Wednesday, April 23, 2008

More Thoughts on the Lost Boys of Zion

I continue to worry about the Zion Ranch situation. Just how bad is it? Are we dealing with abandoned teenage boys as well as pregnant teenage girls?

IF this is turns out to be the case - and I hope that the State of Texas is investigating this - then we have Zion parents who are abandoning their children in addition to everything else going on there. The news article I posted previously asked why the State of Utah did not go after the parents of compounds there for child abandonment. The response: we want to go after the leader, Jeffs. I question this decision, and hope that Texas investigators will do more than this. All of us parents are responsible for our children. It is, in fact, against the law to abandon them.

I also want to mention that I just noticed Rebecca Lesses' response on one of my earlier posts that the Zion Ranch is not Little House on the Prairie. I would like to bring it forward here, because what she has to said has been suspiciously absent from the discussion:
In all of the news coverage of this sect, one thing I have not noticed is any discussion of how thoroughly patriarchal and male-supremacist it is. The focus has been only on questions of child-protection - but in fact the two things go together. The older privileged males of the sect marry and have sex with young girls - who have no choice of who to marry or whether to marry at all. A woman in one of these marriages has no choice about whether her husband marries another woman as well, and she can't prevent her own daughters from being married off. And then, there are all the teenage boys who are driven off in order to allow the older men to have many wives. The FLDS is an American movement - I certainly have no problem, as an American, as judging this social system as oppressive to women and children.


Memra said...

As a man and as a father of one son and three daughters, I find this whole matter appalling.

It seems like the old male alpha-dog syndrome manifested itself here in a sick, opportunistic way.

Unknown said...

Richard B here. Who could defend this mess? I saw a news report on adolescent males turned out as young as 15, I suspect younger, to fend for themselves. They live on the streets, turn to drugs and crime. The lives they led inside didn't prepare them to be successful outside the ranch. I learned a long time ago to not listen to what people say, but to watch what they do. The behavior around the Zion Ranch tells you everything.

Rebecca said...

For a lot more information on the FLDS, see this website - One of the bloggers has many posts about them and recommends several books about them.

April DeConick said...

Thanks Rebecca!

Brian R. said...

The even sadder news is that the Zion ranch is not unique or even peculiar among the fundamentalist Mormon community (FLDS). There are many documented instances of such - what to call them other than "bunkers"? - in existence in northern Arizona, across Utah, and in the Rockies. Some are even cities - like Colorado City/Hildale, population 6000, on the border of AZ and UT; that town was ruled like a dictatorship by the Jeffs family for decades, even to the extent that the FLDS Church owned all the property in town.

Another sad aspect of all this is that we - taxpayers - are funding much of this horror. Many of the polygamist families live off government tax breaks - imagine the number of dependents you could claim! - and social security - the leaders don't tend to have real jobs. I've read reports that Colorado City residents get $9 back in services for every $1 they pay in tax.

In class last week I recommended a book and now I'll write the title down for convenience - Under the Banner of Heaven, by Jon Krakauer. A must-read on the subject, but not for the faint-hearted. Okay, now I'll go work on that final exam...

Did you see the stats in today's Chronicle? As the children's ages go up, the number of boys veers down sharply. It's absolutely terrifying.