Friday, April 25, 2008

Be Aware Of All Laws You Violate

Big Ol' FLDS Compound Aerial ViewSo with this whole FLDS polygamist compound down yonder in Texas ( offshoot religious cult holed up on their own compound in the state of Texas. Who'd a thunk it?) there seems to be a lot in the news about the women and about the children. And from what I've seen and heard from these women, my opinion is that they really seem to believe in what they've been doing and how they've been living. And it's the conveyance of that belief with a rather vacuous and monotone delivery of non-responsive answers to questions posed that really makes you wonder about what really goes on inside of a community with a lifestyle such as the one of the FLDS crew.

Another FLDS Compound BuildingThose who I've wanted to hear about and hear from are the men of that wacky Wife Wonderland . What are THEY like? What do they think? Would you be surprised at all to learn that they are very similar to the women with their empty stares and their halting and forced speech and their non-responsive answers to questions? It shouldn't surprise you at all, because that's just how it is. The men, however, do have an additional aspect to their personalities. That aspect is fear, as in "I might go to jail because of my collection of child brides" fear.

The video here (courtesy of The Early Show and CBS) is an interview of three male FLDS members from the Texas compound. The video is about 5 minutes long (sorry about the freaking commercial at the beginning), and you'll probably get the idea after about a minute, but I'm going to recap just a bit here.

FLDS Members Edson Rulon and JakeThe FLDSers that we meet are Edson, Rulon and Jake. They all look rather subdued, as one would expect now that your wife clan and children farm has been taken away from you and you could very well be in a lot of trouble, and they appear to be sitting in some sort of a log cabin, the official dwelling structure of the FLDS.

Then the questions begin and so does the enlightenment. These guys are clearly not the sharpest tools in the polygamist's shed. They give brief answers that sound rehearsed and tend to be non-responsive to the specific question they are asked. If you've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell, I'd ask these guys if they're interested before you talk to anyone else. You might save yourself a lot of time.

They're first asked how many children they've cranked out over at Camp FLDS. They all answered with the number of children and the range of their ages. The whole thing seemed a bit robotic, even for robots. But it IS very telling and does explain how weird little societal offshoots like this one can continue to grow. I'm sure it's not real difficult to convince a bunch of Rulon's out there that being a polygamist on a closed compound in Texas is the life for you!

But then Edson gives us plenty of insight with a little diatribe that would have caused any attorney representing him to have a heart attack. Eldon stated, "I think they have a very false perception of the way we live. Because we're quite closed mouthed, they assume a lot of things that aren't there." (Well, I don't know that we assume that because they're "quite closed mouthed". I think we "assume a lot of things" because they're polygamists and they marry underage girls and have sex with them. And that seems like a perfectly reasonable basis upon which to begin to "assume" things.)

The reporter, just to clarify Edson's statement asked, "So are you saying that older men do not FLDS Member Edsonmarry adolescent girls in your compound?" And Edson, just to clarify his statement, responded, " I didn't say that at all. (insert attorney heart attack here) But I think that people have a false concept of what our religion is all about. To say that they are sexually abused and that people here are...they haven't found anything, to my knowledge, that proves that, but I think that overall they look at us as if we are immoral people. And in our own make up, that is the very most important part of our religion is to be morally clean. You know, I have a hard time standing here and being a criminal when I had no idea that I'm a criminal. I've always strived to be an upright man and my children, my family, everyone that I know love me. And I love them."

Edson struck me as completely brainwashed, yet slowly becoming aware of the situation he's placed himself in and is now afraid for his future. Seems appropriate.

FLDS Member RulonThe reporter's next insightful question consisted of, "If an adolescent did have sex with an older man, you would consider that abuse?" Rulon took that question and although he tried to answer authoritatively, he came across as if he was Forrest Gump and had just read the pocket version of "So You Want To Be A Lawyer." He said, "The state...of Texas has defined it as that. I would simply say, if you had a teenage girl that chose to go that way could you force her to do otherwise? No, you could not. We are not a people of force. We are a people of free agency and peace. Yet we do not teach our children to have sexual conduct before they are of age. We do not teach them that. We teach them the contrary." By making sure he was clear about the "state of Texas" and it's definition of abuse, it sure did come across that it wasn't HIS defintion of abuse.

The reporter asked them if they have reconsidered what they have been doing. You know, given the whole, taking 416 children away from the compound ordeal. Forrest Rulon takes this question. "Yes. Many of us, perhaps, were not even aware of such a law. But, yes, we have been made very aware in the last two weeks and we have, we do reconsider. Yes. We teach our children to abide the law." Oh, are you kidding me?!

You teach your children to abide the law?? If that was the case, I guess I would expect you to KNOW the law then, Rulon! Wouldn't that be your responsibility, seeing as how you're the one claiming to be the law-abiding instructor there? Shouldn't you KNOW what the laws ARE so you can teach them correctly to the children? One would think that would be the case. But you guys, well, you just weren't aware.

Well, since they weren't aware of such a law, I guess that changes everything, right? No harm, no foul? Um, no. Not quite. Spare me. You knew it wasn't OK and instead of NOT doing it, you just holed up on your little compound there and figured that the rest of the world would just leave you alone so you could do whatever you wanted to believe that you could do. And if you're ever confronted, just pretend you weren't aware. (And really, trying to come across as being "unaware" will probably be just like second nature for you guys. I doubt that "pretending" will play much of a part at all in that.)

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