Saturday, September 02, 2006

Fugitive Polygamist or Persecuted Prophet?

The meek and humble Warren Jeffs was abducted from the privacy of his car and taken into custody for carrying on his fathers calling to the lord. Thousands of people have been dependant upon Jeffs to tell them what to believe and how to worship. The entire community is deeply affected by his incarceration. Prayer services and protest rallies are planned and we can expect to hear more on this story as it develops.

It is common knowledge that the fundamental Mormon sect (FLDS) has practiced polygamy for many generations. What we sane people consider perverted or just plain wacko is normal and expected behavior in their community. Warren Jeffs didn’t go out and prey on victims and create his following through charismatic leadership. He inherited it. Jeffs was raised in that lifestyle. To him, the world was evil and his flock threatened by outside persecutors. He tried to protect the children from learning anything that would take their interest away from the lord and their salvation. They have been instructed not to answer the door to any strangers. No outside music. No unapproved literature. Absolutely no TV. There are great dangers to religion in the secular world around them.

Rumor has it that Jeffs had 40 wives. Now that is impressive. I don’t think I would want more than about 10. Hugh Hefner only has 7 (girlfriends, not wives that would be illegal). But in a society like the one Warren Jeffs ruled over, your status as a man is judged on how big your family is. Their families are very structured. Everyone has a job to do. Small children are given the responsibility to look after smaller children. I believe this kind of society would cause young adults to mature at earlier ages. Perhaps that is why they marry at age 14. This appalls most of us. We Americans have already defined the age of consent to be 16 – 19 depending on the state you live in. So Warren Jeffs is pimpin’ children to old men. That’s just sick! Or is it just the norm for that society?

Freedom of religion. That is what we’re talking about. That is one of the primary principles upon which this country was founded. Should the government be able to dictate morality? What laws has this man broken? According to his beliefs, he is innocent.

No I am not a sympathizer. I believe that Warren Jeffs probably took his father’s kingdom and through power hungry drunkenness and greed, proceeded to pervert and exploit the fundamentals of his religion. Once he told a young girl that she must have sex with her (much older) husband or she could sacrifice her salvation. Some would say that this is a form of psychological or physical abuse, and that is why he is facing charges today.

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