Don’t Mess With Texas!

IMG_0571“All that is necessary for the forces of evil to win in this world is for enough good men to do nothing” (Edmund Burke).

They are called “a renegade Mormon sect,” the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), which had its beginning in the 1930s. “Renegade” because while the mainstream Mormon Church renounced polygamy in 1890 during the church presidency of Wilford Woodruff, the FLDS still cling to their doctrine that a man has a God-ordained right to marry several women in order to go to heaven.

That polygamous practice had its origin with Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon church. A website says Joseph Smith had 34 wives, 11 of whom were also married, or had been married, to other men, to his associates or brothers in the faith. Joseph’s first wife was Emma Hale. But Emma was not to be the only, nor was she meant to be the last. Joe was even married to his brother Don Carlos Smith’s wife, his seventh, named Agnes Coolbrith. On the day he was wedded to her, Joe wrote in his diary, “Truly this is a day long to be remembered by the saints of the Last Days; a day in which the God of heaven has began to restore the ancient order of his Kingdom…all things are concurring together to bring about the completion of the fullness of the gospel.” Having a harem to feed his lust for women he called “the fullness of the gospel”! Think about it!

Don’t be surprised then that the FLDS is not in the mood to give up this doctrine. For the apple fruit does not fall far from the apple tree. Joseph Smith started it; his disciples are not going to do away with it. To give a legal semblance to their polygamous practices, they say that each husband has one legal wife but the rest are just “spiritual unions”! Even today, any Mormon who dares to defend Joe Smith would argue Joe had Emma Hale alone for his wife, and the 33 others were just “spiritual wives.” If you suspect that some of these 33 “spiritual wives” also had given birth to Joe Smith’s children, you are not far from the truth! For example, Sylvia Sessions Lyon, who was already married to Windsor Lyon, became Joseph Smith’s wife number 8. Her husband Windsor must not have been aware of her relationship with Smith, for she continued to live with him as his wife. Out of that relationship (adulterous relationship actually) was born a daughter. Josephine Rosetta Lyon wrote: “Just prior to my mothers death in 1882 she called me to her bedside and told me that her days were numbered and before she passed away from mortality she desired to tell me something which she had kept as an entire secret from me and from all others but which she now desired to communicate to me. She then told me that I was the daughter of the Prophet Joseph Smith.” Click here.

For further information you may read this Wikipedia article as well as this other Wikipedia article on Joseph Smith’s plural marriage doctrine.

When the Mormon Church was forced by the US government to give up its polygamous beliefs in 1890 (it was made the condition for admission to the Union), a number of them resisted and separated from mainstream church. One of these became the FLDS. They set up their own communities in the remote areas of Utah and Arizona. And even in Canada. But the states of Arizona and Utah later turned the heat on these people, accusing this group of forcing girls in their teens into marrying men in their old age, all in the guise of making these girls go to heaven. Warren Jeffs, son of the renegade group’s founder, was convicted last year in Utah “as an accomplice to rape for forcing a 14-year-old girl to marry her cousin,” so says Reuters. Since the heat was too much, they moved to Texas, and “made a Texas-sized mistake” when they picked this state as the place to move to, according to Reuters.

I think the Lord has picked Texas for a good reason. We do not think Canada, Utah and Arizona have largely ignored this “renegade Mormon sect,” but the Lord has picked Texas to set an example in forcing this sect to set a good example! In the FLDS, teens as young as 13 are made to marry men as old as 50. And so Texas made a law that raises the age at which children can contract a marriage with the consent of parents to 17. And Texas law enforcement agencies started looking. In the language of Reuters, they “immediately put the sect in its crosshairs.” This resulted in raids this month of April that netted 463 minors, either placed in state hands or in foster care homes. The government agency in charge of this matter found out that some of these minors are pregnant, scores of them have already given birth, and in fact one has given birth while in a foster home. Forced into marriage, these teens must have broken spirits, but investigators too have discovered that some of them have broken bones! The agencies also claimed that the young males were being groomed to follow in the path of their rapacious elders. The raids were meant to break this cycle of male rapacity. I say hurray to Texas! I say hurray too to Texas judges who said they will hear sex abuse cases individually, the better to thoroughly scrutinize the sect’s practices.

Reuters News quoted Harvey Hilderbran, a member of the Texas state legislature, as saying that the FLDS “made a big mistake when they came” to Texas. “We didn’t invite those folks to Texas but by God we expect them to obey our law.” The sect bought this scrubby ranch in the rural west part of the state and moved there in 2004. There they live a life hidden from outsiders’ eyes. As if to exemplify their longing for a life that’s hidden from civilization, their women too hide their bodies by wearing long, pioneer-style dresses. To my way of thinking this is just a façade for their much-vaunted modesty. It does not prevent lustful men from getting hold of a woman they are after. So this ranch in west Texas in a way becomes their “Secret Garden.” They call it “YFZ,” acrostic for “Yearning For Zion.” There they appear to be living off whatever bounty the scrubby land could give. Soon anti-polygamist activists came to the small town near the ranch, called Eldorado. These activists probably have Edmund Burke for their inspiration. Burke once said: “All that is necessary for the forces of evil to win in this world is for enough good men to do nothing.” Activism expresses the gamut of feelings, ranging from suspicion, speculation and concern, to righteous rage and civil indignation. Then Hilderbran sponsored a bill at the state legislature that raises the age at which children in the state of Texas could marry with consent, which became law in 2005.

The raids in YFZ ranch in April 2008 came because of a call for help from someone who claimed she was a 16-year-old mother and said she was suffering abuse at the hands of her 50 year old husband. And if the authorities have determined “that there is an abused child in the household, they take all the children on the basis that if one child is at risk then they are all at risk,” Reuters further says. That to me is a good policy. To protect kids vulnerable to sexual abuse. Someone says Texas authorities had been preparing for the raid all along, because they aimed “to run the sect out of town,” says Reuters. Whether this is true or not, my opinion is that it is now time for enough good men to do something to nip evil in the bud, if not to put sense into these FLDS peoples’ heads. God has meant for the government to discipline those whom the gospel cannot. I think renegades understand only the language of force.

Reuters News says “anti-polygamist activists have lauded Texas. Why shouldn’t we? “They have done what we have been trying to get Utah and Arizona do for 100 years and that is protect children,” said Flora Jessop, quoted by Reuters. Flora Jessop too was raised in this polygamist community, fleeing it when she was a teenager. “I say God bless Texas,” says Flora.

I say amen!

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