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Friday, April 18, 2008

The FLDS Mess

posted by on April 18 at 11:24 AM


As you’ve probably heard, there’s a huge, Mormon-scented shitstorm swirling around Texas, following the evacuation of over 400 children from a compound run by the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints. The Fundamentalist Mormon church was formed after the regular Mormon church renounced the practice of polygamy, and the current shitstorm is centered in a polygamist FLDS compound in Eldorado, Texas, where police were summoned after a teenage girl phoned a domestic abuse hotline to report the sexual and physical abuse she’d suffered within the compound. Last week police came in, rounded up the 400-plus children, and now the courts are stuck with the largest, messiest child-custody case in history.

The shit’s unfolding as I type this, so there’s nothing conclusive to report, just a zillion fascinating questions.

*If investigators are unable to find the girl who made the call, will the case dissolve? (The girl’s call was the probable cause that instigated the investigation; if the source of the probable cause can’t be verified, the entire search could be deemed illegal.)

*Will FLDS lawyers gain traction with the claim that the entire raid is religious persecution? The FLDS argument: Using one child’s claim of abuse to validate the removal of all the compound’s children from their parents is unfair; police didn’t round up every altar boy during the Catholic sex abuse scandal. The great complicating fact: The most widespread abuse chronicled in the FLDS compound is the marriage of very young girls (13 and up) to much older men—what we call statutory rape, and what they call “spiritual marriage” ordained by God. (Still, the FLDS abides within the United States, whose laws require us to view the FLDS compound not as a unusual church but as a full-scale statutory rape camp.)

*And finally, are the women and children of FLDS so inherently traumatized that they can’t be expected to tell the truth about their experiences? (And will the damning testimony of former FLDS members—such as Brent Jeffs, who claims he was raped by his uncle, imprisoned FLDS leader Warren Jeffs—help cut through the cult-speak?)

God only knows, stay tuned…

RSS icon Comments


DNA test the lot of them, ID the fathers, and cut off their welfare. separate every woman & girl from the stockholm syndrome groupthink herd, & help the ones who want out get out. for the ones who stay, CPS visits for eternity.

Posted by max solomon | April 18, 2008 11:33 AM

Those are some scary looking dudes.

Posted by heywhatsit | April 18, 2008 11:45 AM

It's all a publicity stunt for Big Love

Posted by freshnycman | April 18, 2008 11:48 AM

"full-scale statutory rape camp"?

Oh, the memories of summer camp...

Posted by oh yeah | April 18, 2008 11:49 AM

While I think the welfare of children is a bit of what is motivating Texas law enforcement here, the real message seems to be:

Get your polygimist asses back to Arizona and Utah and never set foot back in TX again--or we'll take your kids.

You'd think the FLDS would have heard of a little town called Waco.

Don't mess with Texas indeed!

Posted by Westside forever | April 18, 2008 11:50 AM

It has to be said. Those three women in front are the best possible argument against inbreeding.

Posted by keshmeshi | April 18, 2008 11:52 AM

Max Solomon @1 has the right idea. The logistics of it are horrendous, though; there's no sympathy for these loons in Texas, but this case is going to cost a bazillion dollars they don't have.

Rape camp is right. These people are just a step away from Koresh/Heaven's Gate style mass tragedy.

At the very least send them some new dress patterns and pictures of hairstyles or something. That's just ill. You think God is maybe punishing that woman in front for building her quiff just a LITTLE too high?

Posted by Fnarf | April 18, 2008 11:54 AM

@#6: Actually, the one in the middle looks like she might be pretty without that hideous hairstyle.

Posted by Nora | April 18, 2008 11:56 AM

Until this story broke I had no idea there was a Mildred Pierce camp in Texas.

I can't wait to sign up.

I've already got the speech memorized: "Veda, it's like I'm seeing you for the first time and you are cheap and horrible. Get out! Get out before I kill you!"

Posted by patrick | April 18, 2008 12:00 PM

Patrick, I concur.

Also, Veda hardly speaks to me anymore unless it's to ask for money or poke fun at me in French because I work for a living.

Posted by David Schmader | April 18, 2008 12:03 PM

I am so glad I saved those dresses from 1877, I knew they'd come back in style sooner or later.

Posted by inkweary | April 18, 2008 12:09 PM

@8 - I completely disagree. She looks like Michael Hitchcock in a frumpy dress. A new haircut would barely make a dent.

Posted by Hernandez | April 18, 2008 12:12 PM

So...the women's dresses get darker as they age? Who gets to decide? Is it an automatic birthday thing, or just..."honey, you're looking a little peaked, try this new dress".

It's like seeing a sea of Alex Martins (aka Little Brown Dress project)!

Posted by genevieve | April 18, 2008 12:14 PM

she doesn't look too bad now, but you know in ten years she's going to look like the horror on the right.

As for the hair, am I the only one thinking about Cameron Diaz's hair gel in "There's Something About Mary"?

And I get that the dresses have to be old-fashioned, but why do they all have to be EXACTLY THE SAME? It's like looking at the Revolutionary Guard in 1966 Red China.

Posted by Fnarf | April 18, 2008 12:21 PM

every discussion of this clusterfuck quickly dissolves into a fashion & personal grooming critique. why did they have to pick that particular decade of the 19th century? can't they pluck their monobrows? NO, THEY CAN'T. BECAUSE THEY'RE STYLED BY GOD.

Posted by max solomon | April 18, 2008 12:33 PM

Here is an excerpt from the 911 call that came from inside the camp (presumably from Veda):

"Oh, officer help me get away from here. From these women and their chickens and pies and kitchens and everything that smells of grease. Help me get away from this shack with its cheap furniture. And this town and its dollar days, and its women that wear uniforms and its men that wear overalls (and insist on impregnating me before I have a bush)."

Posted by patrick | April 18, 2008 12:34 PM

@ Fnarf, PULEAE!!! The Chinese uniforms were at least a little edgy: the is what Tim Gunn would call "frumpy"

Hey! Let's have Project Runway 5 do a challenge with the FDS??!!

Posted by Andrew | April 18, 2008 12:35 PM

Wow, Frida Kahlo is a polygamy-luvin' Mormon - who knew?

Posted by COMTE | April 18, 2008 12:40 PM

Well, we've all seen what Marc Jacobs will toss down the runway next season...

Posted by It's Mark Mitchell | April 18, 2008 12:55 PM

I just don't know what the point of polygamy is for either party if you insist that the women look so goddamn awful.

I'll only agree to a polygamous marriage if I get to wear some sexy harem pants and lounge on embroidered cushions all day.

Posted by Ashley | April 18, 2008 12:58 PM

"i want your soul..."

Posted by mackro mackro | April 18, 2008 12:59 PM

When I hear "polygamy", I think "awesome!"

But, then I see a picture like this and it ruins everything.

Posted by Creep in the Cellar | April 18, 2008 1:11 PM

Is there some sort of Fundamentalist ritual that involves hanging upside down like a bat and a can of Aqua-Net?

Posted by Mahtli69 | April 18, 2008 1:14 PM

At least the Stepford Wives were pretty.

Posted by elswinger | April 18, 2008 1:15 PM

If only the rubs had chosen Romney our nations Mormon candidate. whoo hooo what a shiaz storm that would be, and Hillary and Barack could argue all they wanted to all the way to novemeber.
On the other hand despite people being shocked about polygamy and acting as though Martians just landed here on earth, a large majority almost did nominate Romney.
Still that would have been awesome to watch him explain his religion amongst this whole fiasco. The Bible is just effed up . Maybe the whole first half needs to just get reworded. "Noah had one wife,preacher, but how did his children have children if there were only Cain and Noah running around?
They obviusly had to procreate. and this is what the Catholics believe, the Protestants, the Jews. everyone. whats the big deal. Eventually someone was going to practice what they preached. This sect is just to funny and slap stick to be shocking.
and americas reaction about it is just as funny. Europe is going like 'what took you all so long to notice?'

Posted by Harem Scarem | April 18, 2008 1:19 PM

There's not really much connection between Romney's religion and these boobs, despite the name. And I don't think "large majority" means quite what you think it does.

Posted by Fnarf | April 18, 2008 1:35 PM


No way. She had flair, and wore cool clothes.

Posted by keshmeshi | April 18, 2008 1:52 PM

@25 I'm not really a fan of the regular Mormon church, but it is unfair to compare the two. The FLDS are a breakaway, crazy group that the LDS church has been trying to distance themselves from for 100 years.

And on another note, your writing is close to incoherent babbling. Why don't you slow down and try to make some sense.

Posted by Ashley | April 18, 2008 1:54 PM

srry Ashley 328. I am just amzed at the reactionary news about this whole 'Ordeal' as we are supposed to understand it. now we all have to 'learn' what 'FLDS' is and how 'they' are not like the 'Real' mormons.
Srry bout going a little babbly but the news reports for the last week have just sucked the life out what has been so obvious from the early history of this country. This gruop did not just appear. we do not need to learn who they are from 'Nancy Grace' or 'Show biz tongiht'
It reminds me of we must all learn who 'muslims ' really are and understand their religion.
Get real. The basic thing is that it is just another gruop hiding behind the Bible to 'bang' their way to god. and judge others as sinners and outcasts because when we 'bang' we do not do it for god.
Stop acting shocked America and please don't tell me your finally learning who these people are because of the news.
Splinter gruop. that explains it all. They misinterpret the bible is how everyone is going to judge it, which is just how we will all get margenilized by the religious media controlled news that is choking this country. Call me insensitive, but i am just not shocked or thrilled at all by this gruop. they have been there for years doing what they did. Those women in the pictures were victims as well at 13 when they were younger and no one did anything for them and it is like we all take satisafaction that something is being done now. The news and journalist convering this seem to have forgotten that this has been covered. I'm sure the children are like 'thanks for finally doing something to help us, you jackass cops and news agencies.'
It seems like so much bullshit is all I am saying.

Posted by Harem Scarem | April 18, 2008 2:17 PM

The one second from left is unquestionably a man; would these fundy fruitbats let a woman wear a MAN's watch? and have an Adam's Apple? The one second from right may well be, too.

Posted by Geni | April 18, 2008 3:09 PM

The woman on the left has a future in movies. Someone get me her phone number, quick.

Posted by Hollywood guru | April 20, 2008 2:51 AM

listen to the women talking. The position they put their women and children in is guarenteed to lower their IQ. The lack to a good testable education should be enough to shut them down. There are reasons for the age limit on marriage and no religion has the right to cross that law. Polygamy only works when you have a surplus of women. these old farts cause this imbalance by running off the young boys so they can rape more girls. The case of male child abandonment should be another reason to shut them down. This is no more religious persecution than it would be if someone wanted to institute human sacrifice for religious reasons. Religion must be tempered with reason or be destroyed.


Posted by Kenneth Renouard | April 20, 2008 3:47 PM

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