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Harry Reid Pays Attention -- Wants DoJ to investigate polygamists

Sarah's picture

Harry Reid thinks the Feds aren't doing enough to investigate and prevent child abuse among polygamous communities. In San Angelo, meanwhile, the DNA testing and foster placement continue.

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bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

A prophesy regarding polygamy:

"These holy and sacred ordinances have nothing to do with whoredoms, unlawful connections, confusion or crime; but the very reverse. They have laws, limits, and bounds of the strictest kind, and none but the pure in heart, the strictly virtuous, or those who repent and become such, are worthy to partake of them.

“And…[a] dreadful weight of condemnation awaits those who pervert, or abuse them"

Parley P. Pratt, The Prophet May 24, 1845
cf. Doctrine & Covenants 132:7

Remember Apostle Parley Pratt. I’ll come back to him in a later comment; weirdly fascinating.

Although polygamy has been banned by a variety of federal and state laws in Utah since 1862 and rejected by the mainline LDS faith since about 1904 (brief summary of Mormon polygamy history here, and a longer version here) it has remained lurking in the background since openly announced as an existing secret revelation of Joseph Smith’s by Brigham Young and Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt (Parley Pratt’s younger brother) in 1852.

Both the church and the state legal authorities (one and the same culturally) avoided doing anything aggressive about polygamists, and church members and authorities living The Principle were allowed to continue so long as they kept quiet; those who practiced openly were disfellowshipped or excommunicated.

Among the earliest western Mormon settlements was a community founded by polygamist John D. Lee at what is still today Lee’s Ferry on the Colorado River just south of the Utah border, in an area known as the Arizona Strip. A number of polygamists were drawn to The Strip, and when the practice was formaly banned they refused to comply. Eventually the most prominent families were excommunicated, after which they joined together in the small town of Short Creek. There they formed the Council of Friends in 1929 or 1932 (depending on which history is revered) with seven self-styled High Priests who claimed to be God’s designated Ruling Body on Earth.

Various schisms and separations led to the formation of the FLDS in 1940. The majority of people living in the Short Creek area, now called Hildale in Utah and Colorado City in Arizona, are predominantly descended from two of those original High Priests; John Barlow, the first leader of the FLDS, and Joseph Smith Jessop, named for the founder of Mormonism. Each of them left over a hundred grandchildren, and today over 90% of the FLDS in Hildale and Colorado City are descendents of one or the other. Almost everyone is everyone else’s cousin.

Unfortunately, one of those two men carried a recessive trait for a defect in mitochondrial metabolism called Fumerase Deficiency. When inherited from only one parent, the flaw is harmless. When matched genes are inherited the defect interrupts the Krebs cycle, a key part of normal cellular metabolism. Victims often die early, but those who survive are profoundly impaired with IQ’s of 25 and multiple motor deficits. Many of them are wholly unable to control movement; others are entirely limp, others have chronic epileptic seizures.

Until 1990, only 13 cases of Fumerase Deficiency had been reported in the medical literature. That year, a Phoenix neurologist named Theodor Tarby saw his first patient and has since diagnosed 20 more – all from Hildale or Colorado City. Because the disease is difficult to diagnose and mimics many others, it is probable that many more Fumerase Deficiency victims have been born and unrecognized. A common FLDS practice of home birthing and informal burial of children who died early could have masked many more.

Tarby has counseled the community but offers of free genetic testing have been widely refused. His suggestion that members consider not having children if both parents are carriers has also been dismissed as defiance of God’s will; such children are considered a test of faith, and the parents are blessed and ennobled by caring for them. The fate of the children does not seem to be a consideration.

Tarby estimates that the next generation may produce a hundred or more Fumerase Deficient children, with hundreds more to follow unless the pattern of incestuous intermarriage is broken. The DNA results from the Texas FLDS is going to provide some interesting relationship structures for authorities to sort out. A more challenging legal consideration will be how to counsel the wives and children regarding their chances of bearing severely handicapped babies, and what if anything to do about it.

“...condemnation awaits those
who pervert, or abuse...."

Submitted by cg.eye on

... kickstarts the largest DNA study of modern inbreeding and sexual abuse in American history. Will she reach her goal, of getting into the history books? Twenty years from now, a Broadway musical?

Will she be thanked, targeted for death, prosecuted, or revealed as being an agent for law enforcement whose hands were tied by FLDS-connected officials? Only time will tell.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Making repeated prank phone calls to the police is something she needs to get under control, regardless of the outcome for others. People with OCD problems are notoriously difficult to treat, and their behaviors tend to drive away the personal support group they need most. A very sad situation for her.

Impulse-control deficits are widespread and difficult to understand. What, for instance, could possibly drive someone to refer to an emotionally troubled person they don't even know as a "skank"?

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

which is could we leave misogynistic language like "skank" out of the description for a mentally disturbed woman?

I know misogynistic language is so common in our culture that often we use it as general slurs against women, but that's not a good thing.

Submitted by cg.eye on

my personal 'no hostages' rule. Her pranks could cause the FLDS case to be dismissed, if her calls were the only proximate cause of the raids.

She did enough research into the FLDS to know how a raped teenage mother would think, then tied up safe house resources, to plead her imaginary case.

If after her previous brushes with the law she refused to get effective medical treatment, then yes, her decision to continue to commit crimes that could allow the FLDS to get away scott-free is evil. Sickness only accounts for so much.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

the other day, where it was explained that b/c the police acted in good faith to the tip, they warrant is not invalid, regardless of who called in the tip.

You should probably do some research before you jump to conclusions about what her actions caused, and regardless, no woman, especially one you have never met, needs to be called a skank.

But keep digging a hole trying to defend your actions.

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Almost always it's better to keep the conversational topic, and either condemnation or praise, restricted to acts and advocacies rather than the person themselves. The Christian phraseology is "Damn the sin, cherish the sinner" but it is a perspective that works for all of us.

Whatever the purpose of the poor woman in Colorado, and I for one cannot presume to gauge the intent of someone with mental illness, the acts and consequences of the FLDS remain the same. Whether they are successfully disbanded, whether the members get the counseling they need, whether they are able to escape the generations of abuse and perversion, depends not at all on her action but upon the will of society to look to our collective responsibility to protect the innocent and the weak - from themselves if neccessary.

One mentally ill woman does not merit such a weighty burden. On the contrary, she should be given the minimal common decency we all claim for ourselves. Calling someone you don't know by a vile epithet they don't deserve does not damage their reputation nearly so much as it does yours, cg.eye; surely you are more worthy, and should treat yourself as well as you deserve.

Now that's settled, how about those FLDS? Is that prophesy a little spooky, or what?

Oh, and Harry Reid made the same request of DOJ two years ago, when the Warren Jeffs scandal broke wide open. Alberto Gonzales, who reported to George Bush, did nothing. Why does George Bush support polygamy, fraud and child rape?