Leavitt Alone, You Idiot!

guestnews, polygamy, religion 17 Comments

Our guest post today comes from Renn Oldsbuster, a somewhat passionate (!) polygamy sympathizer who blogs occasionally at The Fall of Reynolds.

Okay, yes, I’m all amp’ed up about this one. Stupid David Leavitt has jumped on the anti-polygamy wagon again. He has taken on the custody case of a Juab County, Utah, woman who doesn’t want her soon-to-be ex-husband to have their children near any fundamentalist Mormons – see the following recent article from the Salt Lake Tribune: (and I have pasted some paragraphs below [emphasis mine]) –

Father says his custody rights violated because of Fundamentalist Mormon views

By Brooke Adams
The Salt Lake Tribune

Rocky Ridge » A Utah father is fighting an order that bars him from sharing his Fundamentalist Mormon views with his children or taking them to this small town he now calls home where most residents hold a religious belief in polygamy that a judge deemed “harmful.”

Joseph Compton doesn’t like the label “Fundamentalist Mormon.” Instead, he prefers to describe himself as believing in “the gospel like Joseph Smith originally wrote it,” which includes the religious tenet of plural marriage.

But that belief has put him outside the law, 4th District Judge Donald J. Eyre said in ruling last fall that gave Kathleen Compton temporary custody of the couple’s four minor children, who range in age from 5 to 16. They also have four adult children.

Eyre ordered Compton, 49, to not “discuss polygamy or plural marriage with the minor children, allow the children to be in close proximity to those (other than himself) who practice polygamy or plural marriage or who aid or abet those who do.”

Eyre also barred Compton from taking the children within the incorporated boundaries of Rocky Ridge, a community located in Juab County where the berry farmer and fundamentalists who practice plural marriage live.

Allowing the children to associate with residents there would entail “unnecessary and harmful conflict” with the children’s non-polygamous upbringing, the judge said in his findings.

Compton said he is unwilling to deny his beliefs. But that does not give the state leeway to trample his rights under Utah law or the U.S. Constitution, he said.

“I want to be able to speak freely, I want to be able to travel freely, I want to be able to answer my children’s questions freely,” Compton said. “I have sincerely held religious beliefs that others object to. That’s OK. But I can’t have my free choice? That is what I object to.”


Grave threat of harm? » Rocky Ridge, founded in 1972 and incorporated in 1996, has about 800 residents. A majority are members of the Apostolic United Brethren, also known as the Allred Group, which adheres to a fundamentalist version of Mormonism that includes plural marriage — which the sect only sanctions between consenting adults. The enclave includes homes, a private school, several businesses, an elk farm, a volunteer fire department and a church.

The constitutional and parental rights issues raised in the Compton divorce case have been the subject of similar legal proceedings in Utah and several other states.

A Chicago judge ruled earlier this month that a Catholic father can take his preschool-age daughter to Mass even though the girl’s mother is raising her in the Jewish faith, undoing a previous decision that barred him from taking her to any “non-Jewish religious activities.” The judge said there was no evidence exposure to other religious practices would harm the child.

In 2006, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania overturned a lower court decision that prohibited a father from sharing his Fundamentalist Mormon belief in polygamy with his minor daughter, finding that “illegality of the proposed conduct on its own is not sufficient to warrant the restriction.”

Absent a finding that discussing such matters would pose a “grave threat of harm” to a child, there is insufficient basis for the infringing on constitutionally protected right of a parent to “speak to a child about religion as he or she sees fit,” the court wrote.

And the Utah Supreme Court ruled in 1991 that living in a plural family alone was not reason enough to prohibit a couple from adopting children of one plural wife after she died of cancer. Polygamy may be prohibited, but that does not mean the state must deny any or all civil rights to polygamists, wrote Chief Justice Christine Durham.

David O. Leavitt, who is representing Kathleen Compton, said Thursday that the Utah case is “very much going to become a battle over [Joseph Compton’s] right to say what he wants and the mother’s right and society’s right to protect children.”


“An illegal lifestyle” » The Comptons, married nearly 27 years, built a home in Mona at the edge of Rocky Ridge in 2007 after moving to Utah from Missouri, where Compton’s scriptural studies first led him to see things “as they originally were.”

Yet, like his wife, Compton considered himself — and still does — a faithful member of the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, despite being excommunicated after his fundamentalist views were outed last summer in court proceedings.


In her divorce petition, Kathleen Compton, 47, said she gave her husband an ultimatum after he sought her consent last year to take a second wife: He could choose his family or the new woman and polygamy.

Compton refused to abandon his beliefs, though he has not gone ahead with that spiritual marriage, he says.

In initial proceedings, Compton represented himself. He has now hired Salt Lake Attorney Daniel Irvin, who represented polygamist John Daniel Kingston in a child welfare case.

Leavitt, who, as Juab County Attorney, prosecuted polygamist Tom Green in 2000, argued in a hearing last summer that Compton’s beliefs were “an inappropriate and illegal lifestyle” and asked Eyre to prevent him from taking the children into the “geographic boundaries” of Rocky Ridge.

Leavitt also asked that Compton be barred from leaving the children “in the custody or in the presence of anyone other than [himself] who espouses religious beliefs regarding polygamy,” according to a hearing transcript.

Leavitt said it would be inappropriate to expose the children to a felonious lifestyle. And in Rocky Ridge, “a very high percentage of that community is violating that law,” Leavitt said as he urged Eyre to draw a line around the town.

“It seems to me that we defeat every purpose if we don’t keep those children outside the geographic boundaries of a place that is a known haven for polygamy,” Leavitt said during the hearing. “We wouldn’t let a child go into a known drug house for the same reason. They’re both felonies.”

In a telephone interview, Leavitt said he has a “difficult time with the argument that something that is a felony is not going to be found inherently dangerous to children.

“You first have to come at this with the understanding that bigamy is a felony, and if you know anything about Rocky Ridge you’ll understand that it is a well-known haven for bigamists,” he said. “Polygamy is a felony and it is in the best interest of children to keep them away from that kind of conduct.”


“A good father” » During the hearing, Compton told Eyre he had no intention of pressuring his children to adopt his beliefs.

“I just want to be a good father and have the opportunity to be with them and associate with them,” he said, adding that, “there is nothing to show that teaching children the importance of plural celestial marriage is damaging.”

But Eyre adopted the restrictions proposed by Leavitt, saying they were in keeping with Kathleen Compton’s desire to “maintain a certain religious background.” The judge also included a requirement that visits with the children take place at his wife’s apartment in Utah County — something Compton argued would be a hardship.

“It’s not convenient for her or me,” said Compton, who has rented the couple’s home and is living with a monogamous couple and their children in Rocky Ridge. “[My children] ask me every time how much longer before they can come stay at my house. I want my visitation in my home. ”

But Leavitt said Kathleen Compton believes her husband “very much” wants to indoctrinate his children in the fundamentalist version of Mormonism, which violates the family’s religious traditions.

“This woman wants her children protected from the influence of polygamists,” he said. “We should not get hung up on what a parent’s right of expression is and forget what the children’s right to safety is.”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
So, why do I say ‘idiot’? First, Utah has NO POLYGAMY STATUTES !!!!!!!!! Secondly, if the residents of Rocky Ridge are living in a “felonious lifestyle”, then Leavitt should get his prosecutor buddies to go in and ARREST THE FELONS. You and I both know he won’t, and they won’t. Why not? Because, even if Leavitt may not have read Lawrence v. Texas (June 2003), he knows that, since that decision, there is NO SUCH THING AS AN “illegal lifestyle”.

Sorry, but it just chaps me that he swaggers around chanting this hot-air B***S*** about people living an illegal lifestyle in an illegal place, teaching illegal ideas and raising their children in an illegal atmosphere. This was the substance of the issue in –

Musser v. Utah, 333 U.S. 95 (1948)

in that opinion see also –
Footnote 8

“But even advocacy of violation, however reprehensible morally, is not a justification for denying free speech where the advocacy falls short of incitement and there is nothing to indicate that the advocacy would be immediately acted on.”

Mr. Justice Brandeis, concurring in Whitney v. California, 274 U. S. 357, at 274 U. S. 376.
Utah wanted to punish Joseph Musser because, at the time, polygamy was seen as illegal and a threat to “public morals”, and Musser was seen as a criminal because he taught the principle of plural marriage in a religious context. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Musser’s favor because, inter alia, he was not inciting his listeners to go out and instantly commit crimes, and he had every right to complain about what he saw to be “bad laws” in an effort to seek justifiable redress of a valid grievance.

I invite Leavitt to read Lawrence and Musser. Either way, Davey, you are an idiot!

The pretty, stupid state of Utah really makes me sick sometimes. What a charade! What a farce! If you law enforcement tyrants really truly view the ten or more thousand polygamists in this state as FELONS, then why in the Dickens don’t you put your testes where your mouth is and go and arrest them? While you’re at it, show me where in Utah statutes the words “polygamy” or “plural marriage” are found.

Otherwise, SHUT UP and go back into your pathetic little anti-Mormon hole.

Leavitt alone, Davey !!!

Comments 17

  1. It’s interesting. The Allred Group does not advocate marriage of underage children or any “felonious activity” outside of bigamy. (Which I don’t think should be a felony… but that is another topic altogether)
    I think this is the main harm that most non-fundamentalists see in raising children exposed to this lifestyle is. Not all polygamist groups are child abusers, though I have to say that with my own families background and the input I have had from my grandfather (who was a son of a polygamist) the lifestyle does tend to provide gaping holes where the likelihood of abuse and neglect are higher than in the standard monogamous lifestyle.
    As long as the mother is allowed to share her religious beliefs with the children when they question, I think the father should be allowed to as well. Most likely they will at very least cancel each other out. As the children get older they will be able to decide for themselves what they believe…. heck, they will do that anyways.

  2. Although Utah may have “NO POLYGAMY STATUTES,” as most readers here are probably aware, Utah’s constitution expressly prohibits the practice of polygamy.

    Article III, Section 1 of the Utah Constitution states:

    “The following ordinance shall be irrevocable without the consent of the United States and the people of this State: First: — Perfect toleration of religious sentiment is guaranteed. No inhabitant of this State shall ever be molested in person or property on account of his or her mode of religious worship; but polygamous or plural marriages are forever prohibited.”

    And Renn, why the vitriol toward Dave, but not Kathleen? He’s simply advocating her position in a domestic dispute?

  3. Matt, did you read the opinion on the Musser v. Utah case?:
    “But even advocacy of violation, however reprehensible morally, is not a justification for denying free speech where the advocacy falls short of incitement and there is nothing to indicate that the advocacy would be immediately acted on.”

    I am surprised that this post did not generate more interest. I think that this case is an obvious case of religious persecution and sets a dangerous precedent for LDS people as well. The Article Matt quoted in his comment above says that perfect toleration of religious sentiment is guaranteed. How is that being honored in this case?

  4. I am just wondering what the decision would be if the MOTHER was a Fundamentalist Mormon and the father was not. I am in the middle of a child custody case myself. We proved in court that my ex-wife was neglectful and she still got custody on no other basis than she is the mother. The court could find no fault with me but she still got them on those grounds alone. The court responsible is Hawkins County Court in TN.

    I think it is probably more of a sexist thing than anything. Mothers get children just because they are mothers.



  5. probably the best take-away from this little gem is that after 27 years of marriage to a relatively? unbrainwashed chick, attempting to convert the marriage into an old school 3 way arrangement (because it’s so righteous) is probably a bad move and is gonna wreck your marriage, mess up the kids and all that. Now ol Joe Compton doesn’t have a wife or the kids and he’s hedging his bets on scoring not one but TWO chicks out in this podunk crappy little town (to get into heaven?) AND getting a fair shake in family court on top of all that. I wouldn’t blame the lawyer, I’d blame the dumb – in rocky ridge with his thumbs in his belt loops and a – eating grin on his face expecting two 1800’s looking chicks to throw themselves on him. And polygamous chicks.. don’t even get me started… In any case ol Joe Smith is the one that started this maybe he’s the one that should have “left it alone”

  6. Just my 2c — I know that is the stereotype, but I have NEVER met any polygamists like that. The ones I know are honorable and their beliefs are more motivated by religious principle than anything else. What about you, Sunn? Do you KNOW any actual people like that, or is this image simply one you have in your head?

  7. SUNNofaB.C.Rich,

    I’d say that your knowledge of Rocky Ridge is pretty indicative of your knowledge of polygamist in general. By the way, members of the AUB dress just like the modest LDS in Salt Lake. Completely modern. Not that there’s anything wrong with wearing old fashioned dresses, other than being ridiculed my the less than mature people out there that judge others by their clothes.

    I’d say that the reason this topic didn’t generate more interest is because many of the mainstream LDS agree with the position that Leavitt argued. They are just smart enough not to display their hatred and bigotry of a religious group in public. Who wants to come across like SUNNofaB.C.Rich?

  8. I thought it up all by myself, Bored in Vernal. I even imagined the dude wearing a flannel shirt (tucked in) and kinda short hair neatly combed parted on the left (no sideburns) boring and the chicks I guess their hairstyles and the way they dress i’d probably go with mid 1990s…

    but seriously, since the dawn of religion, small time religious founder types have been taking it upon themselves to proclaim that “God wants them to get all the chicks” right.. I’m a skeptic.

  9. How about allowing women to exercise their God given right to covenant with the man of their choice, and not set restrictions on who they can, or can’t marry. Whenever you find a person who condemns plural marriage, you will find a person who wants to restrict the agency of a woman.

    It’s no doubt the men that would not be able to attract wives that would be the most likely to say that no man should have more than one. Let’s expand a woman’s options, not restrict them.

  10. let’s not cloud the issue, chief… Warren Jeffs isn’t Gene Simmons… Warren Jeffs only shot at multiple partners was religious indoctrination… What can I say, I tend to doubt supposedly sincere religious convictions when the immediate benefits so obviously result in personal gratification.

  11. I agree that Warren Jeffs is not Gene Simmons. Warren Jeffs married the women that he slept with. Believe me, if a man is just in a relationship for personal gratification, plural marriage is not the way to go. There are much easier ways. Just ask Gene Simmons.

    Now if from your perspective, a wife is just there for the personal gratification of her husband, and the husband has no responsibilities towards his wives and children, then perhaps you are correct. However, I can testify that the fundamentalist that I know, and I’m willing to wager that I know a few more than you, that those fundamentalist don’t view their wives in the same manner that you apparently view a wife.

    Sheesh, why do so many monogamist view wives as nothing more than sexual playthings? Isn’t there something more to your relationships than sex?

  12. sure these days most of these “fundamentalist” types are just carrying on the family tradition and the family business and have a well established artificial environment that produces the male/female numbers that support this type of thing. My assertions that ulterior motives exist for this religious polygamy stuff are probably better pointed at the guys that started the trend but I personally don’t believe “my daddy said…” is always a good reason.

    and sure it pisses me off that people are stupid enough to believe ridiculous crap like a man needs to marry 2 or 3 women to attain some sort of highest salvation but probably what offends me the most though, is the women that are apparently content at being a fraction of half of a martial relationship. Pathetic.

  13. Hey, Sunn, lots of people in this world believe ridiculous things, but the point is, at what point should the state legislate what they believe and what things they can talk about with their children?

  14. In a monogamist marriage, man is 50% of the relationship. If that man has proven himself as a husband, and can find another woman that wants to be his wife, the male portion then becomes 33% of the relationship. If he takes another, then the male portion of the relationship drops to 25%. What SUNNofaB.C.Rich would have us believe is that a marriage being 75% female is bad for females. He doesn’t understand how a woman can function without a man all to herself. I guess he feels women are too stupid, and too weak to handle life in a relationship with the male portion being less than half.

    Earlier, SUNNofaB.C.Rich said, “And polygamous chicks.. don’t even get me started…”. Hmmm, I wonder what he would say about the “chicks” who choose to be plural wives, if we got him started. Nothing but positive things…I’m sure. I’m always amazed at how insulting the anti-polygamist arguments are towards women. I guess that’s why they aren’t polygamist. 🙂

  15. Obviously plenty of women function just fine without a man in their lives, these polygamous types seem to think it’s better for a woman to settle for a part-time husband than none at all. So really, who thinks women are stupid and weak?

    and in my opinion I don’t think those numbers accurately portray the dynamics of a polygamous relationship. If in a monogamous relationship the husband and wife get 100 percent of each other, then in a polygamous relationship 1 dude, 4 chicks the dude gets 100 percent of each chick and the chicks get 25 percent of the dude. Pretty lopsided in my opinion.

    I guess i’m fine with one independent woman that’s an equal partner rather than several subservient dependent woman but hey that’s just me.

  16. How do you know the dynamics of polygamous marriages? How would the husband get 100% of each wife without it being reciprocal? It would seem that if a wife spent less time with her husband that the husband would also spend less time with his wife, would it not? Once again, it’s this male idea that if a woman doesn’t have 100% of the male, that she is somehow being cheated in life. Did you ever consider that a woman could gain more from her sisterwives, than the time she loses from her husband, or are women incapable of filling that void left by the absence of a man?

    You said, “I guess i’m fine with one independent woman that’s an equal partner rather than several subservient dependent woman but hey that’s just me.”

    So the women that spend less time with their husband are more dependent on a man than the monogamist wife that must have 100% of her husband’s time? Whatever.

    Bottom line is this, I support the right of a woman to marry the man of her choice, in the marital institution of her choice. Anti-polygmist would force a woman to comply with their views of monogamy. I’ll always take the side of agency over force.

  17. how do YOU know the dynamics of a polygamous marriage? From the way you talk you sound like you are one.

    I’m not talking about time spent together, obviously people have jobs, friends etc etc. The roles of husband and wife and sisterwife or whatever are not interchangeable. The relationship between two sisterwives is different than their relationship to the husband. The husband is getting 4 different wives and the wives are sharing one husband. You use the terminology husband and wife for a reason, these polygamist types aren’t utilizing some sort of everyone in the relationship is equal and interchangeable in all aspects system. Perhaps you think having 4 wives make a guy 4 times what a regular guy is (which I suspect is what started all of this nonsense) the wives have to share the husband with each other, the husband doesn’t have to share the wives with anyone. Pretty simple. If you really think that’s a marital dynamic that the average unbrainwashed woman is cool with maybe you should put your best cowboy hat on and ride the horse into town more often.

    Most women in polygamous relationships were born into the lifestyle, taught what to expect, fed a bunch of nonsense about polygamous relationships being the only ticket into heaven and a bunch of other baloney. A lot are kept in the dark about the way the rest of the world does things and a lot of them find themselves in underage arranged marriages. Certainly not the result of educated, independent women who’ve weighed their options and decided that sharing a husband is some how superior to being an equal partner in marriage. Why do the FLDS women all have the same hairdo and dress the same way? It’s certainly not their independent spirit.

    Since youre trying to make this about womens rights, I wonder if you’d support your wife deciding she’s proven herself as a wife and taking another husband?

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