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Polygamy Raid in Texas

You Know You're Obsessed With the Big Polygamy Story


Authorities trying to talk to some of the kids taken from this weekend's big polygamy raid aren't getting much information. After state troopers raided a 1,700-acre West Texas ranch last Friday looking for evidence of the teen, who placed a call authorities a week ago, some 220 women and children have been removed from the premises. The tipoff call came from a girl who allegedly had a baby at 15 and was married to a 50-year-old (under Texas law, girls younger than 16 cannot marry, even with parental approval).

The compound was built by jailed polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, and residents of the compound were practicing a breakaway version of Mormonism, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. A local child advocate said of the kids hesitance to talk, "When children live in a pretty secluded environment and they're as sheltered as these children, it's very difficult to get them to talk to you and to open up. If you can get them to a neutral place, they're a lot more prone to answer you truthfully."

220! Women and children! What in the world was going on there?! It's almost beyond comprehension if you're used to the world view that prizes the nuclear family.

But does it make sense that with all our soft-focus pop culture romanticism of polygamy (see Big Love, The Girls Next Door, and any number of easy-watching documentaries about plural marriage on TLC) that we would then vilify this? Do you think polygamy is within a person's religious rights? Are you disgusted or fascinated by this story?

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