Many Americans Mistakenly Think FLDS and LDS are Connected

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), a worldwide church that is headquartered in Salt Lake City and has over 13 million members, has released the results of a survey that indicate Americans confuse the FLDS Church (Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) with the LDS Church.

  • 36% mistakenly believe the YFZ Ranch is part of the LDS Church
  • 6% mistakenly said that the FLDS and LDS are partly related
  • 29% said they were not sure of the relationship between the FLDS Church and LDS Church
  • Only 29% correctly responded that the two groups are not connected at all

I had mistakenly believed that most Americans had figured out that the FLDS Church and the LDS Church are completely separate churches and have no more relationship between each other than, for example, the Lutheran Church and the Catholic Church.

Even though 91% of those surveyed had heard about the YFZ Ranch, most respondents could not correctly identify the religious affiliation of the people living at the YFZ Ranch.

  • 30% identified the affiliation as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, LDS, or Mormon
  • 44% were unsure
  • 6% said Mormon fundamentalists
  • 14% said FLDS

Elder Quentin L. Cook, an LDS apostle, said:

We’d much rather be talking about who we are than who we aren’t. While many news reporters have been careful to distinguish between our church and this small Texas group, it is clear the confusion still remains.

Below is an example of one of several videos the LDS Church has posted on You Tube in an effort to define what the LDS Church is by looking at the lives of church members living in Texas.

It’s pretty clear that there is no lack of confusion right now about both the FLDS and the LDS. Many of my previous posts have documented misrepresentations of and misunderstandings about the FLDS. It seems that, even with all the coverage of the events surrounding the FLDS Church, there has been a good deal of misunderstanding about the LDS Church as well.

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Judge Persists in One Household Approach

State of Texas 36, King George 28

36. Even though the appeals court explicitly rejected the CPS interpretation that the YFZ Ranch constitutes a single household, Judge Walther persisted in treating the FLDS in a manner that remained, essentially, a one-household approach.

The appeals court wrote:

The notion that the entire ranch community constitutes a “household” … and justifies removing all children from the ranch community if there even is one incident of suspected child sexual abuse is contrary to the evidence.

The district judge, Barbara Walther, added her own conditions to a deal worked out between lawyers representing the parents and lawyers representing CPS, including a request that all families “give state agents around-the-clock access to homes at the YFZ Ranch.” However, one attorney questioned why one of her clients would need to give twenty-four hour a day access to her 9 month-old son, stating that there was no evidence of wrongdoing by any of her clients. Other lawyers complained that the “same ‘global’ claims of wrongdoing rejected by the Texas Supreme Court and Third Court of Appeals” were being perpetuated. The added conditions requested by the district judge caused negotiations to fall apart Friday.

However, lawyers worked out a new deal on Sunday (1 June), and Judge Walther says she will sign this deal if the parents do. It’s a hopeful sign that resolution of the impasse is nearing, but I’m not brave enough to hold my breath…

Texas Supreme Court Rebuffs CPS

The Texas Supreme Court issued an opinion upholding the decision of the Texas Court of Appeals (see previous post regarding appeals court ruling), with three of the justices concurring in part and dissenting in part from the opinion.

The Supreme Court addressed the removal of the children from the ranch:

  • “The Department [Texas Department of Family and Protective Services] took possession of all 468 children at the Ranch without a court order.”
  • “[The Department] never located the girl Sarah who was the subject of the March 29 call.”

Essentially, the Court concluded that CPS acted extralegally and also acknowledged that the cause of the raid was never substantiated.

The Supreme Court then reviewed the district court’s adversary hearing, concluding:

Having carefully examined the testimony at the adversary hearing and the other evidence before us, we are not inclined to disturb the court of appeals’ decision. On the record before us, removal of the children was not warranted. The Department argues without explanation that the court of appeals’ decision leaves the Department unable to protect the children’s safety, but the Family Code gives the district court broad authority to protect children short of separating them from their parents and placing them in foster care.”

The Supreme Court also acknowledged that other aspects of this case may come to their jurisdiction:

Although the SAPCRs (Suits Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship) involve important, fundamental issues concerning parental rights and the State’s interest in protecting children, it is premature for us to address those issues.

Sanity of a Court, Insanity of the State of Texas

King George 28, State of Texas 28

As the insanity continues, it’s now a tie game…

26. The Texas Court of Appeals, Third District, found that evidence to support the CPS claim that the FLDS community constituted a single household “was not legally or factually sufficient.” The court summarized the CPS reasoning as follows:

All 468 children were removed from the ranch under the theory that the ranch community was “essentially one household comprised of extended family subgroups” with a single, common belief system and there was reason to believe that a child had been sexually abused in the ranch “household”.

The court then proceeded to demolish the foundation of the CPS position, based on statements from CPS witnesses:

The notion that the entire ranch community constitutes a “household” as contemplated by section 262.201 [of the Texas Family Code] and justifies removing all children from the ranch community if there even is one incident of suspected child sexual abuse is contrary to the evidence. The Department’s [Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the parent organization of which Child Protective Services is a division] witnesses acknowledged that the ranch community was divided into separate family groups and separate households. While there was evidence that the living arrangements on the ranch are more communal than most typical neighborhoods, the evidence was not legally or factually sufficient to support a theory that the entire ranch community was a “household”.

The simple fact, conceded by the Department, that not all FLDS families are polygamous or allow their female children to marry as minors demonstrates the danger of removing children from their homes based on the broad-brush ascription of every aspect of a belief system to every person living among followers of the belief system or professing to follow the belief system.

The appeals court ordered the district court to “vacate its temporary orders granting sole managing conservatorship of the children of the Relators [the 38 women who participated in the appeals case] to the Department [of Family and Protective Services].” In spite of this blunt and well-reasoned legal rebuff, CPS is pressing forward and has appealed the decision to the Texas Supreme Court.

27. After announcing publicly that Dale Barlow was wanted for the rape and physical assault of “Sarah,” Texas officials later dropped charges against him, without even having the decency to state why the charges had been dropped. By 2 May, the charges had been dropped, but the Texas Department of Public Safety was not willing to admit the date when the charges had actually been dropped.

If the charges were dropped because there is no evidence that Dale Barlow abused “Sarah” or because there is no evidence that “Sarah” even exists, that should be publicly stated, if not incorporated into a public apology. Simple human decency dictates that Dale Barlow’s name should be publicly cleared if, in fact, the Department of Public Safety knows him to be innocent of the offenses that they alleged against him in public.

By 19 May, CPS had also withdrawn the legal case aimed at protecting “Sarah”. A CPS lawyer stated: “We’re not saying that the child doesn’t exist, but at this time we don’t believe she’s in our custody.

If CPS has reason to believe the calls that triggered the raid were hoaxes, they have a moral obligation to admit that fact. As a material fact that is relevant to the legal cases currently being heard, CPS has a public duty to reveal the information in their possession related to those calls.

28. Although the district judge who presided over the initial custody hearing permitted nursing mothers to stay with children who are twelve months old or younger, she did not grant that same privilege to mothers nursing infants older than twelve months. What possible motivation could the state have for not permitting the health and bonding benefits of nursing to continue for these very young children? The state has argued that, within the FLDS community, young girls were married to older men and that they were taught to accept such early marriage. I find it ludicrous to believe that these nursing infants were on the verge of being married off to older men and, unless the state makes the equally ludicrous argument that nursing mothers were singing lullabies of underage marriage to these infants, it is very challenging to understand why the state would think that it was helping rather than harming these infants by not enabling their mothers to continue nursing them.

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Digest of Abuses

Almek Manning was living in the United Monarchy of Europe when he was deposited by the Child Rights Police in the bombed-out ruins of London, but he had a dream to reach for the stars. He hoped to escape from London Proper with the help of his squad of fellow detainees, join the Solar Fleet, and jump to the Stars!
The Zochtil
(Almek Manning Book 1)

State of Texas v. King George III

The contest begins, in which the state of Texas attempts to topple King George’s longstanding record of governmental abuses by stripping all 468 children from their parents in an unpopular community.

The Fourth Amendment Goes in the Recycle Bin

1. Legal action should be directed at individuals, based on evidence of specific actions committed by those individuals, rather than being directed against a community.

2. The government actions against the FLDS appear to violate the first amendment guarantee of freedom of religion.

3. The government actions appear to violate the fourth amendment “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”

Children Seized Using APC, Police, FBI, Rangers, and K9

4. The government actions appear to violate the fourth amendment requirement that search warrants be based “upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

5. A CPS spokesman said it doesn’t matter if the calls that provided the excuse for the raid were genuine.

6. The government actions appear to turn the fifth amendment guarantee that citizens shall not be “deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law” into an empty promise.

Coming Soon to a Neighborhood Near You: Elimination of Fourteenth Amendment Protection

7. We can only hope that the government actions against the FLDS violate the fourteenth amendment guarantee of “equal protection.”

8. Apparently, one of the key reasons for taking all the FLDS children into custody was that the FLDS encourage early sex. Even if that is true, it is at least somewhat hypocritical to pretend that the same does not happen in the mainstream culture.

9. The government actions ignore the benefit of historic precedent.

10. The Texas approach to civil liberties demonstrates that colonial Rhode Island benefited from a more enlightened approach to civil liberties 350 years ago than Texas does today.

The Grinches who Stole Mother’s Day

11. With the FLDS children having been in state custody for over one month, state officials still have not enabled a comprehensive program of parental visits.

12. The fact that several state laws were created specifically to place the FLDS religion in the crosshairs of Texas family law appears to fit with the other indicators that point toward a religious motivation for the government actions.

13. There was a deplorable lack of due diligence taken by government officials before initiating the raid.

The Risks of Foster Care

14. Weighing allegations of sexual abuse by the FLDS community against known problems with the Texas foster care system, it is not clear that removing all the children from their homes and placing them in state protective custody was the lowest risk option for these children.

15. Outside of the other traumas the FLDS children will face in foster care, a large number of the FLDS children are statistically likely to be placed on psychotropic drugs while in foster care.

When CPS is Let Loose in the FLDS China Shop

16. Court testimony indicating that Child Protective Services relied on information from a former FLDS member and from a psychiatrist familiar with the Branch Davidians appears to indicate that CPS knew the conclusions they wanted to reach before moving against the FLDS community.

17. Mental health professionals who helped at the shelters in San Angelo where the FLDS children were initially detained have complained about the way the FLDS were treated.

Doubt about Key CPS Claims Raises Doubt about All CPS Claims

18. At least twenty-six of the “children” CPS took into custody are actually adults.

19. The Bishop’s List, a set of church records that was used in the initial court hearings, has now been released, and it is most shocking for its lack of corroboration of government claims.

20. In the continuation of what appears to be a government trend to air unsubstantiated allegations, DFPS reported as a “cause for concern” that at least 41 of the children had at some point suffered from broken bones.

When FLDS Children are MIA or WIA

21. The children seem to be suffering significant health issues since entering state care. As of 28 April, nine of the children had been hospitalized.

22. Comments made by a CPS spokeswoman the day after the FLDS children aged five and over were separated from their mothers grossly oversimplifies the grieving and recovery process in the wake of the children being separated from their parents.

23. CPS appears to be having a hard time keeping track of all the children. An 11 year-old boy and a 16 month-old boy were reported missing as of 27 April, but “child welfare workers in Texas say they’re not worried.”

Big Tab for Big FLDS Raids

24. The Utah Attorney General, who has experience dealing with polygamist groups, has questioned the approach of Texas authorities.

25. The massive state actions will be expensive to taxpayers.

Sanity of a Court, Insanity of the State of Texas

26. The Texas Court of Appeals, Third District, found that evidence to support the CPS claim that the FLDS community constituted a single household “was not legally or factually sufficient.”

27. After announcing publicly that Dale Barlow was wanted for the rape and physical assault of “Sarah,” Texas officials later dropped charges against him, without even having the decency to state why the charges had been dropped.

28. Although the district judge who presided over the initial custody hearing permitted nursing mothers tostay with children who are twelve months old or younger, she did not grant that same privilege to mothers nursing infants older than twelve months.

Texas Takes the Lead against King George

29. The first search warrant against the FLDS and its associated affidavit appear to be constitutionally weak.

30. The fact that Texas officials performed interviews while executing the initial search warrant that had no relationship whatsoever to the initial search warrant leads to significant questions about the manner in which that warrant was executed.

31. A CPS supervisor’s testimony about her experience while interviewing girls in the FLDS community on 3 April demonstrates an irony too strong to not find disappointing.

FLDS Child Crying Himself to Sleep

32. A three-year old FLDS boy has been “crying himself to sleep every night, according to the attorney representing him.”

Fourteen Year-old FLDS Mom … Not a Mom and Not Pregnant

33. The youngest girl who CPS claims is an underage mother is, indeed, underage but is neither a mother nor even pregnant according to the lawyer representing her.

Issues Raised in Texas Supreme Court Opinions

34. The Texas Supreme Court minority opinion appears to complain about use of the Fifth Amendment.

35. According to the Supreme Court’s majority opinion, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services “took possession of all 468 children at the Ranch without a court order.”

Judge Persists in One Household Approach

36. Even though the appeals court explicitly rejected the CPS interpretation that the YFZ Ranch constitutes a single household, Judge Walther persisted in treating the FLDS in a manner that remained, essentially, a one-household approach.

CPS Subjected FLDS Kids to Outrageous Living Conditions

37. FLDS children and parents had two restrooms to share per 141 people in the early days after the raid.

CPS Living in Fantasyland?

38. CPS turned Warren Jeffs into the new villain who must not be named – or quoted – and whose signature must not be seen.

Texas Governor Not Worried about “Fine Legal Lines”

39. Texas Governor Rick Perry says he is more concerned about the welfare of children than observing “fine legal lines.”

FLDS Kid: “You’re the police, help us. Help me get my mother back.”

40. In addition to the separation of mothers and children being unnecessary, the manner in which the FLDS children were separated from their mothers was inhumane.

Texas Allegedly Knew Barlow Not at Ranch before Raid

41. Texas officials allegedly knew, before entering the YFZ Ranch, that the only person who was suspected of causing harm to one of the FLDS children was not present at the ranch, leaving the officials with no valid constitutional reason to enter the ranch.

CPS Didn’t Allow FLDS Kid with 104 Degree Fever to Be with Mom

42. CPS didn’t allow an FLDS mother to be with her child, even though the child was hospitalized with a 104 degree fever and the child’s doctor had requested the mother’s presence.

Catch and Release Rules Apply When Prey Taken Unconstitutionally

Foster Care Personnel Invade Privacy of FLDS Childbirth

43. Foster care personnel insisted on being in the labor and delivery room while one FLDS “child” (who wasn’t a child) gave birth.

Texas-Sized Double Standard in Dealing with FLDS

44. The State of Texas just can’t make up its mind whether teenage sexual activity is right or wrong.

Initial Service Plans Didn’t Follow CPS Procedure

45. A CPS worker admitted that CPS procedure calls for service plans to be based on evidence, even though that procedure wasn’t followed in dealing with the FLDS.

Big Tab for Big FLDS Raid

King George 28, State of Texas 25

In the ongoing contest between King George and the State of Texas, the State of Texas is rapidly catching up:

24. The Utah Attorney General, who has experience dealing with polygamist groups, has questioned the approach of Texas authorities. He is quoted as having said, “There is that sweeping statement that they’ve concluded as a matter of law that if you’re a child in a polygamous family, that alone means you’re abused. We’ve never concluded that here.” Shurtleff has focused on domestic abuse and fraud cases and has wished he could prosecute more cases, but he noted that it is challenging to assemble evidence and witnesses to build legal cases … an obstacle that Texas will eventually stumble into as well.

25. The massive state actions will be expensive to taxpayers. The initial costs were estimated as being greater than $25,000 per day. A spokesman for Governor Perry said, “We are looking under the couch cushions right now to see what’s available to pay for those operations.” A state senator who represents the area where the FLDS live said that local taxpayers shouldn’t be expected to cover the expenses of the governement actions but also admitted that the current state budget does not include money for this type of event.

The expenses are already sizeable: a law.com article indicated that legal expenses hit $1.6M on the first day of the court hearing, while Governor Perry’s office has estimated the expenses for the first three weeks at $7.5M. That already places the tab at $1 for every household in the state of Texas, but the Texas Senate Finance Committee Chair has recognized that there’s more money where those first outlays will come from, saying “I’m reasonably convinced that there’s enough money in the state to do this if we want to.

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When CPS is Let Loose in the FLDS China Shop

King George 28, State of Texas 17

16. Court testimony indicating that Child Protective Services relied on information from a former FLDS member and from a psychiatrist familiar with the Branch Davidians appears to indicate that CPS knew the conclusions they wanted to reach before moving against the FLDS community. Relying on the witness of a former church member to provide evidence relevant to actions that occurred in Texas and that the former member could not possibly have witnessed is about like using Benedict Arnold – after he had joined the British – to provide a legal basis for a case against George Washington regarding actions Washington took after Arnold was no longer part of the colonial army. Bringing in a psychiatrist familiar with the Branch Davidians to try to understand the FLDS seems to present a preference for jumping to conclusions, because of the implicit presumptions that the FLDS are a cult and that any one cult may be judged based on understanding any other cult. A CNN producer noted that the psychiatrist referred to the FLDS as a separatist group “but acknowledges he has done little reading of their doctrine.” In fact, another expert, who would seemingly have a background better suited to this case – a religious studies Ph.D. who lives in Texas and is an expert in the FLDS – actually offered his help to CPS and was turned down.

17. Mental health professionals who helped at the shelters in San Angelo where the FLDS children were initially detained have complained about the way the FLDS were treated. A must-read article published by the San Antonio Express-News says that these workers described FLDS mothers “who appeared to be good parents of healthy, well-behaved and emotionally normal kids.” The workers complained that the separation of the children from their families was both unnecessary and traumatic, and the workers complained about the behavior of CPS personnel. The article quoted one of the mental health workers as writing “I have worked in Domestic Violence/Sexual Abuse programming for over 20 years and have never seen women and children treated this poorly…. It makes us all wonder how safe anyone is who has children.”

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