American Culture

The women of FLDS: teary-eyed defenders of the church of child rape

By Ann Ivins

In 2005, the state of Texas passed one of the quickest bills in decades, changing the age at which young people with parental consent could legally marry from 14 to 16. Why the hurry? Warren Jeffs and the FLDS had come to town.

Here’s a quick, easy definition of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints: “The FLDS practice polygamy in arranged marriages, sometimes between underage girls and older men.” This is the accepted tagline used with almost no variation by AP, Reuters, the Post, the Times, Fox News… palatable. Neutral. Not too upsetting to hear during breakfast. Not nearly as hard to think about as the truth, which is simple enough for even the Texas Legislature to grasp:

An underage girl is a child. A child cannot consent to a marriage, arranged or otherwise, or to the sexual consummation of that illegal marriage, nor can her parents consent for her. Non-consensual sex is rape. Jeffs, his father before him and two generations of their fellow predators had created, maintained, financed and grown a system of induction centers, internment camps and breeding facilities for new victims, using religion as a cover and barbed wire, isolation and the threat of damnation as controls. Not for years, for decades. If prosecutable evidence was difficult to obtain, the basic tenets and practices of FLDS were no secret. Jeffs’ 2002 conviction on accomplice rape charges certainly confirmed the rumors, if confirmation were needed. Now an entire nest of the same maggots has been exposed to view… and still the mealy-mouthed coverage of the FLDS persists, with a fresh infusion of images of prayerful, modest womanhood cruelly separated from beloved children.

When those weeping mothers in quaint cotton dresses appear on the morning shows again tomorrow, when they show the world the squeaky-clean classrooms and community kitchens of that compound in El Dorado, try to see past the home-baked bread and the tear-stained faces. Try to see what those pathetic, brainwashed women, victims and perpetrators themselves, are truly showing all of us: the daylight side of a world of nighttime terror, the mechanics of a rape camp.

22 replies »

  1. I admit that I gave some thought to tweaking you a bit on how you KNOW these things (a la your comments on Lena Antman in the threads below), but decided that some things just don’t lend themselves to tweaking.

    I just wish you hadn’t held back. You’re being too nice to these scumbags.

  2. All of this we are seeing today could have been stopped long ago, but was not. Read No Man Knows My History, One Nation Under Gods, and Under the Banner of Heaven for the real story within a story about this mess.
    The main reason why none of this was stopped decades ago is because those who could stop it (UTAH authorities) would not. They still believe in polygamy (celestial) as their founders believed in temporal polygamy. To say that it is wrong, would mean they’d have to say their prophet and founder was wrong. That’s like a devout Catholic stating the Pope is wrong.
    If Jeffs had kept his cult in Utah, Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, and those environs, we’d never have seen any of this. He made the bone headed mistake of taking it on the road to a state that just isn’t all that keen on child rape. Thank you, Texas. You are a shining example of GUTS in a west that prides itself on shutting its collective eyes to the fact that child rape does matter even if it isn’t YOUR child.

  3. Thanks, JS. It’s all in the court documents, anyway – I’m just too lazy here at the beach to link. Free pass to tweak me next time.

  4. G:

    Well said. I’ve read Under the Banner of Heaven, but not the other two. Having worked extensively in Utah, I agree with you wholeheartedly that there is a tendency to tolerate child rape there.

  5. Euphrosyne:

    Yep. It’s in the court documents and the news media. But then, we haven’t had a trial and the other side hasn’t had its say, so how can you be so SURE?

    Tweak. Tweak.

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  7. Give me a break. There are millions of children abused in this society, not just sexually, but physically and mentally abused, including those forced to take psychoactive medications (which have who knows how many unknown side effects, but the pharmaceutical industry isn’t complaining). And they are abused in countless other ways, including by being subjected to advertising that convinces them to begin a lifetime of eating junk food.

    I think that most of these stories that focus on one set of abuses, particularly where only a few isolated children are involved, are part of the mind games the corporate media plays to distract people from the fact their entire society is going to hell in a handbasket. These stories seem designed to get the regular screwed working folk to convince themselves they and their children do not have it so bad after all.

  8. What biased trash. If a woman marries a man who is already married, she must, by default be “brainwashed”. Arranged marriage equated to rape. How bigoted a stance when you consider the number of arranged marriages in india, and plural wives in Islam, our U.S. monogamous relationships are the majority.

    Further, changing the consensual age for marriage just to discriminate against a religion when it was established that way for decades if not since Texas’ beginning does seem to be more the problem. Indeed, one would hardly be able to prosecute these people for any crime if the laws hadn’t altered on them.

    And then of course, we bring up Ms. Broady and her God-awful book that has as much resemblance to history as bear has to Steven Colbert. But really those books are just brought up to link F- LDS to the LDS church proper. I see. Let’s ignore the actual statements within the Book of Mormon against polygamy, and also ignore the original work for most christians to discuss polygamy, the bible. Oh yes, we could have put a stop to all polygamy if only someone had shot Abraham the day he laid eyes on his wife’s handmaid.

    When laws are altered against a religion and federal marshals bust in a religious group’s door because a woman crank calls about being a 16 year-old locked in a basement, it is grounds for all Americans to Unite against the abuse of the Law, not to point how weird or different that group is and be glad it isn’t us.

  9. EE – There’s a fundamental difference between an adult woman choosing to enter into a polygamous relationship and a female teen being forced into the same. The first I don’t have a problem with (although I’ll hardly speak for anyone else in that regard), the second I do.

    And don’t forget – the FLDS church exists because the LDS church re-wrote the parts of the Book of Mormon that dealt with polygamy. An elder of the church conveniently had a vision that polygamy was wrong right as the territory of Utah was embroiled in a federal bru-ha-ha over whether Utah should be made a state – and polygamy was one of the key reasons NOT to permit statehood. This single change has everything to do with why the FLDS church exists.

    Like or dislike the LDS church (I like somethings, despise others, as with nearly every organized religion I can think of), the FLDS church is as tightly linked to the LDS church as Wahabbism is linked to Islam. There’s probably a similar link in Christianity (I was originally thinking Baptists are to Catholics, but it’s not quite right), but I don’t know the various subgroups well enough to say exactly.

  10. John – So we shouldn’t stop systematic abuse of children when we see it why? If you want to argue that overmedicating children with various drugs is abuse, fine – that’s actually debatable. But you’re equating a situation where children were suspected of being sexually abused (a known legal definition of abuse) with an unknown and highly debatable definition of pharmacological abuse.

    Those two things aren’t even on the same planet, never mind in the same ballpark.

  11. Hey EverydayEconomist, just so I can tell the difference between what you’re advocating and pedophilia, how old do you think a girl should be before she can be strapped down and sexed up against her will?

    Thanks for stopping by to offer a reasoned defense of rape camps religion.

  12. If this is how they want to live, then that is THEIR BUSINESS. I think it’s twisted what happens to these young girls, and it sucks. I think it’s despicable, BUT when YOU OUTLAW CHOICES LIKE POLYGAMY, the same LAWS can be used to outlaw GAY MARRIAGE, and other “Alternative Lifestyles” that aren’t wrong. You might not agree, you might thinks it’s gross, wrong whatever, BUT you can’t outlaw these things, and raid peoples homes for THEIR LIFESTYLE CHOICES. It might be despicable, but when you open the door to these judgments, usually people who don’t deserve to be treated in such a way are treated that way. What should be done, is PROTEST the camps, the compounds, let these girls know what is happening to them. Why don’t scientologists get raided for denying members access to psychiatric help? OUTLAWING THINGS MIGHT STOP A SINGLE PROBLEM AT FIRST BUT THEN IT IS EXPANDED TO HURT EVERYONE. THE SLIPPERY SLOPE IS REAL.

  13. Dear Ian: You need to read closer. The issue here isn’t polygamy. What consenting ADULTS do is their own damned business. The issue is PEDOPHILIA. A child cannot give consent.

    Now, are you ready to argue that we should keep our hands off pedophilia because of your slippery slope?

  14. I think John, Ian, and EE should start a political action group. Maybe they could call it something like, oh, say, Pedophiles for Childcare and Kindergarten Enabled Rape (PECKER). I suggest they keep a membership list so that, when we throw their sorry asses in prison, we can let the inmates know alll about them.

    Of course, they probably won’t do that, opting instead for a religious organization like the Church of Pedophilia (ironically COP) and claim First Amendment protection.

    I say we give their IP addresses to the FBI.

  15. I actually have a serious question about some of this. Some of you know me personally and know I’d be the guy supplying the rope and tree if lynching pedophiles suddenly became a legal sport. But how does one decide how old is old enough? I know that there are legal reasons, but they had to be generated from somewhere. A couple of hundred years ago, this kind of thing might have been a bit more acceptable. And “progress” isn’t really an answer. So how does it actually work? Social consensus? Based on what? Majority rule? Which majority?

  16. Michael, this is a huge issue in family law – and why concepts like “statutory rape” exist, along with the corresponding exceptions for teenagers within a certain age range (a 15-year-old and a 17-year-old, for example). The short answer is that there IS no black and white line; this age a child, this age an adult. The laws are certainly not based on the latest research into neurological development; if they were, no one would drive, vote, smoke, drink or copulate until 25 or so. And since the laws vary from state to state, it’s easy to see that ideas of acceptability based on tradition, social custom and religion are still very much in play… okay, that was a long answer. The real short answer is that somewhere, somehow, unless ALL ages are to be fair game, a line has to be drawn; since childhood as a separate developmental stage is a very, very new concept historically, the rules are still in flux.

    If we start by defining rape as coercion to sexual acts by physical or emotional threat or constraint, perhaps we can extrapolate from there to find those people most at risk and in need of protection. I’m not saying it’s clear cut… but a 14-year-old living behind barbed wire, surrounded by adults who tell her to marry, spread her legs and begin producing children or be turned out alone into an evil world and go to hell into the bargain – that one’s a pretty easy call for me, and that’s just the one on the books.

    Which majority? I hate that question, because the answers and counter-answers are always the same and lead, to my mind, nowhere. Maybe it’s my short attention span. But I suspect that if a representative group of parents of 12- to 14-year-old girls were brought together and asked to come up with a set of guidelines on this subject, I’d be pretty satisfied with the results.

  17. Oh, and Ian – if you can find any consenting adult female to shack up with you, let alone more than one, then bless you, my friend. Go to it. If you can talk them into offering up their little girls to have sex with you, then both you and they are criminals. See how easy it is?

    Good luck with that first part, by the way.

  18. Re teary mothers: I challenge anyone to show me in the recent videos shown on tv that there were ANY real tears. Dabbed eyes, to be sure, but as soon as those women were questioned about minors and marriage, down came the hankies and up came the flashing eyes defending the “honor” of their lifestyle.

  19. Thank you…Where are the sperm donors who have mind f…ed these woman for generations? Jeffs picked the few he could trust and left for Texas. I am angry at the defense of this so called religion–to me it is a sadistic cult of pedophiles…

  20. How bout consent to sex of an adult starts with ages that dont end in the suffix -teen

  21. One God No Religion can define one with goodness but a flaw of judgemental multiple personalities like people reacting to the same situation with different preexisting emotional stimulai such as things that happened earlier in the day affecting judgement