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Thanks for the report, Dave. This really is "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad" news.

That is just so awful. I feel so badly for them.

I was just thinking today, these are people who subscribe to the very same principles and teachings we do. They stress sanctification through obedience to the principles and ordinances of the Gospel, and through grace. Sure, I don't believe they hold the authority, but I doubt the Lord doesn't pour his Spirit upon the humble and faithful FLDS members. They, like us, are reading the Book of Mormon and applying those principles that enable them to become more like Christ. Sure, they practice plural marriage, and there are cases of evil abuse, but there are cases of evil abuse in LDS homes as well, and in homes across the world.

I'm not sure what their teachings are on Adam-God and Blood Atonement. The former seems ridiculous and the latter is supported by scripture. Our faiths are a lot more similar than LDS members are willing to admit.

I'm not so sure one can just say, "Sure, they practice plural marriage, and there are cases of evil abuse ...." But this does raise the issue of whether disputed doctrines condemn an entire denomination or culture, or whether it is just individuals within that denomination or culture who, if they accept or practice a disputed doctrine, are deemed condemned.

The court raised this issue when the judge in the case declared it was not the religion that was in court, it was individuals. Hopefully that approach will become more prominent in June when individual hearings are held.

Yeah but that's basically two months away from the parents. That's going to be hugely traumatic to the toddlers.

I don't understand the desire to claim affinity with the FLDS.

This is a wicked sect.

Its foundation is claims of a false revelation to President John Taylor that wasn't announced until 40 years after it supposedly happened. The claim is that President Taylor was directed by Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith to create a secret organization to continue polygamy. No evidence it ever happened. In fact, supposed participants stated unequivocally it didn't. Plus, it is inconsistent with the contemporaneous diaries of President Taylor and others. Bottom line is that their initial foundation is fraudulent.

Their core is the idea of their leaders determining when and who their young girls will marry, expelling excess teenage boys and compelling the entrance into polygamous marriages.

For years, there are have been claims from those who have fled of underage marriages, sexual abuse, rape and beatings.

The entire cult is built around limiting its members: negligible education, few opportunities and a highly restrictive lifestyle.

Compare the poor women that interviewed with the media. They were timid. Frightened. Passive. Pathetic.

Compare them to vigorous Mormon polygamous women like Eliza R. Snow. Like night and day. No one made her do anything. Her whole life illustrated her self-will. She would never have lived in these sick communities.

These places have been built on fraud for generations. Go through Hillsdale and Colorado City. Most of the homes are incomplete in an attempt to avoid property taxes.

No one owns their property. If they leave their evil faith, they are expelled from their homes.

These parents have allowed their daughters to be raped by older men. They've kept their children in this oppressive lifestyle. They've allowed their leaders to throw their pubescent sons out of their homes. They've helped hide Warren Jeffs and his ilk when they fled to avoid sexual abuse charges. They actively engage in polygamy which was forbidden by the U.S. Supreme Court more than a century ago. They have forfeited their rights as parents.

We may feel some affinity because of our shared religious roots. But, this sect is the spiritual relatives of the LeBarons, Tom Green, and the Allreds --- not Joseph Smith, Brigham Young or Wilford Woodruff.

They are now worthy of support.

I think we should be celebrating the liberation of these children from this evil organization. Hopefully, this will trigger the departure of many of the adults.

The only way these corrupt cults continue is by state governments turning a blind eye. I applaud the State of Texas. I wish them the best in figuring how to help these children in building a real life.

I saw a CNN report where some prosecutor was saying that the kids were abused because there wasn't evidence of lots of toys and things like crayons around. Get real! There are lots more abusive situations. But in my opinion the men are the abusers here and they should keep the children with their mothers -- lots less traumatic for the children -- and keep the men away. Get the women some education and some options.

The issues go far beyond toys.

But, the lack was another indicator of the oppressive nature of the sect. They desire to restrict and control even the children.

The mothers are not innocent. They are co-conspirators.

Arguably, it is because of their upbringing. But, I hope Texas is very careful to trust these women. They have had limited if any self-will. Can they be trusted in the future?

Maybe after some months of separation but certainly not immediately.

Steve,

Suppose CPS decided to take away the children of any parents who did not file their income taxes that year. If a third party objected to that sort of treatment, would that demonstrate a definite affinity for tax evasion?

Your position is tantamount to the suggestion that anybody we don't like doesn't deserve due process or the rule of law. Why not just convict them without a trial? The police *know* they are guilty, right?

Mark,

You are implying a lack of knowledge of wrongdoing.

Not so:

* Warren Jeffs, their leader, is a convicted child sex offender. His method: Facilitating the rape of underage girls through so-called "spiritual marriages." That is exactly what was occurring on this ranch.

* The hearing established a significant number of girls that were married under the legal age --- and pregnant by their despicable "husbands". That is a form of rape. Given the significant age differences, the act is even more egregious.

* Of note, the mothers don't see anything wrong with this according several media interviews the past few days.

* The primary focus of the FLDS church is to perpetuate polygamy which is illegal under federal and state law. According to media reports, not one of the so-called families on the ranch was not a polygamist family. That made every father and mother someone engaged in felonious behavior.

The income tax analogy is silly. Not paying taxes does not harm children. Raping them clearly does. Putting them in a situation where they can be raped does.

I have not an ounce of sympathy for this sect. I only feel sorry for those engulfed in it who think that this repulsive lifestyle is acceptable.

Steve,

Are "rapists" not entitled to due process of law?

Yes, they are.

But, they are not entitled to keep their children in the interim.

Steve, few people are holding the FLDS people or church up as ideals. The problem is the CPS action and the hearing before the judge weren't supposed to be about the sect and all its shortcomings (the judge emphasized this specifically). It was supposed to be about specific acts of individuals or specific risks posed by given individuals to particular children. The presentation of evidence establishing actual risk or harm was the due process everyone is talking about.

Two points. First, by just sensationalizing your disagreements with the FLDS as a group, you are undercutting what should be your argument, namely that whatever one thinks of the FLDS as a group, the removal of the children (all 416 of them) was justified by actual or threatened harm to the children. The judge apparently thought this standard was met.

Second, it is always the case that civil rights (such as the right to due process) are defended on principle under the worst facts. So free speech as a principle is defended in cases of appallingly offensive speech. And due process as a principle is defended in cases of appallingly poor conduct. If due process takes the form of "parties get due process except when ..." then, to that extent, it is jeopardized. And once an exception is granted, it widens quickly, then sometimes swallows the principle whole. I don't like the FLDS, but I like due process. That's the real issue here.

No, Dave. Its is not about due process. They are getting that. They've had a hearing. They've been ordered to produce DNA. Then, they'll get individual hearings to determine the long term status of their children.

That is a fair balance. No one can trust these women and men. They won't even claim their individual kids. And, they continue to lie about their relationships.

Of note, tonight, six of the women have asked for sanctuary to get away from this evil sect.

Tonight, CNN is showing pictures. In almost every home is a picture of child rapist Warren Jeffs. Sick. Sick.

I'm watching these women defend their right to their children. These are women who endorse, support and assist with the rape of their daughters.

It is time to enforce the law.

Any of these women and their men should be denied their kids. Their very lifestyle is illegal. And, every day with these folks puts more kids at risk of child rape. Is it appropriate to have a 3 year-old in this environment? Absolutely not.

These is not about religious freedom or due process. It is about pedophilia. Hopefully, they will be denied their kids when the final hearings are held.

Oops. I sensationalized something. I called Warren Jeffs a child rapist. He was just an accomplist in child rape. My bad.

Steve, the authorities in Texas obviously aren't getting your emails, but keep citing the Texas guilt by association statute to them and maybe they'll come around to your way of thinking. I'm sure they'd be happy to dispense with all this hearing and evidence nonsense and just do what they want to do sooner rather than later.

Steve,

The basic problem here is that Texas has no legal basis to treat these children as a *group*. That is where the due process violation comes in.

It is legitimate to separate those that they have specific evidence of abuse for. As for the rest, they are acting without probable cause of imminent danger of any kind. They have no basis to lump them all together except religion - innocent and guilty alike. That is a First Amendment violation.

Mark,

You are assuming that there is some variability in how the children are treated in the compound.

But, the one thing the FLDS lack is variation.

Everyone dresses alike. Everyone has the same lack of education. Everyone raises their children in the same group environment. All live under polygamy.

If this was a set of separate households with variations in lifestyle then highly individual treatment on the front-end might have been appropriate.

But, when no one will even acknowledge their spouses or children, then drastic, broad action is justified.

Remember, this is only the preliminary action. The next step will be individualized hearings.

But, on the front end, it was right to err on the side of protecting these kids.

Of note, as I noted above, six "wives" fled the cult last night. They are all asking for asylum. Hmmm. Wonder what they might have to offer authorities??

Steve,

It doesn't matter. The state cannot assume the opposite. They have to have specific evidence of (imminent) abuse or neglect for each and every child they separate. I quote the Fourth Amendment:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Note the last part: "No warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and *particularly* describing the place to be searched, and the *persons* or things to be seized.

There is no probable cause for the vast majority of children here, nor were the vast majority of the children seized from their parents (if any) *particularly* described in any sort of warrant.

Steve, are these the six wives who went to the women's shelter because they were promised they would be treated better there and get to see their kids more? Those would be six wives who promptly left (CPS Agent Angie Voss' bitter words in court) when they got to the shelter and learned they'd been lied to by CPS.

Hi DH, fancy meeting you here.

Nice coverage on the subject at your blog.

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