A raid on a Christian sect in Texas has made the news recently. The mass media generally report this as a raid on a “polygamist compound”; however, the compound in question is actually a religious commune of sorts, belonging to the “Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints” (abbreviated “FLDS”). Calling them merely “polygamists” isn’t really a good identifier; they are, rather, an extreme wing of the Mormons who broke away from mainstream Mormonism (aka the LDS Church) when mainstream Mormons ended the practice of polygamy a century ago.

(Current mainstream Mormons go to great lengths to tell people the FLDS followers are not Mormons; but in fact, they are, since they derive their teachings from the same source as all other Mormons, i.e. the 19th century “prophet” Joseph Smith.)

It turns out that Texas authorities — far from being blindsided by discovery of polygamists in their midst — have actually known about these people for years:

The local sheriff today defended his decision not to intervene sooner at a West Texas polygamist compound, despite having a confidential informant who provided him with information over four years.The confidential informant told authorities days ago that beds in the group’s sacred temple at the Yearning for Zion Ranch were used by adult men to have sex with underage girls, according to court documents.

“It’s just like anything. If you have a meth lab on your property and you feel it’s there, you’re not going to (trample) their civil rights or treat them any differently until you get probable cause or information or an outcry,” said Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran.

The sheriff’s comparison to a meth-lab is weak; somehow I doubt he would have sat on a stream of inside information on the existence of a meth-lab and chose never to act on it, for over four years. It defies reason to think he was never alarmed by what he heard from his informant. Given that the sheriff’s excuse is a poor one and likely a lie, let’s face it, folks: Texas is the buckle of the Bible Belt (or should I call it, as they do, “the Bobble Bay-elt”)! Fundamentalist religious groups thrive there, and for a very good reason — authorities are loath to do anything to any of them.

Granted, the average Protestant fundamentalist in Texas isn’t likely to be too fond of Mormons (whether of the mainstream LDS or the splinter FLDS), but authorities nevertheless won’t be eager to set a precedent for interfering with such a group.

If you’re wondering why polygamy is a particular phenomenon among Mormons (whether present or past, mainstream or splinter-group), here’s the explanation: Mormons believe that women do not directly qualify for the highest level of salvation (i.e. to be resurrected and to become gods themselves, at the end of time); this privilege is reserved to men alone. Women achieve this status only by having been married (in what Mormons refer to as a “celestial marriage”), and the husband must then choose to elevate his wife to this status, when the time comes. Unmarried women are left out of the cosmic loop, if you will, at the end of time; therefore getting as many women as possible into celestial marriages was a theological necessity. Note that this theology also has the effect of forcing a Mormon wife to be obedient to her husband — since her chance at this level of salvation depends on his wanting to elevate her to that status.

It’s no wonder that so many FLDS women — raised since birth to believe in this convoluted sexist soteriology — would actually go along with polygamy.

Having said all of that, I have to wonder how long this sheriff in Texas planned to wait, before stopping these FLDS nut-jobs and their institutionalized statutory rape … ? Had a 16-year-old mother and victim of this pedophilic community not called an emergency help-line, what would he have done? Guesses, anyone?

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