It’s all well and good to get historical perspective, and it’s important, but now we get to the question that is of paramount importance – have we done the right thing? What are we saving these kids from? Or more importantly, what are we saving them to? Will their life be better after being ripped from their parents, placed in foster homes, moved around from foster home to shelter to foster home, and setup for a life in our ‘normal’ world?
What impact does it have on a 4, 7, 10, or 17-year-old child to be ripped from their parents and told that their parents are being investigated by ‘the authorities’? That their parents are criminals? Parents who have likely been very loving and caring? If their parents are completely 100% innocent of breaking any law have we helped these kids?
Even if their parents are guilty of polygyny are we making any of their lives any better? Even, and many will be aghast at this thought, if their parents are guilty of telling a 14-year-old to marry a 40-year-old who already has 2 other wives?
My first concern is foster care itself. It is an important and valuable system, but is not even remotely perfect. There are some absolutely great foster parents in the
There are also a lot who are found to be very poor parents and sometimes abusers.
Most studies indicate that about 25% of kids in foster care, whether in private homes or institutional group homes, are abused. Is having hundreds of kids suddenly thrown at an already overloaded system likely to improve that any? Current reports indicate that out of the 437 kids in Texas custody there are between 5 and 20 who are either already parents or pregnant. That’s at best 5% – assuming all 20 were under the legal age. Now, which environment do you believe is better for these children – the one where 25% are likely to be truly abused or the one where 1% ( or even 2% or 5% or 10%) are likely to be married off prior to 18 to a husband who will very likely stick with them for life? Many people are calling this latter situation rape but think for a minute about the two scenario’s.
We criticize them for polygyny, but is this really worse than our society of serial polygyny? Is growing up in polygyny really worse than growing up with parents who divorce, remarry someone else, and then divorce again – all the while spewing hatred towards their former spouses – the parent of their children? Is the FLDS really worse than the unwed teen mothers who abound in so much of our society? In the FLDS a teen mom has a husband that in all likelihood, according to evidence and testimony, loves her and cares for her and their children? How many of the 437 ripped from their parents will become latchkey kids who come home from school to no parents and nothing but Grand Theft Auto to entertain them?
We’re aghast at these kids having one father and multiple moms, yet how many kids in our ‘normal’ society don’t have a father at all because he’s in prison, off with another woman, or simply gone because while he wanted to make a baby he doesn’t want any part in raising one? How many of these non-FLDS kids end up thrown in to group homes or scuttled around between relatives because mom is a drug addict?
If these kids become part of our mainstream ‘normal’ society will they follow the rest of our teens with 25% getting an STD? How many will become alcoholics or drug addicts? Will any get drunk and kill someone in a drunken driving accident? Will they achieve the same level of obesity we have? How many will face bullying in school similar to that which caused incidents such as we witnessed at Columbine? How many will become bullies?
Almost 5% of 15-19 year old girls in our ‘normal’ society give birth. Would you like to take a guess how many of these women have husbands and how many of their kids will grow up with a father? How many of these children will grow up to be just as responsible as their own parents? How many will grow up to be criminals?
The number of girls in our ‘normal’ society who get pregnant is considerably higher than 5% though. How many of these 437 kids will follow in our practice of getting abortions to avoid an undesired pregnancy?
It takes a rather extreme amount of gall and ignorance to think that we’re helping anyone by pulling these kids from their homes without overwhelming evidence that real true abuse is happening and knowledge that they will clearly be better in institutional group homes or foster homes in our ‘normal’ society than in their cloistered environment.
Given the world we live in who can blame the FLDS for wanting to separate themselves from it?
If we are going to go after people we need to do it for the right reasons and most importantly we need to make sure that our actions do not create a worse situation than already exists.
Oh, the beds in the temple mentioned earlier? According to several people, including harsh critics of the FLDS, this was very unlikely to have ever been used for sex. These were most likely for people who were not feeling well to lay down during very long church services or after fasting.