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Polygamy - Texas, the media and bias (Or Targeted Persecution)
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Preface

Let me preface this by stating that I have not practiced polygamy.  I understand it, but have not practiced it.  I am writing this article to address some issues that most of the mainsteam media is flat out ignoring or is deliberately biasing theselves against - including polygamy.  I am also writing this to point out some issues that Jews and Christians may not be aware of - since, for the most part, they have never been in a situation where the issues would come up.  I am not a Morman at any level and do not accept their writings as being valid scripture or even historically accurate.


Incident in Texas

In Texas a "raid" was done in 2008 on a group of FLDS Mormons that practice polygamy.  Many accusations were been made against them and many actions have occurred and are continuing to occur.  The result of which were hundreds of children being seperated from their parents and a huge expense in housing and maintaining food, and clothing for several hundred people for possible months.  A huge expense, plus the mental anguish to adults and children involved in the issue.  All this for a group that pretty much kept to themselves and were self supporting productive members of their community.

Several accustations were made:

  • Older men, defined as over 16, are having marital relations with girls under the age of 16 (illegal in Texas in 2008 - even with parental consent).
  • Some of the girls in the group that are under 16 were either pregnant or had children, and it is presumed that the fathers are over 16 (being presented in the media as if they are in their 30's or older).
  • Polygamy is illegal in Texas and many of these people were engaged in the practice.
  • An anonymous 16yr old girl complained to the government about her sexual abuse within the group, justifying the warrant.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of what as happened or the accusations that were being made.

Older men and under age mothers

In the specifics, which have been washed over, the government specifically defined the men in the case as being over 16yrs of age.  This may have included 16yrs olds but it is unclear.  It is illegal for someone over the age of 16 in Texas to have sexual relations with a girl under the age of 16 in 2008.

What was not defined is: What are the age differences we are talking about in the inidividual family units?  Do any of the girls have children or were found to be pregnant while outside of marriage by their "boyfriend" - of similar age?  Did they have a marriage license issued by the state for their marriages or were they married under "common law" by their ecclesiastic authority?

The presumption, as was being presented by most media sources, is that the girls were 12-16 years old and they were married to men that are 20+.  This may not be the case and I have not seen any information from the government that supports this.  In fact, the government was very careful NOT to reveal this.  Instead, they were painting the whole group with a broad brush - like a test case, similar to Waco - "Can we get away with it".

The case may infact be that there are a few 15-16yrs old girls that are married to what we would all consider older boys - not men.  Boys that are not old enough to vote, serve in the military, or drink.  Why would they be married?  Well, how many of us older people got married because of pregnancy and the lust of youth?

I know when I started dating my wife, I was 18.  She was 15.  When she was 6 months from 18, I was 20.  We got married.  Both of our parents saw how we felt about each other and they arranged it.  (We had intended to wed as soon as she turned 18 anyway.)  She was not pregnant at the time.  Infact it was two years later before we had our first child.  We now have seven and have been married for 30+yrs.  According to Texas' interpretation and application of laws, I and both our parents would have been arrested and imprisoned and forever branded as a sexual predator.  She would have been placed in foster care and emotionally scarred for life.  We were not in Texas...

I must ask EVERYONE to examine their parents and grandparents and see if they would be in similar situations.  I suspect that there are more out there that would be than not.

The age issue is being painted broad and wide.  No specifics have been given. 

Is it the right of Texas to determine that the 15yr old girl should have her children taken away because her 16yrs old boyfriend got her pregnant and the "church" married them to clear the "sin"?  Within their community there is no doubt that these young parents had the support and aid of their parents.  Who among new parents today do not rely upon the aid and guidance of  parents?

This is a completely seperate issue from Polygamy, but the media and State are attempting to lump them together as the same.

In fact, since the original writing of this article and the theft of the children from their parents, it has been found that many of the mothers that were thought to be underage, were infact legal adults - they just physically looked younger.  Also, the group has taken an official public position against the marriage of underage girls - even to boys their own age.

The Illigality of Polygamy in Texas (or any other state)

Texas has declared that polygamy is illegal, as have many other states.  I have several problems with this kind of "law".  My problems are not because of some perverted lust that I am trying to justify.  This is an issue that I have been forced to study in order to deal with Biblical and social issues within other communities and in relationship to Biblical prophecy - which cannot be fulfilled without polygamy!

First is the issue of state legislated morality for consenting adults.  If my understanding is correct, the state cannot legislate what happens between consenting adults.  The recent issues involving homosexual unions and the state's ability to legislate what "goes on behind closed doors" is a prime example.  In 2015, the US Supreme Court even ordered that Homosexual unions made in other states must be honored in stated wher eit is still restricted.  Texas, at about the sametime, had to pass a law protecting the freedom of refusal of service to clergy and government officials who hold a religious belief against the practice to protect the rights of those individuals from being forced to participate in a ceremony endorcing an act they consider a violation of their faith - something that they would be sued for in some other states.

According to most states - including Texas, a young man could move into an apartment or house with two or more young women, assuming he could find some that would go for this arrangment, he could have sexual relations with one or more of them - even at the same time.  He could father children to all of them.  He has not broken the law.  He is within the law to do this.  If the mothers were to deny knowledge to the state of who the father was, they would receive welfare benefits for themselves and the children - and the father would have no support obligations.  He could also "adopt" children and become the "legal" father to all of them for inheritance purposes down the road - say just before they turned 18.  He may even have a civil contract for the relationships that established inheritance and other relationship issues that are presumed within a regular marriage.

So, in the scenario that I have just proposed, the state has not hindered but rewarded this relationship.  The group may even consider themselves as "spiritually" married.  No marriage license - no marriage according to the state.  (Excempt I am not sure how "common law" as practiced in the state of Texas would be applied here).    Since the state is not a party to the union of all religious marriages and provides no additional benefits to the contracted persons, does the state have a right to object?

I could understand the state limiting the financial liabiltiy and such to one partner with regards to Social Security retirement or disabiltiy benefits, but the state has already indicated that they have no right to interfere with the sexual relations between consenting adults.  Then, to turn around and try to impose a limitation restricting the contractual or spiritual commitment of the individuals involved is duplicitous.

The FLDS incident occurred almost 5 years after the June 26th, 2003 case of Lawrence VS Texas where case law established that individuals have: "...The full right to engage in private conduct without intervention."  So why did the state now taught polygamy as a headline issue, when it was already established that the government has no right to interfere in poligamous relationships?

Although the FLDS practices polygamy, polygamists in general have indicated that the FLDS is not representative of them.  This is from the website: http://www.pro-polygamy.com.  The national polygomist movements have condemned some of the practices of the FLDS and indicated that the FLDS holds more in common with Mormonism than the other Polygamist movements.  The media is pushing their headlines because in general they hold a strong opposition to Polygamy. 

The Missing 16yr Old Girl

The next issue here is the cause of the warrant.  The State has said that an anonyous 16yr old reported that she was "forced" to marry and have sexual relations with 50+ some year old man.  Several problems here... The state has limited functionality under a warrant.  From what we are seeing, it appears that they had far exceeded the specifics of the warrant and are attempting to make accusation and collect evidence based on information that was collected outside of the specifics of the warrant.  If this was a drug dealer, his lawyer would have already had the case dismissed.

In addition to this, the 16yr old girl had not been identified, no physical evidences was collected from her to validate her claim and the 50yr old man accused had testified that he did not know the girl.  Something stinks here... So the man stands accused, must defend himself in court and public opinion, and the state has no witness to stand against him - plus no physical evidence exists against the man.  This man was at high risk of going to prison with no witness and no evidence.   To our knowledge, based on evidence and verifiable witness testimony, he had not committed any crime!  Some how this is called justice.

Later the woman who called inthe initial complaint was found.  She was found to never been a member of the group and was not married to anyone there at any time.  She did not live there, nor in a town near there.  Her complaint was fraudulent, yet the state continued in its prosecution of the many families even with the original complaint being found fraudulent.

A Target of Convenience

For many years I have been part of small groups of believers that meet in homes and small fellowships around the country.  Often someone in a group would suggest that we all get together and buy a parcel of land sufficient to start a community.  Their desire was to create a place where people of like mind and belief could gather together, live, create jobs, etc.  I have also desired to do something similar at times.  There seems to be a need in most people to have a sense of community.  When your faith takes a more orthodox approach to daily living and application of your beliefs. when you actually do as you say you believe, most secular communities tend to ostricize.  So we end up not having a sense of community. 

Also, the political agendas that are prevelant in most secular communities tend to be hostile toward those who hold a strong Biblical approach.  This has come in the form of moral influence or the lack thereof.  It also comes in the form of persecution - try having a few people over even once a month for a religious service or study and see how long it takes the neighbors to complain in most communities:

We hold a Torah service on Saturday (Sabbath) afternoon nearly every week.  Mostly it is our immediate family and sometimes a few guests.  One of our neighbors seems to wait until we are starting service to start mowing his lawn (3pm in the hottest part of the day).  This seems to happen every week that we hold a service.  Perhaps it is coincidence, perhaps not.  This same neighbor commonly puts notes on the windows of any car parked in front of his house that is not a visitor to him telling them to park in front of the house of the people they are visiting - knowing full well that there were no more available spots there and that the law allows onstreet parking in the neighborhood.  Of course, when he holds a gathering, we have not done the same - preferring to set an example.  Other neighbors have had regular gatherings without complaint and often take up much of the on street parking - which is community property and not private.  Perhaps it is deliberate, perhaps not.

The fall of morality in the secular communties drive many to homeschooling.  Increased crime and failing morality in many communities tend to drive the desire to be "seperate" in order to protect ourselves and our children from the decadence and suffering that always follows this trend.

I have visited many "communities" around the country where like minded believers (not all of whom I agree with) have gathered and made lives for themselves.  Most have their own internal issues, but overall they are happy, the children are well behaved and cared for, the members of the communities tend to be upstanding and very productive participants in the secular world around them as well.

I have witnessed many communities go through splits.  Some part of a group finds a doctrine that another part disagrees with or someone in the group just gets frustrated with the way somethings are being handled. 

As an example of how petty the basis for a split can be I offer this: 

A group of semi-Torah observant believers in Messiah - Messianic Jews - whose leader was an Israeli immigrant to the USA recently split due to the leader wanting to have ownership writes to a collection of music that a member of the congregation had developed and recorded into a CD.  The member saw it as his own work, the leader saw it as property of the community.  Various members of the community took a polar alignment to the situation.  Not very long after that there were two groups.  One with a farely strong worship, the other with a farely strong teacher.

For most people in most communities these splits are "demonized".  They are typically characterized as being the work of the "devil" or in Hebrew "haSatan".  After all, how can division be a good thing when scripture clearly indicates that believers are to be "echad", or one, or in unity?  The divisions always bring pain and hurt between individuals.  It is like losing a family member due to the strong connections that people develop over time.

This is an issue to which I have actually spoken about since my youth, and continue to speak about to this day.  When groups  divide they become smaller - and from the perspective of many - less influential in spreading the word of G-d.  This may not necessarily be so.  One of the reasons the group of mormons in West Texas were targeted was because they were all collected in one place and isolated from the secular world in general.  The state had indicated that this was so.  The state also stated that if the community were scattered in a larger city or among several towns, the state would not have been able to efficiently or effectively herd these people together and persecute them.

This is similar to the Waco incident.  Another group of people who all lived in a closed community with each other, who were easily targeted, and under the ruse of a warrant related to a $200 permit, were virtually exterminated.  The government killed, or allowed to die, many women and children in this raid and gave itself only a minor blackeye in the process.

Incidentally, it was recently pointed out to me that the Nazi party in Germany started out doing the same things: Selective targeting of groups of people that did not fit the social mold of the other citizens around them.  The selective persecution of isolated groups of people is one of the key indicators of a government that is headed in the direction of Fascism. 

In the FLDS (morman) incident in Eldorado Texas in 2008, the families are being systematically destroyed in a different manner.  They are the target of a "divide and conquer" approach.  Was life saved? Maybe...  Were there children in danger? Possibly...  Was abuse stopped?  Who knows for sure...  Were the group's religious and civil rights violated?  Without doubt!

This was the second time in less than ten years that the "government" has destroyed a religious community in the state of Texas and successfully manipulated the Press to get the backing of most of the Public by selective release and controlled publishing of what is going on.

The result of groups gathering together to form communities creates an easy target for destruction in an oppressive regime.  This is not unlike the Nazis gathering the Jews in Germany together into ghettos where they could be managed, controlled and eventually elliminated.  When I see groups dividing over various issues, it no longer bothers me.  Now there are two groups instead of one.  They are more spread out and, as admitted by the government, less easily targeted.  It is Elohim's (G-d's) way of protecting the people.

Scripture

What doe sthe Bible actuially say about some of these things? 

Well, first of all, the patriarcs - based on these Texas laws and the application of them - are all a bunch of preditory child abusing pediphile perverted Polygamists.  This includes Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Solomon, and more...  All married multiple wives.  All the wives were very young (younger than the assumed age of the girls in the FLDS case). Some of the wives were SISTERS!!!  Some of the men even married cousins!  Yet without these many of these men, there is no basis for the faiths of Judaism, Christianity, or Islam (The three largest religeous groups - known as the Abrahamic faiths collectively) and their various subsets.

Technically according to scripture there is no prohibition regarding poligamy.  In the New Testament, Paul (Shaul) indicated that a man would be happier with one wife.  I tend to agree with him on this.  However, there are whole sections of text that define inheritance and other issues for those with more than one wife or even those with a concubine.  Even directives to a king to not multiply or have too many wives.  So the morality of these situations is regulated by the Bible itself.

I was questioned recently as to whether a certain religious leader had committed adultery against his wife.  This question arose due to a councel decision to have the leader step down for a period of several months.  Below is the summary of my response:

 

On a technical pashat level, did he commit adultery?  The woman was a non-virgin, but she was with another man at the time this began - although not married to him.  The other man was under the impression that her relationship was a monogomous one.  The leader had a marrital status with his wife that she presented as being a monogomous one.  She was not, at least at the time, giving him leave for relations with other women.  Although, it appears that in the past she had given him that permission.

Well, do you really want a Beit Din (A religious court) to establish as a basis for community action and ethics a standard halacha that says:

A man, whether married or not, may have and pursue multiple marrital and concubine partners with or without his current wife's. wives', concubine's, or concubines' permission(s).  So long as the additonal partner's status is not one of being a virgin, the rules regarding the virgin are not applicable.  So long as the additonal partner's status is not one of being currently married, the rules regarding the adultry are not applicable.  A man may have multiple partners by pashat definition of Torah - either marrital or concubine and maintain a leadership role in the community as long as he has at least one wife.  Unless the man's initial wife was a virgin at the time of their ketuba, the laws of diminishment in conjugal relations or financial/lifestyle support do not apply and may be modified.  If the woman was a virgin at the time of the ketuba or engagement, then the rules of diminishment do apply and the man may not diminish from her without her express permission.  If the man chooses as his additional wife or concubine a current wife's or concubine's sister, this is permissable -  even without the wife's or concubine's permission - as long as he isn't laying with her next to her sister for the purpose of "vexing" his original wife or concubine.  If a woman is with another man, but not married to him or enaged, another man may, at his own discression, pursue her also.  Since she is a non-virgin and not-married, there is by strict pashat definition in Torah no adultery or fornication. The rules of adultery only apply to a married woman, and the rules of fornication only apply to a virgin.

The end result of such a decision is a community of lacivious behaviour.  One with no moral standard and where the family unit will begin to fall apart.  This is the letter of the law, with intent stripped away.  In a society where death causing STD's are rampant, such a standard of moral ethics would lead to rapid destruction.  Most women would not be able to deal with this type of halacha or minhag and many marriages would end in divorce.  Those that are involved in polyginous relationships should only be there if all parties to the marriage are in agreement to it.  Also, in consideration of polyginy, consider your daughters - are you comfortable with them being the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th wife of someone?  What about them being a concubine to someone with 2 or 3 current wives or concubines?  What if 2 or more of your daughters are in love with one man, are you going to give your approval for them to marry?   What if neither are virgins any longer, can they have a relationship with one man? 

The actions of a Beit Din are, in part, to determine halacha (the way we walk out Torah) and minhag (the local community standard) for the community based on Torah that is beneficial to the community and the kingdom of Elohim.  The Beit Din's responsibility is also to judge itself and those who it serves by that halacha and minhag. Within the Beit Din, even more so, as the memership of any beit din should be holding a higher level of the standard than that which they prescribe for the community they serve.  A member of a beit din is bound more so than the community to the decisions of the beit din for as long as he serves on the beit din.  Anything less is hypocritical.

Technically, based on the literal interpretation of Biblical scripture, polygamy is permitted.  concubines are also permitted.  There are rules for both.  But Paul (Shaul) advises against it.  The orthodox Jewish halachic ruling that forbid it expired a few years ago and it is practiced by some Jews - mostly in Muslim countries and by some where they already had plural wives when immegrating to Israel. It is also practices in among some in Sacred Name, Messianic, and Nazarene Jewish communities.

There is actually an end time prophecy that indicates that Polygamy must be permitted regarding ten women from among the nations grabbing hold of one man wearing Tzitzit (fringe) to take away their shame.  There are several levels of interpretation to this prophecy.  The literal interpretation is one of women being drawn to righteous Torah observant men and that to not be married is a shameful status.  The pressure against being single or the desire to be with a "good" man is so strong that these women would rather share one good man than be alone.  Perhaps the desire of the women to be with a Torah observant man is so strong that they would rather share him that be married to the thieving lout down the street.  Also, with this prophecy are others that indicate that a man is a rare thing in the earth.  Perhaps this will come about because of genetic targeting in biologic warfare.  Under these conditions, a woman who refuses to marry would be persecuted as bringing an end to civilization by not sharing a man to produce new offspring into the world.  In addition, in some Muslim countries, non-virgin single women are executed under the laws of Shariah.  In places where shariah is the law of th eland and morality police exist, many women who may have been raped, divored, or had an evening of indiscretion may seek a righteous husband that they may have to share.  Many existing wives may invite them into their marriage as well to save the life of a friend or other family member who would otherwise be executed once discovered.

Also, in the case of a Leverite marriage, polygamy is not only acceptable Biblically, but required with a specified punishment for refusal.  The Leverite marriage also appears to be at the request of the woman, not the man.

Historical precidence

The practice of polygamy among mormans has been in place since the founding of their religious order.  The LDS church formally abandoned the practice in 1890.  However, many people in the church did not abandon the practice and formed splinter groups.  One of these groups was the FLDS.  The practice of this faith has historical roots going back over a hundred years, and for almost as long for the FLDS.  To persecute them now for this practice is to undermine and destroy a culterally unique section of our society.  Because of the historical precidence that the church has been allowed to exist under, it would appear to violate their religious rights to prosecute them now at this late date for polygamy - especially when marital laws are being expanded to include homosexuality.

I am not saying that I agree with their religious practices.  Certainly there are issues as pointed out in the Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamentalist_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter_Day_Saints and that is not even addressing the issue as to whether the Book of Mormon is a valid historical or accurate text.  

Certainly, the practice of "the law of placing" of young girls below the age of 16 is highly questionable.  An argument can certainly be made that a person entering into an arranged marriage should be permitted the right of refusal without repercussion.  There are other religious groups beyond the FLDS that have arranged marriages.  The public communities may not even know what the arraged marriage entails.  It is not always an issue as being expressed by the media and government regarding the FLDS.  In many groups - including Orthodox Judaism - there "Match Makers" who arrange for marriage.  Typically those who use a matchmaker are of age to marry and volunteer for marriage at the directive of the matchmaker.  Historicaly this is not always the case.  Many of us have seen "Fiddler on the Roof" but how many took offense at the young girls who were being matched?  Remember how young the girl was?  Remember how old the proposed match was?  It was common, and may still be common in some communities, for the match to be made while the children are infants. 

Does that mean that those who were matched are married? NO, it means that they are intended to marry and as such are considered to be betrothed.  In English, this is often be expressed as married.  I've seen those that are considered betrothed from their youth.  The women refer to the man that they are to "marry" as their husband, and the young man refers to the young girl as his wife.  No marrital sexual relations have occured, and they are typically content with the relationship.  Most of these unions last a life time - as opposed to the secular worlds marrital practices which have a 50% or higher divorce rate.  Incidence of sexually transmitted disease is rare, due to lack of exposure.

Having no association with the FLDS and no communication with them, I do not know if their marriages are  truly marriages or  betrothals with an expectation of marriage once legal age is attained.  The symantics of language may even further obfuscate the issue as those that are truly only betrothed with future expectation, which could be refused, express their relationship as married and with their to-be spouse as husband or wife.  I am certainly not saying that this is the case with all members of the FLDS or other polygamous groups or individuals.  The existance of children by girls under the age of 16 certainly would lend to the idea that some marriages were enacted while the girl was below legal marriage age.  But in the same token, were any of the girls initially pregnant outside of marriage and the marriage was performed to prevent the child from being born a "bastard" and with the girl's consent?  Were the fathers of the children of the young girls of comparable age or were they all 20-50yrs of age?  The media and government have proposed or at least leave the impression that they were.  Personally, I find it hard to believe.  Even as little as 25yrs ago 15-16year old girls that had gotten pregnant by their boyfriends outside of marriage have been married with parental consent to keep the new child from being born a "bastard" and to give the new child a nuclear family structure.  This practice has occurred across the board in all religious and social sectors.

So the nature of marriage and betrothal and how this is actually applied in this community or other communities still holds some questions.  Because of semantics of language and understanding of certain key words related to this particular case, we may not have an easy time understanding what was truly going on.

If young girls below the age of 16 are actually being forced, either physically or socially,  to have sex with older men, then the men who have enaged in the act of intercourse with the girls should be prosecuted.  But this has little to do with polygamy, but more with statutory rape laws.  The linking of the two together in the media is misleading and highly biased for sensationalism to garner additional support for the governments efforts.

Duplicity in Law and Marriage under attack

I find it odd that the government for years have indicated that it is not their job to legislate morality.  This allowed them to remove laws that prevented same-sex unions and create domestic partnerships.    It was not that long ago that "same sex" relations were illegal - and appalling in the sight of the community.  Today those relationships are common place and overall accepted.  The U.S. Supreme court in 2015 cleared the path for same-sex unions nation wide by forcing states to accept as married those same-sex marriages that occur in other states where the process has been legalized.  This, despite the obvious Biblical condemnation of at least the male-to-male relations, has changed significantly over a very few years.

How can government tell the world that it has no right to limit relationships and legislate morality, then turn around and say that they do?  If they cannot legislate against homosexual unions, then how can they legislate against polygamy?  The current status of public law is diametrically opposed to Biblical law, and this is in the "Bible belt".  

Today the government is forcing companies to provide "benefits" to civil union partners of same sex marriages.  Yet a man who officially has multiple wives is persecuted.  Although, a man with multiple sexual partners outside of a marriage is rewarded as are the children from him.  More evidence that marriage is under attack from all sectors.

Recently there was a big thing on Swinging Clubs in North Texas.  The issue was not all the swingers swapping wives and having sex with multiple partners.  The affects on the children in those marriages were never discussed.  The only outcry was the parking because the club operated in a residential neighborhood in a private residence and participants utilized street parking.  The government even admitted that the group operated legally, other than the parking issue which interferred with other residents fair use of the street parking.

Programming

Many of the women and girls within this community have indicated that they are looking forward to their "assigned" marriage.  I have seen more than one commentator or "expert" indicate that the ony reason that the girls would want to marry under these circumstances and at a young age was that they were programmed by their parrents to do so.

Programming?  That word carries with it a hostile motivation.  The commentators and "experts" are choosing their words very carefully to cast as negative a light as possible on these families and parents. 

The reality is that this community has unique culture.  The parents are raising their children in what they believe is the "way that they should go".  The parents are raising their children to follow in the same ethics, lifestyle, and beliefs that they have lived and hold to.  The "state" representatives in  this issue don't like that.  Why?  Because it is different than the way they were raised and live.  Are the Amish communities "programming" their children to keep them trapped in an abusive life?  What about the Ultra Orthodox Jewish families?  Perhaps they are also "programming" their children?

Maybe the parents of typical nuclear families are typically "programmed" to believe that young marriage is wrong. They are programmed to believe that polygamy is wrong.  They used to be programmed that homosexuality was wrong, but are now being programmed to a large extent that it is ok.  Most families are programmed by their church that "the law is done away", despite Biblical precident to the contrary.    Most families are programmed to keep Sunday as the Sabbath, yet work and shop on that day anyway - despite Biblical instruction and precidence to the contrary.

While I do not believe in the religious path that the FLDS holds to, I do think that they have done an outstanding job in raising their children.  The crime rate in their community by members of this group is almost non-existant.  Divorce rates are very low.  The children appear to be very polite and respectful.  Crimes of adultry are low.  Pregnancy outside of marriage is low.  The women are in modest attire (although I would prefer to see more variety in style).  

But, according to some of these "experts", the children are being abused.  Really?  I don't know... Although, I agree (my opinion) that a 12yr old girl should not be marrying a man that is 20yrs old or older, I don't know that the over all way the children are being brought up is wrong.  Personally, I would not choose to live that way or be part of a community like that.  I would discourage my children from marrying that young or with that significant of an age difference.  I would not encourage my children to enter into a polygamous marriage. 

But as to whether the children are being abused is very self-righteous on that part of the state, and the "experts".  These people are saying that the culture is wrong and we are going to replace it.  They are doing this based on what "they" believe and because what they believe conflicts with what the FLDS church believes.  But does that make them right?

There are many cultures around the world that practice many things that are quite appalling.  There is at least one where all the men in the tribe EXCEPT the groom lay with the bride on the day of the wedding.  The bride is also a young girl.  I don't see us marching in and taking those children away.  Palistinian children are taught from the moment they can speak that "jews" are evil people that should all be slaughtered.  They are "programmed" to this so strongly that they are willing to die to kill one "jew".  But I don't see us taking those children away.  Instead we give them land, food, supplies, and pressure Israel to give in to their every demand.

This "programming" is one more farse to attempt to sway public opinion to justify the actions of the state and to broaden the scope of the states intervention.  Once more as the broadening of this power increases, the state will use as precidence this action in future actions against other groups and individuals - possibly yours.

You don't think so? This group isolated themselves and formed their own community based on their common beliefs to avoid persecution. Ironically, this proved to be the tool of their persecution.

Conclusion

The government has successfully destroyed a religious group in Waco Texas.  They publicly slandered them and committed libel.  Many of those that lived in the community were killed by the government.  The public outcry for the deaths of the many women and children was minimal.

In 2008, the government began destroying another religious group in Eldorado Texas.  Again, they publicly slandered them.  In this case, the families were divided destroying the continuance of the community by removing the children from it.  The children upon return to their homes will have been exposed and even indoctrinated into many of the things that the parents sought to protect them from.  This is much like the Ottoman Empire or Rome taking all the young boys to serve their military after conquering them or taking the young girls as concubines and wives after conquering them.  The community is destroyed.

The destruction of the local community is almost assured by the division and separation of its next generation.  The community will NEVER be the same - for better or worse.  If they do survive and were reclusive before, then expect that to become even more intense as the government as only validated the need to do so.  If the abuse of children was happening, the government has created a situation where detecting such crimes in the future will be all the more difficult.

The problem here is more extensive than appears on the surface.  A few years ago it was a group of people that most did not understand.  Then another group of people that most do not understand.  What if tomorrow it is your group?  Your synagogue?  Your church?  Your town?  Is keeping Torah going to get you killed?  Is rejecting Torah going to get you killed?  Is rejecting or accepting Shariah going to get you killed?  What about rejection or acceptance of Jesus or Yeshua as Messiah?  What about teaching that a Messiah without Torah is false savior?  Is rejection of Islam or Allah going to get you killed?  Where will the persecution come from?  Who is next and why?

You may not be able to stop the juggernaut of government from seeking out various groups with strong religious convictions and persecuting them, but you better know they can, do and have.  The establishment of a community to enable a more comfortable living for those with strong convictions also carries the weight of a bullseye, a target.  The forces of oppression that are out there are strong and not easily stopped.  I have abandonded the idea of having a large community in which to fellowship until Elohim (G-d) establishes His Kingdom.  I live in the diaspora for a reason, it is for my protection.  The establishment of a strong centralized community undermines that protection.  If Elohim desires that I dwell in Babylon, then so be it.  He will send His angels to direct me out at the appropriate time and will guide my path in doing so.  Until then I can only set an example by the way I live my life.