Anyway, the FLDS have finally scraped enough together to make their very first temple. (That sounds like a Fisher-Price toy. My First Temple! Complete with misogynist patriarchal rule!)
If the United States government wanted to make the world (and more specifically, the United States) a better place, they'd prosecute the living hell out of Warren Jeffs and his followers. The FLDS church has institutionalised slavery in the United States by using religion as their shield. I don't know what else you'd call it when girls don't get to choose what they want from life, but are assigned, willy-nilly, to men, to be broodmares and domestic slaves. When a man leaves the FLDS church, his property and family are taken away by the church and reassigned to others. The FLDS church has their own "law enforcement" which acts as a sort of Mafia. They search members houses to make sure they aren't tainted by TV, newspapers, and other media. They beat up young girls who try running away from their arranged marriages.
They aren't just harmless polygamists trying to live peacefully in Southern Utah. They aren't benign. They suck millions of dollars in welfare from the states that they occupy, and they funnel all that money towards making their church stronger, and consolidating power in the hands of their leader, Warren Jeffs. None of it goes toward the people it is intended to help.
None of the kids has a decent education. They are all taught within the community by those who have gone through the same process. Schooling ends at an early age, and the children are often put to work within the community. Eventually, if you are a girl, you can expect to be married off, and if you are a boy, one of two things will eventually happen. You MIGHT get a wife or two....maybe. If you aren't favoured enough, and particularly if you are catching the attention of the girls any of the higher ups want for themselves, you can expect to find yourself run out of town. These kids often end up on the streets in Vegas or LA, selling drugs or prostituting themselves, without any real clear idea of what they are doing, or why they are breaking the law. They don't even know much about life on the outside before they get there. They just know that Gentiles (non-believers) are the servants of Satan, trying to get to them. They may be brutally stripped of their illusions, or weirdly enough, some may even cling to them after they've been abandoned.
This is a culture that has institutionalised rape in the form of marriage. Girls barely into puberty are forced into marriage. Sisters, mothers, daughters--women are set against each other, ready to compete for the affections of their husbands.
Anyway, this is a snapshot of the lovely culture which has just built its first temple in the heart of Texas. It's not just a few people either. It's not 40 people in Nike shoes or 70 odd Branch Davidians, though of course, numbers alone can not quantify the value of the lives lost. The family of Warren Jeffs alone, including his wives and children, nears the 200 mark. As many as 1500 polygamists are moving to the new ranch where the FLDS temple has been built. Estimates for the population of the Jeffs group range as high as 8000 people though, with another 22,000 belonging to other similar groups.
One disturbing thing which I hadn't come across in my readings before, but which has apparently come to light in the last year, is the existance of the "Babyland" graveyard in Colorado City. Here are the quick statistics on it:
56 entirely unmarked child graves
227 child graves all together for a total of 53% children under 10
A high number of children suffering from strange accidents. A disproportionate number of children who just happened to be "run over". A number of children who have just "disappeared". The death rate is particularly high among boy children, ages 11-20.
Anyway, the next time somebody starts ranting about how we need to promote a culture of life in the United States, I'm going to point them at Colorado City, and the people who keep ignoring it. Culture of Life, my ass.