Those Crazy Polygamists

Over the last few months, we’ve seen quite a bit of press about the polygamist sect of West Texas known as the FLDS (Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). They’re an offshoot of the Mormon Church. Their leader Warren Jeffs was sent to jail, the compound was raided so the kids could be “rescued”. Then the kids were ordered returned to their mothers. Reading those stories, I leaned towards the live and let live philosophy, thinking maybe the reports of abuse are exaggerated. I definitely don’t like the government meddling in people’s lives especially inside their homes.

Reading this story made me think what’s so bad about an arranged marriage between a 14 year old girl and a 19 year old boy. Haven’t many societies done that sort of thing? Then I read a somewhat lengthier article here.

While awaiting sentencing on the rape-accomplice conviction, Jeffs tried to hang himself, court records show.

According to unsealed court documents, Jeffs refused food and drink for a month and developed ulcers on his knees from kneeling in prayer for hours.

Then, on January 28, 2007, he attempted to hang himself in his cell, the documents said. In the days after the suicide attempt, while he was on suicide watch, Jeffs on separate occasions banged his head and threw himself against a wall.

Something about Jeffs’ several suicide attempts and general behaviour made me less sympathetic, imagining the fallen prophet trying to kill himself due to overwhelming remorse and shame. The article says there was a

“pervasive pattern” of sexual abuse on the ranch through forced marriages between underage girls and older men.

Maybe there is a much darker side to these crazy polygamists, like with the father-in-law of Big Love’s Bill Henrickson.

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6 Comments on “Those Crazy Polygamists”

  1. jonolan Says:

    You could be right – or it could be that Jeffs fell into suicidal despair after witnessing his following broken up and the families involved shattered by state troops and agencies.

  2. Andrew Keogh Says:

    The polygamy thing seems to be an excuse for middle aged men to have sex with very young girls. Can’t say i’m sympathetic when that sort of thing catches up with them and they end up in the nick…

  3. mikeb302000 Says:

    Thanks for the comments, guys. You two have perfectly illustrated the dilemma when trying to understand this case. Although I hate government intervention and certainly agree with Jonolan that Jeffs could well be suicidal because of what the Feds did to his flock, I think Andrew has a good point. Considering human nature, it’s not hard to imagine that the men of the FLDS have gone way beyond what’s acceptable with the young girls.

  4. jonolan Says:

    Yep, that about sums up the dilemma.


  5. […] last time I wrote about this case, I mentioned that performing a marriage between a 14 year-old girl and a 19 year-old boy […]


  6. […] Since I wrote about those Crazy Polygamists here and here, I’ve been thinking about the government. My formation in this melancholy pursuit […]


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