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Lest Ye Be Judged: Musings on the Raid on FLDS Compound in Texas -Ruth Nasrullah

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flds.jpgI’ve realized something unsettling as I’ve read about the fate of the West Texas FLDS families.

You’ll note I didn’t use the word “sect.” It’s a judgmental word, one that minimizes the legitimacy of a religion. Who’s to say what a sect is versus a branch versus a practice?

When I first read the story I shared the concern often expressed – and acted upon by the state – for the children and women who were apparently suffering under an oppressive and unfair system justified by claims of God’s sanction. I wasn’t quite as disgusted as this pundit from the New York Times, who refers disparagingly to the FLDS women:

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You see these 1870 Stepford wives with the braided buns and long dresses, these men with their low monotones and pious, seeming disregard for the law on child sex — and wonder: who opened the time capsule?

Reading that gave me pause. The buns and long dresses…of course someone had to go there. The AP did too, with a story about the origin of the Mormon women’s dress style. It’s interesting like hijab is interesting, which means it could be a catalyst for dialogue or criticism. You could dismiss it as 19th century (or “pioneer style” as some reporters have called it) or you could praise it as modest. I feel for those women.

I’ve begun to wonder about my opinion of the FLDS group – both the religion and the practitioners. I had judged them based on media reports about the alleged evils they committed, the way they treated their women, and especially the polygyny. Isn’t that what Muslims always complain about? Hasn’t it become a kind of mantra for Muslims, that people judge us based on biased media coverage, that if they only had the chance to learn about our religion they would truly understand and accept us?

In the end I’m confused. Do I withhold judgment until I personally find out more about it – and if so how would I do that? Do I rely wholly on the media to understand what’s happened to these hundreds of women and children?

It seems clear that removing hundreds of women and children from their homes is a questionable choice, and I know exactly what I would think if it were Muslims being treated that way.

I know that if I saw a line of women wearing long dresses and scarves holding children by the hand as they were herded onto buses I would wonder why our explanations and denials left us still so grossly misunderstood.

I would wonder what it takes to validate a religious practice in a country offering a fundamental right to free practice of religion.

I might think that as members of a minority religion it behooves American Muslims to be very, very cautious in judging the residents of a Mormon ranch in Texas.

*Cross-posted from Chronicle blog

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45 Comments

45 Comments

  1. Grover Ursula

    May 3, 2008 at 3:22 AM

    Whether Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or Buddhist, any religious sect that subjugates the fundamental human rights of women should be questioned.

    The contributor questions whether he should judge the FLDS because he/she fears judgment of some Muslim practices. However, it might be more appropriate that he/she continue to question the FLDS and then apply the same moral standard to Muslim sects that similarly subjugate women.

    Perhaps he/she might come to a different conclusion.

  2. AbuAbdAllah the Houstonian

    May 3, 2008 at 4:43 AM

    bismillah. the article makes a good point, and you know the answer to your question about how to find out the truth. how do you find out the truth about Islam? from its scriptures (Quran and sunnah). how do you find out whether any group/division of Muslims is a deviant sect? compare their actions to the sunnah of the Prophet sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam in religious matters. how do you find out if Muslim women who wear hijab or niqab and are in plural marriages are being treated well or not? you ask them.

    the same tests apply when one studies Christianity (though some may differ on choice of scriptures), the place of this group of Mormons among the folds of Christianity, and the alleged abuse of these women and children.

    you are right to think it is hasty to judge them by “news” coverage.

  3. Ruth Nasrullah

    May 3, 2008 at 7:46 AM

    This is the Chronicle’s latest coverage: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/5750722.html .

  4. Hassan

    May 3, 2008 at 8:05 AM

    Regardless they are sect, mainstream or whatever, they are minority being judged by majority. They did not conform to majority view of family, lifestyle etc, hence they are pointed out. Today its them, tomorrow some other minority. According to media, they indoctrinate their kids from childhood, so when they grow up they are like that (women specifically), well what does the rest of majority does? Does not everyone indoctrinate their children? Liberals are indoctrinating their children of certain values (its ok to be gay, and two men marry, but its not ok to man have more wives, because thats against our liberal values), Christians are indoctrinating their children in their own way..

  5. Ghost Writer

    May 3, 2008 at 1:15 PM

    You should check out this site for some interesting thoughts on the subject.

  6. Osman

    May 3, 2008 at 3:05 PM

    There seems to be conflicting information coming from this story.
    I think the biggest argument is that the young girls were allegedly forced to marry and have sex with older men. Whether this is true or not, again conflicting reports.

  7. Musa Franco

    May 3, 2008 at 5:28 PM

    Salaam Alaykum

    All I can say is subhanallah…..
    As a muslim and also as a Case Worker for Child Protective Services, I must say that values are very arbitrary. No matter what you encounter human beings can never be trusted to their own rules. If we continue to do so we will run across discrepencies across the board. There are countries (europe and other places) where it is legal to marry at certain ages. There are even areas in the United States where a young woman (16 years old) can marry with consent of the parents. There are other states where it is not allowed. The better question is who should determine what is right and wrong?

    In regards to child removals, they don’t happen randomly. They usually occur when a parent puts the child in serious risk or harm. An example of this is mother A test positive for cocaine and then after heavy drug use is expected to keep her child when he or she is born. There would need to be certain conditions that need to be put in place in order for that to happen. 24 hour home maker services etc… In this situation it would be considered child sexual abuse. When there is child sexual abuse then the child needs to be removed automatically from their home if the mother refuses to relocate with her children in order to prevent the perpetrator from harming the child again. There are rules and regulations for child removals. As for Mormonism. Well there are serious issues that I have with their teachings. They propagate racial superiority of white people. I have a real issue with that.

    As for judging…..
    I can understand being careful to judge other religious minorities, but we have to be straight with our criteria for judging. Warren Jeffs, the former leader of the flds, is no angel. A nephew of his who alleges that Warren Jeffs sodomized him as a child committed suicide because of the pain of coping with how he was victimized.

    Add to that the allegation that he forced many young women into marriages that they did not want to be in (a crime that he was later convicted of “rape as an accomplice”). In Islam, the marriage is predicated on the consent of the bride and groom. There’s a hadith wherein the Prophet says that if a woman is forced into a marriage, it is zina on the part of everyone who forced her into it. So can we, though we share common ground as religious minorities, not condemn this?

    Then, when he went on the run (for the crime of rape as an accomplice), he ran off with a lot of his church’s assets.

    From what I’ve read, Mr. Warren Jeffs (flds prohet) is a criminal, a pervert and a charlatan. In fact he states the way to paradise is to marry at least three women. Parental choice in whom your child marries is usurped by Mr. Jeffs. If a man in his community would do something he didn’t like he would reassign his family and children to someone else. The women were driven like cattle from one man to another, as if they were being bred.

    It rubs me the wrong way how the media talk about how the flds women dress. But the fundamental issue is that we are a country of laws. You don’t see us Muslims setting up polygynous ranches in a country where it is illegal although our religion allows polygyny. Polygyny and conservative attire are about the only things we have in common with the flds. It is a tragedy what those families are being put through, but there’s no solidarity with a person or a group of persons who institutionalize child abuse and other violations of people’s rights.

    Alhamdulilah Aladhee Ja’alana min al muslimeen.

  8. Hassan

    May 3, 2008 at 6:59 PM

    Brother Musa, what if:

    1. The women (under 18) consented to marrying someone older?
    2. The women (over 18) consented to be in polygamous marriage?

    are these things legal?

  9. Ruth Nasrullah

    May 3, 2008 at 9:02 PM

    Every state has different laws regarding the legal age of marriage. In most states a court order is required for a minor under 16 to marry and parental consent is required for 16 and 17 year olds, but again they do vary.

    I definitely don’t condone FLDS practices and I’m not trying to do that here. That said, there are children here in Texas living in foster homes and shelters because of one anonymous phone call (the source of which has never been found and has turned out to likely be a hoax) and the fact that CPS found several teenage girls who were pregnant or mothers. Go to any high school in this country and count the number of pregnant under-age girls. Should those girls be taken away from their parents?

    These FLDS children were taken from their mothers and their homes and now sleep on cots among strangers because no one in authority cared to stop and fairly analyze their community’s way of life. I don’t agree with LDS faith and practice (mainstream or fundamental), but if we Muslims want fair treatment we should expect it for others. As I said in the post, imagine if it was a long line of Muslim sisters waiting to put their children on buses…

  10. Ruth Nasrullah

    May 3, 2008 at 9:09 PM

    The legal age of marriage varies from state to state. In most states parental consent is required for 16 and 17 year olds and a court order is required for 15 year olds (New Hampshire permits 14 year olds to marry with a court order).

    I definitely don’t condone FLDS practices, and I’m not trying to do that here. But the fact is that hundreds of children here in Texas are living in foster homes and shelters because of an anonymous call (whose source has never been found and has turned out to likely be a hoax) and the fact that CPS found several teenage girls on the compound who were pregnant or mothers. Go to any high school in this country and count the number of under-age pregnancies – should those girls be taken from their parents?

    I don’t agree with the LDS faith (mainstream or fundamental) but hundreds of children were taken from their mothers and their homes and are sleeping among strangers because the authorities didn’t stop to carefully examine their community’s faith. If we Muslims want to be treated fairly, we should expect fair treatment of other minority religions. As I said in the post, just imagine if it was a long line of Muslim sisters putting their children on buses…

  11. Musa Franco

    May 3, 2008 at 10:04 PM

    I see my post now :)

    As Muslims living in a non-Muslim land, we are required to follow the laws of the land wherein we reside. That is a part of our Shariah. While our Shariah does allow for polygyny and marriages between people where there’s a vast age difference, these things are only mubah (permissible), but following the law of the land is fard (obligatory) as long as they do not stand in contradiction to our Islam.

    I’m not judging him on his polygyny. Our Prophet (pbuh) showed us how to practice it with justice. But if you look at what Warren Jeffs was charged with, you’ll see that Muhammad would call him a dhalim (oppressor) and a mujrim (criminal). Just because your religion allows something doesn’t mean that you have to go do it where it’s illegal.

    If you don’t like the laws of the land, there are legal avenues whereby people can get the laws changed. Look at all of the gains homosexuals have made in the way of legalizing gay marriage. If you look at different opinion polls and surveys, you’ll find that many people (perhaps most) are against legalizing gay marriage (myself included), but the way they gained freedom to wed (in the states where it’s legal) was very clever. It took a certain amount of civil disobedience to push the envelope, but they framed their argument in the context of human rights and being denied civil rights. If flds members or Muslims, for that matter, would like to legalize polygyny, then they’d have to follow the same legal strategy as the homosexuals and protect their cause from charges of abuse and injustice.

  12. Molten

    May 3, 2008 at 10:06 PM

    Isn’t it interesting how the coverage of this story in the media always uses the words ‘sect’,’ FLDS’ etc. but never refers to:

    1. The plain and simple fact that this is a ‘CHRISTIAN’ sect – the word is conspicuous by its absence in the media covering this incident.
    2. A discussion on the relevance of the Bible in this day and age since these people were apparently following their Bible (one of the several dozen versions of the book)
    3. The people involved are never called Christian fundamentalists – which is exactly what they are.

    Any act by Christain groups, deemed distasteful by the media, is always portrayed as having been done by a ‘sect’, ‘cult’ etc. – never will will you find the word Christian mentioned by them. Now, if God forbid, something perceived as negative is done by someone who is a Muslim, hardly a second will pass before the same media attempts to outdo each other in name-callling and slandering Islam, like wolves gathering around their prey.

  13. Musa Franco

    May 3, 2008 at 10:21 PM

    Sister the issues are the following:

    1. They have violated the legal age of consent for their area.

    2. There are allegations of forced marriages. (

    3. Polygany is against the law in all of the 50 states.

    Asking ourselves the question if it were sisters with khimar’s and jilbabs going into these buses obscures the fact that lawlessness and disregard for the law is rampant in their communities. If you don’t like the laws then take legal means to change the laws or move to place where you are allowed to practice the mormon religion lawfully. While i don’t feel good about mothers and children being seperated in this way, they have demonstrated an inability to protect their children from illegal forms of marriages with the state defines as dangerous and detrimental to the well being of these minors.

    Recall the hadith of the prophet sallalhu alayhi wa salama stating that a marriage without the consent of the bride is zina.

  14. anon

    May 4, 2008 at 1:15 AM

    “The plain and simple fact that this is a ‘CHRISTIAN’ sect – the word is conspicuous by its absence in the media covering this incident.”

    Actually this is a mormon sect. Mormon’s aren’t christians. They believe that a prophet came after jesus, Joseph Smith I think. They also have their own bible which I think was written in part by Smith

    Basically what you’re saying is the equivalent of stating that Islam is a Christian sect (except in this case the extra prophet that came after jesus is Mohammed, rather than Joseph Smith) So if you agree with that than I would have to agree with your statement that FLDS Mormons are indeed a christian sect

  15. Osman

    May 4, 2008 at 1:40 AM

    I just had a quick question:

    I know that polygamy is illegal in the States, but can you actually be charged for it? I thought it was more that your second marriage would just not be recognized by the state. If two women marry a man but they dont actually perform a “legal marriage” can the still be charged for polygamy? How would the state differentiate this and adultery?

    I always thought polygamy was illegal in that you were prevented from marrying a second wife recognized by the state and therefore it was something that you could not be charged upon bc the state would never allow you to do it in the first place.

  16. Molten

    May 4, 2008 at 2:03 AM

    – anon

    Your claims are laughable. You (Christians) can sort out your differences with the Mormon Christians yourselves – by the way, does Hitler qualify as a true Christian for you?- he had the blessings of the Catholic Church, no less. Whats so strange about Smith writing up a portion of the Bible? – its been done before – a lot – just read the preface to the king james version of the bible.

    Your argument on Islam is equally pathetic. Islam came to correct the pagan traditions (read trinitarian Christainity) that crept into the true message of Isa, the son of Maryam, Prophet and Slave of God Almighty. So you could compare the Prophethood of Muhammad (upon whom be peace) to that of Isa, Musa and Ibrahim (peace upon them all). So yes all of these mighty Messengers came with the same message of worshipping the One True God, as opposed to false pagan religion (now known as Christianity) invented by Paul the liar and spread by Constantine, with the sword, of course.

  17. anon

    May 4, 2008 at 3:29 AM

    “You (Christians) can sort out your differences with the Mormon Christians yourselves”

    I never said I’m Christian, and can quite happily state I am not.
    And since you felt the need to unnecessarily bash various religions you don’t agree with I’ll just come out and say that I hold the opinion that most people who ascribe to various “organized” religions (such as yourself for instance) are fools and idiots who prefer to fight about which one is the “truest and greatest” rather than actually do decent things that will actually have some sort of benefit on the world and the people living in it.
    Unfortunately, followers of organized religions make up the majority of the world’s populations, which would explain the crappiness that is known as earth

    And stating a well known fact does not mean a person follows a certain doctrine. For instance I read on a few other blogs by muslims, articles that stated that the Yezidis are also a Christian sect. I pointed it out to one particular individual in his comments section that he was wrong and that the Yezidis are a unique and separate religion unto themselves and got pretty much the same response you gave to me. I was accused of being a Christian and than got nothing more than a rant on why Christianity and all other religious on the face of the earth are stupid, pagan, and so forth. Shows a rather high level of insecurity if you ask me. Which would also explain the treatment of minority religions in muslim countries.

    “Your argument on Islam is equally pathetic”

    LOL. I wasn’t aware I wrote an argument. Generally, in order for something to qualify as an argument it would have to be more than 1 sentence long and be backed up with solid evidence. For instance, the few sentences I wrote above are what are known as opinions. They would not be classified as arguments, because I have not shown any solid proof for them being true. Much like your comments

    Anyways, my apologies for jacking the thread. Feel free to delete (obviously, it’s your blog) This shall be my last comment

  18. Ruth Nasrullah

    May 4, 2008 at 8:42 AM

    Br. Musa, you make good points on issues I’ve read about elsewhere. As I said in the post, I’ve been confused about what to think about the FLDS families, mostly because I didn’t know anything about them or their history. When I started reading in the paper about the women’s dress it just clicked for me that they might have as much cause to complain about the media as Muslims do. Reading about the women’s dress reinforced that feeling. Again, by expressing my doubts and my sorrow about the 461 children who were taken from their homes and placed with strangers I am not condoning the FLDS religion.

    The discussion of whether Mormons as a whole follow Christianity also has parallels – the Mormons do believe in Jesus as their savior and the son of God and believe in the bible as holy scripture. However, they also revere Joseph Smith as a prophet and consider his Book of Mormon as sacred. To some Christians, the addition of a new prophet and a new book may mean Mormons are not Christian. Others may believe they are. Muslims engage in the same discussions – about what nullifies or adulterates someone’s practice of Islam. Thgat’s why I feel Muslims should be very careful and very reserved (and very courteous) when discussing others’ faiths.

    Br. Osman, polygamy is against the law in the US and can be punished criminally.

  19. Musa Franco

    May 4, 2008 at 9:30 AM

    Ukhti,

    You should feel bad about the displacement of the children, as we all do. It is one of the most difficult decisions to make as a social worker and when it happens it is heart wrenching. And surely with Allah all help is sought.

    In regards to the Mormons version of an already deviated religion (Christianity) then when you study their teachings they truly are mind boggling. I know a brother from around my way who was a mormon. He studied the history. He found that Mr. Joseph Smith (May allah give him what he deserves) was a peddler and a grave robber. He was a very evil man who did alot to misguide the masses. There prophecy is even more of a joke. There was a majory split in their church. When the United States outlawed polygany so did their prophet. Miraculously the prophet claimed inspiration and changed the doctrine. I wonder how that would of read “By order of the federal government the prophet decrees that polygany is against their religion” (Sarcasm here). Additionally when they go on their missions to take the message they wear special clothings which include the compass and other symbols (smells of freemasonry to me).

    Anyway sis you should feel bad.

    P.S. They also believe that African Americans are cursed by god and that is why they were made black.

    May Allah guide them all to Al Islam

    Amin

  20. Siraaj Muhammad

    May 4, 2008 at 10:38 AM

    Polygamy that is state recognized is illegal. What happens is that the first wife is recognized, the rest are considered spiritual wives, not legal wives, so they aren’t entitled to the legal benefits.

    From the perspective of the state, it’s a married man with his wife knowing he’s having an affair with multiple women.

    Siraaj

  21. Charles

    May 4, 2008 at 4:40 PM

    In Islam, we can rely on the Qur’an and hadiths to understand that the Trinity is wrong and other problems with Christianity. But we shouldn’t go past what the Qur’an and hadiths say in critiquing other religions without having studied them thoroughly. For example, if you study the writings of Paul carefully, you’ll see that Christians have distorted his teachings quite a bit, just as they have distorted the teachings of Jesus.

    Also, (1) although there are different books that comprise the Christian Bible, (2) although they haven’t been kept error free, (3) although different groups (especially Catholics and Protestants) disagree on which books belong to scripture, and (4) although there are other problems to consider, it can’t be said that King James added to the Bible if all that is being considered is a preface. That’s no different from how some translations of the Qur’an have introductions and commentary to help readers understand the verses and why the translator took on that task. What Joseph Smith did was write an entirely new book that was considered scripture in its entirety, something quite different from adding commentary or introduction to scripture.

    On another point, many talk about different Bibles, when what they are really talking about are different translations. (Even the Catholics and Protestants agree on certain books, but the Catholics have added what are called intertestamental books that are not accepted by Protestants.) Again, although there are problems with the books of the Bible, to say that certain Bibles were different, we would have to say that the manuscripts in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek upon which they were based were different. Just as we don’t accept that different translations of the Qur’an mean that there are different Qur’ans, we shouldn’t be talking about different Bibles simply because the translations differ. Of course, if one studies the history of the acceptance and rejection of different biblical books and how manuscript traditions have differences, the matter becomes considerably more complicated. But my point again is that we should stay with what we know from the Qur’an and hadith rather than relying upon common misunderstandings about other religions.

  22. Charles

    May 4, 2008 at 4:47 PM

    On legal wives vs. spiritual wives, we need to consider the definition of common law marriages. For example in Texas, two people are considered married if they meet the following three requirements (see https://www.co.travis.tx.us/dro/common_law.asp):

    “First, you must have “agreed to be married.”
    Second, you must have “held yourselves out” as husband and wife. You must have represented to others that you were married to each other. As an example of this, you may have introduced you partner socially as “my husband,” or you may have filed a joint income tax return.
    Third, you must have lived together in this state as husband and wife.”

    So, I’m guessing it might be possible to commit the crime of polygamy via common law marriages.

  23. Olivia Kompier

    May 4, 2008 at 6:07 PM

    The only mormon I ever knew was my high school comp. teacher. She knew I was Muslim (and wearing Hijaab) and one day told me how she supported me because in her faith there were some similarities. I don’t really know what they were, and she herself didn’t subscribe to the FLDS style of dress, but I appreciated her sentiments.

    That being said I think it’s very heartbreaking to think of any children being taken away from the person who can love them and care for them the most–their mother. If teen pregnancy is the concern I don’t see why it should be of any concern for children who are not teenagers. I think the harm of removing children from the biological caregiver they are attached and placing them in an unfamiliar, foreign enviroment must be very psychologically damaging.

    However one thing I did hear about FLDS (and once again this is heresay) from a former FLDS wife who gave an interview (and has written a book so I’m sure she loved the publicity generated by her statements) was that the fathers amongst the FLDS branch are very abusive toward their children. According to her they do something called “breaking” the child, which means from a very young age (we’re talking below age 2) the father will violently abuse the child in order to instill fear of the father and respect his authority from an age that they will be too young to remember what actually happened.

    It would be interesting to find out if that is an isolated view/incident or a practice held amongst the congregation. But even if it were a common practice, each family would need to be examined before children were taken away.

    It’s very sad and confusing and as a Muslim I do lend only a skeptical ear to what the media has to say about them since obviously they’re far from objective in their presentation and we all know that.

    May Allah Guide them and grant them and us justice in our affairs.

  24. Siraaj Muhammad

    May 4, 2008 at 8:35 PM

    Hey Charles,

    Due to the nature of the people asking the question, there’s one essential point missing – can one be married to someone else and yet still enter to a common law marriage while being legally married to someone else? The answer is no because the first and current marriage negates one’s ability to enter to this type of marriage.

    The link above assumes we’re talking about two unmarried individuals.

    Siraaj

  25. Amad

    May 4, 2008 at 8:52 PM

    The “christianity” of Mormons is not just an academic matter.

    Refer to this post on MM: Are Mormons People of the Book (Ahl Kitaab)? (Also History, Racism and Polygamy)

  26. Abdullah Mikail

    May 4, 2008 at 9:19 PM

    The whole investigation is a sham.

    I do not agree with what the FLDS people believe or in what they were doing.

    As an American and a supporter of the Constitutional right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness and equal protection under the laws of the land I find it disturbing that the “authorities” would violate and bend as many laws as they could to allow them to rush in to a compound based upon an anonymous phone call the authorities received allowing them to go charging in to a compound of multiple homes based on one false allegation, yet unproved, whose number was traced back to a known liar with a very shady past…and basically destroy numerous nuclear families by tearing them apart as if they had a legal reason. I see that they had no legal authority to do that based upon what I saw in the media.

    The law they based this on was the reasonable suspicion that in a “home” abuse was taking place. I don’t accept a blind false phone call as a justifiable reason to do what they did to these people regardless of their beliefs.

    If anyone came into my home for any reason and tried to take my family away by force they would find the second amendment waiting for them on the other side of the door.

    I do not defend child endangerment, forced marriages, or any of the like. I defend the right of Americans to live without being oppressed by a corrupt system of government. There is due process and it was clearly violated here.

    Abdullah Mikail
    Muslim American

  27. Hassan

    May 4, 2008 at 9:40 PM

    I second the emotions put forth by Abdullah Mikail, government does not have right to separate family based on anonymous caller. Secondly, people are innocent till proven guilty, how can the state assumed that abuse was happening and acted accordingly. And not on just one family, but whole compound. This is truly facist in nature. I see either the mormons winning big against government, or Waco all over..

  28. Mr GQ

    May 4, 2008 at 11:29 PM

    Seems like the Mormon women are more understanding than many Muslim women when it comes to polygyny.

    Awww.

  29. Charles

    May 5, 2008 at 6:01 AM

    Siraaj,

    What you say makes sense to me about the first common-law marriage negating others, but it would be an interesting court case. Nowadays, the ban on polygamy might be reversed.

  30. Umm Layth

    May 7, 2008 at 7:24 PM

    Musa, when I was a child we experienced a lot of visits from CPS. We have a disabled brother and he has a tendency to scream at the top of his lungs when he doesn’t want something in particular. We lived so close to our neighbors that there was no way they could miss the yelling. They knew very well that he was disabled, and had known us for years. They were racist, however. Their calls to the police always came after the screaming. We had CPS in our home asking us all sorts of questions, making us roll up our sleeves to see if we were bruised, and asking us if we were being beaten by our parents, and if they fed us properly.

    I recall one moment where we had actually ran out of groceries. We still had some basics like rice and beans but who considers that enough anymore? CPS arrived when my father was out and my mom was so afraid they would go through the kitchen at that moment and do all their judging then. Alhamdulillah, my father arrived with chinese food during the visit. He had brought lots of trays with different types of dishes. We didn’t call him to let him know we were out of food because we could not during their stay. These were just horrible times for us and especially for our parents. My mom still, till this day, deals with CPS.

    I don’t agree with breaking laws in the country, or with the customs of FLDS, but like Ruth, I understand that we shouldn’t assume so much and make decisions off of these assumptions. The problem with our country is that it judges people as guilty until proven innocent. In Islam, things are different because we are taught justice and to prove before accusing. CPS has stepped over their limits plenty of times in this country. They do it with innocent families like my mother, and they continue to do it with families who, for example, take their children out of public school. It may be a hard time but assumptions are not the way to go.

  31. Umm Layth

    May 7, 2008 at 7:29 PM

    Also, the current govt has contradicted its own constitution. The first amendment clearly states:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…”

  32. FLDS_Guy

    May 10, 2008 at 1:14 AM

    I’m an FLDS male member currently living in Colorado City, and I would like to try to dispel some of the horrendous rumors that abound about our people.

    We absolutely DO NOT condone child abuse. This crap about “breaking” babies is just that — absolute complete lies. I would immediately call 911 if I witnessed anyone doing that to a child. Our children are considered the most precious gifts that God gives to us, and are to be treated as such.

    Young girls are not forced into marriage. They are asked if they have anyone in mind, and can say “no” to a marriage if they want. We do not believe that a girl must be married young. Most are married over the age of 18.

    We’re not a bunch of brainwashed dunces. We believe in hard work, learning as much as possible, and educating ourselves in every area that will be useful to us. For example, I’m a website and software programmer. We highly value education, and I’m sure you people out their know the dire state the country’s public education system is in.

    The women are not held captive at home only to be abused and commanded by the husband. That’s complete crap. We’ve got loads of women who work jobs. I’d bet about 1/3 of the EMT’s in our town are women. Nearly all of them have their own cell phones, even the unmarried teenagers. It’s not like their held with no communication.

    Teenage boys are NOT routinely dumped on the road to reduce competition for brides. They leave on their own, and their parents yearn and love and feel after them. This whole “lost boys” thing was a thing that Dan Fischer, a bitter ex-member came up with. These boys who have left consider it an insult to them.

    Another thing that makes me laugh is this so called “bleeding of the beast” we allegedly practice. Why, bless my heart, I’ve never heard of the term except from people quoting how they heard about it from Flora Jessop or someone like that. I’ve NEVER heard about it from one of our members, and especially not from the leaders. I’m not on any welfare, I pay taxes, and I work hard for what I get.

    Now, there have been people in our religion who have abused it to try to gratify their desires. This is wrong for them to do so. If a 16 year old girl is being beaten by her husband, that ABSOLUTELY should be investigated, but why raid an entire community? We do not claim that every single member is perfect, but what religion does? The may very well be, and have been, abusers, and where found, they are turned over to the law enforcement.

    I suggest that anyone who wishes to learn more of the truth, you can visit fldsview.blogspot.com (I’m not the author of it, btw).
    Also, check out http://www.captivefldschildren.org

    Our religion teaches peace, love, and forgiveness. We’re all God’s children, and He is just. We believe in working through kindness instead of force, and that love should be the guiding factor in all we do.

    I’d post more, but it’s late. You can contact me at (removed email– personal information protected– editor)

  33. FLDS_Guy

    May 10, 2008 at 1:19 AM

    One more thing,
    Will you quit spelling it “polygyny”? The correct spelling is “polygamy.” See, even a dumbed down, brainwashed, member of this closed off, world-fearing, paranoid, “cult” knows how to spell properly. ;) (I hope you can tell I’m being sarcastic….)

  34. Mr GQ

    May 10, 2008 at 1:34 AM

    FLDS_Guy –

    Somehow everything you’ve written doesn’t seem hard to believe.

    I say that because it is pretty much how it is with the Muslims. The media will fill your head with lies about Islam and Muslims. So having been through that, your comments in the above post arent hard to believe.

    Check your e-mail soon.

  35. Ruth Nasrullah

    May 10, 2008 at 8:05 AM

    Thanks for posting, FLDS_Guy. As Mr GQ said, your explanations and denials are of the same kind Muslims have been having to offer up over the past few years. It’s because of our experience that I question “how I know what I know” where the FLDS are concerned.

  36. Hassan

    May 10, 2008 at 10:02 AM

    FLDS_Guy, whatever you believe or not, the constitution protects your rights, and your right to raise children the way you want. The facist liberals denounce if God Forbid someone teach their kids according to their own religion, yet they are ok with liberal elitist saying what to teach and how to raise kids.

    I just want to know, if your community is doing anything (like contacting ACLU or hiring their own lawyers) to protect rights of parents and children that were separated illegally. Is your community contacting congressman or senators etc to denounce what happened, and leave people alone.

  37. Amad

    May 10, 2008 at 10:05 AM

    FLDS_Guy: Thanks for dropping by. You make interesting points and as Muslims, we cannot deny that the mainstream media isn’t always fair to all groups of people. I am sure people would like to know more about some of the issues you brought up.

    Personally, I have a few questions about your “culture”. Is there any religious significance of the clothing? What restrictions apply? Is there prohibition of caffeine similar to the non-fundamentalists LDS? With regards to polygamy, are there any restrictions to the number of wives and in the women’s relationship to each other before being co-wives? I mean, in Islam we have several restrictions that make polygamy a very “restricted affair”, like you cannot have two sisters as wives at the same time or any women who are direct blood relatives (there are more details in this, but you get the point). What is the significance of compound-type isolated living? Why was El Dorado chosen?

    Look forward to reading more info. from you.

  38. FLDS_Guy

    May 10, 2008 at 11:48 AM

    Hi,
    It’s nice to see some people taking a sensible approach as opposed to what has been portrayed in the media.

    Yes, the constitution does protect our rights, but I believe in this Texas raid, that the constitution has been completely disregarded. Basically, they’re saying, “If you’re part of this religion and live on this ranch, you must be a child molester/abuser and your children belong to the state. You’ll have to prove to us otherwise, but we think all your birth certificates and documentation are fake.” That’s just so wrong to me. Even if abuse was occurring in all the families there but one, wouldn’t it still be right to protect the rights of the one family who had done no wrong? I understand our constitution and government was set up to protect the innocent, but in this case, it’s clearly being ignored.

    To answer a few of your questions:
    There’s really no “religious” significance to the clothing. We believe our bodies are sacred and are to be covered at all times. We believe in having modest dress that looks nice and clean, but not showy.

    I personally don’t drink any coffee or caffeinated drinks, or soda pop, but there are members who do. It’s my choice in that matter. I used to drink a fair amount of Mountain Dew, but learned better. ;) I’d say that coffee isn’t exactly encouraged, but it’s not totally prohibited. I personally just don’t like it.

    As for restrictions on living polygamy (we don’t like the term, actually. We prefer “plural marriage”), no member can just decide that he needs another wife and find someone and marry her. Many members, perhaps most, only have one wife. The only ones with more than one are those who the Prophet directs. A man who can’t properly take care of and treat one wife properly would never be allowed another. As for relatives being married to the same man, there’s nothing wrong with that as far as I know. Many of these things are sacred to me, and I’d prefer not to go into much more detail about it.

    Please don’t refer to the ranch near Eldorado as a “compound.” I’ve never been there myself, but it’s a small community, with separate houses and buildings. The only significance would be to be left alone so we don’t have the world getting in our way, making fun of our culture, and mainly to stay out of the way of those who are determined to spread lies and falsehoods about us to destroy us. We really want to just be left alone and as self-sufficient as we can be. We have separate families, and the different families do things differently. Some like to go fishing, some like horse-riding, others like to go on hikes. It’s not like we all think exactly alike. We have our own individuality, just like everyone else. I really don’t know why the location near Eldorado was chosen. Apparently, there’s plenty of limestone there to build a temple, but that may only be a small reason.

    Yes, we have members who are appealing our cause to the leaders of the government, congressmen, governors, and any avenue we can. We even have some taking the matter before the U.N.

  39. pligchild

    May 10, 2008 at 1:09 PM

    Thanks, Amad for sending me here. I hope FLDS_Guy doesn’t mind if I copy his words onto my blog. With a link to this one.

  40. FLDS_Guy

    May 10, 2008 at 1:16 PM

    pligchild,
    I have no problems with you copying what I’ve written onto your blog. It’s fine by me.

  41. Hassan

    May 13, 2008 at 8:11 PM

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080513/ap_on_re_us/polygamist_retreat

    The government case is falling apart, the govt should apologize and let everyone go

  42. Charles

    May 23, 2008 at 7:09 AM

    A Texas appeals court ruled on Thursday that the state had illegally seized up to 468 children from their homes at a polygamist ranch in West Texas.

    From the New York Times at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/23/us/23raid.html?th&emc=th

  43. um.abdullaah

    May 27, 2008 at 6:02 PM

  44. vivvy

    May 4, 2009 at 3:23 PM

    And what about women who want more than one husband? Why should she be stuck with just man one for life? Hardly fair is it? Know the old saying – ‘what’s good for the goose is good for the gander’-. . My advice to women in these ‘cults’, do yourself a favour and have affairs, just as men do, although they refer to them as ‘plural wives’ ha ha. Do not submit to man made rules that benefit males, these DO NOT EMINATE FROM GOD, it’s a LIE. No man has the right to dominate you, God did not decree it. You also have as much right as a man to have more than one mate if you wish, it’s up to you. No religion should shackle women to different rules to those of men. Let women decide what ‘rules’ they wish to impose on themselves, if any. Men should butt out.

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