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Warning: Some of the language and imagery used in this diary may not be appropriate for those who have suffered abuse.

Update: 11:15am pst--I have to get to work, but will return later. I hope the diary doesn't disintegrate into an overall discussion of religion, which never goes well, but rather I hope the discussion can remain focused on what is happening, the DOJ litigation, and for those of you willing to write letters... a letter to your state authorities, as mentioned at the end.

Update 2: 12:25pm--I really AM leaving right now, but wanted to post a link to a report on the DOJ suit from CNN, including an interview with Mike Watkiss an Arizona reporter who has been following the cult for years. I can't add to the diary, but here is the link:

UPDATE 3: Back again:) I meant to post this link earlier, as well, but ran out of time. It explains a bit more about the AZ legislature's (failed) action and is quite interesting.

If you aren't familiar with the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) and their two-state fiefdom--Colorado City (Short Creek), Arizona and Hildale, Utah--then you probably aren't familiar with it's religious leader, imprisoned child molester and FLDS cult "prophet" Warren Steed Jeffs, either. Jeffs thinks the twin cities and his cult church are a match made in heaven while the Southern Poverty Law Center calls the FLDS a "general hate group".

On August 4, 2011, Jeffs was convicted of two counts of child sexual assault against a twelve year-old girl and a fifteen year-old girl in San Angelo, Texas. He is now serving a life plus twenty-year prison sentence. Jeffs remains the head of the FLDS while in prison. --US DOJ Lawsuit
The 15 year old child mentioned by the DOJ who was "spiritually" married to Jeffs had a child by him, something reinforced during Texas' trial against Jeffs through DNA testing.

A tape played at the Texas Jeffs' hearing included the sounds of his raping his 12 year-old bride, mentioned above by the DOJ, while several of his other wives "helped out" bringing members of the jury and many attending the hearing to tears and sobs.

It's no match made in heaven but "hate group" [for their views on race and other things] doesn't begin to address the depravity of what has taken place and and continues to take place in the cult.

Authorities in Arizona don't think the match is made in heaven. [Note: Fox News, but I used this because of the importance of the several people interviewed.] Nor does the Attorney General in Utah though both these agencies and governments have often been heavily criticized for doing too little or nothing at all.

Texas definitely doesn't think it.  South Dakota is only beginning to come to realize they have a problem. Colorado and Nevada are surely next to wake up. Idaho Authorities have been bombarded by mailings from Jeffs and his followers. In Canada, authorities continue to stare (but not do much else it seems) at the FLDS component in Bountiful [Note: link is to part one of five parts of the riveting, if horrific, FLDS Bountiuful story, Leaving Bountiful].

To add to the list, last Thursday, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit against the cult's twin cities and two utilities under their control charging discrimination and violation of civil rights. Apparently, the DOJ doesn't think the mixing of government and religion is constitutional and are now, finally, poised to do something about it:

The actions and omissions of the Marshal’s Office constitute an impermissible delegation of decision-making and authority to the FLDS, an entanglement of religious and civil functions, a fusion of government power and religious authority, and have the purpose and effect of the Cities impermissibly advancing religion. Because of these actions and omissions, there is no effective means of guaranteeing that the Cities’ governmental power is neutrally employed. [bolding mine] --DOJ
This is what theocracy looks like.

The Town of Colorado City, Arizona (“Colorado City”), and the City of Hildale, Utah(“Hildale”) (collectively, “Cities”), and two utility agencies under the Cities’ control (collectively, “Defendants”) have engaged in and continue to engage in a pattern or practice of conduct that deprives persons of rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and the laws of the United States. --DOJ lawsuit
You can read each of those Constitutional Amendments mentioned above here.
Defendants have engaged in a pattern or practice of illegal discrimination against individuals who are not members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“FLDS”). The Cities’ public officials, the Colorado City/Hildale Marshal’s Office (“the Marshal’s Office”), and utility entities have acted in concert with FLDS leadership to deny non-FLDS access to public space and services. Furthermore, the Defendants have denied non-FLDS members access to housing in the Cities, and they have coerced, intimidated, threatened, and interfered with the housing rights of non-FLDS members. The Marshal’s Office has inappropriately used its state-granted law enforcement authorityto enforce the edicts of the FLDS, to the detriment of non-FLDS members. In addition, the Cities’ officials have misdirected and misused public resources in the service of the FLDS. --DOJ lawsuit
For decades, people raised in the cult, where secrecy is foremost--only obedience more important--have increasingly been taught to avoid the "outside" gentile world. Police and authority are scary to the cult which lives by its own religious laws, ignoring almost all other laws, and children are taught to avoid contact at almost all costs with any form of outside authority. This, of course, helps the cult leadership stay in control.
According to a document filed in court known as "The Record of Warren Jeffs," which was seized during the Texas raid, the prophet had announced that God had ordered him and all the faithful not to recognize civil authority, or to "Answer them nothing." The Arizona Republic
Most--and historically, sometimes all--in the local policing agency are FLDS. The fire chief and firemen are FLDS. Prior to Jeff's demand that all parents pull ALL children from public school, the majority of teachers were FLDS. After Jeffs began charter schools (which were also eventually closed, in 2005, also at Jeffs command in favor of home schooling), most if not all of those teachers were FLDS. Few, especially girls, attended school through high school even before Jeff's became the prophet after his father, Rulon Jeffs, was "lifted up and renewed" (died and entered the celestial kingdom). Many have never attended school past the sixth grade.

Girls are literally taught to treat boys as "snakes" and are forbidden to touch them and in general to have anything to do with them (including cousins, etc. and note that girls are frequently married to first cousins) until they are "married". There is no dating. Girls are assigned husbands by the prophet (they cannot decline) and increasingly, these girls--including hoards of under-aged girls--are traded among the FLDS elite. For instance, a Jeffs under-aged daughter is given to marriage to a Jessop, while a Jessop daughter (or two) is given to a Jeffs or other FLDS worthy man often three or more times that underaged child's age. Everything female is nothing more than chattel to always male "priesthood heads"; the husbands of wives and fathers of children.

Because of continual generations of inbreeding (and possibly incest in some cases), the areas of Colorado City and Hildale have the highest rate of fumarase deficiency, a very rare disease, in the world.

By the late 1990s, Tarby and his team had discovered fumarase deficiency was occurring in the greatest concentration in the world among the fundamentalist Mormon polygamists of northern Arizona and southern Utah. -- Link
The girl's purpose--perhaps playing with her friends in the morning, and married just hours later--is to have children; to bring waiting spirits into this world. These children could be a first wife, or a 60th wife. Records were found in Texas showing Jeffs had 78 wives, 24 of them under the age of 17. The cult believes that all men must have at least three wives to enter the "celestial kingdom".

Obviously, the numbers don't add up in this belief. There are not enough girls and women to go around. Many believe that the abandonment of young boys is a result of this numbers problem. See "Lost Boys" at the end of the post.

ALL behavior and belief in the FLDS centers on salvation. If one sins, one falls away from God. If they do not strictly obey their priesthood head, they cannot receive salvation and enter the celestial kingdom. Their entire future--here and in the great beyond of death--is at stake. If they do not obey the Prophet, they are disobeying God the most egregious of sins. The prophet is never wrong and represents God in the world. All salvation and future life is bound to their priesthood head and God. Period.

Men that are found to have committed some sin--or perhaps an alleged sin--have their wives and children removed and "reassigned" to other men. Some child brides have had three husbands, for instance, by their early 20s and a child with each husband. Often there are no goodbyes. One minute there was a family, the next minute there is a different one with all new mothers, in any number, a new father and "priesthood head" and perhaps dozens and dozens of new siblings located in the same community, or perhaps in another.

Jeffs teaches that a child's DNA is changed by God to match that of a "new" father after reassignment. Children are forbidden to contact their birth (or previous) father or speak about him. It is claimed by some, including Carolyn Jessop (see links below), that some children do not even know who their biological fathers are.

Men that refuse to give up wives at the hand of the "prophet" or women that refuse to leave their husbands are excommunicated and considered apostates. Those still in the cult are ordered to cease communicating with apostates. Indeed, excommunicated and escaped (apostate) members often don't even know where their families are. Their families--from mothers to siblings--are swallowed almost wholly into the cult and may disappear completely. It is reported by Carolyn Jessop that entire families vanished during the night from Colorado City with no one knowing where they had gone.

The control in the church is overwhelming. It is brandished, oft times, with an iron fist resulting in physical abuse. Those who have managed to escape the cult--and that is a literal term, escape--often report sexual and/or physical abuse from relatives and fathers even while mothers were made aware and even from early childhood into adulthood. Nothing is done. Everyone is at risk.

Leaving the cult for most is not an option. These cult members have known no other life since birth. They have been increasingly forbidden television, movies, library books, the internet, music, secular text books or radio. Recently, under an even stricter edict from pedophile Jailhouse Jeffs, children's toys and bicycles were ordered to be gotten rid of and children are forbidden to play basketball or other games in the city parks which have been fenced off or used for materials storage throughout the town(s). Instead, Jeffs, for the umteeth time, will explain that the end is near and commands his cult flock to pray. And pray. Then pray some more. And pray harder.

When doomsdays come and go, Jeffs informs the flock that they are seen as too imperfect and that God has given them more time to become more perfect and prepare. Time and time again this happens.  

And the vicious and controlling cycle begins again wrapped in the cult's secret horrors.

When a young under-aged girl forced to marry tries to bolt--like 14 year-old Ruby Jessop [and here, but caution to those who are sensitive]--the cult will do anything and everything to get her back. They cannot afford, legally or otherwise, to have these young children continue to escape and talk about the forced rape and abuse they endure to the outside world. Actually, they can't afford to have ANYONE, regardless of age, talk about it. But more important, the women and their children don't belong to themselves. They "belong" to--are thought of as property owned by--the cult and its priesthood. They have no freedom nor are they allowed any self-determination or choice. In reality, there is no free agency.

The FLDS controls everyone and virtually everything in the twin Colorado City/Hildale cities.

It is against this background that the DOJ suit was filed.

Unconstitutional Policing

The Marshal’s Office has failed to provide policing services to non-FLDS individuals on the basis of religion. The Marshal’s Office fails to protect non-FLDS individuals from victimization by FLDS members, fails to investigate crimes against non-FLDS individuals and their property, and refuses to arrest FLDS individuals who have committed crimes against non-FLDS individuals. These crimes and actions include destroying crops on a non-FLDS-operated farm, vandalizing property in the control of the UEP Trust, returning at least one underage bride to a home from which she had fled, and trespassing on property occupied by non-FLDS individuals. --DOJ lawsuit

Non-FLDS individuals experience the hardship and mental and physical stress resulting from the knowledge that the Marshal’s Office will not come to their aid in time of need. For example, in January 2012, a woman who was, in effect, excommunicated by the FLDS, fled her home in the Cities with her six young daughters after learning that FLDS leaders demanded that she sever all contact with five of her six children. This woman believed, based on its policies and previous actions, that the Marshal’s Office would not come to her assistance to protect her parental rights if she complained about the FLDS edict separating mothers from their children. She decided, as many other non-FLDS members have done, to flee with her children under cover of darkness to safety outside of the Cities. The failure and refusal of the Marshal’s Office to protect all citizens without regard to religion has given rise to an “underground railroad,” composed of non-FLDS members who provide safe havens and a means of egress for individuals abandoned by law enforcement. Ibid
The Marshal’s Office deploys its resources to enforce FLDS religious edicts. Such conduct includes dispatching Marshal’s Deputies in official vehicles to confront persons about their alleged disobedience to FLDS rules and instructing such persons to report to FLDS leadership. Ibid
In 2001, Jeffs issued an edict that all domestic dogs would be banned from the Cities.Less than one month later, in compliance with Jeffs’s edict, Marshal’s Deputies went to each household in the Cities and asked residents to turn over any dogs that they had in the home to the Officers. The Marshal’s Deputies then shot and killed the dogs in a slaughter pit a short distance from the Cities. Two of the Marshal’s Deputies involved in this incident remain employed by the Marshal’s Office. Ibid
The Marshal’s Office has seized the property of non-FLDS individuals without due process of law. For example, in April or May 2010, the Marshal’s Office departed from its normal procedures in handling a stud horse who escaped from its non-FLDS owner. The Marshal’s Office caused the horse to be euthanized without contacting the owner. Members of the Marshal’s Office knew or should have known the stud horse, which had distinct markings, and they knew or should have known the identity of the horse’s owner. This action was taken on the basis of the owner’s religious affiliation. Ibid
Carolyn Jessop and here, the FLDS mother who planned and executed a harrowing escape with her eight children, one of them disabled and recovering from cancer, in 2003, then the wife of near-royalty Merril Jessop, later convicted of marrying a 12 year-old girl to "prophet" Warren Jeffs, confirms this incident in her book, Escape as has Elissa Wall, another escapee, in her book Stolen Innocence.

Elsewhere in the book, Jessop states that Warren Jeffs had animals tortured to death in front of small children to terrorize them and claims the "prophet" believed "that a society that treated animals humanely was corrupt and had turned away from God."

In October 2005, Fred J. Barlow, during the time he served as Marshal, wrote a letter to then-fugitive Jeffs, stating in relevant part, I rejoice in the peace that comes over me when I follow the directives that you have sent to me through [FLDS member] Uncle William [Jessop]. I have felt a unity between the peace officers.They have all stated to me their desire to follow the directives that are placed before us. . . . I want to fill the position that you would have me fill and do the job the way that you would like it done. . . .We will continue with that directive unless you would like us to do something different. Three out of the current six Marshal’s Deputies were either employed by the Marshal’s Office or finishing the required police training for the Marshal’s Office at the timeMarshal Barlow wrote this letter to Jeffs. --DOJ lawsuit
The policing problem has been going on for quite a long time.

As we await sentencing in the Jerry Sandusky case, the abuses against children continue unabated in the FLDS. Every child bride in the FLDS is being abused. Child trafficking, something not addressed to date, likely continues.

There are so many issues.

It's about time the DOJ got involved in investigating child trafficking for purposes of "spiritual marriage" of underage children and the subsequent sexual abuse/rape of said children.

It's about time the feds investigated trafficking and use of young boys to work for cheap wages (which are then required to be given to the church) through church-related businesses both in the US and in Canada.

The Edmonton Journal’s Sheila Pratt exposed child labour trafficking, wherein young boys from Bountiful have been sent to Alberta businesses, owned by FLDS and affiliates, for cheap labour.

Some of these victims got out. The ones who did reveal that psychological and spiritual abuse kept them locked in exploitation.

Working 40 hours per week and being paid $30 perhaps felt like little compared to the threats of going to hell that victims heard daily from their exploiters.

It's about time the feds investigate the abandonment of under aged boys along the roadside or in nearby cities by families under order of the prophet (the "Lost Boys").

There are dozens more issues and they are not new. They have been going on for decades and have been ignored for just as long by everyone from police to politicians.

It must change.

If you are in any of the states where the FLDS is active, please take a moment to write your state government and ask for long needed action and intervention.

Go here and click the "speak out" tab at the top to write your state's elected representatives and authorities.

I want to thank you for reading this. I know it was probably very difficult for some of you.

Originally posted to on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:53 AM PDT.

Also republished by Baja Arizona Kossacks.

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  •  Tip Jar (241+ / 0-)
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    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 07:53:38 AM PDT

  •  I just returned from a trip to Northern AZ, (46+ / 0-)

    though not to Colorado City. The "twin cities" are located in what we call the Arizona Strip. Cut-off from the rest of the state by the Grand Canyon, they are said to be the creepiest towns on the planet. Outsiders are trailed by the police from the moment they enter. I can't find a link to the story, but a week or so ago I read in a local paper that Jeffs has ex-communicated all but 13 male members of his "church." All future "saints" are to be descended from these. Folks from back east sometimes think that the LDS church is just another denomination, like Baptists or Methodists. This is not the case. The FLDS claims to be the one, true faith, the ones who follow the original church doctrines set out in their scriptures before the church outlawed polygamy. Although mainstream Mormonism is not as radical as the FLDS, they still adhere to most of the same doctrines.

    The GOP ... Government of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

    by Azazello on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 08:28:57 AM PDT

  •  A scary vision of where right wing America wants (28+ / 0-)

    us to the Christine O'Donnells of the world who ask where separation of State and Church is in the Constitution.

    Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

    by tekno2600 on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 08:45:28 AM PDT

    •  Of course the answer is: The 1st Amendment... (15+ / 0-)

      you twit!

      But, apparently Scalia's great legal mind has also missed that.

      Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

      by tekno2600 on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:10:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, no, no. Child molesting is not religious (7+ / 0-)

      Religion is just an excuse to molest. I would suggest that our focus should be on helping the children rather than taking an opportunity to exploit this tragedy to bash religion.

      There are plenty of other fundamentalists out there that do not rape children or practice incest. The women in the chuck wagon dresses holding down kids for rape are no different than some more modernly dressed women doing the same thing to break-in some kid to the sex trade.

      Last I looked, the 1st Amendment does not provide protection to pedophiles and their enablers.

      "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

      by sebastianguy99 on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 11:29:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Religion has no problem bashing atheism or any (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        other viewpoint it disagrees with. So, I don't shed many tear when people say:

        Don't bash religion.
        Personally, I think religion a socially acceptable form of mental illness. If people disagree with me fine. But, it doesn't mean I don't have the right to say it...and no I don't hate religious people. They're just in the grip of an destructive meme.

        Most religious people are sincere and try to do the right thing. But, they think they have to appeal to supernatural authority to do the right thing, rather than figuring things out for themselves. Unfortunately, I think supernatural belief systems can lead them to ideas that are at best self-delusional, and at worst, can be a threat to humanity.

        Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

        by tekno2600 on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 01:04:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The point is not the bashing, either of religion (3+ / 0-)

          or atheism IMNSHO. It is the illogic, ignorance, and anti-scientific thinking behind the bashing and broad-brushing.

          Good old-fashioned field science is so far unequivocal: (1) perception/non-perception of a creator/god/first cause/universal spirit has nothing to do with whether one does or does not accept the findings of science. (2) Most humans perceive or otherwise believe in the existence of a creator/ god/first cause/universal spirit, whether or not they actively respond to that perception or belief, and whether or not they perceive/believe the creator/god/first cause/universal spirit is responsive/ indifferent/ beneficent/ malevolent/ other; and a small % of humans feel no such perception or belief. (3) No scientific observations disprove the existence of a creator/god/first cause/universal spirit. (4) All but a tiny % of humans adhere to some form of moral code, regardless of god-perception/non-perception. (5) Some humans, regardless of god-perception/non-perception and regardless of the type or scale of endeavor, crave power over others and/or have no empathy and/or commit acts of abuse ranging from minor to horrific.

          •  In many places, non-belief or agnosticism is the (0+ / 0-)

            norm, not just something that a "tiny percentage" of humans believe in. In Europe, I'd say there are probably now more non-believers than believers. In China, even with some loosening on official controls of churches, the vast majority of people don't believe in the god/creator/spirt thing you refer to. Traditional Confucian society also did not profess belief in creator gods. That is actually a more Western idea about existence having a beginning and end. Many Buddhists also don't interpret their views as belief in a creator god. The most educated people in the most developed countries certainly seem to be bastions of unbelief. You are welcome to think whatever you want. But, it should not be justified with an illusion that the overwhelming portion of the rest of the world shares the same belief (as if that would matter anyway).

            Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

            by tekno2600 on Fri Jun 29, 2012 at 12:53:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  This is a criminal matter, not a religious one (3+ / 0-)
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          cany, solozen, Cassandra Waites

          I know better than to waste my time in religious matters on this particular site. Y'all can go back-and-forth all you like without me. I care about the children, not scoring points in the ongoing DK religion battles.

          I stand by my comment. These people are criminals and their particular beliefs are irrelevant to whether or not they abuse children.

          "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

          by sebastianguy99 on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 04:14:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think it's a constitutional matter (0+ / 0-)

            which I suppose can be construed as a criminal matter.  The portion of this story that enraged me the most was the obvious capture by the church of the law enforcement and public utilities services in the cities referenced.  The denial of protection and exclusion from public services - for which I'm sure even non-FLDS adherents are taxed - is outrageous.

            That's not to say that polygamy, child abuse, brainwashing, exploitation of women and slavery in all but name isn't disturbing, but these conditions exist, with the exception of polygamy, to one extent or another in the wider society.

            The distortion of law enforcement and public services provision to favor a particular religious group, however, is unique, and I sincerely hope the DOJ throws the book at these communities.

            "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

            by SueDe on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 10:49:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  We are bashing irreligion (1+ / 0-)
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        Leap Year

        Real religion is unrecognizable to these cultists.

        Busting the Dog Whistle code.

        by Mokurai on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 03:01:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  what needs to happen: RICO suit.... (10+ / 0-)

        .... alleging that FLDS is nothing more than a cover-story for a large pedophile ring.  Then come into those towns with enough federal agents and other outside LE so there are two guys in uniforms for every male member of FLDS, and do the complete clean-sweep: arrests, search warrants, the whole nine yards.

        It should be possible to prosecute, convict, and imprison every adult male member of FLDS who has ever had improper contact with a minor, and that should clean up most of it.  The families who are victims should be put in protective custody in comfortable surroundings until the legal proceedings are completed.  

        Further, the FLDS "church" itself, named as defendant and corporate veil pierced, should be asset-stripped, as well as the individual defendants.  

        That should take care of that, plus or minus the need for extensive social and psychiatric services for the survivors.

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 03:13:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hell to the yes. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek, BYw, Cassandra Waites

          Great idea. Rec-ity-rec-rec.

          The problem with going with your gut as opposed to your head is that the former is so often full of shit. - Randy Chestnut

          by lotusmaglite on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 04:06:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek, cany, BYw, Cassandra Waites

          It's not like these guys went to great lengths to hide what they were doing. There are plenty of witnesses to the inappropriate contact and "marriages" with minors. In the Texas court case, it came out that a large percentage (sorry, can't remember the exact number) of the teenaged girls at the compound were either currently pregnant, or had given birth previously. Hello, DNA testing! Hello, statutory rape! Hello, jail cell! You wouldn't have to look far for the perpetrators.

          I'm kind of surprised that Jeffs and his followers came to West Texas in the first place - it sounds like the Twin Cities were pretty much abetting the FLDS in whatever it wanted to do.

  •  you are certainly (37+ / 0-)

    correct in most part, but a couple of corrections and explanations.

    Last year, Jeffs [who leads his church from prison] did two things;

    1) Against authority in prison where Jeffs can use 240 telephone minutes/month and to a list of ten (10) people, Jeffs gave a sermon to his flock.  That resulted in him losing phone privledges until March of this year.

    2) Jeffs instructed his flock that NO man [priesthood head] could have sex [not the cult's terminology, but mine] with any of his wives. These priesthood members were to think long and hard about their worthiness. Those now outside the cult believe this was a "control" move by Jeffs. It has been reported through several sources that this caused a walk out of between 200-300 people from church services. It has also been reported that the reason for the walk out was that people who questioned the edict leave the meeting and separately contact the church about the issue. No one seems to ever know EXACTLY what happened until someone in the meeting goes public which means they need to leave the cult--always the problem. Otherwise news is passed along verbally and can get corrupted each step of the way.  

    3) Then, in the last couple of weeks, Jeffs indicated that only 15 priesthood heads could serve as the fathers. It is yet, apparently, unverified as to whether these 15 will serve as the breeding seed for the cult [God help them, they have genetic problems already], or whether these are the first 15 to be released from the "no sex" mandate. The language of the cult and our language can often mean very different things. I have read various things on news sites and sites where the FLDS is tracked, including by former members.

    These kinds of cults always bring us to the edge of trying to define "religious freedom"; a far more difficult task than the birth control issue and a far uglier one.

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 08:45:54 AM PDT

    •  defining the edge of religious freedom is easy: (5+ / 0-)

      False imprisonment is a hard boundary that can be used to define the limit of what a religion can do to its members.

      You have an absolute right to communicate with people outside the religion.

      You have an absolute right to leave the religion and its physical environs.

      Denying either of those rights to someone who wishes to exercise them is effectively holding someone against their will which is false imprisonment by definition.

      And needless to say, child abuse, neglect, or endangerment, constitute another set of hard boundaries.  

      "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 03:21:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  why is he allowed (0+ / 0-)

      any unsupervised telephone time to anyone but his lawyer?

      all morals are relative, but some are more relative than others.

      by happymisanthropy on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:20:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  And to think (24+ / 0-)

    I was just being told recently that enforcing secular values, like "don't rape children" against religious minorities was bigotry.  

    I am sure there's a first amendment religious freedom claim that will be made

    Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

    by Mindful Nature on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 08:45:56 AM PDT

    •  Indeed. There is a Judge in Utah who was (27+ / 0-)

      removed from the bench for being a self-proclaimed bigamist something clearly outlawed in Utah.  But it gets dicey when it does not involve under-aged girls or another secular crime. They do not get a marriage "license" for more than one wife.

      And while they can make all the claims they want about religious freedom, etc., the fact remains that bigamy is unlawful both federally and by most state laws. It just isn't enforced.

      When I think about religious freedom in this context, I always turn to the issue of peyote use in religious ceremony, something the courts were not willing to give a pass.

      It is a tricky area.

      However, whether the defenders you speak of like it or not, a minor cannot marry and be "raped" though states all have different ages and conditions under which children under 18 are considered.

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 08:53:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was thinking about peyote and other (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sockpuppet, cany, wasatch, wader, sb, BYw

        Psychotropics as used in religious ceremonies.  That's illegal, but child rape isn't?!?

        Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

        by Smoh on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:37:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, child rape is illegal! It's proving it. (17+ / 0-)

          Unless someone leaves the cult, or want to, they won't talk to cops. Remember, their salvation is tied to obedience to God. And the Prophet is the earthly voice for that. So obey the prophet.

          From day one, children are brought up to live this way so whatever happens to them, they generally believe--and are told--it is God's will.

          Allisa Wall, for instance, who was force-married, didn't EVER receive instructions about "sex" a word, she writes, was never used along with rape.  She didn't understand EITHER concept.

          Her forced marriage was tried in Utah, with Jeffs found guilty, but the UT Supremes overturned the case for faulty jury instruction.  Arizona was prepared to try Jeffs, as well, but dropped the charges (a couple of reasons), and Texas finally got him on life + 20.  His most recent appeal was denied in Texas.

          12 other men have been tried in TX, some receiving sentences of up to 75 years.

          202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

          by cany on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:53:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  If consenting adults want to (15+ / 0-)

        all live in one house in Big Love fashion, and consider themselves "married" despite their actual legal status, I don't necessarily have a big deal with that. Non-marital cohabitation is not uncommon in this big, wonderful, diverse country of ours and as long as the adults are all willing participants, it's no biggie to me.

        It's the forced marriage and child bride thing that concerns me. And I mean really, really concerns me.

        sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they forget the words

        by harrije on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 10:04:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The religious coercion bothers me, as well. (14+ / 0-)

          Constantly being told that there is one way and only one way to salvation, which in this case REQUIRES polygamy (and that is true of MANY of the other bigamist cults as well that are separate or offshoots of FLDS which itself is an offshoot of LDS), is the basis of the problem.

          I most certainly could not have made an informed choice about marriage at 18 and i wasn't raised in a cult.

          One of the main reasons cults bend away from--and often outright prohibit--secular education is that they really don't WANT their children exposed to critical thought, other lifestyles and religions, etc. It's all about control.

          So even IF they are 18 and given a choice, is that really enough in light of their life experience and eduction?  i don't think so, but that is where the line in law lies.

          202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

          by cany on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 10:13:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The path to religious salvation (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sb, BYw

            always involves doing exactly what a preacher commands.

            "A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself." - Joseph Pulitzer

            by CFAmick on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 11:06:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  The thing is, religion as an excuse to coerce (9+ / 0-)

            its young into a rather particular and insular lifestyle + worldview - i.e., those limitations in thinking or acting which keep them within the flock, even before obvious abuse may occur under a different name - is not unusual among some of the more hardline religious factions or cults, I feel.

            There's a town called New Square in southern NY state that is for all practical purposes governed as a local theocracy under their Grand Rabbi, with complete allowance for such by the local politicians because they are a guaranteed voting block if you keep the Rabbi happy.

            Yet, with a town ruled by theocratic principles in the USA, you inevitably get exposure to the cultural issues behind the curtain, such as this.

            Of course, the Grand Rabbi lives on an estate, while most of the town's residents claim welfare.  The town has at least 2/3 of their households and/or adults on federal assistance from the last report I saw, because they are guided in how to save cash locally and not claim income, among other things.  I've seen reports that young women are guided to no longer have reported jobs after reaching adulthood, to only marry in religious ceremonies and then claim poverty as single mothers after bearing children.  Yet, they have husbands and homes.

            Each household is claimed as a place of worship for tax purposes, which also provides a pass on local sales tax for household purchases, and many local men claim no income due to their formally declared careers in religious studies, yet hundreds of thousands of dollars are sometimes found stashed in any given home by the occasional Federal investigation into tax or public assistance fraud by New Square (or related Hasidic) residents.

            This report we read in the diary is horrifying, but I feel there are shades of this all over the country that local and state governments allow to exist for the age-old reason we all recognize: to consolidate power in as few hands as possible.

            "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

            by wader on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 11:48:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  every denomination has its version of this. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              In egregious cases such as FLDS and the one you mention, the amount of illegality is sufficient to enable the feds to effectively shut them down.

              The problem isn't intrinsic to religion.

              People who are intent upon doing these types of actions (child abuse, various forms of fraud, coercion, etc.) will always find a way, and a loophole, and an excuse.  

              In the US they use religion because freedom of religion provides a large umbrella of protection, large enough for these cults to hide under.   They could as easily use some other type of institutional cover.  

              "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

              by G2geek on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 03:32:10 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  As described, there is no consent in this cult (3+ / 0-)

          The Maximum Leader assigns women to men, and they have nothing to say about it.

          Busting the Dog Whistle code.

          by Mokurai on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 03:06:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  correction: peyote legalized by supreme court. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        There was a case during either the 2nd Clinton term or 1st Bush term wherein the Supreme Court ruled that religious groups (in addition to the Native American Church, that had previously been the only group with this right under law) had the legal right to the use of certain psychotropic plants.  

        This has been circumscribed somewhat in practice, but effectively anyone who can make and justify a religious claim, can gain access to these things within the law.

        If only that was as easy for science as for religion.  Though, the FDA has in the past decade or so become far more reasonable in allowing a number of human subject studies, typically involving psilocybin.  One of the recent studies established people with PTSD substantially benefit from a treatment protocol in which MDMA (an entactogen) is used in conjunction with psychotherapy.  

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 03:25:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks, I was not aware of that. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

          by cany on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 03:53:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  And BTW, that Utah judge was NOT charged (18+ / 0-)

      with polygamy. Most states don't do anything about it, including Utah, which has a long, long, long history of doing nothing about it.

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 08:54:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think it time for federal marshalls to dismiss (23+ / 0-)

    or arrest, if necessary, every policeman in these cities and use federal authority to enforce the court orders, break up the compounds, and place children in protective custody.

    Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

    by tekno2600 on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 08:54:54 AM PDT

    •  Arizona decertified a number of officers, however (20+ / 0-)

      a number remain.

      Then legislation was brought to the AZ state house to set up patrols in the area independent of what, in reality, is tanamount to an FLDS-run police force. Two state reps were responsible, in large part, for the bill recently failing (last couple of weeks).  The DOJ litigation was filed AFTER that failure.

      People have begged for YEARS to have the feds get involved, but given WACO, the Texas Yearning for Zion (YFZ) ranch raid and a previous raid on Colorado City in 1953, people believe the feds tread carefully.

      It has also been said, but I have no way of confirming this, that Colorado City/Hildale is heavily armed and more than willing to mount a defense. You can see why an large-scale raid might not be advisable given the number of people in homes, for instance.

      It's a mess.

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:01:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I should add that since that time, grant money is (7+ / 0-)

        being thrown at independent policing of Colorado City now, in the wake of the statehouse legislative failure, though I am uncertain as to whether it has begun or not.

        202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

        by cany on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:06:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It definitely strikes me as a Waco situation (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        waiting to happen.
        But, that's all the more reason to be taking action and watching the situation ahead of time.

        Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

        by tekno2600 on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 02:11:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Ummmm, (11+ / 0-)

    the leaders of Bountiful have been arrested and tried on the charges of poligamy. They were not convicted, because of Canada's Charter of Rights right to religious freedom, but the officials have done more than "continue to stare".

                  Just trying to help,

    Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is inflicting it on whom.

    by Chacounne on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 08:58:13 AM PDT

    •  Indeed. But they did not address child trafficking (12+ / 0-)

      and labor violations.  That surely must be done.

      I didn't report on the bigamy issue because it is not a US legal issue, but child trafficking and violation of labor laws is.

      I hear they ARE investigating issues since the Texas raid regarding trafficking, but honestly... WHY does this take 4 additional years?

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:04:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  For what it's worth (10+ / 0-)

    Texas ended up returning the children it seized from the FLDS ranch they founded before the Jeffs trial.

    If I recall, Arizona  took over the school district in the Arizona town (before Jeffs had the FLDS pull all their children from the schools) because of similar theocratic problems. I might be wrong.

    this is one of those tricky areas of religious freedom. If they weren't so abusive, they could and should be left alone. But they're not. So I'm going to have to say they should not be left alone until they can figure out how to evolve their religion to one that isn't abusive toward girls and women and rival men (and boys). I mean, there are plenty of polygamists and polyandry folks out there in the United States who do manage to do that.

    (Also, it's a shame none of them accept modern science. their founding population for males is effectively two! Half the people descend from two men. Two!)

    Rape apologia among progressives (well, anybody) is so very disturbing.

    by terrypinder on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:12:53 AM PDT

    •  Yes, Texas did return the children, but it was (10+ / 0-)

      clear that underaged children were pregnant, and many refused to give even their rightful names. it was a nightmare for everyone.

      But because of that raid, they got millions of pages of documentation (and tapes, photographs, etc.) which are STILL, to this day, being used in investigative work not only in TX, but in other states and now Canada.

      The raid was triggered by an anon call about abuse. The authorities acted on that call, searching for the alleged 16yo that made it. Whether it was or was not a fake call...who knows.  Truth like that isn't allowed and NO ONE in the cult, especially at the TX facility would tolerate that kind of "behavior".

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:22:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Glad you mention to "lost boys" too (17+ / 0-)

    It's easy to think that only girls and women are victims in this, but simple math tells us that, if a select few older men are to have harems of young girls, the vast majority of young males are "surplus" and have to be gotten rid of.  And that means taking teen boys and dumping them at the roadsides of nearby cities.  Typically with little skills or education or knowledge of the outside world.  It's a wild animal approach to life, in which one dominant male gets to breed whild the others are driven out of the herd.  
    I'm actually fine with whatever marital arrangement anyone wants to enter into voluntarily.  But the inevitable corollary of polygamy seems to be child abuse.  And that is where the focus on these groups should be.  Plural marriage?  Sure, between adults that want it.  Child rape, child abandonment?  Not in a civilized society.

    "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verite et de la dire" Jean Jaures

    by Chico David RN on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:57:07 AM PDT

    •  Clearly, the "Lost Boys" need more care, help (11+ / 0-)

      and love.

      This group is a very different story--with very different needs which are extensive.

      Those of us raised free I think have a very hard time understanding how under-prepared almost all of these boys are when thrown out into the world.

      They don't understand even the most basic things we take for granted and things that we teach our children as ordinary matter-of-fact skills; money management, bank accounts...

      Many of them have reading/writing skill deficiencies, as well.  And thrown to the outside world, these kids often have no place to even GO. Everything and everyone they know is in the cult.  And once tossed out, they cannot rely on family for anything.  It may have been their very moms that dumped them on the roadside, in fact.

      These kinds of cults mixed with theocracy are a national tragedy for everyone involved AND not involved.

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 10:07:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You get the same problem with escaped (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cany, BYw, Cassandra Waites

        North Koreans who have risked death to get to South Korea. The South Korean government has education and support programs for them, but there is no expectation that they will become fully functional after growing up in the Stalinist/Platonic tyranny of the North.

        The greatest principle of all is that nobody, whether male or female, should be without a leader. Nor should the mind of anybody be habituated to letting him (or her) do anything at all on his (or her) own initiative–to his leader he shall direct his eye and follow him faithfully. And even in the smallest matter he should stand under leadership. For example, he should get up, or move, or wash, or take his meals...only if he has been told to do so. In a word, he should teach his soul, by long habit, never to dream of acting independently, and to become utterly incapable of it.

            Plato, Laws 942d (350 BCE)

        South Korea is trying to make plans for reunification. It basically means putting most of a country on welfare (the poor) or probation (the privileged) for a generation, until children have a chance to grow up with adequate nutrition, education, and opportunity.

        I was in the South in the Peace Corps in the 1960s, when the first post-WW-II, post-Korean-war generation was growing up, almost a foot taller than their grandparents.

        Busting the Dog Whistle code.

        by Mokurai on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 03:20:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It was "lost boys" who were cut off from utilities (0+ / 0-)

      One of the links to CNN in the updates made that clear. Six "lost boys" filed a lawsuit against the trust that owns all the land up there a few years ago. They were awarded land instead of money. Now they can't get their water and power turned on.

      Ask the homophobes against marriage equality this: "Would you rather see two gay men marry each other or one closet case marry your daughter and then cruise in parks?"

      by spacecadet1 on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 08:45:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  They ignore their own authorities. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sockpuppet, cany, Cassandra Waites, wader, sb

    Romans 13:1-7 (NIV)

    1) Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2) Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3) For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4) For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5) Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

    6) This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7) Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

    •  Yes. And it's complicated by the fact that these (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wasatch, wader, sb, Tomtech

      groups, several are offshoots of the LDS religion (Centennial Park, for instance, is an offshoot FLDS!), use MORE religious cannon than the Bible.

      There is the Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price and the Doctrine and Covenants. These books support the religious case for polygamy. It was only civil law that discontinued the practice (at least openly).  Bigamy didn't end in 1890 when first proclaimed, or for that matter in 1904 when secondly proclaimed and reinforced or even after that.

      It makes my head spin.

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 10:36:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't want a Mormon for president. I suspect (4+ / 0-)

    Mitt's loyalties may be to the Mormon Church rather than to the U.S.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam> "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." Edna St.V. Millay

    by slouching on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 10:31:18 AM PDT

  •  Your title does not compute. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sockpuppet, Mayfly, Brown Thrasher

    The DoJ initiating law suits against two restrictive communities is NOT what theocracy looks like.

    The DoJ moving against people abusing others in the name of religion is what government by the people looks like.

    Theocracy is the identification of a deity as the ruling authority.  Some humans find it convenient to blame their own quest for power on an outside, impersonal force.  The nation is a secular equivalent.
    Theocrats perceive the state as their competitor for authority over their followers.

    Willard's forte = "catch 'n' cage" People to Wall Street, "let our money go."

    by hannah on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 10:32:12 AM PDT

    •  An extremist faction of the American Taliban (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Where are the drones over the towns? ;)

      "I'm glad I don't know how it feels to vote to withhold basic human rights from someone else." DavidW-DKos

      by sockpuppet on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 10:33:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I believe the reference to theocracy (10+ / 0-)

      was not to the US government, but rather to the way the local governments and law enforcement within those two cities has been taken over by one religious group for the protection of that one group and exclusion of all others.

      Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

      by Cassandra Waites on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 10:56:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  correct, cassandra. I am sorry if the title (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brown Thrasher, sb, buddabelly

        confused you, Hannah.  I can sort of see it, but if you read the post, clearly Colorado City and Hildale ARE theocracies.

        202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

        by cany on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 11:13:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Try this, Hannah: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      high uintas, sb

      Warren Jeffs, prophet, speaks for the deity. Laws are based on he deity speaking through Jeffs, including police enforcement and application (or in-application, if you will) of civil rights.

      Jeffs has told the city members not to abide by secular laws, but by religious laws.

      THAT is a theocracy.

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 11:17:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, but that's not what the title says. (0+ / 0-)

        The form is inappropriate to the message and that dilutes the message.

        Presumably, we want to compliment the DoJ for acting on behalf of people whose human rights are being abused.
        Theocracy isn't necessarily abusive, but in this case it is and the mandate that an establishment of religion is not be interfered with is not an authorization for humans to be abused. Enslaving human beings in the name of a deity is not going to be countenanced. It is why we have a separation of church and state.  So psychological suasion cannot be backed up by physical force, as seems to be happening in those towns.
        When authority stands silent in the face of abuse, it becomes complicit.  When authority reinforces abuse, it becomes illicit.

        Willard's forte = "catch 'n' cage" People to Wall Street, "let our money go."

        by hannah on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 01:12:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I believe that your statement is incorrect (0+ / 0-)

          Historically, theocracies that reject civil authority or (for countries) international law have always been abusive.

          Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely.
          Lord Acton

          Busting the Dog Whistle code.

          by Mokurai on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 03:46:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  what do you suggest to replace it? (0+ / 0-)

          202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

          by cany on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 03:57:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks very much for posting this diary. (10+ / 0-)

    Too many people believe the heyday of destructive cults in the U.S. has come and gone.  It's simply not the case.  This matter with the FLDS shows us something far worse than simple theocracy or unconstitutional establishment of religion.  This is about more than the imposition of beliefs, it's about multiple violations of basic human rights.  Cults like these are problems because of what they do, not because of what they believe.  Religious beliefs are just one possible justification that a cultic group can use for their behaviors, as is the case here.

    I've been on a long mission to increase awareness and understanding about the cult problem among my fellow mental health professionals, and recently devoted my own dissertation project to that goal.  I also gave a roughly 90-minute presentation on my work before a professional audience a couple of months ago.  Those who found this diary compelling, as I did, might be interested to see video of that presentation.  If so, it can be viewed here.

    May this diary sit on the rec list for a good long spell.

    "I seek the truth, which never yet hurt anybody. It is only persistence in self-delusion and ignorance which does harm." --Marcus Aurelius

    by electric meatball on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 10:35:36 AM PDT

  •  Excellent diary, well researched, there is much to (7+ / 0-)

    digest here.  Thank you for writing this.  

    Now to pour over the linked articles and educate myself more on this topic.  But yes, the rape of little girls by these men must stop.  The abuse of women and children and abandonment of these young men must stop.  I am pleased to see that the DOJ may be stepping in and I will definitely be following this story closely.

    Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

    "...I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul" Invictus - William Ernest Henley Please donate to TREE Climbers, our 501(c)(3).

    by Roxine on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 10:44:08 AM PDT

    •  Thank you, Roxine. It is a VERY difficult subject (5+ / 0-)

      in its totality, but the forced marriage and rape of under-aged girls (and historically, there have been girls married under the age of 12, BTW) is so despicable and nauseating and it makes me so angry.

      I don't normally applaud Texas law enforcement, but in the end, in this case, they were the ONLY ones to get anything done.

      I really suggest reading not only the links, but everything else you can get your hands on. I really worry about the expansion to states outside of Utah and Arizona, as well.  They are VERY unprepared for the disasters they may face. The FLDS is highly secretive and their houses of refuge are many, not to mention safe houses.

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 10:50:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  And I thought Stepford was fictional. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cany, rlharry

    Truly amazing. I hope the DOJ comes down on them like a ton of bricks.

    •  It's more than Stepford (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cany, fat old man, sb, Cassandra Waites

      It's also the Stockholm syndrome where the kidnapped identify with the captors.  What brought that to mind was how the other wives helped in the rape of the very young new wife because they were also raped themselves and over time see the husband as their only means of survival so they participate in the sick dynamics of the cult.  Nearly every woman they wives have ever known, including their mothers, grandmothers, sisters, friends, have gone through the same thing and as horrible as it is, it's all they have ever known.

      I don't know if I stated that clearly enough but in my mind it is a more disgusting version of Stockholm because for the most part, there is no way out and continues generation after generation.  At least someone who is kidnapped has a hope of escape or resuce and does not pass along their capitivity to their children.

      •  Yes, the Stockholm syndrom, though I am NO (4+ / 0-)

        expert, came to mind for me too.

        I originally wrote this post very differently, I have been working on it (to edit and shorten) since I first heard of the DOJ suit.

        It was much more comprehensive in previous form, but what near book-length!

        202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

        by cany on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 12:13:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  If you can (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tgrshark13, sb

    get someone to believe something without evidence, such as the existence of a deity, the right charismatic sociopath could get them to believe just about anything.  The more they are isolated socially, the easier it is to do.  And if you can deny them the ability to think critically in the first place as the GOP is trying to do in Texas, all the better.

    This is why as long as there is religion, there will be cults that follow religion to its extremes and that wind up doing horrific things.  Knowledge and skepticism are the only immunities.  It is no coincidence that the right is attacking both by banning critical thinking and their constant assault on public education; conservatism itself is a cult.

    Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

    by democracy inaction on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 11:16:43 AM PDT

  •  Outstanding diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cany, rlharry, sb

    There was so much excellent research behind it and we really should use this as an example to where parts of this country is moving.  They may not be moving toward becoming members of the FLDS, but the hold that the fundamentalist Christian churches has on a significant portion of our population is frightening.

    I visited all the links in your diary and when I read the link written by Brent Jeffs for NPR, this paragraph stood out as a warning of what is happening within the fundamentalist movement.

    And, too, there's the fact that you have been kept ignorant of the way the rest of the world works: you have been indoctrinated nearly every single day of your life to believe that all other peoples are evil, wish to harm you, and are damned by God, unchosen.
    Thank you for this very important diary.  Tipped and recommended.  

    "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

    by gulfgal98 on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 11:18:39 AM PDT

    •  Fortunately the Religious Right is shrinking (0+ / 0-)

      as they document themselves: The Incredible Shrinking Church, by Frank Page, former President of the Southern Baptist Convention.

      Although there are always tiny cults splintering or even springing up anew, and occasionally metastazing, as in Scientology or the Unification Church.

      Another argument against Intelligent Design.

      Busting the Dog Whistle code.

      by Mokurai on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 04:12:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Shrinking? Have you looked at Poland? (0+ / 0-)

        Russia? Africa?

        The religious right is ascendent in all of these places.

        They're losing ground here, and we're gaining. Everywhere else on Earth, they're gaining ground, and we're losing.

        Big planet out there.

  •  it is Rep. Jim Matheson D-UT02 DEMOCRAT (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in AZ is it GOPer Trent "The babies of DC" Franks R-AZ02

    Franks proves again the Repulicans only care about the unborn, not those vulnerable children with us here now.

    Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living~~Mother Jones

    by CA Berkeley WV on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 11:24:19 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for this. (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Azazello, cany, rlharry, high uintas, sb, Leap Year

    Suggested reading, if you haven't already: Jon Krakauer's excellent/sobering book, Under the Banner of Heaven. It delves into the LDS and then the FLDS at some length.

    Politics is about the improvement of people's lives. - Paul Wellstone

    by occams hatchet on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 11:28:01 AM PDT

  •  In the Kingston clan (8+ / 0-)

    based in Bountiful, UT, and numbering between 1000 & 3500 members, depending on the source, inbreeding is very much an intentional feature, not a bug. The founder thought so well of himself that he wanted to use inbreeding to "perfect" the Kingston line. As in Jeffs' cult, they are known for secrecy, iron control, child brides, and abuse.

    Very sick stuff. The men who found/lead these communities are psychopathic predators and power junkies.

    When Krakauer published "Under the Banner of Heaven" about the FLDS (a chilling read, though an outsider's perspective and not as comprehensive as I'm sure Carolyn Jessop's and Alissa Wall's books), he at first refused to come to Utah to promote it, as he'd received so many death threats from FLDS. He was finally convinced to come to SLC with a promise of police protection at the book signing/speaking event. Plus, when he sat down to sign, a nondescript woman stood next to him. She was a martial arts expert who was there for additional protection.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one. - Mother Teresa

    by wasatch on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 11:28:03 AM PDT

  •  Abuse (5+ / 0-)

    The physical abuse is bad enough, but the psychological abuse is horrific.  Killing all their pets (dogs), taking away all their toys, torturing animals to terrorize the children, etc... if there ever was an example of evil, this is it.

    "The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering."

    by rlharry on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 12:22:48 PM PDT

  •  LDS comments... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, raincrow, sb, cany

    On the church based in Salt Lake City (the one Mitt Romney belongs to).

    1) I'm not sure on the exact chronology of when things changed, but these days, LDS Bishops are instructed to only allow temple marriages for girls under 18 under some very limited conditions. (Think both graduated from HS, he's been drafted and there are two weeks between HS Graduation & reporting to the Military)

    2) Legal age of Marriage in Utah went from 14 to 16, last year I think. And from what I understand, the LDS Church was supportive.

    3) Polygamy in the LDS Church. Yes, Official Doctrine 1 banning Polygamy where it was illegal was in 1890, but it wasn't until 1918 until things really got ugly. Two members of the Quorum of the 12 (group just below the prophet) were thrown out of the Church for continuing to do polygamous marriages.

    In regards to Inbreeding and the FLDS. There is a genetic condition "fumarase deficiency" which is caused by a recessive gene. Only 13 cases were known worldwide until it was determined that 20 cases existed in the FLDS community.

  •  Maybe Im wrong, or this is rhetorical, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but the actions of the FLDS are different from Fundamentalist Islam as practiced in Saudi Arabia and/or Iran, HOW, exactly?

    From where I sit, it looks like all these societies use their extreme religious beliefs to control the behavior of those who continue to live there...

    For a better America, vote the GOP out of office whenever and wherever possible and as soon (and as often) as possible!

    by dagnome on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 01:30:16 PM PDT

    •  Your ignorance is showing (0+ / 0-)

      This comment borders on bigotry. Women in Saudi Arabia have circumscribed lives, but they have some of the protections mandated in the Qur'an, such as owning property, being able to get a divorce under some circumstances, and being able to read widely, communicate with the world, and even travel outside the country.

      Busting the Dog Whistle code.

      by Mokurai on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 04:17:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Break up the child sex and labor trafficking, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sb, Leap Year, happymisanthropy

    and I figure this sick little coven would burn itself out in a generation or two. Unfortunately, the constant diligence and interference required to keep these diseased people from mistreating and brainwashing their children does not come cheap.

    Another example of what happens when you have small government and no regulations.

  •  Great Diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cany, Leap Year

    If people are interested in reading more about this a good book is Prophet's Prey, by Sam Brower and Jon Krakauer. Sam Brower is a private investigator who spent seven years digging into this cesspit.
    It's a good if harrowing book, I had to set it aside more than several times so be warned.
    Again, great diary on a dismal subject.

    •  I just ordered it a week ago, and thank you for (0+ / 0-)

      mentioning it. I have read and seen quite a bit from Sam Brower and he strikes me as a highly ethical and very driven man.


      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 04:03:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Is this ever NOT the case (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...when a functionally theocratic system is in place? I'm struggling to think of a single example of theocracy that didn't then degrade into a nightmare more horrible than we can imagine.

    Every instance I can think of ends up an excuse for murder, rape, torture, enslavement, theft, and/or oppression in general.

    I'm thinking this would be a major reason why many atheists look down on religion.

    The problem with going with your gut as opposed to your head is that the former is so often full of shit. - Randy Chestnut

    by lotusmaglite on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 04:09:56 PM PDT

    •  I can't think of a success, off hand, but I am not (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      a historian.

      It seems when religion, greed (which is an issue here for those at the top), power and a twisted mind come together, I can't think of a way that could turn out well.

      One thing I didn't mention (actually, I cut this part), but there ARE those both having been part of this cult, and not, who suggest that the men and women that approve of and force their daughters (and abandon their sons) should be held legally responsible as accessories to the crimes.  I don't know enough about the law to comment on the legality of this approach, but both morally and ethically I sure understand it.

      On the other hand, they are as brainwashed and unable to leave, in some cases, as anyone else.

      These kinds of discussions are so complicated and difficult.  

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 04:34:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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