April 18th, 2008
06:14 PM ET

Dispatch from the FLDS hearing: Defense begins...

Katherine Wojtecki
CNN Producer

First witness: Dr John Walsh. Credentials include PHD in religious studies, but will only talk about the history of church in general.

*Historically, the only use of the bed in a temple is for temple worship itself. The worshop lasts a couple hours so all temples will have a place where someone can lie down. To my knowledge there has never been any sexual activity in a morman temple.

*Family practices of FLDs vary from family to family. This comes from reading hundreds of books and personal interviews.

*Walsh has NOT been able to intv children at coliseum *Walsh has 18 yrs of experience studying this religion.
*Walsh says family of FLDS will be centered around the husband who have one or more wives formal or informal arrangements.
*They have less knowledge about education but follow home schooling program *Does this religion practice child marriages? Walsh: I don't believe so

*Walsh says they expel people who engage in sex who are not married. Those who are married have some wifes under age 18. It's an Individual choice.

*The community is into match making. But girls are not expelled if they decide not to marry who the community thinks they should marry.

*The leader of sect now is STILL Warren Jeffs, now in jail

*The record shows...Under Jeffs...under age marriages have taken place. There is a record of 20 women who have engaged in sexual contact under the age of 17

*Walsh says this is not a common practice in his opinion...
*If there is a pattern of underage marriage and underage births that is a stray from normal conditions for this religion.

*Walsh says as children age...the marriage negotiation process starts between children, parents and the leaders

*There might be an agreement saying this child can marry at 16 but her sister has to wait until she is 18. Some negotations start when child starts puberty.


*The lawyers representing the ORANGE group, representing teen age mothers, now starts to ask Dr Walsh questions

*Walsh says you cannot treat all FLDS groups the same.

*FLDS will always recognize ONE prophet but how many Catholics pay attention to the pope? Some do, some don't. Some pay more attn to Jeffs, some don't.

*Walsh has seen cases when FLDS can be deceptive. In this case they feel threatened. FLDS have taught their children who their mom is and who their dad is...but they are taught NOT to identify their parents because law enforcement might take them away....

*Historically walsh re-confirms they only use of bed in a temple is for temple worship itself. The worshop lasts a couple hours so all temples will have a place where someone can lie down. To my knowledge there has never been any sexual activity in a morman temple.

Filed under: FLDS court hearing • Polygamy
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Agatha

    Christina made a very good point. I agree with what she said.

    April 19, 2008 at 4:51 pm |
  2. Freida Worley

    Is there some meaning for the colors of the dresses? I am also wondering why the FLDS people have not been brought to court many years ago. This is not a matter of religious freedom. They are breaking the law!!!!

    April 19, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  3. k mcneil

    Christina , you have a very dirty mind and its obvious that your prejudice is showing.

    April 19, 2008 at 12:09 am |
  4. Bartleby

    Laurynn Smith you need to turn off Dr. Phil and Oprah. Google the search term "the McMartin Case." I hope you don't have children, because if this country is ever controlled by the likes of you, they can be taken away in a heartbeat, for nothing. If you read the insane definition of "abuse" it is so subjective as to encompass pretty much everything, as far as these so-called child protective worker types are concerned.

    The government wants to have God-like control. What could be more sinister and powerful than the right to allege "abuse" and rip your children from you.

    Why don't they rip Suri from Tom Cruise and Katie Homes? They belong to a far more evil "religion" than these polygamists.

    No child should be taken from their parents like this. It is sickening. My heart goes out to all those sad, poor children, who are suffering so much now because of an evil system / government. And to the parents, who are suffering equally. What has become of America?

    April 18, 2008 at 11:56 pm |
  5. Bartleby

    To a truly compassionate person who truly cares about the welfare of children, imagine: what could be more horrendous than being ripped from your parents and taken away by strangers and interrogated by freaky social workers?

    This kind of witch hunt is the direct result of society’s obsession with seeing abuse everywhere, thanks to those parasites like Oprah, Dr. Phil, and Nancy Grace who make their very good living peddling these kinds of stories to ignorant people who have nothing better to do than get all hyped up and vicous in the name of abuse. Remember the McMartin case? What a bunch of freaks, and what an outrage and travesty of justice.

    If you want to go after criminal religions, start with friggin Scientology – now there’s a vicious evil cult if there ever was one. This is an absolutely criminal abuse of the justice system: an allegation from a woman who doesn’t appear to exists, and hundreds of innocent children are ripped from their parents, because there “might” be abuse going on???? What is the matter with you hillbillies!????? You need to turn off Dr. Phil and Oprah, and start thinking instead of believing all the garbage you are so willing to believe. What kind of freak sees abuse everywhere? A sicko. Start by reading the McMartin case on the Internet. Because the very same sickos who feed that frenzy are on TV every night (a la Nancy Grace). Quit hunting witches, and get a life. And if you really love the children, don’t rip them from their flesh and blood. What could be more horrible and traumatic?

    And as for people who falsely accuse others of abuse: they deserve double the time a truly guilty abuser gets.

    And by the way, if you want to see pregnant underage girls, you don't have to go a polygamist colony – they're EVERYWHERE in America.

    The government just wants to control more and more of our lives – what could be better than actually having the power to rip children from their parents – the ultimate control. Evil, Orwellian, but it is the future, unless we wake up!

    April 18, 2008 at 11:51 pm |
  6. Christina

    In reference to this quote: "The worshop lasts a couple hours so all temples will have a place where someone can lie down." from the above article.

    The quote about the bed being available for people to rest during worship services is absolutely out-of-control. I am a member of an evangelical Christian church and if you've ever been to one of our services it can last anywhere between 1 1/2 to 2 hours (depending on the length of the worship and pastor's message). This is common for many Protestant churches throughout America (some last even longer) and I have never once seen or heard of a bed provided at the sanctuary building for people to "lie down". I mean, it is not as if you are doing manual labor during the worship service; even more charismatic churches with lots of lively dancing (where people could really work up a sweat) have no need for a bed.

    This is simply a ludicrous excuse for something sinister and incredibly ungodly going on. It disgusts me that this man would assume the American public is ignorant enough to believe this.

    April 18, 2008 at 10:57 pm |
  7. Annie Kate

    Protecting the children from abuse is in the best interest of the children. Removing them from a situation that could victimize them to teenage marriages with their mother's support keeps them from future sexual abuse. Sometimes even though the child is scared, doing what is best for the child may require them to be separated from their parents if the parents think the potential abuse is not wrong.

    I think the state did the right thing and even though the children may be scared and missing their families the state may have just changed their futures for the better.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    April 18, 2008 at 10:07 pm |
  8. Laurynn Smith

    First of all, they went in the compound on an allegation they believed to be true. While in there, they noticed many pregnant underage girls. I think THAT's proof enough. Second, in a "typical" child abuse situation, the mother may not be allowed to be with her child because she may be a possible abuse source. Now, that's not to say these mothers fall under that category, but you can't assume that the children being with their mothers is the "safest" environment. They could also be encouraging their children to hold back information to stay out of legal trouble. So there are many GOOD reasons that the children are not currently with their mothers. Thirdly, the government does not have control over our families. The government is taking legal action on behalf of these children. If there is reported illegal activity happening in any other home, the government would do the exact same thing they are doing in this situation. This just happens to be going on in a very large place, therefore, making this a very large case. Lastly, the nation has been re-awakened to this subject and people want answers. There are many professionals working on this, which will hopefully prompt some sort of legal action. I'm sure we will know the truth by the time this is over.

    April 18, 2008 at 9:37 pm |
  9. Stan Johnson

    I do not agree at all with the practice of polygamy or underage marriage and I hope if there is evidence of criminal behavior the perpetrators will be prosecuted but this is a sect in our society who believes very much in what they practice who in general probably live very conservative, moral lives. There are a minority within the group that have engaged in underage marriage but this is an exception and not the norm. I have a hard time how the Texas government has treated these people and their families. Of course, in every culture you have some that go to the extreme which may or may not be criminal but you don't punish the entire culture. Why pull out hundreds of children and women out of a society on the speculation from one phone call. Shouldn't there been an investigation before a raid on a community. If it is the polygamy aspect that is criminal, why weren't the men hauled off. It should be an outrage that the children were seperated from their parents/mothers. From what I understand there were no accusations that the women were abusing the children. We should not speculate that just because a bed was found in the church temple that is was used for sex, please.... were is the evidence. I belong to a christian church that has a bed were the preacher uses it rest because of his long days.

    April 18, 2008 at 9:30 pm |
  10. Billy Thompson

    I feel an investigation is important on behalf of the children, but I feel the state has no right to take the mothers away from these children, and the childrens best interest is not being considered here at all, these children are scared to death, and the state has no right to do the damage to the childen mentally they are doing, the mothers should have been allowed to stay with the children no matter where they were being taken, and have the right to be there when they are being questioned. This could happen to your family ! people look at the control the government has over YOUR FAMILY, no proof and they took all there children, We the people need to stand up Waco was a terrible disaster and we the people did not stand up for that either, and the news media dropped talking about it we never ever find out the true facts, they just get quite, and we never know the truth.

    April 18, 2008 at 8:38 pm |