April 20th, 2008

FLDS Petition Results

Note: updates are at the end of the post.

Today has been an interesting day, full of interviews with various media outlets. Having reached 1,000 signatures in the petition I organized, I issued a press release to various journalists and media outlets.

The text of the press release was as follows:

Petition for Texas authorities contains 1,000 signatures
Concerned Citizens Unite Their Voices in Support of FLDS Members’ Constitutional Liberties

LEHI, Utah (April 20, 2008)—Uniting their voices in opposition to Texas authorities’ removal of 416 children from the Yearning for Zion community in El Dorado, Texas, over 1,000 individuals have signed an online petition (http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/free-the-innocent-flds).

The petition demands the release of the detained persons, as well as an apology for the so-called “acts of aggression” conducted by Texas officials.

Connor Boyack, a Lehi, Utah resident, started the online petition on April 15 in order to help call attention to the abuse of civil liberties he believes is taking place. “As I talked with others about the situation, I was surprised to see how many people opposed the actions of the Texas government,” Boyack said. “While most people disagree with the FLDS religion and its practices, myself included, people are frustrated to see the ways their civil liberties have been ignored and to see the government’s aggression.”

Having first collected the signatures online, Boyack will soon be sending a copy of the petition to Texas Governor Rick Perry, Senator Hutchinson, Senator Cornyn, and Commissioner Cockerell of the Department of Family Services.

Boyack hopes the petition will have an effect on the recent decision by Judge Barbara Walther to keep all 416 children in state custody.

He cites a 2006 report (http://www.window.state.tx.us/news/60623statement.html) by the Texas Comptroller that reveals startling information about the Texas foster care system into which these children are likely to be placed. According to the report, children in the Texas foster care system are four times more likely to die than children in the general Texas population. It also reports that in 2004, 100 foster children received treatment for poisoning from medications, 63 received medical treatment for rape that occurred while in the foster care system, and 142 children gave birth while in the system.

“The Texas CPS officials have stated that the children are being removed because of the potential for abuse in the future,” Boyack said. “But how can this be a reasonable action, when this report clearly shows that the system into which they would be placed is itself riddled with abuse?”

The report also explains how Texas Governor Rick Perry failed to act to help remedy the foster care situation and prevented the release of important statistical data in 2005 to assist in a complete report by the Comptroller. In light of this history, Boyack says he doubts that Governor Perry will respond to the petition, let alone heed its request to act in support of the Constitutional rights of the FLDS women and children.

“The odds are against appropriate action, but we have to try,” he said. “Regardless of the outcome, we’re going to make our voices heard to show there is opposition to what Texas officials have done and may do. We hope that somebody with authority will speak out in defense of their Constitutional rights.”

The first reporter I spoke to was Brooke Adams from the Salt Lake Tribune, who wrote an article early this afternoon, lumping me in with the ACLU’s recent public statement. I’ll include here the portion that mentions the petition specifically:

A Utah man also has gathered 1,000 signatures through an online petition site from people who oppose the blanket removal of the children from the YFZ Ranch in Eldorado. That petition is on its way to Texas, said Connor Boyack, a political blogger. The petition is online at www.thepetitionsite.com/2/free-the-innocent-flds

Connor Boyack of Lehi, who owns a Web design company and writes a political blog, said the petition drive he organized asks that the chiildren be released and officials apologize for the “acts of aggression” against the FLDS.

“I’ve been quite frustrated with the situation as it developed,” said Boyack. “I felt like there was a lack of focus on the constitutional rights of the people.”

He posted the petition online April 15 and within five days had reached his goal of 1,000 names. About 75 percent of those signing identified themselves by name and many posted comments opposing the action.

He is sending the petition to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Senator Hutchinson, Senator Cornyn, and Commissioner Cockerell of the Department of Family Services.

“I don’t expect too much to come of it,” he said.

He said Texas’ child custody system has a documented history of problems, which may place the FLDS children at greater risk than their own community.

“We hope that somebody with authority will speak out in defense of their constitutional rights,” Boyack said.

KSL then stopped by my home to do a video interview. They aired one segment in the 5:30pm hour, and the other just after 10pm. I’ve uploaded them to Youtube for your viewing pleasure:

Jennifer Dobner of the Associated Press then called to do an interview, and wrote up this article:

LEHI, Utah (AP) – An online petition is calling for Texas authorities to release the children and women who were taken from a polygamist sect in a raid this month.

Petition organizers say they have more than 1,000 online signatures.

The Utah man who organized the petition says he doesn’t agree with the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and its practices. But he says the church members still have civil rights, which he believes were violated by Texas authorities.

Some 416 children from the FLDS-owned Yearning for Zion ranch were placed in state custody after during a weeklong raid that began April 3.

Authorities have also confiscated the cell phones of the FLDS women staying with the kids, preventing them any contact with family or legal representation.

On Friday, a judge ordered the kids to remain in custody and said parents and children will under go genetic testing in order to identify familial relationships.

Connor Boyack, of Lehi, drafted his “Free the Innocent FLDS” petition April 15, circulating it among friends and family. Interest quickly mushroomed because so many people shared concern over the violation of civil rights, Boyack said.

“If there’s any cases of abuse, specific cases, those should be investigated and handled,” Boyack said Sunday. “What troubles me and the main reasons that I started the petition was because based on one anonymous phone call 416 children were essentially legally kidnapped.”

Child welfare officials have said all the children were removed because investigators determined there was a pattern of abuse on the ranch that left all minors at risk.

Boyack said he also bristled at court testimony from a state expert that said children at the ranch were living in an environment that would cause them to commit future abuses.

“That really troubled me,” said Boyack. “The kids haven’t done anything yet.”

Having first collected the signatures online, Boyack will soon be sending a copy of the petition to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Hutchinson, Sen. Cornyn, and Commissioner Cockerell of the Department of Family Services.

Boyack hopes the petition will have an effect on the recent decision by Judge Barbara Walther to keep all 416 children in state custody.

The petition has been signed by people from California, New York and nearly every state in between. There are also signatures from Alaska, Canada and Brazil.

Fox 13, though they didn’t interview me, threw up this little blurb about the petition.

Sadly, none of the Texas papers I sent the press release to have responded. I’m grateful to the various Utah news agencies for picking up the story. I’ll post more here if there are any new developments.

Meanwhile, I plan to collect the contact information for the various Texas officials to whom I will be sending the petition. As I’m quoted as saying in one of the articles above, I don’t expect this to do much, but I can and will certainly try.


Catholic.org picked up the story and wrote the following as part of a larger article:

Connor Boyack, of Lehi, Utah has also used technology to take this cause to the people, establishing a website where people could sign an online petition opposing the removal of the children. The petition, which is to be delivered to state authorities in Texas, asks that the children be released and officials apologize for the “acts of aggression” against the FLDS.

The petition reads, “We, the undersigned, urge Texan authorities to free the innocent women, children, and other members of the Fundamentalist LDS Church who are currently being detained. We demand that the Constitutional rights of the innocent be preserved, and that due process be served.

“As individuals are innocent until proven guilty, we call upon the Texas Governor to intervene in this matter and allow the women and children to return to their homes peacefully. We also demand an apology, most especially from the Texas CPS, for the heinous acts of aggression displayed in these recent events.”

Boyack is a blogger who describes himself as a 20-something thinker broadcasting his thoughts on life, politics, and religion to the masses. He posted his petition on April 15 and in five days reached his goal of 1,000 names, 75 percent of whom identified themselves by name. Boyack says he plans on submitting the petition to Texas Governor Rick Perry, Senator Hutchinson, Senator Cornyn, and Commissioner Cockerell of the Department of Family Services.

On his blog Boyack stated, “I don’t expect this to do much, but I can and will certainly try.”

In addition to the online article, the Salt Lake Tribune published this article in the paper.

The Idaho State Journal wrote an editorial and used some of the AP article to quote me on the issue. Commenters seem to be oblivious to the nature of the issue.

I came across this counter petition in support of the Texas CPS, which at the time of posting this, has 31 signatures after six days.

I was contacted by a reporter from New West who asked me a few questions about the issue. He then wrote this report which has some quotes from myself on the subject. Relevant portions:

The handling of the raid of the Yearning for Zion Ranch polygamous compound in Eldorado, Texas, and the subsequent detainment of the entire community continues to draw strong reactions here in Utah. Connor Boyack, a website designer in Lehi, Utah circulated a petition calling for the release from custody or foster care of all Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) women and children gathered up in the raid, and an apology from the State of Texas. The petition received 2000 signatures before he forwarded it to Texas Governor Rick Perry, along with a letter. . . .

I contacted Boyack and asked him if he thought Texas had broken any laws in its roundup and detainment of FLDS members and he cited a Texas statute which requires there be “an immediate danger” to every person involved to warrant the kind of intervention we’re seeing on the nightly news. He added that the phone call that set off the raid, which now appears to have been a hoax, should not have been the “basis for the removal of 437 children.” He further added,

“CPS (Texas Child Protective Services) worker Angie Voss testified in court last week that the basis upon which the children were taken is that they would grow up in an environment that perpetuates abuse. Thus, they are arguing of a future danger, not an immediate one. They’ve broken the law right there. This isn’t some dystopian “Minority Report” world. People are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty.”

But is it possible that a lawsuit might be brought against the State of Texas? I asked Boyack. His response:

“Boy, I sure hope so. I think that the state has assumed powers it should not have, and a lawsuit is necessary and justified in pushing back and clarifying the constitutionality of their actions. Government does not easily relinquish power, so citizens must fight back to claim personal liberty and draw the line at where government can properly and morally intervene.”

I was also interviewed by Bill Hanna of the Star Telegram in Texas for this article. I’m cited in this part:

Utah-based blogger Connor Boyack, who started an online petition drive that received 2,000 signatures before being sent to officials in Texas, Utah, Arizona and Washington, D.C., said many in Utah now have an unfavorable view of Texas.

“I can’t speak much for people in general, but the blogs and discussions I’ve seen talking about this issue don’t have favorable words for the Texas government,” Boyack said. “Texas’ slogan for its tourism efforts claims that it’s like a whole other country, and many feel that that statement is more accurate than one might think of at first glance.”

45 Responses to “FLDS Petition Results”

  1. Brenda Campeau
    April 20, 2008 at 11:50 pm #

    i live in utah and got my two youngest kids kidnapped my the state, i have spent 20,000 on trying to get them back i never did nothing wrong to begin with i have almost died in the last two years 4 times because of the devastation i,ve been through i was a single mother who worked construction i have never even spanked my kids , i have had almost every constitional right taken away from me they never intend on giving kids back anyway they make to much money, i jumped through all their hoops , went to jail for ninety days, with out being charged for 2 weeks tell the juvenile judge came up with a charge of contempt of court, they tried to get my kids to sign thier own adoption papers while incarcerated they denied family members my kids, i got out of jail meet a old neighbor got married hired a good attorney that got my kids placed with my brother now they wont let me see them or they will lose them me and my husband went to jail for buying them school clothes and having a friend drop them off they still have a protective order from a foster family with their names not my brothers
    the state pays them money to have my kids as long as i cant see them i have two older kids that cant see them one they tried taking but she went to live with a uncle in wy. after everyone talked me into sighing a paper for their services so they would quit terrorizing my family my two youngest i sent to their dad in nev. because i found out every single mother they mess with loses thier kids, the worker threatened their dad to bring them back to utah or he would be arrested so he complied, a judge wrote a order they where in danger that i never even was informed but they put they had a emergency hearing at which i was notified i found out three days later and had to be hospitalized . they put my kids in a shelter with no schooling 5 different foster homes, they were abused, filthy, and my little girl was drugged my son refused they werent allowed to testifie at my parental right hearing but it pretty much proved they werent abused at just wanted to come home. theirs is so much more to this story,
    but i just am proud of you and believe me innocent people are targeted most abused kids dont get removed . they want good beautiful children that foster parents will adopt i have been so emotional for these kids i know what those familys are going through. no one will ever know the devastation until your one of their victims and they lie and dont have to prove anything they have more power than god and the president i think cps should be held accountable for kidnapping are nations kids and believe me its all about money social workers , councilers, lawyers, judges and even general attorneys are on the governments money tree i just found out hillary clinton started all this in the first place.

  2. Jeremy Ashton
    April 21, 2008 at 6:33 am #

    Great work on bringing the importance of this to light for many of us. Hopefully more liberty-loving individuals will step up and defend the rights of others – whether they agree with the life-style they’ve choosen to live or not.

  3. Russell Page
    April 21, 2008 at 8:43 am #

    The AP is always a good sign because every media organization I ever worked in had an AP feed.

  4. Christian Prophet
    April 21, 2008 at 9:11 am #

    Connor, I call upon you to set up FreeTheChildren.org. See

  5. Christian Prophet
    April 21, 2008 at 9:19 am #

    Connor, if you do decide to set up FreeTheChildren.org I can possible help with articles and/or advice. I am a Christian minister who is deeply concerned about the civil rights abuses by Children’s Protective Services in various states. I happen to live in Utah, Cottonwood Heights.

  6. Brenda Campeau
    April 21, 2008 at 9:57 am #

    I can’t believe more people can’t come forward and help protect are civil rights, this is legalized kidnapping, i,ve been jailed for standing up for my rigths against cps even though i never did jail time before, but i won’t stop, unless it kills me which the devastation almost has but i would die to protect these children from the states abuse, no mother or child should be subject to this trauma, unless their is physical abuse proven.

  7. Brenda Campeau
    April 21, 2008 at 10:50 am #

    I always thought the reason my kids got targeted because i worked construction was a single parent worked harder than most men and didn,t take my kids to the mormon church now I have discovered I testiefied against a sheriff in court who once I ran against 14 yrs. ago and pretty much was told I scored higher than any one but didnt get the job because of my gender he targeted me with cps thats what higher up people have told me, I was raised with L.D.S grandparents who were the best people you have ever meant I do go to church now and its this faith in god that has gave me hope I Have tryed most religions but find it is the only one that I feel a greater present around me.

  8. Melora
    April 21, 2008 at 11:31 am #

    Just wanted to thank you for the admirable effort you are putting forth in regards to this tragic situation. I agree that we must all make our voices heard in defense of the innocents involved in this case.

  9. Ron
    April 21, 2008 at 2:41 pm #

    Good luck with this. I frequently read your comments on Frank’s blog and I hope you find success.

  10. Bartleby
    April 21, 2008 at 11:55 pm #

    This is the most sickening Orwellian abuse on a mass scale. Child “Protective” services worldwide need to be exposed – they are all incredibly destructive and have power beyond belief. I wish someone would write a book on all the horrible things they do to families and children. The chances of your kidnapped child being abused and having a horrible life go through the roof once they are placed “in care” in a foster home. All it takes is one anonymous phone call, and your lovely child can be ripped from your arms, and you will never see them again.

    The government knows that there are many, many false accusations of abuse, but they don’t care – they never prosecute false allegations of child abuse. It’s as if there is some kind of profit in kidnapping a child. It is so evil, and most people don’t have a clue it happens – they automatically assume that if there is an allegation of abuse, then the person is guilty.

    Please everyone do all they can to stop this. My heart goes out to those poor children and their parents who are the victim of the worst crime by the State. Please sign the petition, write to the ACLU and anyone and everyone demanding that action be taken. This is going to start in Canada soon, the kidnapping may come next there too. CPS is the same there as everywhere – all powerful, and never contradicted by judges. Meanwhile, in Canada there are home invasions, murders, robberies, and all kinds of criminal activity that deserves attention. Something is seriously wrong with society when they let governments get away with this horrible abuse of power.

    Speak out! Talk with your friends, neighbours, politicians – let them know that you will not tolerate this crime committed by the State.

  11. Robert
    April 22, 2008 at 12:57 am #

    I thought your interviews were very good. One suggestion I would make is to believe that God will vindicate our efforts. If a mustard seed of faith can move a mountain then the faith of a thousand can tear down the iniquity of this persecution. Expecting no results can be a self fulfilling prophesy. Have faith! God is greater than the Texas governmental system.

  12. David
    April 23, 2008 at 10:03 am #


    Good job taking action on this and getting it into the news. Along with Christian Prophet I would be happy to lend any effort I can to set up and/or maintain freethechildren.org. In fact, I’ll make an invitation to you and CP to meet and hash out some ideas to get the site started if either or both of you are interested you can contact my via IM or email – mr.david.miller at gmail

  13. Daniel
    April 23, 2008 at 4:59 pm #

    This is the most sickening Orwellian abuse on a mass scale.

    Then I realised that Bartleby wasn’t talking about the sexual abuse, and my irony meter broke.

    Connor, you’re not a hard guy to figure out — just take the opposite of what a normal person would think, and add a dose of anti-government paranoia — but even I didn’t think you would take the argument this far off the cliff.

    If the FLDS weren’t a religion, the evil old men in charge of this sex slavery scam would have been in jail years ago.

    And your “I’m anti-abuse” disclaimer is a furphy. No one’s arguing that the girls should be removed if there’s no abuse. But the police got a credible tip that abuse was happening, and moved to stop it. Good on them. You, on the other hand, would be content to see those girls back with their godly and righteous abusers. Laissez faire, right?

    It’s a complex issue, but I think you’re on the wrong side of it.

  14. Connor
    April 23, 2008 at 5:06 pm #

    But the police got a credible tip that abuse was happening, and moved to stop it.

    Credible? Right. The caller claimed to have broken ribs and have been to the hospital. Yet nobody investigated local hospitals to inquire about an FLDS girl being treated for that case.

    The bulk of the force came when investigators went into the “compound” to inquire about “Sarah”, and instead happened to observe some girls who they thought looked underage, who were pregnant and carrying children.

    So in they came with the SWAT team, tanks, and a barrage of weapons. And what did they do? They removed the alleged victims—not the perpetrators. They rounded up every child they could find, and did everything in their power to separate them from their mothers. And you say “good on them”. Please.

    You, on the other hand, would be content to see those girls back with their godly and righteous abusers. Laissez faire, right?

    Ah yes, spot on, Daniel. What an absurd statement to make! I have absolutely no problem with the government investigating and prosecuting specific cases of abuse. That’s why government exists—to protect life and liberty.

    The problem occurs when the government grabs every other child they can find in the process, thus punishing innocent civilians for crimes allegedly committed by other individuals. The fact that citizens are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty seems to escape many people these days.

    It’s a complex issue, but I think you’re on the wrong side of it.

    Right back atcha, bud.

  15. David
    April 23, 2008 at 6:25 pm #

    police got a credible tip that abuse was happening

    It’s looking more and more like the “credible tip” from 16 year old Sarah, pregnant with her second child and abused to the point of broken ribs in Texas came instead from 33 year old Rozita Swinton in Colorado.

    It’s amazing what passes for credible these days.

  16. Kevin S. Van Horn
    April 23, 2008 at 8:25 pm #

    This petition was a great idea, Connor, and you deserve thanks from everyone who cares about freedom in this country. If you decide to do anything more with this, feel free to ask me for help.

  17. Kathy
    April 24, 2008 at 1:22 pm #

    Thank you for giving me a way to make my voice heard. It’s so hard to watch this insanity and feel so helpless. I have to do something about it. It’s just wrong, wrong, wrong!!!

  18. Sheila
    April 25, 2008 at 8:22 am #

    I cannot deny how pleased I am to see the significant
    response from concerned citizens by way of signing this
    petition. It is about time that the cps abuses that have been
    plaguing this great country of ours are brought to light
    before the masses. What poetic justice. Nevertheless, I am
    saddened that it must be at the expense of the
    aforementioned victims. This very well could have been
    prevented had the mindset of the American public were not
    as such, so as to give way to the inclinations of this corrupt
    system. As a mother, I can certainly imagine the heart
    pains inflicted upon the women, but I cannot wrap my mind
    around the injuries borne by the little ones. This has got to
    be the most despicable display of unrestrained abuse, and
    I have no doubt that this is only the tip of the iceberg. This
    is why I implore all, who have been compelled to sign this
    petition, to please take a moment and sign another within
    this site addressing similar concerns as it pertains to cps
    corruption, but on a grandeur scale – Request For All US Cases To Be Revisited, sponsored by Dr Shirley Moore.
    Together, we can bring an end to this “gestapo” reign of
    terror. Thank you Connor for all you are doing.

  19. Susan
    April 25, 2008 at 6:24 pm #

    Those children in Texas must be returned to their mothers! CPS is nothing more than a child-for-profit government agency. They are a business out to remove children from loving families, for the sake of bonuses for the caseworkers. These agents do not care about children and assume ALL parents are guilty. My children were removed 2 years ago on the basis of hearsay and false allegations. CPS actively pursues non-abuse cases such as my own. Now my kids are living in a lesbian household instead of with their heartbroken parents who have been married since 1992. This rampant abuse from CPS needs to be investigated at once!

    May 2, 2008 at 10:33 pm #


  21. Connor
    May 15, 2008 at 12:30 pm #

    This post has been updated above w/ a few new articles.

  22. apobalArorn
    May 16, 2008 at 5:56 am #

    Most people will listen to your unreasonable demands, if you’ll consider
    their unacceptable offer.

  23. Susie
    May 21, 2008 at 11:50 am #

    I applaud the Texas authorities for saving those young girls. They are much too young to be in spiritual marriages with men old enough to be their fathers. Now let us find the lost boys and save them as well. Sorry but you are much misguided.

  24. Connor
    May 21, 2008 at 11:57 am #

    Saving? Really?

    I’m quite intrigued that there exist people who think that the government is “saving” people by destroying family ties and the lives of individuals who have done no wrong.

    Is it just to destroy 20 people’s lives to “save” one?

    What about 500 to “save” thirty?

    When does it become an infringement of individual rights (life, liberty, and all that good stuff) to punish one single innocent individual in the alleged pursuit of “saving” another person?

    Our society apparently has become used to collateral damage, whether inflicted by a bomb in the Middle East or a SWAT team working for the Texas CPS. We no longer value individual liberty, and have instead subjected it to the government-approved well-being of a few people.

    “Saving” people in need is a noble cause, but you have no right to punish me in pursuit of this ideal, when I have done nothing wrong. Similarly, any action that impinges upon the natural rights of an innocent individual should be condemned, regardless of any good intentions.

  25. Susie
    May 21, 2008 at 12:18 pm #

    Warren Jeffs himself is responsible for destroying family ties, not the US government. He moved people around, reassigned families, ousted boys. These poor children for the most part have no idea who their real parents are.

  26. Jeff T
    May 21, 2008 at 12:38 pm #

    When a newborn baby is taken from its mother by the CPS, without any valid reason, that’s Warren Jeffs’ fault?

  27. Susie
    May 21, 2008 at 1:02 pm #

    Yes, because of his so called propheting. The FLDS has been allowed to live in peace all these years, until, Warren started the underage spiritual marriages. Adult polygamy is one thing, they are born into that livestyle and don’t know any difference. The young girls required to start breeding as soon as they begin their menstrual cycles–well, anyone that can’t comprehend that just isn’t thinking clearly.

    We have enough of that out in the secular world. And it isn’t a requirement to get to heaven.

  28. Jeff T
    May 21, 2008 at 1:40 pm #

    Since when was the government in the habit of taking babies away from the VICTIMS of statutory rape? This woman was a victim, not a perpetrator. She had committed no crime.

  29. Rebecca Loos
    May 21, 2008 at 11:28 pm #

    If it is wrong for the government to remove these children from their families then it is equally wrong for the FLDS to excommunicate men and reassign their wives and children to other men. You can’t have it both ways. Either it is okay to rip families apart to “save” them, or it isn’t. Since they accept the uprooting of women and children for the one reason they really don’t have much credability to complain about it now — except, of course, that the government isn’t doing it with the claim that it is for the good of their immortal souls.

  30. Susie
    May 22, 2008 at 6:25 am #

    Rebecca, you have worded it well. Not to mention the ousting of the young men so the older perverts will have more girls.

  31. Jeff T
    May 22, 2008 at 7:26 am #

    So it’s ok to right a wrong with a wrong? Let me remind you, Susie, that many of these mothers are the VICTIMS of wrongdoing, and as such under Texas law should receive protection, not punishment.

    The crime committed is statutory rape. That is a despicable crime, and the perpetrators should be thrown in jail. The victims of statutory rape, under Texas law, traditionally receive government subsidies (from what I understand) to help raise their children. Why, in this particular case of the crime, are their children now removed?

    As far as I know, Texas has no law against a person’s beliefs – only their actions. These mothers have committed no crime, and should therefore receive no punishment. The men who commit the crime should be punished.

  32. Rebecca Loos
    May 22, 2008 at 8:13 am #

    Jeff, I agree with you that the majority of these women are victims too. However, if their life experiences have left them incapable of protecting their children from the abuses of the men, then they are NOT a fit mother. The primary issue here is the children. If they are being married off underage it is being done with the consent, or at least tolerance, of their mothers. If these women decide to leave their abusive “spouses” and set up households on their own then the state would undoubtedly take that into consideration. I think it is awful that they should be placed in such a position and it breaks my heart. However, why are you railing at the state and not the “prophet” who set all of this in motion by madating underage marriages as a part of their religious practices? This would not be happening if the FLDS had stepped up and said that Jeffs was NOT speaking for God and they would not allow for the abuse of their daughters.

    It is not safe or healthy for a woman to start giving birth in her teens. This is medical knowledge, to the best of my understanding. (I’m not a medical professional.) It is tragic that these children had to be removed from their mothers. It is my sincere hope that something is worked out so that these women get their children back, as long as it means that the children will be protected from illegal and immoral actions in the future. (For instance, I consider the excommunication of fathers and young men to be immoral and at least as disruptive to the family as any CPS action.)

    If grown women want to have spiritual husbands assigned to them for the sake of their immortal souls, then more power to them. If they cannot protect their underage daughters from the same fate, then the children must be placed in an environment where they WILL be protected.

  33. Susie
    May 22, 2008 at 9:28 am #

    Rebecca, once again, you have worded it well. Nothing more to add.

  34. Connor
    May 22, 2008 at 10:38 am #

    I just got this alert from CNN breaking news. I’ll link to the article when it’s up.

    AP: Appeals court rules Texas had no right to seize hundreds of children from polygamous sect.

    Update: here’s the article.

  35. Rebecca Loos
    May 22, 2008 at 11:49 am #

    So does this mean the kids are being returned?

  36. Connor
    May 22, 2008 at 11:51 am #

    So does this mean the kids are being returned?

    Not as of yet, apparently. This case was in reference to 48 of the children, and the court’s ruling did not contain a requirement for the children to be returned. More details will be forthcoming, I’m sure.

    Update: the CNN article has been updated w/ the following:

    An attorney representing the mothers said the trial court that originally backed the state’s seizure of the children has 10 days to vacate its decision. If it doesn’t, the appeals court will act, said Julie Balovich of the Texas RioGrande Legal Aid.

  37. Rebecca Loos
    May 22, 2008 at 2:12 pm #

    What I read was that it affected 48 of the mothers, so presumably more than 48 children will be affected by the ruling. I suspect, although I am only basing this on common sense, that the younger children and boys will end up going home. I have to say that, although I believe in erring on the side of the safety of children, I also had a hard time seeing “imminent danger” to the 5 and under crowd. Anyway, I will continue to follow the case with interest. Call me naive, I still believe CPS was trying to protect the children, although I will never applaud or consider justified, outright lies. CPS was working from an honest desire to help, in my opinion. I simply can’t believe they’d be stupid enough to think they could lie their way through something this big, so it had to have been honest mistakes.

  38. Josh
    May 22, 2008 at 2:29 pm #

    Texas will appeal the court ruling and hopefully the decision to remove the FLDS children will stand.

  39. Connor
    May 22, 2008 at 6:16 pm #

    Here’s the opinion issued by the appellate court. Footnote 11 is the prizewinner:

    The simple fact, conceded by the Department, that not all FLDS families are polygamous or allow their female children to marry as minors demonstrates the danger of removing children from their homes based on the broad-brush ascription of every aspect of a belief system to every person living among followers of the belief system or professing to follow the belief system.

    (h/t Grits For Breakfast)

  40. Susie
    May 23, 2008 at 11:17 am #

    It is good to know that not all of the families allow their young daughters to become spiritual wives. However, is it because they don’t allow it OR because Warren Jeffs hasn’t chosen their daughters?

    I do agree that the men should be the ones punished. Hopefully, the DNA tests will start that process.

    These people have a long road ahead of them. Having been brought up in this atmosphere, it will be difficult for them to ignore it.

    I wish them well.

  41. Cheryl
    May 27, 2008 at 4:31 pm #

    I hope you have also sent in the comments on the petition as many of them were negative towards the FLDS.

  42. Jessica Cohenrou
    September 1, 2009 at 8:00 pm #

    These are some of the most sick people in this world. Those children have been saved. Period. At least they have a chance now, when they had nothing but a life of abuse and pain. This is the United States for goodness sakes! We have laws. It is not a right to abuse children and women. People that want these children returned are idiots. To subject women and children to a life that does not include the freedom of choice is not a husband’s/father’s right. These compounds need to be shut down for good.

  43. James
    November 8, 2010 at 9:39 pm #

    I have to disagree with Jessica Cohenrou’s above comment. As stated by Connor, the children were taken from an environment in which the government suspected they may possibly be abused in future – to be placed into a foster care system with a demonstrated history of abuse. That simply makes no sense.

    Texas’ child custody system is far from perfect, but surely the children would have some family members into whose care they could be placed? This has to be a better option under such circumstances than the State automatically usurping that role.


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