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Topic: 416 children taken from a religous compound in West Texas

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Subject: 416 children taken from a religous compound in West Texas
Date Posted: 4/9/2008 12:58 PM ET
Member Since: 1/9/2006
Posts: 6,638
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Following a phone call made by a 16yo mother charging abuse by her middle aged "spirtual" husband, West Texas authorities entered the Yearning for Zion compound of Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints.  They removed 416 children and a number of wives who voluntarily accompanied the children.  How many of those wives and mothers may not be adults as we conventionally understand the term, I'm not sure. 

The allegedly abusing husband, identified as 50 year old Dale Barlow, was not found.  He has, assumedly, fled to another FLDS polygamist colony in AZ.  He has previously been arrested on child sex charges and is said to be married to 7 women spread among various polygamist colonies.

While Barlow has not yet been arrested, 2 men were arrested for interfering with the investigation which included entering the FLDS temple where the girl was said to be in hiding. 

The thing is these polygamous colonies have been well established in TX, AZ and UT for more than 100 years.  They can not have slipped the consciousness of law enforcement authorities because Warren Jeffs was arrested and convicted on similar charges just last year.  And while these colonies flourish — the Yearning for Zion community is said to have assets of $100million and Warren Jeff's group is said to number in the 100K — child and wife abuse and welfare fraud are rampant as is the abandoning of uneducated and unskilled teenage boys.  Of the children just taken into protective custody, authorities say that many of them cannot identify their mothers or their own birthdays.

Date Posted: 4/9/2008 1:43 PM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2007
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Shouldn't this be posted in the horror forum?

Date Posted: 4/9/2008 8:31 PM ET
Member Since: 5/7/2006
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Sounds like it to me Bob.

Date Posted: 4/9/2008 11:42 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2005
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It's one of those situations where society's and individual's rights conflict with the right to religious freedom.  Society has a right to make sure that children are protected, children have a right not to be forced into marriage, and people have the right to follow their religious beliefs.  Life is messy.

Date Posted: 4/10/2008 12:34 AM ET
Member Since: 1/9/2006
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If only the devout believers were among those making it a little less messy....

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 4/10/2008 3:45 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
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Somehow I suspect the call wasn't actually from an insider with a cell phone....

I believe they have the right to worship and live as they want, but committing illegal acts against children crosses the line.

Date Posted: 4/10/2008 8:29 PM ET
Member Since: 1/9/2006
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It's tricky business because there is an issue of civil rights for consenting adults.  But the children's safety and interests need to be protected.  And the question of what consent is when women have been brought up from infancy to believe that their job on earth is to provide bodies for spirit children and that some men are god's prophets on earth is extremely slippery. 

Meanwhile, I think that "ick" factor is a fair guideline for what warrants investigation by authorities.  I mean that's a personal guideline. 

Date Posted: 4/10/2008 8:51 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
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It's patriarchialism gone amok.   Besides every thing else (socially and politically) that has been noted here, there's the biological aspect.  Too much inbreeding leads to a weakening of the group.

Date Posted: 4/10/2008 10:08 PM ET
Member Since: 1/9/2006
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Yes.  Somewhere else I linked to the soaring rate of Fumarase Deficiency in the polygamous communities of the southwest.

It's tragic and going to get worse. 


Date Posted: 4/11/2008 10:30 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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The rate of genetic disease in the Amish community is really high and growing too, but they don't have forced marraiges or practice mass child abuse. 

Date Posted: 4/11/2008 10:51 PM ET
Member Since: 1/9/2006
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It's not necessarily a question of forced marriages but of a limited population that magnify the effects of a damaged gene. 

In the case of the AZ/UT border communities, the doctors treating the afflicted kids say that there were originally 2 families intermarrying.  One had the defect but spread it to the other as they reproduced.  Then as subsequent generations continued to intermarry and produce children, the gene -- tho recessive -- was hitting the combo of two carrier parents with more regularity.   The effect is that there is more of this severe genetic defect in that population of a couple hundred thousand (if that) than twice the number previously known world wide.

They now estimate that more than 50% of that population are carriers. 


The strictures among the Amish against marrying "English", which is how they refer to non-Amish is so strong that they are, similarly, breeding in a very small population. 

Date Posted: 4/16/2008 10:56 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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I know it's because of the high occurrence of intermarraige,  what I meant was since the Amish aren't doing anything illegal, there's no legal reason for interference, its their decision to keep inter-marrying and weakening their population.  At least, I think there's no legal grounds for interference, but can you be considered to be endangering a child if the child is not yet born, but will be born with a terrible genetic disorder because two carriers of a genetic defect individuals marry and intend to have children?

Date Posted: 4/17/2008 8:24 AM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2006
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I'm wondering what the Mormons are saying about all this. It's a break off from the "regular" LDS. Has anyone heard what the LDS officials in their organization are saying?

Date Posted: 4/17/2008 1:27 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2005
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That's a very interesting ethical question.

If two people know they have a recessive gene for a genetic disorder, should the law step in and prevent them from having children?

 Of course there must be some way of rating the "terribleness" of the genetic disorder.  And then of course you would have to figure in the statistical probability of your baby getting the defect.  Does gov't intervene at 25% chance or 50% chance?

It's tough to ponder.    But gov't getting involved in such matters is a slippery slope.  Polygamy is illegal, rape is illegal and should be prosecuted as such, don't get me wrong.  I would just hate to see a law-abiding fringe like the Amish persecuted prosecuted for their higher-than-average genetic disorders.  I don't think anyone here wants that either...I'm not accusing or pointing fingers :)  But it wouldn't surprise me at all if there was a fringe group in our country who did think such things. 

Date Posted: 4/19/2008 2:12 AM ET
Member Since: 2/7/2008
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Tamara- I'm LDS. And I can't speak for everyone, but most members of the Church that I know are horrified by this whole thing. This is a personal opinion - but religious beliefs aside, and polygamy is something I cannot get my head around, but your religious beliefs cannot get in the way of the law of the land. One of the articles of faith (the 13 core beliefs as written down by Joseph Smith) even says We believe in being subject to kings, rulers, presidents, magistrates and in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law. Basically whatever your personal beliefs are, as a citizen, you are bound by the laws of your own country. So if the FLDS hold Joseph Smith as a prophet, which they do, then they are way out of line even by their own standards.  

However you look at it, it is child abuse pure and simple. Aside from the legal questions of marrying the girls off under-age, I think it is abuse to bring them up to believe that that is normal.

The LDS church themselves won't say anything. The FLDS are so far far removed from what mainstream Mormons think and are like, it would be like the church hierarchy commenting on what the Moonies are up to.

Date Posted: 4/20/2008 1:41 AM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
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Did anyone see the women on Larry King (I saw it tonight, but it might have been a repeat)?  I agree that children need to be removed from abusive situations.  I have to admit that I cried at the mother's plea for the return of her children.  I'm not saying that they have the right to do what they do--but it was sad in many ways.

I saw on the news that they can't find the person who originally called it in.  They are investigating whether that call was a hoax or real.