There are some evictions going on in Short Creek. This comes as no real surprise to anyone who is reasonably aware of the drama that has been ongoing there for years. The FLDS leadership has played games, lied to their people, and completely ignored the rules surrounding the UEP and eventually it caught up to them.
The year before I left there was a huge push for donations to pay the taxes. We went into debt in order to give more than our usual tithing and extra $1,000 a month. We took out loans on both of our vans so we could help save the Priesthood land and homes. After we left, we found out that although the money was gathered the taxes hadn’t been paid. I don’t know what the leaders diverted the money to, but it wasn’t paying taxes. Even though we were told the taxes had been paid, the facts showed differently.
These people are so isolated, so cut off from the outside world and information that they have to trust the leaders. Leaders who will “warn” the people of deceptions that the devil will try to pass on them. “The devil will inspire evil men to even accuse the prophet of doing thus and so, but we’re so lucky to have his inspiration so that we’re ahead of the temptation.” The “thus and so” they warned us of was simply the facts of what was being done. Voila! Inspiration worked! Before long we would hear the very evil we had been warned of and pray in gratitude for having been saved from the deception.
When you have complete control of information deception is easy.
We all grew up being told that the government was after us, that the world hated us, and that we were persecuted. We all knew we had given the money, we were told the taxes were paid, so when actions came against the properties we were told that it was the corrupt and evil government breaking the rules to steal our homes. LIES. But lies that were so easily believable.
These lies served two purposes. One was to force us all to circle in a little closer for protection against a world that clearly was seeking our destruction, the other was to cover up the truth of what the leaders were doing with our money. No one dared question, and the truth remained hidden.
Now there are those who have befriended some of the FLDS women who are being used to forward the next propaganda program. They were called by some of these women and invited to come take pictures and film the tragedy of old grandma’s being evicted from their homes. I know of cases where when a man got control of his home the church quickly moved his family back into it so that he was faced with kicking his own family out. They hadn’t been living there before, this was all calculated manipulation.
Yes, the FLDS are extremely skilled and conniving when it comes to propaganda. This isn’t the first time they have turned to cries of martyrdom in order to sway public opinion and sympathy in their favor. And, as always, they push the women and children in front of cameras to garner sympathy while they stay hidden behind tall fences and the darkly tinted windows of luxury vehicles.
I wish I could play you the audio of sound burned into my memory of women sobbing uncontrollably in the 11 o’clock meeting when they were told that because they weren’t worthy of the United Order their worthy children were going to be taken from them.
I wish I had video of the groups of women who stood outside the Morningside School that day five years ago comforting each other in their immense sorrow. That sight will never leave my memory – the tear stained faces, the hunched shoulders that shook with sobs. The despair and unfathomable pain that showed on every face.
THAT is what the FLDS leaders are and have been doing, and now these women and girls are being exploited and used once again. I guarantee you that nothing that they say or do hasn’t been directed and approved by the leaders. Carefully calculated and orchestrated for the full effect of tearing at the sympathies of the world.
If they didn’t want pictures and video taken, they wouldn’t invite cameras in, and they would shoo them off the property.
When you have been allowed, as a people, to operate as though you are above the law for so many years, any time laws are enforced it feels like persecution.
In April of 2008, the State of Texas orchestrated a rescue effort on the YFZ Ranch. During the time that followed, the FLDS cranked out propaganda videos and pictures and blasted them out far and wide. Seth Jeffs said they were going to “pull at the heartstrings of the American people and turn public opinion in their favor.” And they did an excellent job of doing just that. I will never forget how I wept and prayed as I held my little ones close watching those videos. It was heart wrenching to imagine having your children taken from you. This was just so wrong! It was. But not for the reasons that I was spoon fed by the church.
The most powerful one, that still brings me to tears today, was “Meant to Be.” “I’m looking for my mother, we were meant to be together….” How could anyone tear a child from its mother?!
After I left the FLDS I learned the truth and this song took on a new, even more heart wrenching meaning, because I found out that many of the children who were living at the ranch at the time had already been removed from their parents. They had been “looking for their mothers” for much longer than the world understood. Warren Jeffs had torn children from their parents long before the government ever came along, and has continued to do so ever since. There was a great scramble to get parents down to the ranch to hide the fact that children were there alone. This brought about a longed for reunion between many children and parents.
Being without their parents was not a new thing for these children, in fact there was only one real change – Warren Jeffs was worse than the government. When the government took the children we were told to pray for the deliverance of our children from our “enemies.” But as children have been removed from parents by church leaders, there is nowhere to turn. How do you pray for deliverance from God’s will? The damage being done is staggering.
Another thing the world never heard was that when the judge ruled to send the children back there were children who pleaded not to be sent back – foster care was a happier place for them than the thought of going back to the Ranch.
When will there be true justice for the children?
Photo courtesy RollingStone.com