hard to find women who are older. And what's even worse is young girls getting pregnant by their own relatives.

I wish I understood more about this situation, but unfortunately I don't so I can't really comment much about it. But if all the mothers and fathers, that had their children taken away, knew anything about what was going on and did nothing about it whether if they were just neighbors or the parents of the victims then I'm glad they took their kids away. To me they are safer away from their parents. Although it may be very traumatizing for them, they might not understand yet why they had to be taken away. But if some mothers are really innocent and had nothing to do with it all, then let them have their children back. But until then, the children are safe. Its not like they're in any danger.

As for assumptions tell me when have they not made any? I'm sure most of you know when in the movie Titanic Jack was found on top of Rose after she attempted to commit suicide and the people that found them immediately assumed the worst. Well fortunately Jack was just playing the hero and not the rapist. They were getting ready to take him in until Rose told them her version of what had happened.

If someone is found driving a stolen car, any officers first thought would be that the person driving it is the car theif. Or if you're bending over a dead body and you happen to be holding the weapon used to kill the person, you're pretty much the murderer until you can prove otherwise. My point is, to me it does look like anyone can be guilty until proven innocent.

And that's what's going on here. I know that some may not be guilty of anything, but until they can prove otherwise, they should just cooperate as best they could if they want to see their kids again. But if they are guilty of something whatever it might be, then let them suffer the consequences just like any other criminal. If you've done nothing wrong then you shouldn't have to worry as much.

My hearts do go out to the children and I hope justice will be served.

Roxy said...

I made a booboo.

In my second paragraph I did not mean that I was glad that the children were taken away from the parents that did nothing wrong.

If they are innocent I do hope ther get their children back.

Anonymous said...

"No matter how they've manipulated the legal technicalities to their advantage, you can't argue that it is "right" to have underage girls submitting (even willfully) to their male elders."

I don't think Jeff or anyone stated it was ok do anything legal. The goverment has let this go on for years should we not sweep them up of I for got they have the big guns and tanks.



"One cry for help is enough, even by someone who may have lied."

Care to tell us where you live so the next time we hear a lie about you or your family we can take away your kids and while we are at it we will pick up 600 or 700 other people just incase.

Dan and Wendy said...

I know a woman who divorced her husband because he was very emotionally and verbally abusive. She was granted custody of her children.

Subsequently, she decided to engage in the "evil" practice of home schooling the children.

Her ex took her to court to force the children into public school, and the judge decided that home schooling was detrimental to children and therefore took custody away from the mother and gave it to an abusive man.

In this instance, I believe that the state had every right to investigate the allegations of criminal activity, but they used an atom bomb when a pea shooter would've sufficed. This behavior will continue until enough people rise up and demand a change.

Anonymous said...

DC, said:


"The first point I would make, is that you really shouldn’t take what the media tells about these cases very seriously."

O' so the sweep of a town in the United States of 700 or 800 people with tanks and guns was just a TV prank? Get in the real world we know that media will get some of the facts wrong but this is about the goverment going after a religion. Now I think the goverment should wait for Sunday Mass and lock down all Catholic churches and take away all the kids because we all know about the Catholics. O' was that a tad bit over stated? No I would not want this to happen to anyone. I is called the law should apply on case by case bases not a general sweep. I hope you are all proud of your goverment and feel safe in life and property.

Matt said...

At 10:33 PM, April 15, 2008, deanna said...
Forgive me if I do not feel much sympathy for mothers who allow their 14 year old daughters to marry 50 year old men. To me this cycle of abuse has to be broken.
Yes, we do live in a free country, but these kids have no freedom. They are forced into this life from birth.
Hard for me to understand any of you wanting these children back into that compound.

- Deanna, I dont think you understood the post. Jeff never said to send them back to the compound.. He said to send them back to their MOTHERS.. it is ignorance such as yours that allows these atrocities to occur.-

Russtafarian said...

Matt:

No need for the throwaway line attack (honestly, I've heard that many times before)...this IS a complicated issue...

I agree with Jeff in his skiddishness about what this means for other objectionable practices (though I really do doubt that one could ever attack a religious denominations that have claimed Presidents or candidates as their adherents). Furthermore, any of the Church's "secrets" have been thoroughly vetted and then some between the Reed Smoot hearings and the joys of the internet (hat tip to Al Gore). The reality is that there are many more religions, more dangerous than ours or any other mainstream religion (including Islam) that are higher on the government's hit list. So if we are worried about ourselves, I honestly doubt it...what are they going to do? Go pick up Mitt Romney as the first suspect...

In sum: the tip was bad, the execution horrific, and the children traumatized (reminds me of another invasion I know of approximately 5 years ago), but (continuing with the parallel), some good can come of this. Children are displaced, and its not easy on them. However, if our bishops are required to report child abuse, then we should also feel an obligation to do SOMETHING about things like this which was happening on such a vast scale.

Anonymous said...

"behavior will continue until enough people rise up and demand a change."


don't count on it any time soon. Try taking away their TV or computer or microwave then you will have a real fight on your hands.

Anonymous said...

"But if all the mothers and fathers, that had their children taken away,"

"But if" But if they did not know or it was not happening then what you going to give them a bag of candy and let them go on their way? First the goverment doesn't do their job then when they decide to do something they use tanks and guns. Get a grip people or is that sheepel.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, said:

"But if all the mothers and fathers, that had their children taken away,"


You have stated the case about as clearly as you can but some people will just never understand. I was wondering when you were going to post on this. Thanks for your service in the church and as a Bishop.

Anonymous said...

CD, said:


"Both parents have broken the law by engaging in polygamy, not just the men."


So was having sex between two men, aborting a baby, and marrage between two men until a few years ago. So lets just sweep up the Catholic church and take away all their children for any reason we think is just.

deanna said...

I dont think you understood the post. Jeff never said to send them back to the compound.. He said to send them back to their MOTHERS..

Matt where do you think these MOTHERS live? These people have no life outside of the walls of the compound. How is that ignorance on my part?

deanna said...

But do you think that age 18 is some kind of divine, biblical standard? Would you be shocked if Abraham, Enoch, Solomon, Isaiah, or other great names in the Bible married women under the age of 18?
I have been thinking about this alot since reading Rough Stone Rolling and following this story. I wonder if I was living during the times of the early church and heard of the practice of polygamy by the church leaders if I ever would have given the church and BofM a chance. I am glad the I received a testamony of the Book of Mormon before having to tackle such issues as how I feel about polygamy in the early days of the church.

Anonymous said...

Ahh the history of your prophet lives on even in Texas.
Great legacy he has left.
Most Mormons don't even know that Joseph had so many wives.

Daniel Baker said...

As a "evangelical" I came to many of the same conclusions. It is not just about the FLDS the same CPS officials using the same thought patterns could easily haul many of us into the same mess.

By all means go after the abusers and do some hide out in the FLDS community. Of course they do, they also hide out in most every other group. But to attack the whole community is simply wrong.

Much of the information out is based on the testimony of former members, many of whom are bitter about their time in the FLDS. This post contains another view also from a former member of the FLDS, I highly recommend it. http://kolobiv.blogspot.com/2008/04/beds-and-temples.html

Halibut said...

In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

bassooner said...

Just a couple of comments.

On of the justifications for the raid is that the practices of this group were illegal, no problem there. But I believe that the reasons for the raid are more than just illegal activity. I believe they indicate a view of cultural (and religious) intolerance, thus Jeff's use of the word "Reich."

When Joseph Smith introduced polygamy there were no laws against it. The anti-polygamy laws were established by a congress (many of whom had "friendly" relations with more than just their wives) that was aimed specifically at trying to break up the Mormon "scourge" -- a purely unconstitutional act by the way). What is there to stop something like this happening again? "Look there's this group I don't like. They have a practice that is different than in general society so we are going to make a law to make this practice illegal so we can take away their property and break up their families and drive them out into the bitter cold with no shelter and no clothes."

Also, and I haven't seen it mentioned it here, did anyone notice where the busses came from that hauled all of those children away? They were not owned by the government -- they were owned and run by the local churches. It seems to me that much more than the government was involved in this. This is what scares me.

HolyInheritance said...

This is the most disgusting display of governmental abuse I've ever seen. It breaks my heart! These are innocent children who are being hurt, how can America stand for this?
Why were not the men removed from the compound, if they are suspected of abuse, rather than the children torn from their mother's arms. It makes no sense at all and it really scares me to see how brutal our government has become.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bassooner,

Hadn't seen you post here yet. Good to see you weigh in. I will say that I generally disagree with what you've said, but I do think you raise a couple of interesting points. I believe this raid, under these circumstances, with this set of facts was justified, and I do not see that the government has overstepped its bounds. I do see the danger that you are alluding to though, in that there is a danger that intolerance and suppresion of beliefs could result. You've asked what there is to stop this from happening in the future. I'll try to answer that question, and I do think this is relevant to this post.

In answering I want to point out what a wonderfully well written document the US Constitution is. In that document we have freedom to say and think and worship however we choose. In that document we also have the right to choose our leaders by voting them into office, or voting them out of office. That document, as powerful and well written as it is, isn't worth the paper its printed on if we the people don't exercise the rights given to us by the framers of the Constitution. If we don't speak out by voting and making our opinions known, then the government will head down the slippery slope that's been suggested in earlier responses on this posting.

Basooner the answer to your question as to what's to prevent this intolerance from happening in the future lies in you, and everyone else exercising their first amendment rights to free speech. But that isn't enough. If people don't like the laws that have been enacted by their respective congresses, then do something about it. Speak out, or vote out the people who made those laws.

Much of what you're seeing here, is a deterioration of the morals of society, conflicting with conservative moral values. This is an issue society trying to enact laws to address how people live their lives instead of expecting people to live thier lives inside the bounds of the law.

Responding some of you other folks, I agree that there is a very fine balance to be struck here between government acting to protect its most vulnerable citizens, and government overstepping its bounds. As much as many of you seem to dislike the system, and don't trust the system, its the only system that we have to address the safety of these children. It isn't a perfect system, because its a system designed to fit square pegs into round holes. The courts and the government can not keep up, no matter how hard they try, with the way people might choose to live their lives. The system is the best in the world, but it isn't perfect. If you don't like the system that's in place, my suggestion is that you figure out how to improve the system, and then do it. Otherwise, stop complaining.

Catholic Defender

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous of 10:19 PM, April 16, 2008 said...
CD, said:


"Both parents have broken the law by engaging in polygamy, not just the men."


So was having sex between two men, aborting a baby, and marrage between two men until a few years ago. So lets just sweep up the Catholic church and take away all their children for any reason we think is just."

Hi Anonymous of April 16, 2008 at 10;19 PM. I have no idea what point you're trying to make here. You seem to be drawing on some old stereotype pertaining to Catholic Priests, but frankly what you've said doesn't make any sense. If you're going to make a point, criticize, or even outright attack me on a position, kindly make a rational, well thought out point, so that one might respond. Otherwise, its better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

Anonymous said...

I greatly enjoyed your posts Catholic Defender. Their pomposity was only matched by their lack reason and factual support. I’ll only address my favorite of your points.
1) You mentioned that “both parents have broken the law by engaging in polygamy…Perhaps that seems a bit harsh, but, it is a factual statement;” I love this point because it is probably not a factual statement; in most cases of polygamist marriage, only one spouse is legally and lawfully wed; the others are “spiritually wed. Under recent supreme court precedent (Lawrence v. Texas, I think) statutes you later mentioned in your defense against lewd and lascivious conduct, as well as adultery, are likely unenforceable to the extent they interfere in the activities of consenting adults. You awesomely did not mention bigamy, but it’s also likely that the statute is only enforceable to the extent that a person is legally married more than once. You later backtrack, and say that “These folks were married in every sense because that’s what their teachings tell them God expects.” Well, every sense except perhaps the legal one, which is, you know, the only relevant one. However, all of this is beside the point; you cannot as a general principle take children away from their parents because the parents are engaged in illegal activity. You can only take them away if the children’s welfare is in danger. Whether or not the parents were practicing polygamy is irrelevant by itself to whether the children should be taken away.
2) You mention repeatedly that we won’t hear the government’s part of the story. I like this comment because for all the “legal” analysis you seem to be attempting, you seem to miss the fact that for the government to take the action it has, IT HAS TO TELL IT’S PART OF THE STORY. So, actually, we will hear the government’s side. And we’ve seen the warrant. And frankly, we should all be terrified that the information in that warrant was considered sufficient to remove 416 children from their homes. The caller, sure; even the caller’s children. But all 416? The best evidence the government had of wrongdoing prior to the raid should be in that warrant, and if that’s all they had, it’s an ugly day for the 4th amendment rights of every other child on that compound.
3) You say that “See every one of those young boys that was removed is being indoctrinated into believing that it’s their God given right and duty to marry multiple young teenage girls and force them into submission to their husbands. This is what we call brainwashing.” This is fantastic use of “technical” term. Ok, I’ll bite. Suppose we call it “brainwashing.” Please, please show me a law in ANY of the 50 states that says “brainwashing” is child abuse. Last time I checked, we don’t make laws for teaching or believing wrong things; we only have laws against acting on them; and we don’t count speaking as acting, with very few exceptions. I can teach my children it’s ok to kill hookers and snort cocaine; bribe elected officials and cheat on their taxes, and as long as they don’t do it, the law can do nothing to me.
4) You told Loveathome that “when your grandmother was 14, it was culturally acceptable for kids to get married. That’s no longer the case in this country. 14 years old will get you 14 years, that’s statutory rape. The other point I would make, is that 14 years old is the age of consent in a very small number of states.” I love this comment because TEXAS was one of those states until… wait for it…2005. That’s right. When the FLDS moved into Texas. Tellingly, the change is made in a section of the law titled “bigamy” (Catholic Defender, you should check that one out; it was what you were looking for earlier.) So I guess that in the dark ages prior to 2005, it was ok for 14 year old girls to be married, but since Texas and the rest of us became enlightened (I think we all agree that this enlightenment is likely a result of the release of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith) it’s definitely something we all agree on. Except for those states that still think 14 is ok, like you said.

This is not to defend or in any way condone the abuse that has been committed by the FLDS. It is merely to point out that you defend and condone the abuse of the government is ridiculous and completely one sided.

Anonymous said...

To Anon @ 1:59 PM:

The information in the warrant was not sufficient to remove the children from their homes. The information uncovered during the search, however, was sufficient.

See the clear statement on this point by Greg Cunningham, Texas DFPS spokesperson:
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,695271064,00.html

Anonymous said...

to Anon @ 2:10
I agree that the DFPS spokesman believes that what was observed during the search was sufficient. However, I don't believe that the evidence released to date supports his statement; of course, that depends on the unreleased evidence, so we'll have to see. Thanks for the correction.
-anon @ 1:59

Jenny said...

You are absolutely right Jeff. Well said.

Roxy said...

To Anon 10:07 PM, April 16( for goodness sake why not a simple name?!)

I'm not sure who you were referring to on your comment because I said what you quoted and maybe someone else did too. But if you were talking about what I posted, I'm afraid I don't understand you.

Because I don't know much about whats going on, I have a lot of 'buts' in my comments. But does anyone really know what's going on here? Does the state have all the evidence they need? I'm sure they don't, at least not yet.

What I meant on my comments is that if some parents are found guilty, I hope the children somehow end up living in a better place. Whether if the parents are guilty because of abuse or because they kept it all hushed up they are still guilty.

If they are found innocent what else is their to do? Their would be no reason to keep their children away from them if they've done nothing wrong.

To Anon 11:43 PM, April 16( yet another one) I agree that their are some LDS that don't even know Joseph Smith had many wives because I myself, being a convert for almost 3 years, didn't find out until a month ago. But honestly, even though I'm glad it's no longer being practiced by the LDS, it wasn't illegal at the time they did. That was then and this is now. And we're also talking about abuse here.

I was a bit shocked when I found out and I struggled to not let it stop me from losing my faith, but I was even more shocked when I found out that it was also practiced in ancient times and that in the bible it mentions a little about some men having multiple wives. I may be wrong and if I am please do forgive me. And I'm sorry to say that I do not have any references, so please correct me if I'm wrong. But the fact that people are still bringing it up and blaming Joseph Smith and others for whats happening now with the FLDS is just sad. We the LDS no longer practice it. It's a commandment to only have one spouse, but if people choose to disobey them, then why blame others for it?

And just another thought, would these people be in so much trouble if they hadn't started their own practices? They put themselves in a lot of trouble as soon as they decided to go against the law. And now look at whats happened. Again I just hope that all this mess comes to an end. And hopefully without any tragedies.

Thomas said...

TO all those that think that Joseph only imbibed in Polygamy. How about polyandry? He had wives that were married to other men. And the men were still living and it was not only a spiritual marriage to Joesph.
Try to swallow polyandry.
I can't.

Anonymous said...

Roxy, said:


"I'm not sure who you were referring to on your comment because I said what you quoted and maybe someone else did too. But if you were talking about what I posted, I'm afraid I don't understand you."


I was not trying to give you a hard time just different statements made on this blog. I have a hard time being on the side of our goverment. I have been caught up the so called wheels of our goverment many times. They are there for one reason to take power away from you. They waited 200 plus years to deal with this and not they move in with tanks and guns. And when I say sheepel I mean people had better wake up. I am glad to here about your conversion. I also joined 30 plus years ago and have been dealing with all the Mormon past. Now I have a testimony of the spirit I don't really care what happened in the past and I know that God will deal with it. But the here and now in Texas and the rest of the United States does concern me. Good luck and stay strong to your testimony no matter want happens

Anonymous said...

Roxy, said:


"I'm not sure who you were referring to on your comment because I said what you quoted and maybe someone else did too. But if you were talking about what I posted, I'm afraid I don't understand you."


I was not trying to give you a hard time just different statements made on this blog. I have a hard time being on the side of our goverment. I have been caught up the so called wheels of our goverment many times. They are there for one reason to take power away from you. They waited 200 plus years to deal with this and not they move in with tanks and guns. And when I say sheepel I mean people had better wake up. I am glad to here about your conversion. I also joined 30 plus years ago and have been dealing with all the Mormon past. Now I have a testimony of the spirit I don't really care what happened in the past and I know that God will deal with it. But the here and now in Texas and the rest of the United States does concern me. Good luck and stay strong to your testimony no matter want happens

Anonymous said...

One of the main reasons women married so young in the past was their lack of social status and freedom. If you were a woman, you needed to marry. Period. It's still that way in many less-developed countries. Here, in (most of) the US, women actually have access to education. We have access to employment. We have voting rights and the right to choose a life-partner. To prevent young girls who live in our modern society from having any of those rights is just plain wrong. Have you seen the horribly vacuous looks on the faces of the like-dressed and liked hair-styled "Stepford Wife" women? By all means, if that's your idea of the perfect woman, encourage those girls to get right back into that compound...

Roxy said...

To Anon 7:04 PM, April 17:

Thank you for explaining what you meant to me. I can be a bit slow sometimes, but it's really not my fault. I think I was dropped a few times when I was a baby. :)

And even though my testimony isn't as strong as it once was, I'm glad I still have one. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

"Have you seen the horribly vacuous looks on the faces of the like-dressed and liked hair-styled "Stepford Wife" women? By all means, if that's your idea of the perfect woman, encourage those girls to get right back into that compound..."

Even though it is not right you made me laugh. Be nice now. Some of the things you think are rights are freedoms not rights. I have seen what the woman of the United States and the rest of the freeworld have done with their rights and I am unimpressed.

Anonymous said...

"Even though it is not right you made me laugh. Be nice now. Some of the things you think are rights are freedoms not rights. I have seen what the woman of the United States and the rest of the freeworld have done with their rights and I am unimpressed."

I'm not trying to be mean but honest. Seriously, did you see some of the women interviewed on the Today Show? They could barely form coherent sentences and spoke with such submissive timidity it was truly frightening.

Would you really (and your comment leads me to believe you are a man) have women go back to the times when we were considered property and not equal? With every freedom comes things we might not like. That doesn't mean the freedoms themselves are wrong.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anonymous of April 17 @1:59 PM,

I admit, I don't live in Texas and don't know much about Texas law, other than you can carry a gun and pretty much shoot someone who just looks like they might be thinking about committing a crime and call it self defense. You are however very wrong about whether the state can come in to a home and remove children just because of criminal activity. Michigan, and some of the other northern, and midwestern states actualy do allow the state to remove children on the basis of criminality in the home.

Michigan Compiled Law 712A.2(b)(2) states that court jurisdiction over a child is appropriate if the parents, guardians, custodians, have created a home or environment that is unfit for the children to reside in by reason of neglect, cruelty, criminality, drunkenness, or depravity. Those last three are defined as states of being, not specific instances of activity. What that means is that if you run a crack house out of your home, your children can be taken away even if they have not been harmed by the fact that you're running a crack house. In this Texas case, the fact that these folks were engaging in criminal activities in the home that may or may not have actually impacted upon the children, would by itself constitute grounds for removing the children in many of the northern states. The danger you suggest, is an implied danger in the sense that if there is criminal activity in the home environment, its per se harmful to the children because criminal activity is inherently dangerous.

And you are right, some states do still allow marriage as young as 14. This is a huge inconsistency in the law if you really analyze it though because in order to have a valid marriage under the law, you have to be able to consumate the marriage. If the age of consent is 16, and you're allowed to marry at 14, such a marriage would be in valid because you could not legally consumate the marriage until you were 16. But, still, you are right on that point.

Sincerely,

Catholic Defender

Anonymous said...

Another point I would add. I am actually correct in stating that you won't hear the government's side of the story. Not the entire side of the story. That's because there are two types of cases occurring down there in Texas. One is criminal, the other is quasi-civil.

The criminal case will involve charging and prosecuting those folks actually committing crimes. That means the men engaged in underaged sexual activity with their alleged child brides. Those cases will be matters of public record, and the public will hear most of the government's version of the facts.

The other cases, the ones that actually involve the children. Those cases are quasi-civil, and are subject to a whole other set of laws. Some of the government's information and side of the story will be public record, and therefore will be to disclosure. Some of the government's information though, is protected under federal, and most likely state, confidentiality laws and therefore not disclosable and not a matter of public record. Pretty much the entire CPS record will not be disclosable, whereas the police investigation will be. So again, you are only partly correct Anonymous of April 17 @ 1:59 PM.

Catholic Defender

Anonymous said...

"They could barely form coherent sentences and spoke with such submissive timidity it was truly frightening."


And we should worry about the 50% drop out rate in the big city schools. Always worring about everyone else. Pleass give me a break.

Anonymous said...

Roxy, you might want to look at FairWiki's article on Joseph's marriages to young wives: http://en.fairmormon.org/Joseph_Smith%27s_marriages_to_young_women.

Anonymous said...

Catholic Defender,
I was a a lot snarkier than I needed to be earlier; I appreciate how well you took that. My broad statement that you can't remove children for illegal activity was wrong. My broad point is that this is not a clear cut case on either side, especially in light of the news today that the triggering phone call may have been a prank. While Texas' actions may have been proper, they may have been illegal as well. And even if they are less traumatic than underage marriage, they are very likely more traumatic than being taught poligamy is proper.
-anon@1:59

Anonymous said...

Hi Anon @1:59,

No harm done, I probably brought the snarkiness on with my comment about being thought a fool. I actually enjoy a spirited debate. This is a very complex issue if one really thinks about it because it insights passions, evokes fear of government intrusions, and isn't a clear cut case on either side of the issue. I suspect as time goes by, we will hear more of the facts about this case, but we will never have the whole story.

One of the very difficult aspects of CPS work is that often time caseworkers do have to act hastily, and without all the facts because state legislatures have enacted well intentioned but kneejerk, poorly thought out laws designed to protect children. Often times when the dust clears on those kind of cases, what appeared to be true, isn't, but the caseworker was required to act based upon what was alleged in order to protect the child. Its a sort of "kill them all and let God sort it out approach."

In the end, my guess is some of these children will end up back with their mothers, and some will not. Some of the father's will end up convicted, some will not. And Warren Jeffs will still be the prophet of this church and will still be held in high esteem by his followers. But, what will also happen is that light will be shed into the homes of some of these kids, and some will choose a better, and safer way of life. That unfortunately is true about CPS work as well.

I will admit that I do defend the government. I don't happen to view everything the government does as "bad" or "suspicious." That's not to say the government is always right...look at Mr. Bush...but generally, the government does act in our best interests. We as citizens though still need to keep a watch, and speak up in order to keep our governments in line. There are times when the government does overreach. There are times though when it doesn't reach enough.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

Roxy said...

Anon 7:30 AM, April 18, thank you for the link. I admit, I was hesitant at first to click on it, but I did and found the info very useful and a bit of a relief. Thanks again.

Cassandra said...

Jeff, you worries are defensible. But I think they're too much for now.

I work in the family legal system in another (non-southern) state. It's a clumsy, tedious, sclerotic system, but the safeguards in place are pretty substantive. If Texas really wanted to own everyone's children it wouldn't have assigned them all individual lawyers. The legislature would have streamlined the process so that kids could be taken away without hearings and representation even after the fact. And if it turns out that the evidence for removal that Texas was relying on is as thin as we all fear, I don't think for a minute that there won't be national outcry and condemnation in favor of these parents denied their rights.

In the end, perhaps a score of teenage girls will be removed, and the rest of the children will go back. All a lawyer has to do is cite several constitutional precedents protecting the rights of parents to raise their kids however the heck they want (though CA ignores such precendents when it outlaws homeschooling and the like).

In general, I think the system tends to err too far on the side of leaving kids with their parents in situations of abuse and neglect, not the other way around.

Lastly, I don't think any authority figure actually said "your kids are ours." These parents are a lot more media savvy than their 19th century naif demeanor would suggest.

Anonymous said...

The more I see of this case the more grateful I am to TX for stepping into the breech and making the welfare of those children come FIRST.

I suspect that there are a lot of people who are embarrassed by the relationship of the FLDS to the LDS and, so, are reluctant to address what is actually going on. They want to dismiss it with the vain and naive assumption that they are better off with their mothers.

They are NOT. Any view at all of those women who have presented themselves makes perfectly clear that they are emotionally stunted, lacking any autonomy and powerless to protect the children.

I can have sympathy for the fact that they are, themselves, victims. But that DOESN'T make them motivated and effective protectors and advocates for their offspring. I have no doubt that as this thing goes on and facts are disclosed we will find that there are minimal IQs, docility from a pattern of abuse possibly brain damage as well, and conditioning to transmit to their children the message that they don't matter -- that they are the same kind of chattel that the women seem to be resigned to being.

Meanwhile, although I think the primary responsibility is going to rest on the men who profited from and directed this vile and sickening situation, they could not be in bigamous ("spiritual" or otherwise) marriages if the women did not agree to be 3rd and 4th and 8th wives. And they could not have taken advantage of very young women (I understand they have pregnant 13 year old in protective custody) if the mothers that some suggest they should be returned to had effectively been the protectors of their daughters.

TX is acting slowly and prudently and, I assume, to the best of their ability to wade through a nightmare of the YfZ's creation. They shouldn't have to do it with people nipping at their heels and second-guessing them. They shouldn't have to do it with the LDS as busy as it can be trying to distance itself instead of asking how it can help to undo the legacy of misery introduce by early church leaders including Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and John Taylor. And we should all be supporting TX in supporting vulnerable people -- women and children -- who have no one to rely on but the public servants we provide to ensure their safety and hope there is a pathway to eradicating this primitive, demeaning and soul-destroying way of life in UT and AZ as well.

anonymous alice

Mormanity said...

Cassandra, what makes you think there could be a national outcry over the violated rights of the parents? Was there a national outcry in Germany over the violated rights of Jews after the media had portrayed them in the most sinister tones possible? With Fox News screaming about child rape and sex camps and all that, and with all the religious bigotry that is being stirred up, even intelligent people who recognize that the Texas approach was heavy handed are basically saying that this was justified given how horrid they think that religion must be. It's more like "the end justifies the means" than it is "equality before the law" and due process.

And when I raise questions about the abuse of Constitutional rights for this group, I have been accused of supporting child molestation, etc.

In this kind of climate, is the media going to provide more than casual glances at the issue of parental rights and due process?

Mormanity said...

So what does it mean to all of you if the alleged 16-year-old FLDS abuse victim that triggered this whole raid turns out to be a hoax? Does that change anything, or does the end still justify the means of the Texas authorities? I'm not saying there aren't crimes that have been committed, but was the raid and the separation of hundreds of children from their mothers justified based on reliable evidence? Was due process afforded our fellow citizens, however strange their lifestyles and however wrong some of their practices and beliefs?

In spite of Colorado arresting the apparent source of what may have been fraudulent calls, Texas authorities wish to stick to their story. She exists, this anonymous caller, they're somewhat sure, but she hasn't been found. Help me out: isn't it possible to verify the location of incoming cell phone calls? Shouldn't part of the investigation in the first place have included verifying that the complaint was real? If someone claimed to be calling from within the compound but was miles away, shouldn't that have been detected? I'm not sure - but I know my cell phone company can at least tell what tower I was closest to when I called, without doing anything special. I would think police could do better. Didn't the Texas authorities check? Or was the hoaxster calling from near the compound?

In any case, this points to the danger of this age, when anybody can pick up the phone and cause such trouble for someone else. I heard a case today of a couple in San Francisco whose neighbor sent the authorities after them for child abuse, when they have no children. Maybe we should just outsource the raising of our children to the State to keep us all out of trouble. Lot safer that way.

Mormanity said...

Alice: "They shouldn't have to do it with people nipping at their heels and second-guessing them."

Sorry, Alice. The foundation of liberty is second-guessing our elected officials, because the painful lessons of human history teach us that power corrupts and that human leaders tend to expand and abuse their power unless that power is checked and restrained. The whole system of checks and balances, of due process and individual liberty is about putting restraints on the behavior of those with power. And that means scrutiny and second-guessing. Checks and balances - it's all about second-guessing and ensuring that restraints are not overstepped. Turn off the light of scrutiny and it's amazing how fast abuse can set in.

Anonymous said...

Oh! I remember checks and balances. ...but I think that went out of fashion with the Clinton administration.

anonymous alice

Anonymous said...

At 5:03 PM, April 18, 2008 Crssandra, said:

"I work in the family legal system in another (non-southern) state. It's a clumsy, tedious, sclerotic…( dangerous )... system, but the safeguards in place are pretty substantive. If Texas really wanted to own everyone's children it wouldn't have assigned them all individual lawyers."

This is not directed at you or anyone else or any one person or persons. The legal family system from state to state is a mess. About 30% of the foster care homes are found to have abuse. State by state children die everyday in the hands of the family legal system. One case I know a brother and sister was starved until they looked like they came from a prison camp. They had to crawl out their bedroom window to eat snow for water. I know! I know! We can all come up with cases but of course this is not the states fault just because they are in charge and should be accountable. Because those who work for a system that is broken does not mean it is good to take the kids away from the mother and place them in foster care because the state does not really care if they are abuse some more by some family that is not part of the religious group. If the men are the abusers then why take the kids away from the mothers until the thing is straightened out. Because the state which is the courts want this a completed as possible to keep the money flowing and justify their jobs. The state does not want to own the kids they want the power and control over peoples lives. Just try to reform or cut the budget or jobs of any government, even if there is evidence that shows that the government is doing harm and you will have the biggest fight on your hands. It is a big money making game in the name of doing good.

If all these people blogging were truly concerned, how many of you would be willing to sponsor some of the kids and their mothers and help them learn about the rest of the world so they can make a choice about what they want to do with their life. Are you willing to put your money and time where your mouth is to helping or just blog. I am not. It is just easer to let the state deal with it, watch it on TV, and blog on.

I don't include the men because we all know that we (this includes me) are just a bunch of wife beaters and child molesters.

Anonymous said...

A defense witness testified that it is uncommon for a polygamist sect to force girls as young as 13 into marriage, as the state alleged.

Religious scholar John Walsh also addressed a particularly damning piece of evidence: At least one bed found inside a temple that was allegedly used to consummate such marriages immediately after the ceremony.

"Historically, the only use of a bed in a temple is for temple worship itself," said Walsh, who said he has studied the FLDS practices for 18 years. "The worship lasts a couple of hours, so all the temples will have a place where someone can lie down if they feel ill."

But, he said, "To my knowledge, there has never been any sexual activity in a Mormon temple."

Walsh said he also studies the mainstream Mormon church, which renounced polygamy a century ago and has no ties to the FLDS. He said "without the polygamy aspect, the FLDS would resemble the Baptist or Catholic religions."

Anonymous said...

Perry, who has worked with families in groups such as the Branch Davidian sect near Waco, Texas, said that if the children are allowed to remain in state custody, "There have to be exceptional elements in place for these children and their families. The traditional foster care would not be good for these children."

Anonymous said...

Marilyn Jeffs, who said she was not forced into marriage before age 18. It wasn't clear whether Jeffs is related to jailed FLDS leader Warren Steed Jeffs.

Another FLDS woman, Maureen Jessop, said she was a mother of two toddlers and an infant, but also was trained as an emergency medical technician -- despite her husband's wishes. Jessop said she is a stay-at-home mother by choice. "I have a wonderful life in Eldorado," she testified.

Anonymous said...

Perry, who's an expert on children in cults, says while the teen girls believed they were marrying out of free choice, it's a choice based on lessons they've had from birth.

Perry interviewed three girls removed during the raid.

He also said that many of the adults at the Yearning For Zion Ranch are loving parents and that the boys seemed emotionally healthy when he interacted with them.

But he says the sect's belief system "is abusive. The culture is very authoritarian."


I sounds to me like the religion is on trial not were they abused. May be they should send the kids to some of our normal school so they can make the choice to get some drugs, piercings, tattoos, pregnant, and get day care in high school.

Anonymous said...

"Two Texas Rangers traveled to Colorado Springs, Colorado, on April 16 and met with officers from the Colorado Springs Police Department to discuss a possible connection between Swinton and telephone calls made regarding activities at the polygamist Yearning For Zion (YFZ) Ranch of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) in Eldorado, Texas," according to the DPS news release issued late Friday.

Sound like all this was based on a false warrant and should be thrown out of court. No not a chance not when we can make so much money in the legal system.

Anonymous said...

"I have no doubt that as this thing goes on and facts are disclosed we will find that there are minimal IQs, docility from a pattern of abuse possibly brain damage as well, and conditioning to transmit to their children the message that they don't matter -- ..."

Sounds like our public school system with a 50% drop out rate, school shootings, drugs, and all the other problems that the schools have... Oh I go on so about all the problems the goverment has done such a great job at. I love your country can't wait to ge out.

Titus Todd said...

The possibility that some of the boys have been taken to Boys Ranch (that would be Cal Farley's Boys Ranch) near Amarillo, Texas is disturbing. I grew up near Amarillo before very recently relocating to Utah.

The Cal Farley organization has exhibited descrimination against Mormons over the years, forcing various employees they found out be Mormon out of their jobs by various means. I have personally known a couple of those forced out.

I cannot imagine how the FLDS boys will be treated there. I do not think it is an appropriate place for them if that is where they were sent.

Titus Todd said...

By the way - 350 to 400 miles in West Texas is nothing.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't that a Baptist bus that hauled away the Mormons? Were anti-FLDS religioninsts and their bus armada ready to roll with guns and tanks of Texas, working hand-in-glove with the CPS authorities and police?

Mormanity said...

That's the report I read somewhere - a Baptist bus, wasn't it? There's a video that I think makes reference to that, though it gets a bit dramatic by bringing in some Waco footage and recordings as well. But it is a good reminder of what can happen when cultures collide and the authorities overreact just a bit. Also a good reason to avoid religious compounds (and you can bet I'm staying away from LDS scout camps in the future - marching around in Scout uniforms, highly regimented ceremonies, etc. - what would the local authorities think?).

Anonymous said...

My question would be.. Because polygamy is against the law.. Why wasn't those engaged in it arrested, tried, and sentenced?

If there were children involved, then at that time they would have been removed from the home because both parents would have been charged.

I do know how CPS services work. I had a step family of my 3 children and her 3 children. One of her children made an accusation against one of my children. I was specifically told.. you either remove your child from the family home.. or we will remove all the other children from your home. And it will be like this until we have determined innocence or guilt of your child.

I had to move my child in with neighbors for 6 months while they investigated. My child was not allowed to come home during this time.

Trust me.. they have so much power and there is not a thing you can do about it.

I think what Jeff is saying is that guilt by association wrong. For them to have taken every child without specific charges against their specific parent is wrong. If they took all the children and then charged every parent with Polygamy and arrested them.. that would then be an acceptable reason for removing the children. But of course.. one would need a warrant and probable cause for arresting every adult without proof of something. They can't just arrest you until they find the proof.

They just lumped every child into the "abuse" category, removed them from the home.. and now they will sort through everything to determine who is and who is not guilty.

And most of us know that when something of this magnitude gets put into action.. it is very hard to stop it. And this action then becomes precedence. If it becomes acceptable to the majority.. then they can do it again and again and again.

There is no doubt that crimes have been committed. But they still have to prove it! And you just can't round up people because they are all there and make the assumption that everyone is guilty. It reminds me of the German SS and the consecration camps. And I am not just talking just about what they did to the Jewish people as a race.. I am talking about what they did to their own German people.. many were put there for their ideas, religious affiliations, political party, etc. .. and that.. is a scary thought!

one handed applause said...

Anonymous @ 11:30 AM I normally tend to overlook comment typos, misspellings, etc., but I'm wondering if "consecration" camps might be not the exact word you had in mind?

Anonymous said...

That is why I don't use a handel. When I see someone say I am working on my PhD. I know my place in life. So I blog because my fingers need the work out.

Anonymous said...

This case is not about the children. It’s about the power of the State. No apologies. No backing down. No care for the children who are being traumatized and abused as they are torn from their mothers. It’s all for their own good and protection, just like the Cultural Revolution. (Source)

It’s abusive to rip them away from their mothers that way; it’s abusive if young girls are being forced into marriages. Which abuse is worse?

Any abuse by the FLDS is at the hands of the state for not acting sooner and the abuse of the state now is at the hands of the state for taking the kids from their mothers. This could have been handled better and could be changed and improved upon at any time but the state refuses to do so.

Mormanity said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mormanity said...

From a comment by Lilathe posted to a story in the Houston Chronicle:

One huge problem with children being in CPS care is that when the parents follow the "safety plan" or the case plan implemented by CPS, they often loose their jobs.
In a safety plan the parents must
1) visit with the children weekly or bi-weekly when it is convenient to CPS not their work schedule(I mean they want to, not must)
2) attend court during the day which is usually an all day long thing
3) attend parenting classes
4) go to individual counseling
5) go to counseling with the children
6) many times take drug tests exactly when called and told to do so
7) participate in various meetings at CPS.
and twenty gazillion other things

If the families are poor to start with their jobs are usually "easily replaced" jobs, and they are just fired. So now we can add homelessness to them not getting their kids back.

Also, when CPS takes the children into state care, they take any social security, child support, welfare benefits away from the family. That can also cause loss of home or loss of car etc for the families since finances are set on "normal" income.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff,

Your last post hit upon one of the inherent problems with the CPS system. Most of what you're saying about parents following a treatment plan is accurate if parents want to be reunified with thier children. It is often problematic that parents are expected to follow the plan and maintain a job and a home. Its all well and good to point out the problems with the system, but I'd like to know what you would suggest is a way to fix the problem.

Catholic Defender