Wednesday, April 9, 2008

'Spiritually married'

An affidavit has been released detailing conditions at "YFZ Ranch," the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints compound in Texas. Associated Press reports:
A polygamist compound with hundreds of children was rife with sexual abuse, child welfare officials allege in court documents, with girls spiritually married to much older men as soon as they reached puberty and boys groomed to perpetuate the cycle.
The documents released Tuesday also gave details about the hushed phone calls that
triggered the raid, by a 16-year-old girl at the West Texas ranch who said her 50-year-old husband beat and raped her. . . .
Officials have completed removing all 416 children from the ranch. . . .
Court documents said a number of teen girls at the 1,700-acre compound were pregnant. . . .
"Investigators determined that there is a widespread pattern and practice of the (Yearn for Zion) Ranch in which young, minor female residents are conditioned to expect and accept sexual activity with adult men at the ranch upon being spiritually married to them," read the affidavit signed by Lynn McFadden, a Department of Family and Protective Services investigative supervisor.
McFadden said the girls were spiritually married to the men as soon as they reached puberty and were required to produce children. . . .
This "spirtually married" crap has got to be one of the oldest lies in the book. Coming from the Bible Belt, I remember in the 1970s and '80s that this language of being "spiritually married" was used by teen couples from Christian backgrounds who were trying to rationalize premarital sex. The Baptist boy who wanted to get into his Baptist girlfriend's pants would endeavor to convince her that they were "married in the eyes of God." And then when she'd end up "pregnant in the eyes of God" . . .

Anyway, as absurd as that "spirtually married" nonsense was when practiced among teenagers, its heinous if these FCLDS compound crackpots were using it to justify 50-year-old men raping girls. There is nothing "spiritual" about that.

At the Moderate Voice, Clarissa Estes writes:
The Texas LDS commune referenced here, is being run by Warren Jeffs’ younger male kin, because Mr. Jeffs is in prison for pressing an underage girl to have sexual relations with an older man . . .
It’s not only that those men who call themselves LDS and practice polygamy in Jeff’s group, press girl children to engage sexually with older men when the girls are at puberty, which is the onset of menses . . . today that’d be about age 11 and 12 on the average . . . it’s also that a girl that young . . . has all kinds of hazards in too early pregnancies. . . .
There’s something that disturbs me even more about Warren Jeff’s LDS male copy-cats: I have this sickening feeling that the most vile thing this group may be up to is . . . literally breeding children to systematically provide older men with virginal children. A child mill.
A disturbing thing indeed. The root problem with modern polygamy is the math. If the "elders" of the Jeffs cult are going to have four or five wives each, then either (a) they'll have to start finding new wives outside the cult or (b) there will be a wife shortage sooner or later.

UPDATE: From the affidavit posted at The Smoking Gun:
The teenaged mother had called a local family violence shelter several times that day. . . . She reported that she was brought to the YFZ Ranch by her parents about three years ago.
(In other words, when she was 13.)
She stated that about two years after her arrival . . . she was spirtually married to an adult male member of the church (approximate age 49 years old) . . . She indicated that the adult male was also married to several other women and that she was wife number 7. . . .
(Awwww. What an honor to be Wife No. 7!)
[T]he man . . . had been indicted in Mohave County, Arizona, on criminal charges of sexual conduct with a minor . . . in connection with a purported marriage to a minor in Arizona, with whom he had conceived a child. . . .
(He did a plea bargain in August 2007 that required him to register as a sex offender. This guy is such a catch! No wonder all those teenage brides are in love with him, huh?)
She reported that church members have told her if she leaves the ranch, outsiders will hurt her, force her to cut her hair, to wear make up and . . . to have sex with lots of men.
(As opposed to having sex with one creepy old guy.)
She also indicated that her parents . . . were preparing to send her 15 year old sister to live at the YFZ Ranch.
(Special delivery: Wife No. 8!)
[I]nvestigators at the YFZ Ranch observed a number of young teenaged girls who appeared to be minors and appeared to be pregnant, as well as several teenaged girls who already had given birth and had their own infants. . . .
Investigators determined that there is a wide-spread pattern . . . in which young minor female residents are conditioned to expect and accept sexual activity with adult men. . . . [O]nce a female child is determine[d] by the leaders . . . to have reached child bearing age (approximately 13-14 years old) they are then "spiritually married" to an adult male member of the church and they are required to then . . . [have sex with] such male for the purpose of having children.
Clarissa's concerns appear justified by this affidavit. Notice that this is not a situation where teenage girls are permitted to marry, but required to marry, and where the girls themselves evidently have no choice in who or when to marry.

Nor is this anything like Old World customs of arranged marriage. Rather, a few top men in this cult -- who undoubtedly have indoctrinated their followers to regard them as holy "elders" or "prophets" -- were accruing harems of young brides.

The 49-year-old perp described in the affidavit already had six wives when he acquired 15-year-old Wife No. 7. Undoubtedly, the 49-year-old already had young adult or adolescent sons by then. But rather than choose the girl to be Wife No. 1 for one of his sons, he instead adds her to his own harem. Think about that, and you see that there can be no legitimate claim of "spirituality" as justification for such a practice.

1 comment:

  1. You need to catch up on your reading about this matter. All familiar with that ranch and those associated in other RLDS locations are saying the older man is NOT the person the Anon caller was talking about.

    Careful with any broad sweeping brushes there.