The Wisdom of Barbara Walther: “FLDS, LDS, They’re Basically the Same Anyway, Right?” And — “Working Women Don’t Breastfeed, So Why Should You?”

Texas judge Barbara Walther, who is over the FLDS case in Texas, revealed Monday how she is completely out of touch with the FLDS and LDS cultures.

Here’s an excerpt from an article in the Salt Lake Tribune:

Judge Barbara Walther did rule that the women and children currently staying at the San Angelo Coliseum could meet twice a day to pray without being monitored by state workers.

Instead, she asked Texas Child Protective Services to find a member of the mainstream Mormon Church to oversee the sessions or some other “appropriate religious person” who would not be seen as “making their service less sacred.”

This ruling came after complaints by FLDS women that they could not pray without being monitored by CPS , and that at least one time a CPS worker vacuumed while women were in prayer.

I’m happy Walther realized the need to rule on this issue (unlike the breastfeeding issue, which I will comment on below). However, her suggestion to find a person “of the mainstream Mormon Church” is both laughable and deeply troubling. THIS is the woman who is entrusted to preside over what could be seen as one of the most culturally sensitive and landmark court cases in years? Is Walther really daft enough to think that the FLDS women would be relieved by having “mainstream” Mormons supervise them, rather than the CPS workers?! And what is with the “appropriate religious person” remark? Oh, just throw a “religious person” in there to watch them — those religious nuts are all the same anyway!

Let me be clear that I, a “mainstream” Mormon, do not approve in any way of the polygamist or abusive practices of certain FLDS members. Considering this, I can guarantee that the FLDS mothers and children in question would likely not be any happier having someone like me watch them while they pray.

I am completely blown away by Walther and her ruling and suggestions. She appears to be completely out of touch with the culture she is dealing with. Does she not know that the LDS and FLDS have essentially no affiliation whatsoever?!

Speaking of being out of touch, let’s move on to the whole breastfeeding fiasco. From the Tribune:

The Texas judge overseeing the polygamous FLDS sect’s case refused Monday to make any ruling that would allow breast-feeding mothers to remain with their children in state custody….

The state plans to separate adult mothers from their children later this week, after it finishes collecting DNA samples that will be used to determine parentage.

Attorneys for the women asked the judge to consider letting nursing mothers remain with their children after negotiations with CPS on the issue stalled. They asked the judge to let the mothers stay until DNA results are in, likely to take up to 40 days.

Walther acknowledged the nutritional and bonding benefits of breast-feeding.

“But every day in this country, we have mothers who go back to work after six weeks of maternity leave,” she said….

On Friday, child psychiatrist Bruce Perry backed the state’s concerns about the group’s practices but said the youngest children are in the least danger of being harmed by any “unhealthy” beliefs held by their parents. He also said that “the younger you are, the more destructive it is to be removed from your home environment.”

The judge’s decision drew a rapid response from breast-feeding proponents, who began rallying around the FLDS mothers. Nicole D. Hoff, a certified lactation counselor in Texas, set up an instant Web site – http://fldsbreastmilk.blogspot.com.

“While we may not agree or understand the circumstances, I think we need to fight for the right of the children to have the best care and nutrition, which includes breastmilk,” she said in a message on the site.

Now, I don’t wish to comment on the nutritional value of breastmilk, though I will say that I generally and tentatively agree with the basic claims of the breast-feeding proponents. I wish, rather, to touch upon the rich irony between Walther’s working-woman views of motherhood and those of the FLDS women. Indeed, we might ask, which group is most concerned about the health of their children? I’m not providing an answer here, but I think the question is a provocative one.

At any rate, there are many people, myself included, who are deeply troubled at these children under 2 years of age (and there are 77 of them) being separated from their mothers.

Some would even call it abuse.

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35 Responses

  1. Okay, so Texas is ripping toddlers away from their mothers’ breasts? That’s more than out of touch.

    I only wish I could see more of the legal wrangling. I’m assuming there is an emergency appeal sitting on some Texan’s Supreme Court desk. I sure wish I could read that motion.

  2. This is government fascism of Nazis we are witnessing today. The initiating call was a hoax. Write your congressman to express your outrage at removing 400+ children from their family without due process. The FBI should immediately go in and put the CPS agents in orange jumpsuits and chains. If you are not outraged, worry why you are not.

    First they came for the socialists, then they came for ……..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came

  3. Very well said, Dennis. I also strongly disagree with the practices of the FLDS church, but this raid was ridiculous. Taking 400 people out of their homes one a shady tip like that was incredibly irresponsible. The judge’s remarks demonstrate a basic inability to deal with this very difficult issue.

    The FLDS teach their children that the outside society is bad and frightening. The State of Texas and the judge’s actions have only served to reinforce that stereotype. The disturbing leaders of this organization now have more fuel to use for indoctrinating their children. “Remember when the cops came and took you away from your family, and wouldn’t let you see your mother? See, I told you. They’re bad.”

  4. Ryan,

    I actually hadn’t really thought about the children being more prone to seeing outside society as the enemy. Excellent point.

  5. this has been one of my biggest concerns throughout the whole ordeal. i’m so glad you brought it up.

    i understand the importance of removing children from abusive and potentially abusive situations. by all means, protect the innocent! but i agree with ryan that “taking 400 people out of their homes on a shady tip like that was incredibly irresponsible.” taking that action even further by separating young children from apparently loving mothers is, in my opinion, abusive.

    who is actually in danger here? most likely, the adolescent and pre-adolescent girls. there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that infants and toddlers are at risk. i’m not sure what the state is trying to accomplish by keeping them from their mothers. the babies can’t testify in court. they don’t need to be cut off from the adults, as the state feels older children should be.

    i’m not even going to start in on walther’s insensitivity to both the physical health of the babies and the emotional needs of the mothers (who are clearly heartbroken, from all the pictures i’ve seen). it’s just ridiculous.

    i would like to know what everyone thinks, though. what constitutes a “potentially abusive” situation? when is it ok–or not ok–to step in and separate families?

  6. Jen,

    I don’t think I have a great answer for you yet — but I will say, pertaining to this case, that it is only OK when you have a good reason for EACH child. Which clearly was not the case here — which should be very clear, considering that they’ve fouled up on even the total number of children.

    Could we imagine the police investigating someone’s house and finding the parents to be unfit parents, and then immediately taking all of the children in the house — even the neighbor children that are over to play? I realize it’s not a perfect analogy, but I see the FLDS raid as this situation times 100.

  7. Let me preface my comments with the fact that I think these FLDS people are very odd indeed and I have no relationship to anything even related to Mormonizm.

    However, this whole issue is very disturbing and should be a wake up call to ALL parents who raise kids in conservative religious homes — especially “home schoolers”. I know Evangelicals have a severe distaste for anything Mormon — observe their silence about this issue. But, let it be known, those Evangelical home schoolers will be next.

    The worst thing about this case is that it is completely Un-American. When Abraham Lincoln was asked what he proposed to do about the “Mormons” — he said, “I propose that we do nothing”. Lincoln understood that in a pluralistic society you are just asking for trouble when you stick your hand in a nest of otherwise happy bees because you think they are strange / odd maybe even duped. Our nation was founded on principals that allow all of those things — they are left to personal choice – if you want to be duped it is your free choice. Especially in our current degenerate society where anything goes — perversion of every type, shape and form is held up in the highest esteem. Why focus so much attention and resources on a few scruffy FLDS adherents. Why would bureaucrats risk the potential career limiting embarrassment of snatching children from their parents on such shoddy evidence and a hoax phone call. Evangelicals beware — there is something more at work here.

    Did they attack this group due to it’s propensity to let young girls marry (not legally but spiritually). This Angie Voss woman said their may be 5 girls under 18 that are pregnant. Notice the “may”. That means that the teen pregnancy rate in that community is somewhat less than 2%. I would hazard to say that in the inner city of Dallas the teen pregnancy rate is probably close to 25%. Twenty five percent of the nations teenager girls have venereal disease — I would bet the FLDS girls have none. Why does the CPS not round up all of the children in those communities as well? Why did they round up the children of even the monogamous couples with only toddlers? Why not just round up the families impacted by the MAYBE 5 girls? Why separate nursing mothers from babies?

    I find it particularly ironic that most of our school systems sex education classes virtually provide “how to do it guides” for children much younger then any FLDS pregnant teenager. But, of course, this is government sanction so it is okay.

    Did the FLDS ranch get raided for Polygamy? I can’t imagine so. That practice has been legal for all practical purpose for years. It seems to carry the same legal weight as Adultery — after all if you can’t charge an Adulterer how can you possibly charge a polygamist. After all, in our society a polygamist is just an adulterer who makes a long term commitment. If not, then why is Elliot Spitzer not behind bars for Polygamy — after all he kept a conjugal relationship going with his wife and at least one paid concubine that we know about. If polygamy is the issue then we need to round up the children of all of the politicians in Washington that keep or have kept concubines on the side. Besides the fact that every major Muslim community in this country practices polygamy — A large percentage of those Somali cab drivers that you use are also polygamists.

    The CPS bureaucrat Angie Voss made the comment that when a man falls out of favor and leaves the FLDS group he will sometimes leave his wife/(family) behind and the women will be reallocated to other men. How preposterous that such a thing would be done….
    Is this much different then our society’s wife swapping practice that we call divorce and re-marriage? When we analyze it, let’s face it, the substance is the same.

    Is it because of the forced arranged marriages that this group has lost their children? I don’t think so or else I am sure the CPS would be rounding up all of the East Indian children and Moslem children in the state as well. I have more than once seen stories of East Indian girls coming to a fatal end because she did not cooperate on an arranged marriage. Maybe the CPS is just a little more afraid of these communities. After all this Angie Voss woman said she even felt afraid in the peaceful (virtually weaponless) FLDS ranch. She would have to get her pants (I am sure she wears pants rather than a dress) laundered if she tried this kind of thing in one of those two communities.

    No my friends, there is one main reason for this attack. Religion — pure and simple. This massive response is an attack on religious freedom and parental rights. You evangelicals better hold your nose and start speaking up in their defense or your home school families will be next.

  8. dennis,

    i like your point about assessing each child’s situation rather than assuming the worst for the entire group. that, i think, is what CPS tries to do, but even then it’s a difficult call. i look forward to further insights you and anyone else might have.

    john,

    in defense of the state of texas and CPS and everyone else involved, this did not start as religious persecution. they believed (though their beliefs may or may not have a solid foundation) that this community was fostering sexual abuse and rape. regardless of whether the abuser is married to the abused or not, and regardless of how old either party is, and regardless of their religious affiliation, ABUSE AND RAPE ARE NOT OK. period. if this is happening, it is absolutely acceptable to intervene.

    that said, i think you’ve got some good points, particularly your statement about teen pregnancy. i’d be interested in comparing statistics on FLDS communities to the general population.

    i agree that this case has become more about discrimination and insensitivity than about human rights. and that’s just wrong.

  9. Posted this earlier this morning at the Salt Lake Tribune:

    This whole convoluted mess started with a suspect phone call. I know theres no proof out there that the call is bogus. Ok BUT this is big. Why is the evidence collected by Texas Rangers in Colorado City sealed? Also theres report after report of all these teenage pregnant girls but no evidence was provided in either day of testimony about any pregnant teen under the age of 16. The sheriff stated he had an inside informant on site for 4 years but couldn’t get enough evidence to raid this place, 4 years and the inside man never reported any underage pregnancies or abuses? Things don’t add up my friend and that is what bothers me about this whole thing. An other thing I don’t get about that phone call. It took place 3 days prior to the raid and not one agency involved and there are several involved never once called the phone company to track where the call actually came from and if they did why were the Rangers checking out a suspect in Colorado City?

  10. Jen is right. I think intervention in the case of abuse and rape is absolutely necessary. However, when abuse and rape occurs in my neighborhood, the cops don’t take everyone in the neighborhood and store them in a stadium while they sort things out. If the tip seemed credible, Texan authorities should have gone into the ranch and looked for the girl, or other legitimate evidence of abuse. Taking every child out of the community was ridiculous. The abuse that goes on in these communities is, as many of you have said, targeted mainly at the teen girls (and, of course, the ‘lost boys’). Those should have been the subject of the search. Not everyone.

    There were similar polygamy raids in the 1950s. I think it won’t be long before the American public gets angry at all the footage of the mothers, who are strange but obviously love their children (and, as many point out, probably raise them better than a lot of parents in America).

  11. I really should add this quote from Nicole Hoff, at http://fldsbreastmilk.blogspot.com. In reference to Judge Walther’s statement about women returning to work after giving birth, Nicole says:

    “While that may be true, many of these mothers returning to work or school pump their breast milk for their infants, come home to breastfeed on breaks, utilize a lactation room in their workplace, and find other ways to logistically make it possible to give their child breast milk. Why? Because it is best and recommended. The World Health Organization, health care associations, and government health agencies affirm the scientific evidence of the clear superiority of human milk and of the hazards of artificial milk products. The World Health Organization recommends that mothers exclusively breastfeed their infants for at least the first six months, continuing breastfeeding for two years and beyond.”

  12. Well said. Crazy judge, leave those babies who are nursing with their moms in a safe place. It seems so much more abusive to take them into foster care then leave them with their moms, who while strange, do seem like good moms.

  13. Thanks for this note on Judge Barbara.

  14. Editorial from Salt Lake Tribune on the abuse regarding the whole breastfeeding issue (“simply abuse by another name”):
    http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/ci_9018057

    Deseret Morning News articles regarding responses by LDS officials on the whole LDS-prayer-supervision thing:
    Church HQ response:
    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,695272878,00.html
    Local response:
    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,695272746,00.html

  15. It is clear that the woman in Colorado Springs convicted previously of making false calls to the police made the same kind of calls on the same day to not only the Texas woman’s shelter but also to an anti-polygamy group that aids former members of the FLDS. In both cases she claimed to be a 16 year old pregnant girl forced to marry an older man and abused by him. Since the Texas authorities have interviewed ALL of the candidate girls in Texas, and NOT found any who claim to be the person who placed the phone call, it is clear that the only rational conclusion is that the Texas shelter was taken in by a hoax, while the anti-FLDS group was not, since they knew more about the FLDS practices and could detect anomalous statements out of character for an FLDS community member. INdeed, the anti-FLDS group called the Texas authorities and had them listen in to one of the calls, BEFORE they raided the ranch. It seems clear now that the affidavits were made in bad faith, since they had every reason to conclude that they were bogus. What this means is that the informaiton they obtained through use of the search warrant will be excluded from consideration in any criminal trial. The upshot will be that the men who were involved in statutory rape of girls under 16 will not be convicted because all the evidence is clearly the result of the bogus phone calls, and there was no other basis to believe that the information would be discovered anyway. The Texas authorities were so anxious to jump at any excuse that they have screwed up their ability to prosecute any of the men involved.

    In the meantime, the high handed way in which children were taken from the ranch is a gross violation of the constitutional right to due process of law and of the inherent rights of parents to care for and associate with their own children. They have been punished before any proper adjudication that they were unfit, nor has the separation been justified by imminent danger to the children. Texas has not alleged sexual or physical abuse of small children, only that several teenage girls under 16 were coerced into sexual relations with substantially older men. How that is a danger to boys, or an imminent danger to girls under age 12, is a mystery. Certainly there are measure far short of ripping all children from their mothers that can prevent new child marriages from being contracted. That action in and of itself is a severe abuse of young children, comparable to the death of their parents, who are not allowed to even communicate with their children, hold, comfort them, or pray with them individually. Compared to the speculative harm ten years in the future from a child marriage, how is the court’s action justified?

    Additionally, the mass trial of all the families is a denial of due process of law and equal protection of the law. Treating them as if they were indistinguishable is religious prejudice plain and simple. Texas had an alternative of assigning ten judges to conduct hearings on an individual basis. The mass hearing on over 400 children measn that Judge Walther has no actual knowledge of WHO were the children and WHO were the parents. She can no more recall the names and faces of the people whose lives she was destroying, nor which child belonged to which mother. This is insane.

    The mothers and children in this matter have been treated with less respect to their religious beliefs and individual rights than the terrorists in the Guantanamo Bay detention facility!

    The State of Texas has committed false imprisonment and unlawful detention, deprivation of basic civil rights, and motivated by religious prejudice. Some lawyers are eventually going to make a lot of money suing the State.

    I would expect that at some point attorneys for the mothers are going to file in Federal court for writs of habeas corpus, to have the children discharged from state custody on grounds of denial of constitutional rights.

    Summary: Texas has punished unfairly the people who in its own claims are the victims, and has bungled the case so much that they will never be able to convict the real criminals, the men involved in child marriages.

  16. Raymond,

    Thank you very much for your analysis. It’s nice to know, from a legal expert like yourself, that there is hope for reversing this atrocity, as well as exposing it for what it is.

    You seem like a very level-headed fellow (from your posts at Times and Season), so your outrage at this issue is all the more indicative to me that something really really went wrong here!

  17. One more comment: It is a sad irony that children being raised by parents in active homosexual relationships are NOT taken from their parents, but children with parents in a polygamous relationship, again without marriage, can be taken by the state on the basis of beliefs alone, without any actual evidence of the child being harmed. Indeed, there are numerous public schools, especially in California, where the State is teaching children that homosexual relations are perfectly acceptable. If Texas is arguing that simply teaching the acceptability of polygamy is abusive, how is it that teaching the acceptability of homosexual acts is not?

    As others have noted, in many inner cities, there are not only underage girls becoming pregnant, there are also men who are de facto polygamists, having children with many women. They include the more prosperous among criminals and drug dealers. How effectively is Texas intervening in those situations? Of course, drug dealers tend to be armed and might actually fight back.

  18. The women and children are the victims, the men are the abusers. Why aren’t the men in jail and the women and children back in the compound until this is straightened out?

    And I agree, we take these people OUT of a society with no poverty, no crime, and everyone is loved and give them OUR society where girls are taught to be little sex objects and give it up at 14. Has anyone walked in a public school lately? Let’s take the beam out of our own eyes first.

  19. You all need to do some more research and see how they actually torture and abuse the children from infancy in order to teach them to not respond to stimulus and show no emotion. You need to understand women and children are ASSIGNED to men without any choice in the matter. It’s not the same as divorce/remarriage. You need to realize that many of the children are mothers and vice versa. You also have to accept this is not just a “community”. This is one big family and when CPS comes in and takes a kid, they generally take all that reside on the premises. They also don’t generally care if the child is breastfed or on any special diets, parent’s have never been allowed to accompany children being removed before. Texas is doing their best to accomodate these people. I went and looked at the website where they published the pics of ladders used to breach the wall and broken locks on doors-AFTER THEY REFUSED ENTRY TO OFFICIALS during a search. That was their own fault. All of it is their own fault all though I have been studying them for a while prior to the raid and these people have a lot things to be addressed. Also, they don’t need any legal defense money, research how much money they have thanks to tax breaks and government contracts over the years. Go read some of the thousands of articles about this family and their many compounds and you will change your views and support the fact they went in and got them. I wonder why they have not rescued the others. Please consider these men farm girls to be baby makers to be able to trade virgins for more virgin bride assignments for themselves and trade them as property so that in the end GOD WILL GIVE THEM THEIR OWN PLANET TO RULE IN HEAVEN. Seriously? You people can back that as “American” rights? I can’t.

  20. Tara,

    Even if everything you say is true, this does not deprive individuals of the due process of law. And the Texas raid incident, as well as Judge Walther’s rulings thus far, are far from providing it. Remember, in America, people are innocent until proven guilty.

  21. O.K. everyone… time to go to your phone and email and send messages to all the Texas Senators, Congressmen, etc. Send them your outrage at this trampling on of our rights as US Citizens! These are little children and mothers that the CPS are bullying! Let’s get these kids back to their mothers… there should be proof before a kid is removed!

  22. This is all so very sad. My heart goes out to those children and mothers.

    There is an excellent new book of fiction by LDS author, Janet Kay Jensen (I blogged about it yesterday), which goes into the whole polygamy issue, and which should be helpful to anyone, LDS or non-LDS, when it comes to understanding the truth.

    The book is called “Don’t You Marry the Mormon Boys,” and I can recommend it as a good read. To quote Janet, “Polygamists are not Mormons, and Mormons are not Polygamists.”

  23. Tara-
    I have observed these people. Those allegations are false. Where are you getting your information? Are you asking the Jews about the Savior, or the Anti-Mormons about the Latter Day Saints, or the ex-FLDS about the FLDS? Do you trust apostates like Thomas Marsh, in what he said about the Mormons in his affadavit which powderkegged the Missouri scene? I beg you to rethink your response- what people say about others doesn’t warrant the truth. Its been taught in the scriptures that accusation is the tool of Lucifer, that even Micheal, in contending over the body of Moses, dared not bring a railing accusation against Lucifer, but said, the Lord rebuke thee, Lucifer.

    There are billions of people on this Planet who can tell you what is wrong in whoever or whatever. What we should be interested in is what is right. If we are blessed enough to become perfected, then are we able to judge. There is plenty of research that can be done about the people in question on the internet, and in books by ex-FLDS members, and wherever else, but if the truth is obtained by the belief of the majority, then the Gospel was never true. Never has it been accepted by the majority! 1 person can tell the truth and 1000 people can tell a lie, and the truth is still the truth and the lie a lie. My point? Be careful about believing accusations.

    I KNOWt ripping children from parents is very displeasing to Heavenly Father. Look at the mothers and children. They very obviously love each other, more perhaps than I have seen anywhere else; this is not the fruit of abuse. If “they actually torture and abuse the children from infancy in order to teach them to not respond to stimulus and show no emotion,” Why the incredible bond between mother and child? The CPS would have no difficulty breaking them apart. You also say,”I went and looked at the website where they published the pics of ladders used to breach the wall and broken locks on doors-AFTER THEY REFUSED ENTRY TO OFFICIALS during a search. That was their own fault,” let me ask you, if the Nazis came in to search your home and round up your family, would you just completely “work with them”? “But they’re not Nazis, they’re the United States!” In the United States, there is supposed to be constitutional rights, a check and balance system, innocence until proven guilty. If there is not that, then what is it? Can you trust them? When they knock on your door, what will YOU do?

  24. Lets not be faithless. Don’t you think this is the hand of the Lord? Right now our LDS sisters are liberating those women’s minds with the restored gospel…

  25. [...] not only is 51st district judge barbara walther woefully out of touch (don’t get me started on her “they don’t need to breastfeed” rationale), [...]

  26. About time i hope the children are sent home asp cps your are a bunch of losers.

  27. Gentlemen:

    Congratulations.

    Hopefully these sham proceedings are over and the children will be with you where they belong.

    We are very sorry that you had to endure pain , suffering and an unbelievable miscarriage of justice.

    You guys take care and never give up.

    http://www.salagram.net/never-give-up.gif

    Mr & Mrs Contumacious

  28. The issue at hand is child abuse. People are trying to make this about religion and persecution of those who practice it, but that flies in the face of the many years these people lived undisturbed. The state recieved a phone call, they felt it was genuine and took action. What are they supposed to do? Ignore such calls?

    And the FLDS group themselves did NOTHING to cooporate. The state attempted to contact them and got the runaround with this use of many different names and not disclosing proper parentage. They contributed to this situation. If they had simply cooperated before the state got the order to remove the children, it probably wouldn’t have happened.

    The bottom line here is you have one group of people who are very concerned about the welfare of children, and another group of people who probably are just as concerned by both seem to distrust the other and neither is doing anything to change that. The FLDS continues to spew their one sided attacks in the media via their lawyers and the state continues to take the defensive role in the face of an extreme sense of no cooperation from them.

    If they just want their children back, then properly identify them and let the state investigate the claims of underage pregnancies.

    To address specific concerns, homosexual relationships are NOT illegal. However, it IS illegal in Texas for 30 year old men to have sex with underage girls, hence the allegations made here. It’s not illegal for 15 year olds to have sex with each other as provided it wasn’t forced, so these straw man arguments about inner cities and homosexuals are just that.

    If everyone would just calm down and be rational about the whole thing, this ridiculous affair would’ve been over before it ever began providing FLDS isn’t found to have broken the law.

  29. Matt,

    Even if all you say is true, let’s not forget about the due process of the law.

    Texas clearly goofed big time with the removal of the 400+ children. THAT action was not at all justified. No one blames them for taking action on the phone call — the issue is WHAT they did, not that they did anything at all.

    Regarding homosexuals and the like, I don’t think people were talking about legality. They were talking about right and wrong.

  30. Perhaps Judge Walther has a Talmudic mindset.

  31. Matt,

    I’m surprised that you would say this if you have read the other posts here. I recommend that you read the appeals court order in the case. There are legal requirements for removing children. Texas did not satisfy the statutory requirement for removing these children. They did not have ANY evidence that most of these children were in immanent danger, and yet Judge Walther ordered their removal on the theory that the FLDS’ pervasive BELIEF SYSTEM endangered the children. Sure, sex with 14 year old girls IS abuse, and girls in danger of under-age marriage should be protected. But evidence of under age marriage is not evidence that boys or 2 year old girls are in any immediate physical danger. Evidence that my neighbor forced his young daughter to marry an older man is not cause to remove MY children – even if I share a belief system with my neighbor that encourages under age marriage.

    In Texas, the law is that we remove children when they are in immediate physical danger. It is not that we remove them because the beliefs of their parent’s may (12 years later) increase the chances of physical danger, or that their belief system encourages boys to become perpetrators.

    It does not take a lawyer to read the statute and easily see that Judge Walther ignored it, and it simply a tragedy that toddlers were removed from their parents based on evidence of a few under-age marriages.

  32. I haven’t seen many comments here on the whole reason this thing got started. By this thing, I mean the para-military style raid complete with automatic weapons, snipers hovering overhead in choppers, & even an M113 APC (armored personal carrier). They had enough firepower to invade Mexico. During the “invasion”, with their itchy trigger fingers, I wonder if the police were disappointed to find only playing children & nobody offering resistance of any sort? All this was based n a single phone call from a woman claiming to be an abused ex FLDS member. This same woman have been arrested & convicted for making several false calls of this nature. Americans need to not ask, but demand that judges be striped of blanket immunity. After that they should toss Judge Walther in prison. This whole thing was a tragedy. A totally unwarranted, traumatic event for the children & mothers of FLDS. It shows the increasing militarization of our police, & the governments overzealous use of authority to trample citizens religious rights.

  33. You people are completely out of touch with reality. Abuse comes in many forms other than physical, and rest assured living in a compound with dozens of sister wives, teenagers being programmed to believe statutory rape is a religious duty, and having children when you are in your teens is psychological abuse. The judge and law enforcement has acted appropraitely with respect to everything they have done during this case; furthermore, your stupid religious beliefs will never discount the fact that he BROKE THE LAW. He subjected 100’s of people to unfathomable abuse. These women are not psychologically capable of caring for their children, because they subjected them to the same abuses they endured by staying. They need counseling before the should be given custody of their respective children, to ensure they don’t perpetuate the same cycle of abuse. The majority of what you people have said is atrocious, and I feel sorry that your view of right and wrong is so skewed.

  34. I read this and can’t really believe that someone is trying to find any justification in Jeffs and FLDS behavior!?!?

    This cult (for that’s what it is) hid behind the cloak of religion to menthally and physically abuse its weaker members. Should the state have intervened? You bet your a.s that they should.

  35. Whoa there, Brian B and JohnP:

    Did you actually read the post?

    Let me be clear that I, a “mainstream” Mormon, do not approve in any way of the polygamist or abusive practices of certain FLDS members.

    Is anyone here justifying Jeffs or FLDS behavior? Not at all! In fact, this post is not about Jeffs at all, nor is it about whether the state should have intervened. This is about the way the state acted in regard to innocent BABIES and their access to their mothers and what is best for their health.

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