OPINION – So you still think polygamy is a personal choice among consenting adults, that the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints take on plural marriage is a religious decision that should be protected under the First Amendment, that the government has no business interfering with what goes on out at Short Creek – the twin cities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz.?
Reporter Ladd Egan, who covers the polygamy beat for KUTV News, filed a piece Monday night about FLDS leader Warren Jeffs issuing a new edict from his Texas prison cell ordering three men from his church to impregnate all women and girls 12 and older.
This, my friends, is the context of polygamy.
This is the basis for the 16 years of research that led to my writing ‘plygs.’
This, dear reader, is why I am, at this moment, physically and emotionally distraught.
This is not religion, this is perversion. This is not faith, it is sickness. This is not spiritual uplifting, this is rape.
Warren Jeffs is sitting in a Texas prison, serving a life sentence for sexually abusing two girls — one 12, one 14 — who he took as spiritual wives in his sick, twisted vision of the path to religious salvation.
There is no salvation in the rape of a little girl.
There is only pain, suffering, and lifelong scars that will not heal. There are tears, horrors unbelievable, at this perverted stealing of a child’s innocence.
And, dear reader, the state of Utah continues to look the other way.
Utah Attorney General John Swallow’s spokesman Paul Murphy issued a statement to Egan, saying activist groups need to be “extra vigilant in watching for any signs of child abuse.”
In his bio published on the Utah Attorney General’s official website, Swallow states: “John E. Swallow was elected as Utah Attorney General in November 2012 with 65 per cent of the statewide vote. He plans to focus on protecting children from abuse and sex trafficking, stopping financial fraud and preserving state’s rights.”
What has he done to fulfill his promise?
Instead, in light of this threat against helpless little girls, he shirks his responsibility and calls upon activist groups to “be extra vigilant in watching for signs of child abuse.”
No, Mssrs. Swallow and Murphy, the onus is on the Attorney General’s Office and an order should have been issued immediately to remove all of the girls 12 and older from that community for their own protection.
It is not up to activist groups, who have no legal authority, to do the work our law enforcement officials should be doing.
Not when it comes to something as vile, vulgar, and perverted as this.
Or are we, as a society, so broken at this point that we will allow something as awful as child rape to exist because, well, it doesn’t affect us or because of some long-ago misguided religious belief that, perhaps, carries more weight than decency and morality.
The State of Texas is also not guiltless in this travesty.
As a prisoner, Warren Jeffs loses certain rights. One of them, especially when he is encouraging his followers to break the laws of God and man, should be his access to the outside world. Somehow, Jeffs has been allowed to remain in control of his cult following while sitting behind bars. While he should be allowed to have visitation rights, they should be heavily monitored and anybody who carries his messages — particularly those that encourage violations of the law — should be punished as an accomplice in conspiracy to commit a crime, in this case, child rape.
Warren Jeffs is a vile, disgusting creature who has ruined many lives.
I know women who escaped his tyranny, “lost boys” who suffered abuse and were kicked out of the community, one of whom, upon hearing of the latest decree, said Jeffs should have been given the death penalty.
This young man is so disturbed from his time in Short Creek that when the terrorist bombing took place in Boston, he was fearful that one of Jeffs’ prophecies about “blood in the streets” was under way and that, indeed, the prison walls that contained him in Texas would melt and this treacherous human being would go free.
That, my friends, is what we are dealing with here, not some free-spirited libertines who ascribe to untraditional sexual partnerships. This is something hammered into the heads of children younger than the age of reason.
No, this is not a matter of consenting adults, and, no, this is not a matter of religious freedom. This is, instead, a matter of encouraging and conspiring to commit the rape of children and even though he is serving a life sentence in Texas, it would behoove our state Attorney General to file charges against Jeffs if for no other reason than to step up and show that we do not tolerate that sort of behavior, whether religiously or culturally inspired. He should also file charges against whoever delivered the message to Jeffs’ followers.
And, we need to remove those little girls from harm’s way.
- ON Kilter: Censorship, a family value
- Warren Jeffs’ Hildale compound bought by former bodyguard
- On the EDge: Straightening out the UEP mess? Hardly
- On the EDge: Utah stance on marriage is hard to swallow
- On the EDge: Courting polygamy solutions?
- On the EDge: UEP settlement still a mess
- ‘Plygs,’ a fact-based novel by southern Utah journalist
- $10,000 reward offered in Colorado City animal cruelty case
- Mohave County Sheriffs now patrolling Colorado City
- Federal lawsuit goes after Hildale, Colorado City for discrimination
- Wallace Jeffs injured in I-15 accident
- On the EDge: Polygamy, it’s ‘still’ against the law
- Host families needed for Colorado City youth
- Sheriff deputies assist wife of Warren Jeffs in leaving Colorado City home after being called to ‘keep the peace’
- Freedom of Religion Carte Blanche, Unless You are Warren Jeffs?
- Warren Jeffs Shuts Down Dairy, General Store is Next Says Source
Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.