One mystery has been solved (just in case any of you were holding your breath). Lyle apparently did not “experience the miracle of the rapture” as his public defender Kathryn Nester suggested when he disappeared from home confinement nearly a year ago.
He has been found and taken back into custody in South Dakota. (YAY!)
I suppose there is a chance that after being raptured the Lord kicked him out.
All joking aside, I’m glad that Lyle is back where he belongs: in shackles and a jail jumpsuit. I only hope that this time he will get the treatment that he so richly deserves, and that justice will be served. But if I’m being completely honest I’m not going to hold my breath on this one. Utah takes polygamy very lightly, and allows the cry of “religious freedom” to cover a multitude of egregious sins and crimes, effectively whisking the victims back into the shadows and pretending that they don’t exist.
Lyle was captured around 8:30 pm, on June 14. The day before he was captured, an article was printed by the Salt Lake Tribune wherein Hyrum Dutson was quoted. (For those of you who may have forgotten who he is, he was the owner of the small produce store in Colorado City that was one of the establishments that were running Food Stamp cards, taking the cash without giving any food in return and then that cash was filtered through a group of shell corporations before being used by church leadership. Interesting fact: in all the hearings I attended, never once was there any intimations that the charged crimes hadn’t been committed, the entire defense focused on the defendants claiming it was their religious right to act as they did.)
According to this article in the Tribune:
Hyrum Dutson wasn’t surprised when Lyle Jeffs, his former Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints bishop, decided to flee from the law.
“If he wants to go, he can go,” Dutson said. “I don’t believe the court holds jurisdiction over him. He’s a bishop. His boss is [FLDS Church President] Warren Steed Jeffs — nobody else.”
“I didn’t expect him to stay,” Dutson added. “If he stayed, that was his business.”
This is a perfect example of the general attitude of not only the FLDS, but of most polygamist groups. They believe that they are the favorites of God, and that He has given them the freedom, or even commandment, to do whatever is necessary to obey their prophets’ directives, and protect the image of their leaders.
Hyrum’s words: “I don’t believe the court holds jurisdiction over him” roughly translated mean “we are above the law, and no matter what our leaders tell us to do we will do it – even when we know it’s blatantly illegal.” They are masters of secrecy, sleight of hand, and twisting the truth. (Believe me, you would be shocked if you knew some of the things they do.)
Another faithful FLDS member who was quoted in this article was Norma Richter. I guess that real journalists wouldn’t allow her to her fake name that she used in the podcast she was part of recently. For that podcast she hid behind the name of “Mother Irene,” as well as requesting for her voice to be changed. (There’s one small spot in one of the podcasts where her voice wasn’t changed, and it all started to make more sense to me.)
In all the work that I have done, I have used my own face, my own name and my own voice. It was beyond frustrating to me to have her interviews broadcast without at least a disclaimer that this was not her real name or voice. I think it’s imperitive that transparency and honesty be utilized as much as possible in matters regarding the FLDS, because there is already so much secrecy, concealment and evasion involved. But I digress.
Norma is quoted as saying:
“I don’t know where he is, and I don’t know whether his calling is changed or not,” said FLDS member Norma Richter, “and it doesn’t really matter to me. A person that’s honorable is always going to be honorable, and from all the experience I’ve ever had with him, he’s always going to be honorable.”
Richter said she doesn’t even know the charges Lyle Jeffs faces. Whatever they are, she believes they are just another way for the government to persecute Warren Jeffs.
“They’re going to all blame it back on Uncle Warren,” she said. ” ‘He’s the one that did it. He’s the one that started it.’ And it’s all nonsense.”
I envy her interactions with Lyle if she can honestly say that he was honorable in all his dealings. Even when I was a faithful FLDS member, “honorable” would not have been anywhere near the top of my list for words to describe Lyle.
Norma’s words are worth noting though. It is well-known that the FLDS keep their people isolated from the outside world, and we were taught very strictly not to listen to what the “gentiles” say. We were told that all the charges against Warren Jeffs were lies – fabricated to destroy him. The gentiles were controlled by the devil, doing his work, and determined to destroy the work of God on earth.
I believed that for many years. Then I left and learned the real truth.
Yes, it is sad that thousands of people are blindly following leaders who are criminals. Heading up large criminal organizations that span the nation. It’s sad that those leaders take the liberty of using the faith of their followers as a weapon against them: stealing their time, money, resources, and even their families from them. It is heart-wrenching to comprehend how far and deep the evils of these men have reached. Their faithful followers are flung far and wide, family ties have been torn, and there are those who have been very instrumental in destroying the love of children for their parents.
Norma Richter is one of those people. Likely she believes in what she is doing, but in my opinion that isn’t enough to excuse the damage being done. Many of the FLDS honestly believe what they’ve been taught. But is that really an acceptable excuse to do nothing?
At what point do we say “Enough is enough! So-called religious freedom can no longer be allowed to trample human rights!”? When do we stop allowing men to use God as their excuse to abuse, neglect and exploit women and children?
Justice needs to be served. I will cross my fingers and hope that Utah won’t let me down this time.
I haven’t said it enough lately, but hats off to Nate Carlisle, Trent Nelson, and Ben Winslow on their amazing and accurate coverage of the issues in Short Creek recently. Your honesty and straight forward style is greatly appreciated!
Photo courtesy of: ABC/KSFY
(I will be writing more about Norma “Mother Irene” in a later post. I apologize for my absence on this blog, but life has been busy.)