Child Custody — Writ Large

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

One of the largest child custody cases in U.S. history — 460 children — drags on in West Texas. The kids were seized in a raid on a polygamist compound belonging to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or FLDS.

There are quite a few ways of looking at this — and today, we're going to try to examine all sides. We'll talk to a spokesperson for the families, the head of a shelter taking care of some of the children, and an expert on family law. Listen, learn, and feel free to ask any questions.

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Uh, excuse me? But with all the talk about 1st Amendment rights for the *men* and older women, what about the rights of the girls, young women, and children to not be kept in involuntary servitude, as in the 12th Amendment? Bravo to TX for getting those girls out of there! Anyone who thinks this kind of life for children is OK is complicit in their abuse

Sent by Carol | 2:17 PM | 4-28-2008

The actions by the state of Texas seem heavy-handed. However, I believe the marriage practices of the FLDS, as it relates to girls under 18 years old, is illegal and FLDS members who engage and endorse this activity should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Personally, I do not care what consenting ADULTS do.

The issue is not about polygamy, their religion, their encampment, etc. The issue is the alleged abuses. Once the allegations have been made - rightly or wrongly - the children should be protected until the facts can be parsed out of the multiple conflicting stories.

Sent by Dave Lilley | 2:21 PM | 4-28-2008

Aside from the legal questions surrounding this removal of children from parents, there are some disturbing moral questions in this raid. Must they have used militia type force? Did they ever thoroughly investigate the reality of the telephone call? There was a blatant rummaging through this community which may scar these families forever. There is a sociological term to describe this behavior in Texas - it is call ethnocentrism, or the tendency to look at the world primarily from one's own cultural perspective. It is closely related to supremacism. This group deserves to be heard, they deserve legal civil rights and they deserve their children back until proven otherwise!!!! Read Andrew Bridge's book, Hope's Boy to see how the foster care system can be the least possible choice for these children.

Sent by Charlotte LaCombe | 2:23 PM | 4-28-2008

If the state of Texas has determined that the raid was necessary because of the presence of pregnant, underage girls, when will the state sweep through high schools, inner city neighborhoods and suburban neighborhoods and take all underage pregnant girls into custody and separate them from their families?

Sent by Stephen Purdy | 2:23 PM | 4-28-2008

How many men are in jail today for child sexual assault? I have not heard that term used yet in the Texas case. If by law, a minor cannot give consent, then why are we not hearing that term?

If law enforcement had delayed action and as a result pregnant or rebellious minors were killed in order to hide evidence, what would people be saying today? In the case of possible child endangerment, time is of the essence, isn't it? How many cases do we have per year of deaths of children because CPS delays?

Sent by Ernest Monroe | 2:24 PM | 4-28-2008

I think that this is a state issue and the state has the right to take action if they believe that children are being abused. Even if you are not "a part of this world" you are STILL a part of the state of Texas.

Sent by Michael Mac | 2:24 PM | 4-28-2008

Am I mistaken, or is polygamy not illegal? If this were a compound of people all admittedly guilty of any other criminal act we would not even discuss the morality of removing the children. The origin of the phone tip is a red herring. It is not relevant what brought CPE to the ranch, once they witnessed abuse, and ILLEGAL ongoing activity they had no choice but to remove the children.

Sent by Wayne N. Perkey II | 2:26 PM | 4-28-2008

I haven't heard discussion on the real problem which is polygamy.

Sent by Jeane Davidson | 2:26 PM | 4-28-2008

Were there any findings of abuse of children under the age of puberty? Did the state have to seize children younger than 10? Couldn't they have taken only the older girls first until more facts are known? I believe this matter has been poorly handled by authorities.

Sent by Kathy Blair, DeKalb, Illinois | 2:28 PM | 4-28-2008

We are a nation of Law not Religion. It is illegal for an adult man to have sex with a minor. It is illegal for an adult man to marry a minor. It is illegal for a man to have more than one
wife in this country. This is flat out a compound of sexual slaves. The State has a right and obligation to interceede on the behalf of these brainwashed women and children.
I would remind you that this same Ranch has their "PROPHET" head rapist in jail right now!

Sent by Christy Horne | 2:29 PM | 4-28-2008

I am no fan of the justice system in Texas, but I am horrified by the reports of sect members who have escaped fro FLDS: baby breaking: 1. holding infants underwater until they stop crying to get them under fear control 2. children not knowing who their moms or dads are, raised by abusive disciplinarians bonding only with other children when possible 3. desertion of young boys by driving them from the compounds at young ages and 4. young girls being forced into sexual relationships at young ages.

How do we help these children heal and assimilate into the world as whole human beings?

Can these "mothers" ever be rehabilitated?

I wish the media would be vigilant about civil rights but be even more tenacious finding out what the treatment of these vulnerable little children has been and will be.

Sent by nancy | 2:30 PM | 4-28-2008

Polygamy is a crime,and sex between children and adults is a crime. If what Texas authorities say is true underage girls are given in marriage to older men and required to produce as many babies as possible under the guise of religion. There are other 'outsider' religions and cultures that do not run afoul of the law and live in harmony with mainstream America. The Amish and Mennonites live different lives but do not incorporate criminal acts as part of their lifestyle. I'm sorry for these women because I'm sure they love their children but how they live is simply criminal.

Sent by Carol Robicheaux | 2:31 PM | 4-28-2008

Isn't this the same group that was in the news a couple years ago for unceremoniously dumpling teenage boys on the side of the road to fend for themselves? This is a lot bigger than teenage girls being pregnant. As far as I know, I haven't heard a single person trying to argue that this group didn't do the things its accused of doing, only that, apparently, the authorities should have been looking at this on a child-by-child basis. What the argument for that is, I don't know...since the reason the kids were removed was because of the stated practices of the community in which they lived. Which means...community-wide. Which says, to me, that community-wide action would be appropriate, and special consideration of individual families and children would be warranted only if the families could prove a deviation from the practices of the community in which they live.

Sent by Bryna | 2:32 PM | 4-28-2008

How many of these families are on welfare?? How does the family make a living

Sent by Ben Juhl | 2:33 PM | 4-28-2008

It should be clearly stated that the FLDS sect in Texas is NOT a part of the Mormon Church. The FLDS are a break-away group from the Mormon Church, just like Protestant denominations are break-away groups from the Catholic Church. I am Mormon and my church does not permit polygamy in any situation. To call the FLDS Mormon is tantamount to calling all Protestants Catholic.

Sent by Bryce | 2:33 PM | 4-28-2008

Rehabilitation is a difficult venture when considering a well established cultural belief system. Just make sure its rehabilitation and not re-programing or re-education.

Sent by Rob | 2:37 PM | 4-28-2008

I find Mr. Parker's comments extremely disturbing, specifically his remark that a child with down's syndrome would be incapable of perpetrating abuse on a woman in ten years time. I work with developmentally disabled individuals and have seen plenty of abuse by and against these folks. Certainly a person of normal IQ can defend themselves against abuse, but how many of these girls are taught that capacity at YFZ.

Sent by Leslie Petty | 2:37 PM | 4-28-2008

First, I would like to hear from any subject-matter-expert who actually knows the details of this particular situation. I have yet to hear anyone who has been interviewed to be able to clearly review the facts of what has happened and give a concise accounting of what is happening now. Timetables, authorities involved, the number of children involved, the number of women involved, and the future of event are almost always the subjects of supposition. I do not tune-in to hear the ranting and personal opinions, I listen to hear fact and expand my understanding of the situation.

Secondly, after serving quite some time in the military I can understand the methods utilized to remove the children from the compound. When entering a foreign environment, authorities need to move quickly and decisively. No one was injured in the raid and the huge display of force can most likely be thanked for that fact. The State of Texas quickly sent a small strike force outfitted to an Iraqi-conflict level and experienced no resistance or incident whatsoever. Is this Gestapo/blitzkrieg method too much? Who's to say, especially in lieu of the events at other conflicted compounds, such as Waco? I would much rather see a combat battalion drummed to service for an event like this, and the press advisors apologize for the surplus of available force, than to watch people burn to death as the minimally equipped FBI stands by.

Sent by S.R. Davis | 2:38 PM | 4-28-2008

Has anyone thought about this being a PERFECT place for PEDOPHILES to congregate, join this group and have unlimited to young girls as long as the want. Talk about Nirvana!! You know these young girls did NOT choose to marry these old men. but the point is NO women should be FORCED to marry anyone no matter the age.

Sent by Ms. J. Yager | 2:40 PM | 4-28-2008

It's always the case that women and children pay a huge price for the misdeeds, lust and viciousness of some men, worldwide. Now Texas is punishing these women and children further, in the wholesale separation of families. Similarly, Islamic women must cover their heads because their men can't control their temptation!

Sent by Bee | 2:42 PM | 4-28-2008

How ironic: if this was a non-religious group there would be no questions asked about the raid. For some religion is a justification for anything and everything.

Sent by Scott Millar | 2:42 PM | 4-28-2008

To this FLDS sect, the color red is associated with Christ's triumphant return in majesty. It is only to be worn by him.

Sent by Tim Hickey | 2:45 PM | 4-28-2008

I think the unspoken fear diving the State authorities in their mass evacuation is the specter of Jim Jones.

Sent by Ophir | 2:46 PM | 4-28-2008

This episode was terrible. it should never have happened, but it did these individuals have there rights. Perhaps these children were abused. Texas officials did what they thought was right. Let's not beat this into the ground. It happened. It was unfortunate. Let the officials in Texas work it out. Please move on to issues that are more important to the future of this nation and the world. The program today sounds like a radio version of what I see in the check out line at the super market.

Sent by (Mr.) Lanue B. Ryanb | 2:48 PM | 4-28-2008

I'm a father and, without serious evidence of abuse, I think its unconscionable for Texas to take these kids away from their parents. It's obvious (for example from the guest's misunderstanding of the meaning of red) that these folks don't know much about the culture the kids are coming from. This sounds a lot like taking Indian children away from their tribes so that they can be raised in what the government considered a more appropriate upbringing. I, also, don't know much about this church or their practices. I just know that kids need their parents and to rip them away from everything they know seems cruel.

Sent by Louis F. Dow | 2:50 PM | 4-28-2008

There are several issues in this case.

1. The large number of underage girls who are pregnant and who also have other children.

2. Who are the parents of these kids when kids and wives can be reassigned if they do anything against Warren Jeffs?

3. The intermarriages of these people which produce kids who have a genetic difficiency and now the state / feds are required to provide life long assistance from taxpayers money. (Remember an earlier story on NPR about this?).

The state and the feds determine alot of things in our life such as when we can drink; buy cigarettes; when kids can have sex (remember the case of the GA teenager with a girl 2 years younger?); etc. Who is determining when these girls can be married? Its certainly not the girl. How is she able to support herself and her kids when she has no skills or at least a high school diploma? Does she go on welfare or food stamps? What about when she has a child with so many birth defects as she intermarried another relative? Who pays for that?

If this group supported themselves; allowed girls to make choices when they were 18 and not before; didnt expect help from anyone when they have so many kids; didnt intermarry so that they had kids with the genetic difficeincy; etc then we doubt anyone would be bothered but they are because all of this is going on.

Sent by jm fay | 2:51 PM | 4-28-2008

CPS acted appropriately possibly inflicting a "lesser evil" in an unmanageable mess of human rights, religious rights, and attempting to ensure the safety of individual children. The FLDS group's religious rights do not supersede the individual children's rights. A closed society with a history of multiplying it's numbers through childbirth and arranged marriages creates an uncommon norm for the children that can prevent the younger members from knowing their options, hindering independent choice.

Sent by Rich | 2:52 PM | 4-28-2008

Although I understand some of the feelings of the mothers, yet believe the state of Texas acted as best possible within the circumstances. I applaud the Children's Shelter in their efforts to care from the children.

I have a question related to the legal aspects of the case. Why is polygamy not an issue? My understanding is this practise is illegal.

Sent by Dennis | 2:52 PM | 4-28-2008

This very much reminds me of the way Native American children were seized by various agencies and held for years with no legal recourse. And the Child Protection Agency that is supervising the distribution of these children to various foster homes and care facilities has a less than stellar history of caring for and keeping track of the children in it's system.
I certainly wouldn't want to be under their control.

Sent by James Carpenter | 2:58 PM | 4-28-2008

Where is the cultural sensitivity here? This was a group of people with different values. Arranged marriages between younger girls and older men was often common place in this country 100 years ago, and still takes placer in many countries around the world. The intent here is not to molest children, but to abide by their religious beliefs. This whole issue is just the government forcing it's values on a group of people who weren't bothering anyone.

Sent by Ray Wilson | 3:02 PM | 4-28-2008

It used to be that the last refuge of a running-for-office scoundrel was patriotism--now it's child sexual abuse.
There may well be serious problems in Texas--there probably are. The abuse of teenage boys who are driven from their families also deserves to be looked at.
But remember that prosecutorial misconduct is rife in America. The Fells Acres "child sex abuse" scandal in Boston ruined a whole set of lives--it was all lies--yet it boosted the political careers of the prosecutors.
Maybe the prosecutors are speaking the absolute and restrained truth--but there's a good chance major exaggerations are going on. Let's not let the protection of children--a very good cause--blind us to the need to ask very tough questions of the prosecutors. They are political people; some are running for office; and they are making hay here. While ripping apart hundreds of families while claiming they are totally on the side of goodness. Remember the Mike Nifong Duke scandal. Who is watching the prosecutors, and who is checking out the veracity of their statements? I am suspicious of prosecutors on a sex-abuse witch hunt. Witch hunts always have a happy air of unanimity; it's just like what we are seeing now.

Sent by John M | 3:05 PM | 4-28-2008

I cannot see the benefit of separating these young children from their families at this stressful and difficult time. The effects of stress on child development - especially in children under the age of 3 are well documented. Please don't continue to punish these children. Mother's need to be with their children, and children with their mothers. One only needs to look at the detrimental effects of residential schools, that separated first nation children from their families in Canada right up until the 1950's. The State thought they knew best and today an entire culture continues to pay for this grave decision.

Sent by Marnie-Anne Sell | 3:06 PM | 4-28-2008

I was shocked at Mr. Parkers comments about the 5 year old with Down Syndrome. Are we to believe that this child is not to be protected as all the other children are because of his/her disability? And he is the attorney representing what's best for the FLDS children and families? How outrageous!

Sent by Marilou | 3:10 PM | 4-28-2008

I think it is unfair of TOTN to discuss this issue without balance. It would have been more ethical to include someone who was once a member of this sect AND married to the sect leader like Carolyn Jessop author of "Escape"

We would have learned that:

1) In these situations, the girl who made the call was caught by the FLDS sect and taken underground-never to be seen again.
No girl=no case

2) The age of consent for marriage has continued to be reduced gradually from 16, to 15, to 14 years old. Consent is made by their mothers living in this surreal world.
Can this really be called "informed" consent?

3) These children do not belong to their mothers. They cannot tell you who their mother is. In the sect, all the women are there mothers and called mother x,y,Z. Their birth mothers have very limited claim and are punished by passing their children on to another mother.

4) Old faithful men of the sect have 1st rights to these childbrides. They are in competiton with young men and boys for these girls.
Since there is a shortage of girls, young boys usually have to be removed. They tell them that they are apostates, who are sinners and will never go to heaven. The drop off these boys (age 13, 14) in the middle of nowhere and leave them there. These boys are usually abused, commit suicide, or end up in other bad situations.

5) The case in Arizona was about polygamy NOT underage marriage or child sexual abuse. The case in Texas is about child abuse.

6) These families are so large that they cannot be supported by 1 man. These women DO sign up for welfare and are thus being supported by us.

7) These women and children and raised to believe that anyone not of the sect is the devil and evil. Of course they are not going to talk to the police.

Bottom line is that our country thinks freedom of religion and adults is more important than the protection of children. Afterall, children don't have the right to vote. Under the age of 18, they are under the control of their parents and have few rights.

It doesn't matter if these adults choose to practice polygamy, the point is child sexual abuse.

Where is Hiliary Clinton and her so called protection of children and women?

Sent by Sarah | 3:23 PM | 4-28-2008

The fact that the government can come in and take all the children from an entire community scares the hell out of me. Who we're they bothering outside their community that justifies this broad act. Was this group a treat to there surrounding communities? It doesn't sound like it. Because we do not agree with or understand the beliefs of a certain group of people, what gives us the right to change them? With that said if we get a call about the abuse of human yes I think we need to investigate and ask questions about what's going on but to take such broad action against an attire group of people is wrong. Those children need to be returned to their parents and an investigation needs to be done on the families or persons in questions.

Sent by JimP | 3:26 PM | 4-28-2008

I simply want to bring into the discussion the belief held by the FLDS faith that it is God's will to make babies with girls as soon as they are able the have babies, as soon as they have their first period. This may be 12 or 14 years old. Apparantly they believe that the children made in these unilateral partnerships are more holy than children made by older women. I was shocked to read about this twisted belief on an FLDS blog written by proported members of the sect. So long as the FLDS cling to this belief, the young girls in their members' custody will never be safe from harm. Also the members believe that men will only be able to enter the 'highest kingdom of heaven' if they have 3 or more wives, which has led older men to drive off some younger boys (the 'lost boys' senario). Somehow they claim to derive these beliefs from the bible, but most would say this is erroneous. Thank you.

Sent by Arrow | 3:31 PM | 4-28-2008

I agree with one of the above comments on principle--the comment that a 1st Amendment right should apply to minors as well--however that right would likely be a freedom of association claim. Or, more specifically, a right to freedom of disassociation. Unfortunately, the Court has generally ruled that the Constitution secures whatever rights it secures to adults and not minors (however that is defined). Sadly, in this case, the only clear legal remedy to a (for me and, it seems, many others) unsavory and abusive paternalism is state paternalism. In cases like this, minors are left hanging in mid-air--they are unable to make legal decisions for themselves, and so two wards of different characters are left to fight it out to decide what should be done in the absence of a choice by the children themselves. I am not saying that children of 5 or 6 years old should be legally expected to make such choices, but the only solution that would cut through the legal and moral claims being made by third-parties would be some decision by the individual minors themselves. This one makes my head spin, but the state seems to have a compelling interest to intervene. The Constitution (since the First Amendment itself says little in itself) secures, after all, some freedoms of exercise subject to procedural (in this case, criminal) restraints and qualifications. Really, really believing that a middle-school student should have babies is not a legal argument, nor is it a legitimate disputation of whether or not criminal law counts as law.

Sent by Luke | 3:51 PM | 4-28-2008

As has been pointed out, polygamy is a crime.

We would abhor this situation if it were being perpetuated by Muslims. We ignore it, because the FLDS has a financial empire, government contracts, and political clout - and the victims are women and children, and we don't care about women and children in the US.

Sent by susan | 4:25 PM | 4-28-2008

As the chair of a multi-faith umbrella organization in my city I am concerned about the discrimination against a group primarily because of its religious distinctiveness and for the media use of labels like "cult" and "sect" when these have negative implications and are not applied to other small religious groups.

As for "polygamy", that is practiced by many peoples of the world, including some Muslims in the U.S. about whose practice no public acknowledgment or police action taken.

Note that there are multiple ways of practicing multiple spouses or companionships, including simply living together without benefit of marriage and adultery and "serial" monogamy (one marriage after another). Why are Mormon-related groups the only ones that get legal attention?

I know that the nominal charge is not for polygamy, but for "child abuse and neglect" and statutory rape (under 16). But there is clearly no "neglect" of these children, and "abuse" is largely a judgment based on bias against a religious way of life rather than any actual physical abuse. As for statutory rape, time will tell; but remember that Texas and many other states had a legal age of marriage of 14 until recently. Teen-age marriage and arranged marriages have been the dominant patterns around the world in historical perspective. And still practiced by many, including hundreds of millions of Hindus and Muslims.

Sent by T A Lambert | 4:44 PM | 4-28-2008

Quick correction on the correction a caller made. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, (Mormon) and have been my entire life. There is no prohibition on wearing the color red in our church. There is in the FLDS church. Among Mormons, there is NO connection, other than the historical one between the two churches. Any Mormon doctrine practiced by this group, that I know of, is changed and twisted dramatically from what Mormons practice. FLDS are not Mormons. We are as horrified at their practices as the rest of the world.

Sent by Alley | 4:53 PM | 4-28-2008

I agree with the state in taking away the FLDS children. Let's look at the other possibilities related to being a part of a polygamist sect whose culture believes that girls should be sexually "broken in" at a young age. Bravo to Texas for having the guts to do what Arizona should have done years ago. I don't think that acting on the fact that child sexual abuse and polygamy are illegal and should be dealt with appropriately.

Sent by Carol Papalas | 4:54 PM | 4-28-2008

I was very bothered by the discussion on Talk of the Nation today, which did not question the assumption that all the children should be in institutional care, with future movement into foster care. The reference to the use of a book referring to a child raised as a dog was very disturbing. I have nothing to indicate that the children were victims of sexual abuse, yet the discussion went forward talking about them as if they had been. The separation of nursing mothers from their infants is horrific. I hope that ultimately Texas Child Welfare, and anyone else involved in okaying this raid to the extent of taking every child into custody, will be brought to heel and found quilty themselves of abusing these children. I was very disappointed that the commentator for TOTN did not question the entire situation. I expect more objectivity from NPR than I heard here, or have heard in other discussions.

Sent by miranda lyon | 5:05 PM | 4-28-2008

Mr. Parker's comments today about only two of the 53 teenager girls in the sect being pregnant seemed extremely disingenuous, and new information released by Texas has proven just that - 31 of these girls, ALL of whom are below the age of consent in Texas unless they have been legally married, which they have not, have either had children previously or are currently pregnant.
(via CNN http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/04/28/polygamist.retreat.ap/index.html)

Texas had a responsibility to protect these girls, and fortunately they have stepped up. I sincerely hope that they identify the fathers of these children through DNA testing and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law

Sent by Reagan | 7:25 PM | 4-28-2008

Freedom is the key issue. How much freedom should a child have? In a country with freedom as most basic drive, the times when a topic should be taught how to chose is essential.
I think the State is doing the right thing by keeping the children away from the parents until the parents have time to discover the lies they were taught.
Sex with an underage person willing or not is a felony!

Sent by don abe | 8:44 PM | 4-28-2008

Assuming that there is evidence that underage girls have been forced into arranged marriages with older men, I can understand the state of Texas taking custody of girls in the at-risk age group. I cannot however understand the state of Texas separating 460 'children' from their families while this issue is resolved.

I have heard no charges that the boys or younger children within this group are at risk.

Regardless of my belief about the practices of the FLDS sect. I find the states action inexplicable, they seem to have no evidence of abuse in case of approximately 400 of these "children" who are not pubescent females.

I also object to the medias use of the term 'children' to apply to this group, which apparently vary in age for infants to 17. It would further the publics understanding to devote some coverage to the distribution of ages and sex within the group.

Sent by Bill Hamilton | 11:02 PM | 4-28-2008

The FLDS is a club for pedophiles and child molestors! Wake up America. This isn't a religion issue. It's a cult. I'm LDS-Mormon (not FLDS) and this FLDS group is evil. This is about men taking advantage of little girls sexually with religion and threats of hell. These FLDS women on tv, they act like mindless, naive little kids that can't stand up for themselves. FLDS also abuse the "lost boys". The media doesn't talk much about them. Dumping young boys off on their own that are competition for young brides. Do the math, 50% men and 50% women. Got to get ride of males. This religion needs to be stamped out because it's evil. FLDS lie, they abuse state welfare systems, they have their heads so high up on self-righteousness that they don't see reality, they are a scourge of "religious freedom".

Sent by Tony | 11:08 PM | 4-28-2008

There is a timely book currently being written by a former member of both the LDS and FLDS religions entitled, "Not Their Fault!" The book states that although they may claim "innocence" of any wrongdoing in the recent events in Texas, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is partially and indirectly to blame for what has happened.

The author, known only as Christopher to protect his identity, states, "...LDS members do not want to admit to it or talk about it, and the women fight the thought of having to share their husbands with someone else; however, Mormon men secretly look forward to the day when they can righteously have sex with many women. Of course they will never admit this to their dear wives; but women, put yourselves in their shoes and believe for a moment that one day you will be able to have sex with all kinds of different men, when the Lord will not only condone it, but will furthermore command it. Yet, does knowing this doctrine deter the millions who pay ten percent of their income to the LDS Church? Of course it doesn't bother the men, who have been heard saying to each other, "I can't wait until polygamy comes back!"

The book reveals how the modern problems associated with the practice of polygamy in the Fundamentalist Church have arisen from the Mormon males' honest and sincere belief that living this way is keeping the commandments of their "god." The book also discloses the irony of the whole matter, by proving that the very first prophet and organizer of the LDS faith, Joseph Smith Jr., who allegedly established the practice of polygamy, never actually lived or taught the principle as it is lived today by tens of thousands of FLDS members.

Christopher, the author, was a former devout member of the LDS Church, and was even employed as a security officer at their Church Headquarters. He left the LDS faith when he became aware of the corruption in the leadership of the Church. He then joined the FLDS Church and was a practicing polygamist for a time, until he realized how that religious principle degraded women and children. He then became an advocate for helping promote equality throughout the world and founded The Worldwide United Foundation (http://wwunited.org), to which he will donate 100% of the book's royalties.

This book reveals his unique insight into both religions. It will expel all the misunderstandings associated with plural marriage and will explain "the principle" as Joseph Smith Jr. intended it. Not only will the reader find the real truth to be fascinating, at the very least, but will gain a better perspective of the issue that will support the fact that the practice of polygamy is "Not Their Fault!"

Published by Worldwide United Publishing. For a copy of the book Preface or to schedule an interview with the author, please contact:

Lillian Roh -- Public Relations Director -- Worldwide United Publishing
publicrelations@wwunited.org
888.499.9666 x2

Sent by Lillian Roh | 12:43 AM | 4-29-2008

Just saying it is your religion does not give you the right to abuse children and teach them from childhood that older men will be molesting them and it is okay. It really seems more like a group of men who want to molest children who have moved into the community together and want to live behind closed doors and be left alone, than a religion. People who have escaped from this place have enough information to ensure the state that there was something really tragic going on there. When the women speak they sound almost drugged. They apparently have lived in these conditions all their lives and do not know how to protect their children. They clearly need counseling to learn how to protect their children.

Sent by Wanda | 10:13 AM | 4-29-2008

It seems to me that the state of Texas harmed the children and their more than anything else by their actions. My question is can the children ever overcome the separation from their parents?

Sent by Curtis M | 11:31 AM | 4-29-2008

This is not the first time children have been taken en masse from families. Between 1879 & 1970s, Native American children were routinely taken by force, sometimes military, to be placed in federal boarding schools where they were taught that their families were savage. They often never saw their families again & if they did return home, they knew little of their own culture. I am uncomfortable about the whole FLDS issue because of this knowledge that this has, indeed, happened in America before. It is included in the UN definition of genocide: to remove children from their culture with the intention of destroying that culture.

Sent by Wendy Rose | 12:36 PM | 4-29-2008

I'm a former Mormon and the doctrine of polygamy remains central to the LDS faith in spite of policy changes and their published Manifesto of 1890, as well as it does in modern practice for the FLDS. The LDS church may want to distance itself from the events in Texas but such events are a very current and real manifestation & result of what LDS & FLDS have in their common core doctrine. If the average LDS member was aware of historical statements and edicts made by past prophets and authorities concerning the necessity of polygamy in obtaining the highest level of salvation, they would be shocked! to say the least.

Sent by Lillian Roh | 4:53 PM | 4-29-2008

Having once been LDS like my wife Lily- We continually found that the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints did not want to admit to it or talk about it. The women fight the thought of having to share their husbands with someone else. But right there staring up at them in the very scriptures they carry to church every Sunday, and of which they bear testimony to the world that they are the "word of God," is the Celestial doctrine of "plurality of wives."

The preface to the section 132 of the LDS Doctrine and Covenants states in part:

Revelation given through Joseph Smith...relating to the new and everlasting covenant, including the eternity of the marriage covenant, as also plurality of wives.

Verse 6 states:

And as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, it was instituted for the fulness of my glory; and he that receiveth a fulness thereof must and shall abide the law, or he shall be damned, saith the Lord God.

No matter how many changes the Mormons may make in their doctrines and policies, one thing will always tarnish their shiny religious armor--they once practiced and still believe in the degrading and unequal practice of plural marriage, and continue to believe that the most righteous will live in polygamy forever.

Maybe one day they will once again be forced by pier pressure to change their 'Holy Scriptures' from which they annually send 65,000 young men & women missionaries to tell the world your religion is wrong-ours is right. Of course when the change comes it would be "divinely inspired" and no longer applicable.

Sent by John Roh | 7:02 PM | 4-29-2008

I am a current Mormon with the LDS church, not FLDS. The LDS Mormon church will excommunicate any members that practice polygamy, that is the primary reason why 100+ years ago, the FLDS church was created. There are many notable similarities and differences between the church, the largest of which is polygamy. Then again, there are notable similarities and differences with the Catholic, Baptist, and all other Christian churches. Of course there would be, we all use the bible in our teachings.

Sent by Stirling Hale | 12:46 PM | 4-30-2008