Idol Chatter

I’m a recently born fan of the HBO show “Big Love,” now in its third season, which focuses on a polygamous (they are very careful not to say “Mormon”) family in Utah. The twist is that the family–husband, three wives, a bunch of kids–live together and share a backyard and bank accounts within a non-polygamous community, but aren’t the crazy ones. Sure, they keep their marital practices secret from their neighbors, but back home is the crazy world they escaped from, but where some of their extended family still lives: Juniper Creek, a classic picture of the polygamous community, headed by an old, multiply married “Prophet,” (Roman, played by the incomparable 80-something Harry Dean Stanton). Not only is the Prophet married to many women, many of the women are young girls.
But it’s not just TV. And it’s not just HBO:

Since Thursday, authorities have removed 159 children and 60 adults from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) compound in Eldorado, Texas. Eighteen of the girls have been taken into state custody. Authorities believe all “had been abused or were at immediate risk of future abuse,” a state spokesman said.

Warren Jeffs, the 52-year-old leader and “prophet” of the 10,000-member FLDS, was convicted in Utah last year on two counts of being an accomplice to rape, charges related to a marriage he performed in 2001. He still faces trial in Arizona on eight charges of sexual conduct with a minor, incest and conspiracy. Critics of the sect say it forces girls as young as 13 into arranged marriages. (CNN)

The article relates that the local authorities were alerted to the child abuse by the call of a 16-year-old resident of the ranch who alleged that physical and sexual abuse was happening at the compound.
A word of advice to all these cult leaders. I understand that you want to procreate, and that part of the “benefits package” to leading a cult is having your pick of women to marry and fathering as many children as you can. But stop marrying minors. It will always get you in trouble. And whether you’re in your 50s or in your 80s, it’s just wrong. It’s amazing that prophets seem unable to predict their own incarcerations.

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