"Officials have completed removing all 416 children from the ranch and have won custody of all of them," say the latest reports on the Texas FLDS incident. I'm completely flummoxed at how the Yearning for Zion group is being treated. I believe their civil rights are being violated on the strength of an anonymous phone call by a girl they have yet to identify. News reports are extremely slanted. For example, look at the report of "marriage" beds found in their temple. Does it surprise you to know that we have beds in our temples also? Several years ago when I was pregnant, I felt some vertigo during a session, and was taken to an area in the temple for medical attention and to lie down!
My completely unsolicited opinion is that authorities should open up channels of communication whereby girls and women who would like to voluntarily leave this group can receive some support in doing so. Other than this, children should not be removed from their homes. "Indoctrination" which takes place among the FLDS is no worse, in my view, than children as young as 13 who are exposed to sex and violence through media, or given birth control at home or in school! What is happening in this case sets a dangerous precedent. Now read what a former FLDS member has to say about this situation:
"THESE PEOPLE NEED A VOICE!
I left the FLDS three years ago when I was 23. I had a very happy childhood free from television, drugs, and abuse. These are some of the things I personally witnessed:
When a girl thought she was ready to get married, she would tell her father that she was ready to move on. Her father would turn her over to the prophet (Rulon or Warren Jeffs) to be placed in marriage. I saw Rulon many times tell the girl that she needed to be 18 before she was married, and I saw some girls ask to be married anyway, and sometimes he would give in to their request. It was not a common thing to see a girl younger than 15 get married, but if they did, it was always the result of her father putting a lot of pressure on Rulon or Warren to do something about their daughter. No one was ever forced. I saw several girls tell the prophet that she didn't want to marry so and so and that was the end of it (I know this because word really got around). Rulon and Warren always asked a girl if she had anyone in mind before she was placed with someone. Sometimes they would ask for an older guy with several wives already.
You've got to realize that the only thing these girls really lived for was getting married and having children. They do not have the same mindset as your typical teenage girl. Some were rebellious and wild teenagers sure, but 90% of the girls I grew up with only wanted to get married and have children. At the same time, 90% of the men didn't want their daughters to leave home and were very protective of them. My father wept when my older sister got married (she was 19) but he knew it would make her happy.
As for the men. 95% of the men I knew were honorable and trustworthy. They had beautiful families that loved them and would do anything for them. "by their fruits you shall know them". I challenge anyone to look at those children in Texas and honestly say "they are a product of pedophiles and immorality". An example of immorality would be someone that advertises their body by wearing next to nothing, uses foul language, uses drugs and exhibits no self control. You will not find that with these people. Sex is not even in their vocabulary. Literally.
I personally know every man on that Ranch in Texas. Search the world over, you will not find men more dedicated, more committed, and more focused on living in Peace and living their religion than within that group. They do not care what anyone else does, they only want to live their religion.
You should also note, half of the children raised within the FLDS, end up leaving on their own free will and choice. 95% of them you will never hear from again. 5% seem to spread rumor and false accusations everywhere they turn either because they are lonely and need someone or something to blame, or because they really were hurt or abused and somehow think it's the church's fault.
As for this raid in Texas here are some interesting facts:
1)There is only one Dale Barlow over the age of 40 within the FLDS. This man was convicted of fathering a child with a 16 year old two years ago. He has been on probation ever since and is not allowed to leave the state of Arizona except to report to his probation officer in St. George, UT. Authorities know where he is and he has not yet been arrested. (There is another member whose name is spelled Dell but he is in his late 60's)
2)There is absolutely no physical evidence that this 16 year old who supposedly called in to report abuse even exists. Anyone could have made that call.
3)Anyone that thinks there is something wrong with having a bed in a temple that has disturbed linen and a female hair, is assuming WAY too much.
4)If I was a four year old child and I was taken away from my loving mother and father, I would be confused and hurt and would probably find a way of seeing how it was my fault.
5)The media keeps saying that 100 something women left on their own? They simply refuse to let their children go without them.
6)There are three sides to every news story and so far, everyone is getting only two. People that have left and are bitter, and people that are jumping to conclusions. I would like to be the third because I know these people, I am a product of these people and I believe they should be understood and left alone.
I left on my own accord because I was standing in the way. I wasn't ready to give up material things and I didn't believe Warren Jeffs was a prophet. I drew my own conclusion, and every member of that church is fully capable of doing the same if they so choose." firstname.lastname@example.org
I was touched as I read of the men who knelt outside their temple and prayed and wept as it was desecrated. Someone has sent me a link to the song Warren Jeffs wrote, and after which the compound is named. Go here and listen. It's a haunting piece, and the twang in the voice of the vocalist recalls the long-braided, home-sewn dresses in the pictures we've been seeing. However much we may wish to distance ourselves, this is our tradition. The words and sentiments are our own, and these people are being treated exactly as we were 150 years ago.
Yearning for Zion
by Warren Jeffs
Heavenly beings have come to direct the work of the fulness of times:
To bring to pass Zion, the Lord’s pure in heart, a people perfected in Christ.
Who will be Zion, filled with his love, laboring now with the hope
Of a glorious day, when Zion shall rise, and the words of the prophets unfold.
When Zion shall flourish upon the hills, the wilderness blossoming fair as the rose,
When Zion comes singing with songs of great joy
With praise and thanksgiving assembles to worship our Lord
Put on thy beautiful garments,
Which are the powers and gifts of his Spirit in you,
Draw from the heavens the almighty power to build and redeem again Zion!
Oh, hearken all Israel!
Live for the promise of God.
Our Savior shall dwell in our midst
For the household of faith he will stretch forth his arm
And bring forth the redemption of Zion.
Imagine the people of Enoch of old, trained in the order of heaven
A beautiful city the Lord called his own and forever made his abode
Coming to join with the Zion on earth when finally the earth finds its rest
A kingdom established in celestial laws, a people the Lord can accept
A New Jerusalem it will be, a land of refuge, a city of peace
Upon every dwelling the Lord shall create
A cloud for a covering, a flaming
Symbolically, the song cuts off here.