an ad litem’s request

Stephen MarshMormon 24 Comments

The ad litem sends thanks for the input.

Comments 24

  1. Sorry, but I can’t see how many LDS families are any better equipped to help these children than their Baptist kidnappers. If anything, many LDS are even more vociferously prejudiced against the so-called “apostate” groups who attempt to actually follow the teachings of Joseph Smith.

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    Well, Nick, a good number of the non-LDS ad litems disagree with you, which is why one of them contacted me. You are welcome to contact the Court, I’m certain that the Judge would be interested in your opinion, though I understand why you feel that those who consider the Book of Mormon a fraud, that gays should not only not be allowed to marry but should still be executed, and that atheism is also a good reason to take children away from parents are superior fits.

    Everyone has their perspectives, and the ad litems and the Court are trying to find the best one. If you feel strongly, make contact and show up by Tuesday.

    While you are on the way, visit and you can see exactly what you are saying is superior.

    To each his or her own.

  3. Nick, you know I respect you, but the average Mormon response is worse than the average Baptist response?! Let’s see, we believe they are wrong but many are sincere, good people; the Baptists believe each and every one of them will burn in Hell – along you and me. A not rare Baptist response would be to purchase the marshmallows for the fire.

    What have you been smoking, my friend?

  4. I have heard that this group has some beliefs such as not letting their children go swimming because the destroyer is riding upon the face of the waters. While most of us would not agree with some of these beliefs, at least we are aware of where they are coming from. We can read familiar scriptures with them, and we even have the same hymns. These kinds of things go a long way in helping them feel more comfortable.

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    A good discussion of the alternatives, which Nick appears to think are better is at:

    I haven’t heard anything to indicate much of a change from:

    “If you compare the number of deaths of children in our state’s population to the number of deaths in our state’s foster care system, a child is four times more likely to die in our state’s foster care system.

    “Based on Fiscal 2004 data provided by the Health and Human Services Commission, about 100 children received treatment for poisoning from medications; 63 foster children received medical treatment for rape that occurred while in the foster care system; and 142 children gave birth while in the state foster care system.

    “As alarming as these cases are, we can only imagine how much worse the Fiscal 2005 data is because Gov. Perry’s Health and Human Services Commission has refused to provide the data needed to complete my investigation.

  6. I tend to agree with Nick. A committee to rescue FLDS children? Do we need to flame a savior complex here? Becoming a foster parent is a series of hoops and background checks. I think it would be naive to think that a group of well-intentioned newbies to foster parenting would be immune to the unfortunate incidents cited by Mr. Marsh. Blood donations from kin, for example, tend to be higher risk than those from volunteers because the kin feel pressured to hide their secret risk factors. If you are already an LDS foster parent, then go for it. If you have never been a foster parent, then don’t join a crusade to become one. The LDS families who took in the survivors of Mountain Meadows didn’t do so well. The young children who were later taken back to their families reported all kinds of negative things about their LDS “families”. Maybe some were true, but I have doubts that some of the things reported could have been recounted decades later by children who were no more than 5 years old at the time. The LDS foster parents could very easily be remembered as the blaming factor for removal from the FLDS families by young children who will soon began to go from shock to anger in their stages of grief.

  7. Rigel (#8): I think everyone can agree that LDS folks have come a long way since the MMM. Texas is causing the current crisis, not the LDS church, so I don’t think that’s a great comparison.

    I agree that it’s hard for LDS people to dodge (latent) anti-Fundamentalist biases, but Baptists have to get past general anti-Mormon biases and secular parents would have to deal with biases against extreme religiousity.

    This is a terrible situation and I think it’s nice for anyone willing to try to help as best they can. Some volunteers are going to do worse jobs and some better, but I think that will be based on the individuals involved more than whether they are LDS, Protestant or other.

  8. On the one hand, I would love to help. On the other hand, I work crazy hours and already have 3 kids, and I’m as non-fundamentalist as we get. But, on the upside, the FLDS kids are likely to be generally speaking good kids, not oppositionally defiant or violent like some kids who get into the foster system. Say what you will, the FLDS are a peaceful cult. All the more reason to try to find placement in LDS families where there is religious observance, support, and a family environment.

    But what will they do with these women whose children are being torn from them? Restraining orders? Who is going to help de-program them? Nobody? It was suggested on another site that having Stacy and Clinton of What Not to Wear take a crack at them might help. How does the state prevent them from just going back to their polygamous husbands, deeper underground, to have more kids? Sterilization?

  9. It’s not the greatest comparison. Nevertheless, 5 or 10 years from now, who will be remembered for stealing the children? The court who quickly placed them in foster care, or the families that indoctrinated them, potentially over a number of years, into a new religious denomination?

  10. Well Rigel, if it’s Baptists, they will be praised for it in Texas but if it’s LDS, then you’re probably right — there will be extreme criticism.

    I agree with some posters that an LDS environment will be more comfortable for the kids: daily scripture reading from the Book of Mormon; same format for saying prayers (pray to Heavenly Father and close in the name of Jesus Christ); a same acknowledgement of the prophetic role of Joseph Smith, etc. There are many ways in which an LDS environment would be less alienating and scary for these poor FLDS kids.

    Having said that, I must admit that deep down I do believe that these kids would be better off in the long run as Baptists than as members of the FLDS where they are isolated from society and face the risk of an underaged marriage. Since I believe that neither the Baptists nor the FLDS have priesthood authority that is recognized in the eyes of God, the substance of the religion becomes irrelevant to me in considering this issue and I have to go with the set of religious beliefs that are the most benign to the kids’ propsects for the future.

    Of course, that does not imply that I approve, even tacitly, of what the State of Texas has done in this raid and the aftermath. I view it as a complete affront to the civil rights of American citizens.

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    members of the FLDS where they are isolated from society and face the risk of an underaged marriage. Which is why the Australian government removed aboriginal peoples from their families and dispersed them. The same seems to be an excellent reason to break up all the Hutterite communes.



    (captures a thread)

  12. Bored (#6) said: “I have heard that this group has some beliefs such as not letting their children go swimming because the destroyer is riding upon the face of the waters. While most of us would not agree with some of these beliefs, at least we are aware of where they are coming from.”

    When I was on my mission, it was against mission rules to go swimming. (I think this is still the case today. Please correct me if I’m wrong.) The explanation given at the time was that Satan has dominion over the waters.

    You said that most of us would not agree with some of their beliefs, have you checked with the church’s missionary department lately?

  13. I didn’t have a chance to check in on this discussion after my post yesterday, and I see that several people took my comments as some sort of unfounded anti-LDS attack. It seems my opinion needed a more detailed explanation, as I made the mistake of assuming others would be aware of a few cultural issues.

    I have no doubt that the average LDS family is well equipped to care for children in general. An LDS family which earnestly strives to live LDS standards is certainly a safe place for children, whether one agrees with LDS doctrine or not. I was not, in any way, trying to condemn LDS families as somehow unfit to act as foster parents. Notwithstanding Stephen’s repeated accusation above, I did not state that the Baptists who provided transportation and initial warehousing of the children were superior to LDS foster families.

    A major part of the concern here is that these children have been torn from not just their families, but their entire cultural surroundings. The suggestion of placement with LDS families appears to be guided by the assumption that LDS families would share many aspects of the culture these children come from, and that the children would thus be less traumatized. Supposedly the children will be more at ease with a family which believes in The Book of Mormon, etc. This all seems very logical, right?

    Unfortunately, that doesn’t really reflect the dynamic between LDS and Mormon Fundamentalist groups. The LDS church has a history, for example, of actively encouraging government persecution of the FLDS and similar groups. LDS leaders actively supported the Short Creek raid, both in planning and in public statements after the fact. While LDS leaders and members are usually very careful never to actually speak against other faiths, this reluctance seems to evaporate when it comes to Mormon Fundamentalists. LDS leaders have referred to the FLDS and other Mormon Fundamentalists as “cultists,” and more recently, Gordon Hinckley actually stated that there is “no such thing” as a Mormon Fundamentalist. From the earliest days of the LDS church in Utah, LDS leaders and members have expressed, in word and deed, a unique hatred toward religious groups who “broke off” from the LDS church, as opposed to other faiths which pre-existed Mormonism. For many years, in fact, it was not a matter of LDS church discipline if you joined another church, unless it was a “splinter” or “apostate” Mormon church.

    In the bloggernacle, we’re seeing educated, relatively liberal individuals carrying on the discussion. Therefore, many of them hold a strong humanitarian sympathy for what the FLDS are going through right now. Many also realize that the violation of one group’s civil rights threatens the civil rights of everyone. However, I’d invite you to compare the bloggernacle response with the “readers’ comments” posted in response to Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News stories on the raid and ensuing events. Many of the LDS commentators in those locations are amazingly nasty. They reflect a continuing hostility among many “rank and file” LDS members toward these “apostate groups.”

    Looking at the opposite direction, I’ve had the opportunity to read a fairly large amount of Mormon Fundamentalist literature over the years. Their leaders and members are at least as hostile toward the LDS church as any LDS are toward Mormon Fundamentalists, and for the same reasons. Both groups see the other as rejecting the truth as restored through Joseph Smith.

    It is for these reasons that I said, and still say, that in general, LDS families are no more prepared than Baptist families to take the FLDS children into foster care. While it may be true that many Baptists see all varieties of Mormonism as satanic, it is equally true that many LDS see the FLDS in that same light. Religious prejudice, no matter who it comes from, is not likely to be a healthy foster care environment.

  14. To keep this from being more than the continuation of a threadjack, let me say that I think it would be a fine thing if LDS families in Texas came forward to provide foster homes for these children.

    When I was on my mission, it was against mission rules to go swimming. (I think this is still the case today. Please correct me if I’m wrong.) The explanation given at the time was that Satan has dominion over the waters.

    I heard the Satan’s dominion thing in seminary, but in the LTM (that’s right, the LTM), we were told that the reason missionaries couldn’t go swimming was simply because some of us would drown. No attempt to blame it on Satan.

  15. Mormons finally enter into league with the Devil!

    The Judge in this case in a witch!

    The woman in Colorado will be proven innocent, and Anonymous will continue to destroy false religions one after another!

  16. This makes the LDS Family Services presentation on adoption services that was taken around to the wards in the weeks before this happened seem like somebody in the Church had insider information… Or maybe somebody in the Church just had divine inspiration for once. ;P

  17. The Satan dominion on the waters thing is from D&C 61 (Preface) which says: “Revelation given through JS the Prophet, on the bank of the Missouri River, McIlwaine’s Bend, August 12, 1831. On their return trip to Kirtland the Prophet and ten elders had traveled down the Missouri River in canoes. On the third day of the journey many dangers were experienced. Elder W.W. Phelps, in daylight vision saw “the destroyer riding in power upon the face of the waters.”

    Sounds a little like the normal fear of water that individuals in that era often had. Legit reason for not allowing missionaries to swim is that they are in companionships and drowning is a real threat, especially when one may not be as strong a swimmer as the other.

  18. John F. (#12) :—

    You say, “Since I believe that neither the Baptists nor the FLDS have priesthood authority that is recognized in the eyes of God…

    Since I believe that very few Elders in the Mormon Church possess priesthood authority that is recognized in the eyes of God, I will quote Scripture to support my point of view:

    “That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.

    “That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.

    “Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God.

    “We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.

    “Hence many are called, but few are chosen.”

    Doctrine and Covenants 121:36-40

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