Innocence amid subsidized depravity: The FLDS Church is a cult, and its leaders are corrupt, tax-fattened perverts -- but the children are entirely innocent, and they need their mothers.
The State giveth, the State taketh away; blessed be the name of the State. --
The implicit, but obvious, doxology of the most murderous cult in history.
(See the update at the end of the essay.)
The Fundamentalist Latter-day Saints Church (FLDS) is, by any rational definition, a cult. Its adherents are the property of the church's ruling sacerdocracy, an all-powerful priestly caste headed -- until recently -- by Warren Jeffs, the hereditary "prophet" of the sect.
The government of the State of Texas presides over an administrative unit of a Regime that is, by any definition, tyrannical and corrupt. That Regime, and all of its subsidiaries, implicitly claims ownership (including the power of discretionary killing) over every human being residing within our national borders, and any human being anywhere the Regime can project its power.
Those in presiding positions within the Regime, particularly the Chief Executive, are widely perceived as numinous beings, clothed in a form of sanctity that elevates them above the common mass of mundane humanity. They are the beneficiaries of a cult of power that includes rituals intended to celebrate the benevolence of the Regime's power and the infallibility of its judgments.
It's really difficult to say which of these two cults -- the FLDS Church, or the Imperial Regime -- is worse, in principle. In practice, the Regime's evil easily outstrips that of the Mormon offshoot, since the latter is commendably disinclined to impose itself beyond its own ranks. The Regime, of course, eagerly inflicts its armed benevolence on distant lands with the slightest provocation, or none at all, when it can get away with doing so.
That being said, it must also be pointed out that these two cults have been collaborators, after a fashion: A business owned and operated by the FLDS junta was the beneficiary of a relatively minor no-bid contract with the Pentagon, a development that surprises me not at all.
As I noted in this space roughly two and a half years ago, the FLDS ruling elite has been very generously underwritten by government subsidies of various kinds. Mothers joined in "spiritual" polygamy with FLDS men are regarded as single mothers and receive welfare benefits to raise their children. The church itself operated a government-funded school district in Colorado City, the Arizona half of the border-straddling twin cities dominated by the cult. Both Colorado City and Hildale, which constitutes the Utah half of that community, have had state-recognized police forces that were dedicated primarily to enforcing the will of the FLDS prophet, Warren Jeffs.
Before Jeffs was convicted and sent to prison in Utah as an accessory to rape (for compelling a 14-year-old girl to marry her 19-year-old cousin), he was -- as Washington's Cultist-in-Chief describes his role -- The Decider for the FLDS community. From his prison cell, as he awaits further prosecutions, Jeffs continues in that role to a limited extent.
FLDS members, particularly women, have been required to submit to Jeffs' will, obeying his every instruction in matters both momentous and mundane. Jeffs controlled the United Effort Plan, the economic collective that owned all of the church's wealth and other assets. Most importantly, he claimed the right and power to arrange marriages, including polygamous unions between young girls barely able to conceive children and older men able to sire them only with pharmaceutical assistance.
Jeffs also presumed to "re-assign" wives to punish men who rebelled against his supposed authority, and to reward those he considered righteous. The defining tenet of the FLDS faith is the idea that a man cannot achieve exaltation in the hereafter (not merely salvation from hell, but literal ascension to godhood) without having at least three wives. Thus Jeffs had at his disposal a uniquely effective tool of blackmail, capable of inflicting both severe emotional pain and (for those who believed the Church's teachings) throwing up an impediment to a man's eternal ambitions.
Behind every order Warren Jeffs issued to his followers was this implied threat: You must obey me in all things, or lose everything you care about.
"Man actually belongs to [the] prophet, willing to do what is directed," Jeffs explained in one sermon, delivered in a tone of somnolent sanctimony Mormons of all varieties have come to know as the "General Conference Cadence." Women in the scheme of things described by Jeffs were to concentrate entirely on submitting their husbands under the supervisory direction of the FLDS prophet.
Since Jeffs and his oligarchy owned all of the FLDS land, capital, assets, and homes, and commanded the loyalty of a police force, they had the means to impoverish, expel, or (if necessary) annihilate anybody seen as an apostate or trouble-maker. It was easy to qualify on either count, given the odd and unpredictable contours of Jeffs' authoritarian whimsy: One week, basketball (which, if Mormons were a nation, would be their national sport) was permitted, the next playing it was a soul-imperiling sin.
A few years ago, some 400 young men who had never known anything but the FLDS way of life were targeted for harassment by the FLDS police. Eventually they were expelled, most likely to reduce the competition for young women coveted by older church elders as potential "plural wives." Those young men, commonly known as the "Lost Boys," were relatively fortunate: Some within the cult who have rebelled against the prophet and his teachings have reportedly been abducted by FLDS police and forcibly confined in mental institutions on false pretenses, an authentically Soviet touch. Others, such as FLDS "apostate" Richard Holm, had their families torn apart by cult officials (who exercised both religious and government power).
One good cult deserves another: SWAT operatives in an assault vehicle paid for with federal subsidies raid the "Yearning for Zion" (YFZ) Ranch, the FLDS temple complex in Texas.
Most Mormons are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), the largest of the scores of sects claiming origins in the career of Joseph Smith. The LDS leadership has been entirely silent regarding the recent crack-down on the FLDS community in El Dorado Texas -- except to simper and whine about the fact that the media refers to that group as Mormons.
"You would think that after over 100 years, media organizations would understand the difference," groused Elder M. Russell Ballard of the LDS Church's Quorum of Twelve Apostles. "You can't blame the public for being confused when some of those reporting on these stories keep getting them wrong."
The FLDS diaspora: Missing from this map are elements of the polygamous sect who have taken up residence in Canada and Mexico.
This is Clinton-caliber disingenuousness. The FLDS call themselves Mormons, and have every right to. They accept the claims of Joseph Smith to be the divinely appointed instrument of restoring primitive Christianity; they accept Smith's scriptures -- the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price -- as canonical. They adhere to the doctrines taught by Smith and his immediate successors -- doctrines that supposedly represented the pristine "restored" truth of Christianity -- with greater fidelity than the LDS Church.
Just as anyone who believes that Allah revealed the Koran to his last prophet, Mohammed, can properly call himself a Muslim, anyone who accepts and practices the teachings of Joseph Smith can properly call himself a Mormon. There are slight phenotypical differences that separate the LDS and FLDS churches, but the have exactly the same genotype. And with their shared ancestry comes a common history of persecution that was largely precipitated by the criminal actions of Mormon leaders; the Mormon story, like far too many others, is one of innocent people harvesting the hell that their leaders had sown.
It is repellently dishonest for the Mormon leadership in Salt Lake City to pretend not to recognize their intimate kinship with the FLDS. And it is a form of damnable cowardice for them not to condemn the unjustified, wholesale abduction of FLDS children by a secular government that is at least as vicious as the cult government in which those children were raised.
As described by an FLDS mother named Marie, Texas authorities physically separated the children from their mothers and then forced the mothers to assemble in a closed room.
"They read a court order and said, 'Your children are ours,'" recalled Marie during a press conference, an account that has been, so far, left un-rebutted by Texas officials. Indeed, the state is brazenly working to make that separation permanent. And Drew Darby, the she-politician in the state legislature who "represents" the district in which this crime took place, smugly confirmed Marie's most shocking detail by reiterating the state's proprietary claim over the children:
"We have a saying here: 'Don't mess with Texas.' I'm going to change it up and say, 'Don't mess with the children of Texas.'"
Listen to me, you despicable, self-satisfied minx: Those children do not belong to the state of Texas, or any other state.
Any state that would invent a pretext to seize children from loving mothers is one that is the enemy of all decent human beings, and those who carry out orders to do so are not non-combatants.
Every parent has the God-given right to kill someone who has come to abduct his children. Texas authorities know this. That's why this "child protection" action was carried out with military hardware supplied by the Department of Homeland security (see the photo above).
The justification for the initial raid -- an anguished phone call supposedly received from an anguished, abused, and conveniently anonymous, 16-year-old "plural wife" -- is almost certainly as bogus as the gun charges against Randy Weaver, the "drug nexus" cited to justify a paramilitary attack on the Branch Davidians, and the "weapons of mass destruction" invoked in support of the Iraq war.* The girl has never materialized, and her alleged assailant was briefly interviewed by Texas Rangers and permitted to leave without being charged.
Furthermore, after the FLDS began building their temple and refuge in El Dorado in 2004, the state legislature actually changed the state law to facilitate a crackdown against the sect. I eagerly and explicitly grant that the "marriage" practices of the FLDS cult are repellent. It's not clear, however, that they were illegal in Texas before the state legislature enacted a bill of attainder against that church.
The obvious purpose of that "law" was to provide a patina of legality to the seizure of the children from their parents. In most things, and certainly where state-conducted child abduction is concerned, possession is nine-tenths of the law. The State of Texas has the FLDS children, and will now do whatever is necessary to keep them separated from their mothers. Although I've spent most of my adult life immersed in the literature of government-inflicted suffering, I cannot think of a punishment more unbearable than that, and it was imposed on the innocent mothers and children of that community without the benefit of a trial.
Tell me, which is more depraved: The FLDS doctrine and practice of polygamy, or the efforts by the State of Texas to force all of "its" 11-12 year-old schoolgirls to undergo an exceptionally risky vaccination for a sexually transmitted disease? Rick Perry, the polystyrene poseur who plays the role of Texas Governor, behaved in a fashion worthy of Warren Jeffs, or any other dictatorial cult leader, when he bypassed the legislature to order those injections by executive decree. The assumption behind that policy (which just happened to benefit certain pharmaceutical interests connected to Perry) was that all Texas schoolgirls were likely to be promiscuous.
Whatever else can be said about the FLDS culture, it did place a premium on chastity. That's certainly not true of the cult that has now abducted 416 FLDS children.
Let there be no ambiguity here: The FLDS Church is a cult. Its "marriage" practices are the kind of nettles that predictably sprout in the rich soil of a despicable heresy.
But the civil government is not, and cannot be, empowered to define and punish heresy.
What would have happened to the FLDS movement had it been entirely de-coupled from the welfare/warfare state subsidies that sustained it, and denied the powers of secular political authority that held the cult intact?
What if Warren Jeffs, who is as much a stranger to charisma as Sean Hannity is to logic, been deprived of any means of coercing his followers, apart from his tools of persuasion?
Perhaps it is pointless to ponder such hypothetical questions, but I suspect that the FLDS movement would have been reduced to utter insignificance without the material support it received from the larger and infinitely more evil cult that has stolen the children of YFZ Ranch.
UPDATE, April 16
Now that the FLDS children are in the clutches of the state's child-snatchers, we're told that the state doesn't have to produce the enigmatic Sarah, the 16-year-old "victim" whose phone call triggered the raid.
"I think some people have really focused on that [Sarah] but the reality is that her phone call is the reason we went out there, but it was not the reason for the removals," asserted Texas Department of Family and Protective Services [DFPS] Spokesliar Greg Cunningham. "The removals happened based on what we saw out there."Even if this were true -- and, since it's being said by a tax-feeder, we can be serenely confident that it's a lie -- this wouldn't matter, were we still in any sense a nation in which due process meant something: If "Sarah" is the product of conscious fraud on the part of the child-grabbers, the "evidence" used to justify the seizure would be the fruit of the poisoned tree -- and several DPFS officials would be guilty of perjury.
As if this would matter.
The point has been made before, but it bears repeating now: If you want to avoid having your children stolen by the State, never, under any circumstances, let any child "protective" worker or police officer into your home without a formal warrant. This includes medical emergencies, unless they are immediately life-threatening -- and even then you're taking a severe risk if you permit agents of the State to have access to your home.
*During my radio interview about the FLDS Church last week, in what I devoutly hope was a fit of uncharacteristic stupidity, I accepted at face value the claim that the mysteriously disappearing 16-year-old polygamous wife-victim really exists.
On sale now!
Dum spiro, pugno!