Friday, March 03, 2006

Seeking Refuge In Your Own Country

Hello everyone! I was watching ABC's Primetime last night and I got pulled into this episode on polygamy. I was so furious by the end that I knew I had to write about it.
The program spotlighted a polygamous sect that controls a city in Arizona called "Colorado City." The show was following up on a woman, Lauren Jessops, who escaped from the community over the summer. Despite warnings that her husband may take her to the desert and kill her upon returning, she returned anyway.
Colorado City is run by a prophet, Warren Jeffs, who is currently in hiding. Jeffs founded the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints. Jeffs' prophecy calls for a violent destruction and end to non-believers. Followers of Jeffs believe he is indeed a prophet and obey orders from him. Local police enforce the "rules" of the sect, which is how Lauren wound up in an institution, for disobeying her husband.
The culture is male-dominated, oppressive and in my view, just plain sick. Incest, child molestation, and domestic abuse run rampant. The women and children have no outlet or legal way out of the situation. An activist named Flora (who herself escaped from polygamy) works in secret with young women who wish to escape with their children. Flora is the woman who helped Lauren escape. Despite the harsh reality of these women's lives, a large number worship Warren Jeffs and embrace their way of life.
I was sickened and shocked while watching this program. I strongly feel that the women in this culture are victims of human rights violations. It is scary how religion can have such dominating and in some cases, life-threatening control over people. I really encourage you to read the story...

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