Thursday, May 1, 2008

My Cousin Weighs In


"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."


Pligchild said...

Funny I call him "cousin". His "other" mother is a sister of my mother.

If you ever wondered if man walked on the moon, just talk to Austin's father and you would no longer doubt that man indeed did.

Jen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pligchild said...

JEN wrote this comment (I had to edit it because she got rather graphic):

1) you really think that an average 15 year old girl (or 18 year old girl) who is requesting to marry a 30+ year old man and "knows" that’s what’s best for her? You really think a 15-18 year old is wise enough to make that call? You know that’s illegal, right?

2) Um, a man who has sex with a girl under 18 is a pedophile BY LAW. So yes, when I see a 16 year old with kids I do indeed think she is a victim.

3) "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."

Um, you are not them. Stop speculating. How can you possibly know how they feel or what they witnessed or not?

4) "Anyone could have made that call."

lol, you mean any of your other 16 year old mothers?

5) "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 like how you are so ready to denounce others who have spoken out yet so ready to make everyone believe you’re right. You are not your people. You cannot speak for everyone. How do you really know what’s going on behind closed doors?

6) "I drew my own conclusion, and every member of that church is fully capable of doing the same if they so choose."

Yeah and I am sure no one will talk badly about them or make them feel like crap or shun them. Riiiiight. No downside to that.

7) Do you even know what abuse is? Abuse is when someone [edit]….. Are you saying no one [edit] before you were married, save your doctor?

Pligchild said...

They FOUND who made that call; a lady from Colorado named Rozita Swinton, who (without a doubt to me) was coached by one Flora Jessop.

Jen, I find it rather ironic that you can make incredible assumptions about all 15-18 year old girls, and completely dismiss an assumption about 5% of those who leave the FLDS.

Pedophilia is not all sexual activity under 18, it is immorality against prepubescent children.

I can understand the anger that is conjured up by using lewd words like that, and rape etc. and I may not convince you, but all 15 year olds are not stupid.

You, along with all like you, think that men or women in the FLDS would defend the type of behavior that the "girl" was describing, that is just not true. Abuse is not tolerated there, and the girls know it. The behavior standards are HIGHER than anywhere else. Believe me, I know.

Not only are those who want to leave uninhibited from leaving, those who want to stay without obeying the doctrine are asked to leave. Intolerant? Yes, if that is defined as giving the innocent a place to remain innocent.

I, and I am sure Austin, have nothing against speaking out about abuse. In fact I would be as LOUD as anyone upon discovering it. I would never defend abuse. But I do not define abuse as getting married to a good man.

Very few girls are married at 16 or younger. The cases are individual ones and they are usually married to young men.

The "forced" assumption is based on the marriages being arranged. But I know girls who have decided who they wanted to be married to, and others who said no to the leaders’ first suggestion, and are happily married.

FLDS marriages have always been a celebration, mostly among the women. There is almost as much Matriarchy as Patriarchy.

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute. Fifty percent of the children born into the FLDS eventually leave? That, to me, seems rather extreme, but I am open to explanations. But please don’t tell me that it’s because the life is so demanding. The Amish have a demanding lifestyle too, and you don’t see a mass exodus from their way of life. And the majority of them are constantly exposed to mainstream culture. The same goes for the Hasidim, whose lives revolve around their religion. Just keeping kosher is a challenge that would scare off the faint of heart.
But that means there are thousands of former members, not the mere hundreds I had assumed. And yet I can count on one hand the number of former members who defend this way of life (and I’ve really been looking). I’ve been the black sheep in my family forever (although with my family it just seems to result in more dinner invitations rather than exile), and I live my life far differently than they do. Yet I would come down like the wrath of God if anyone threatened how they live their lives. But this blog and the very few other supporters I’ve heard who are former FLDS are almost like crickets chirping in an otherwise deafening silence. And the FLDS do not lack for supporters from different areas of the mainstream population. There’s some very strong voices – including more mainstream polygamists - out there decrying the raid and arguing that civil rights were violated, and it would be very easy for former FLDS members to make themselves heard alongside these folks. But with a very few exceptions, none of the people who are making themselves heard as supporters have actually ever been members of the group. Why wouldn’t former members be speaking out at what could arguably be considered the most desperate time in the sect’s recent history?
I would genuinely love to hear your comments. I am trying to gather both sides of the story, because I am deeply concerned about what is happening. There are more than 450 children whose lives may be changing forever, and that is nothing to sneeze at.
I am also curious about this practice of repenting from afar (saw the articles featuring David Williams). Have you ever known of someone who repented from afar being let back in? What about someone who had left behind a family in the group? Why does it seem that people who leave the group do not get to see their children who are still in the group?

Pligchild said...

Well, I don't feel that I have to "explain" why people stay or go. I will say it is likely true that half go.

The difference, perhaps, to you and us is we are conservative and most put their efforts in kneeling down rather than yelling out.

I know that my brothers and many of their friends, considered "lost boys" have written letters to judge Barbara Walther, and the state of Texas.

Sometimes when I speak out, it feels like I am addressing things that are very demeaning. Accusations that are so terrible that the fact people would believe them is insulting.

Yes, I know men who were let back in. I know one "repenting from afar" quite personally.

Anonymous said...

You say that those speaking out have never really been in the group. Well....I am an FLDS mother. I know Warren Steed Jeffs is the true and living Prophet in this day and time. I have all the freedom I want. I married a Man two years older than me even thou I had my heart set on being an old mans sweetheart. I wanted to be a 5th,6th,8th,or even 10th wife. Oh what fun!!!! The more the merrier for me. It would be a party!!! I know because I have very happy sisters in that kind of marriage. Force??? Not even. You are asked before you are "pronounced" man and wife, "Do you do this with your own free will and choice?" You can say "No"... no one EVER forces you.

I also know of men that have been asked to repent from afar...they where welcomed back with open arms, and got their family back..all of them.

These little innocent children need their mothers. I could hardly live without mine,yet thats what people want. To come take all our children away as well.
My little ones are terrified! They see the school bus coming down the road. My eight year old went pale and said, "They are coming to take us, don't let them take us. I don't want to go!" My baby, now two years old cried out in her sleep last night, "Mother... I need Mother." I comforted her, but at the same time felt so sorry for those little ones who have no one that loves them, to comfort them.
The media, Flora Jessop, Carolyn Jessop, Kathy Nicholson, Ruth Stubbs, Lenore Holm, Elissa Wall Barlow, Rebecca Wall musser, and all the others, say what sells.
Lies, horror stories, trash.

Anonymous said...

I watched the Oprah show yesterday until I saw that it was to be so one sided and quite frankly am shocked. Especially when this young women was not held to task on the facts. I was quite surprized that Lisa Ling did not address contradictions in this womens story. If I were the flds I would expect and infact demand equal time to explain. I am not flds but find this whole event unbelievable. You folks need to speak up. If I did not know better and was average American watching show and reading media articles I would think the flds were all bad folks. Can the flds organize,stand up and be more vocal in regards to the escapees and thier broad brushing a whole group of Americans?