Sacrificing the kids

A breakaway Mormon sect is accused of abandoning as many as 1,000 teenage boys to free up the group's females for polygamous marriages.

Topics:

Up to 1,000 teenage boys have been separated from their parents and thrown out of their communities by a polygamous sect to make more young women available for older men, Utah officials claim. Many of these “lost boys,” some as young as 13, have simply been dumped on the side of the road in Arizona and Utah, by the leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS), and told they will never see their families again or go to heaven.

The 10,000-strong FLDS, which broke away from the Mormon Church in 1890 when the mainstream faith disavowed polygamy, believes a man must marry at least three women to go to heaven. The sect appeared to be in turmoil Monday after its assets were frozen last week and a warrant was issued in Arizona on Friday for the arrest of its autocratic leader, Warren Jeffs, for arranging a wedding between an underage girl and a 28-year-old man who was already married.

Jeffs is also being sued by lawyers for six of the lost boys for conspiracy to purge surplus males from the community, and by his nephew, Brent Jeffs, who accuses him of sexual abuse.

Warren Jeffs’ whereabouts Monday were uncertain, but Utah officials said they believed he may be hiding in an FLDS compound near Eldorado, Texas, and they have contacted the Texan authorities.

Some have voiced concern that an attempt to corner the sect leader could provoke a tragedy like the 1993 siege of the Branch Davidian sect in Waco, Texas. Jim Hill, an investigator in Utah’s attorney general’s office, told the Guardian Monday: “From everything I’ve been able to discern about Warren Jeffs, he is someone who is capable of some very different things. Whether that includes a mass suicide, I don’t know. But I worry about it all the time.”

FLDS officials and the sect’s lawyer, Rodney Parker, did not return calls seeking comment, but they have previously argued that the lost boys were exiled from their communities because they were teenage delinquents who refused to abide by the sect’s rules.

Hill said although the boys may have been rebellious, their expulsion had more to do with the ruthless sexual arithmetic of a polygamous sect. “Obviously if you’re going to have three to one or four to one female-to-male marriages, you’re going to run out of females. The way of taking care of it is selectively casting out those you don’t want to be in the religion,” the investigator said.



Dave Bills, who runs Smiles for Diversity, a foundation in Salt Lake City set up by an ex-FLDS member to look after the lost boys, said it was difficult to estimate their numbers because they had been scattered. But Bills said the figures could be “as low as 400 and as high as 1,000.”

“They live every day like it’s their last day and they don’t care about anything,” Bills said. “They’re told they won’t have three wives, and they’re doomed. But they all want to go back to their moms.”

One of the boys, Gideon Barlow, said he was expelled from a FLDS community in Colorado City, Ariz., for wearing short-sleeved shirts, listening to CDs and having a girlfriend. He said his mother rejected him on orders from the sect’s leaders. “I couldn’t see how my mom would let them do what they did to me,” he told the Los Angeles Times. After his expulsion, he attempted to give her a Mother’s Day present, but she told him to stay away. “I am dead to her now,” he said.

Joanne Suder, a lawyer representing some of the boys in a case against the sect, said there had been “a conspiracy to excommunicate young boys to change the arithmetic so there are more young girls available for polygamy.” She said some of the boys were simply driven out of town and dumped on the side of the road, leaving them traumatized. “I think anyone who finds themselves ousted from the only environment they ever knew and left in the middle of nowhere, and then is not allowed to be with their family and loved ones, and is led to believe that they can no longer go to heaven, is going to be troubled,” Suder told the Guardian.

Polygamy is illegal in the United States, but authorities have been wary of confronting the FLDS for fear of provoking a siege or inviting political attacks for religious persecution.

State investigators have also found it hard to persuade FLDS members to give evidence against Jeffs. However, authorities in Utah and Arizona have recently increased the pressure on the sect’s leader. Last week, a Utah judge froze FLDS assets, and the attorney’s office in Mohave County, Ariz., charged Jeffs for arranging a marriage between a 28-year-old married man and a 16-year-old girl. If convicted he could serve up to two years in prison.

Jeffs inherited the leadership of the FLDS three years ago after the death of his father, Rulon. Since then, he has ruled its enclaves on the Arizona-Utah border, in Texas and in Canada with fearsome discipline. At the age of 49 he has reportedly fathered at least 56 children by 40 wives.

There have been no confirmed sightings of Jeffs for over a year, but a photograph of a man resembling the sect leader was taken in January at the FLDS 1,700-acre Texas ranch near Eldorado.

Randy Mankin, the editor of the local newspaper, the Eldorado Success, said: “People on the ranch don’t have contact with the outside world. Two men only do whatever is necessary to do their business.”

Julian Borger is a correspondent for the Guardian.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 14
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Pilot"

    One of our first exposures to uncomfortable “Girls” sex comes early, in the pilot episode, when Hannah and Adam “get feisty” (a phrase Hannah hates) on the couch. The pair is about to go at it doggy-style when Adam nearly inserts his penis in “the wrong hole,” and after Hannah corrects him, she awkwardly explains her lack of desire to have anal sex in too many words. “Hey, let’s play the quiet game,” Adam says, thrusting. And so the romance begins.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Elijah, "It's About Time"

    In an act of “betrayal” that messes up each of their relationships with Hannah, Marnie and Elijah open Season 2 with some more couch sex, which is almost unbearable to watch. Elijah, who is trying to explore the “hetero side” of his bisexuality, can’t maintain his erection, and the entire affair ends in very uncomfortable silence.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Charlie, "Vagina Panic"

    Poor Charlie. While he and Marnie have their fair share of uncomfortable sex over the course of their relationship, one of the saddest moments (aside from Marnie breaking up with him during intercourse) is when Marnie encourages him to penetrate her from behind so she doesn’t have to look at him. “This feels so good,” Charlie says. “We have to go slow.” Poor sucker.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and camp friend Matt, "Hannah's Diary"

    We’d be remiss not to mention Shoshanna’s effort to lose her virginity to an old camp friend, who tells her how “weird” it is that he “loves to eat pussy” moments before she admits she’s never “done it” before. At least it paves the way for the uncomfortable sex we later get to watch her have with Ray?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Hard Being Easy"

    On the heels of trying (unsuccessfully) to determine the status of her early relationship with Adam, Hannah walks by her future boyfriend’s bedroom to find him masturbating alone, in one of the strangest scenes of the first season. As Adam jerks off and refuses to let Hannah participate beyond telling him how much she likes watching, we see some serious (and odd) character development ... which ends with Hannah taking a hundred-dollar bill from Adam’s wallet, for cab fare and pizza (as well as her services).

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Booth Jonathan, "Bad Friend"

    Oh, Booth Jonathan -- the little man who “knows how to do things.” After he turns Marnie on enough to make her masturbate in the bathroom at the gallery where she works, Booth finally seals the deal in a mortifying and nearly painful to watch sex scene that tells us pretty much everything we need to know about how much Marnie is willing to fake it.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Tad and Loreen, "The Return"

    The only sex scene in the series not to feature one of the main characters, Hannah’s parents’ showertime anniversary celebration is easily one of the most cringe-worthy moments of the show’s first season. Even Hannah’s mother, Loreen, observes how embarrassing the situation is, which ends with her husband, Tad, slipping out of the shower and falling naked and unconscious on the bathroom floor.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and the pharmacist, "The Return"

    Tad and Loreen aren’t the only ones to get some during Hannah’s first season trip home to Michigan. The show’s protagonist finds herself in bed with a former high school classmate, who doesn’t exactly enjoy it when Hannah puts one of her fingers near his anus. “I’m tight like a baby, right?” Hannah asks at one point. Time to press pause.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Role-Play"

    While it’s not quite a full-on, all-out sex scene, Hannah and Adam’s attempt at role play in Season 3 is certainly an intimate encounter to behold (or not). Hannah dons a blond wig and gets a little too into her role, giving a melodramatic performance that ends with a passerby punching Adam in the face. So there’s that.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and Ray, "Together"

    As Shoshanna and Ray near the end of their relationship, we can see their sexual chemistry getting worse and worse. It’s no more evident than when Ray is penetrating a clothed and visibly horrified Shoshanna from behind, who ends the encounter by asking if her partner will just “get out of me.”

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Frank, "Video Games"

    Hannah, Jessa’s 19-year-old stepbrother, a graveyard and too much chatting. Need we say more about how uncomfortable this sex is to watch?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Desi, "Iowa"

    Who gets her butt motorboated? Is this a real thing? Aside from the questionable logistics and reality of Marnie and Desi’s analingus scene, there’s also the awkward moment when Marnie confuses her partner’s declaration of love for licking her butthole with love for her. Oh, Marnie.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Vagina Panic"

    There is too much in this scene to dissect: fantasies of an 11-year-old girl with a Cabbage Patch lunchbox, excessive references to that little girl as a “slut” and Adam ripping off a condom to ejaculate on Hannah’s chest. No wonder it ends with Hannah saying she almost came.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>