Working together, Texas and the FLDS have managed to create a major news event that makes everyone look bad. And the worst part is that the mainstream media can't get enough of the story, which has been getting almost daily coverage in places like the little Yahoo newsbox and my local newspaper. The RLDS changed their name ... could the FLDS maybe do the same? I'd like to suggest "We Are Not The Mormon Church" as an option. How about the "Sorry We Moved to Texas Church." Or maybe the "If We All Become Baptists, Will You Give Us Our Children Back Church." There are endless possibilities.
Texas does offer a unique advantage to the FLDS Church: It is the only state capable of generating public sympathy for a sect that regularly engineers polygamous marriages of teenage girls to their uncles. The only state dumb enough to impose a mass deportation of 400 children based on an anonymous phone call or two. They didn't want another Waco, so they ended up with another Short Creek. Sort of the same way President Bush, despite an abundance of good intentions, has ended up with another Vietnam. I won't belabor the obvious parallels.
But the fact that Texas isn't handling things very well just might turn the FLDS into heroes or martyrs. There's a petition to that effect circulating online. That's really not an outcome we as mainstream LDS should encourage, folks. Dumb idea for mainstream Mormons to ride to the rescue of 21st-century polygamists. The FLDS themselves look on us mainstream Mormons as apostates for abandoning the Principle — you won't win them over. Mainstream Christians (i.e., those who aren't Evangelicals) look on mainstream Mormons as fairly decent people, but if they see LDS publicly championing the FLDS they will make the obvious connection and start grouping the LDS and the FLDS in the same category. Is that really what we want? No, we want them to remember the F.
IMHO, Mormons should just keep a low profile and let the active participants self-destruct.