May 14th, 2008
12:35 PM ET

FLDS Fathers fight to gain their children back

You can read the entire petition filed on behalf of 3 fathers with the FLDS to regain custody of their children here.
You can read the entire petition filed on behalf of 3 fathers with the FLDS to regain custody of their children here.

David M. Reisner
360° Digital Producer

Hey Bloggers,

The FLDS is fighting back after last month’s raid that removed more than 400 children from its Texas compound after accusations of forced marriages and sex with underage girls.

The writ of habeas corpus, used to test the legality of a person's detention, is being filed in San Angelo, Texas on behalf of 3 of the fathers with the FLDS.

I wanted to share another document with you.

Their claim is that they are monogamous families living in single-family residences on the compound... when their children were abducted:

"Each of these three Relators now before the Court, live in a monogamous relationship
with their wife (who was of age at the time of their marrage) and their children in single family, stand-alone, separate residences located on the YFZ Ranch property. There was no evidence nor allegation of physical or sexual abuse of any of these children"

What are your thoughts on the claim and the court case? You can read the entire article here

Filed under: FLDS update • Polygamy
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Ed

    I fear that in a few years we will hear that the government overstepped its bounds, again. While I may not believe in the FLDS' way of life and I think that their way of life is outdated or old fashion, I believe stronger that they have the right to believe and live however they want, given it is within our very broad cultural morals and norms.

    May 15, 2008 at 2:43 am |
  2. Brandi Ranatza

    I think many of the men will now come forward saying they are in monogamous relationships since legally, only one of their marriages is binding under law. The other wives are simply mistresses under law, however, if they present themselves as husband to many, then they should be held to that. I believe it is the men who are abusing, while yes the women are allowing it. Bottom line, the children are the ultimate victims and will suffer the most.

    May 14, 2008 at 11:30 pm |
  3. Mike in NYC

    grandma in Illinois wrote:

    "Isn’t teaching racism a hate crime as much as the cry of religious persecution is?"

    Teaching racism is not a "hate crime". Not yet, at least. (Be patient.)

    The FLDS may present this, at least publicly, as a religious issue, but it goes much deeper than that. It's really about people who refuse to be part of the "system," and the system's inevitable response.

    May 14, 2008 at 10:46 pm |
  4. JC

    I am so sad when I see the mother's from the FLDS. Those poor women, who have been abused and hurt by the men in their lives for so much of their lives, now have our court system abusing and hurting them even more. Our justice system is shameful. They took these children and ripped them away from loving mothers, nursing mothers, and the only world they ever knew.

    Should they have been removed from the ranch? Absolutely.

    Should they have been separated from their mothers? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!

    And then the Texas judge has the incredible stupidity to compare these poor children and mothers to that of a modern working mom who returns to work 6 weeks after giving birth – and tells these mothers they need to 'deal with it'. Are you kidding?? They don't know where there children are, if they will ever see them again, and they have never been separated from them before. I can't even begin to imagine the horror and anguish they are experiencing.

    And those poor babies... what kind of places were they thrown into? Homes that may harbor bias against the polygamists? And take it out on these helpless children? Thrown into a completely foreign culture and world?

    I just don't understand how our government could allow these children to be separated from their mothers and defend that action!!

    My heart breaks every time I see the sadness in those mother's eyes.

    May 14, 2008 at 9:46 pm |
  5. Annie Kate

    Several of the men in monogamous marriages have been reported as saying that they want to take on more wives and that their current wife is happy with that idea. So being monogamous may just be a temporary state.

    I don't really care what religion they practice as long as the underage females are not married to men much older than themselves or impregnated while they are underage. Those that want to wait on marriage and go to college should be allowed to do so. The scarcity of choices these girls have in their lives troubles me much more than the religious issues.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    May 14, 2008 at 9:03 pm |
  6. grandma in Illinois

    hmmm, how come only 3 fathers are filing for this?
    Ever consider that they were at the ranch waiting for the placement of the second wife in that marriage. This group practices the tenets of Joseph Smith that believes plural marriage is the way to heaven.

    Isn't teaching racism a hate crime as much as the cry of religious persecution is? Ask how they view black people? Ask how many black FLDS members they have? Or Asian?

    The DNA will very interesting.

    May 14, 2008 at 7:42 pm |
  7. Angela, Ottawa, Canada

    The argument about "there was no physical or sexual abuse", to me, is a far more compelling than the argument about who lived in the house.

    But if some of the families are taking care of their children properly, they really should give them back. Otherwise you get into issues with freedom of religion.

    May 14, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  8. Mike in NYC

    Ann wrote:

    "Even if there was no sexual or physical abuse, they are destroying these children’s minds."

    You must have missed the child mind-destruction going on 24/7 in the world outside the confines of the FLDS.

    Claudia, Houston, TX wrote:

    "If there is evidence of crime against the children why haven’t these men been jailed?"

    The authorities have been in overdrive looking for "evidence." If no arrests have been made, that should tell you something.

    naknudson wrote:

    "People in mainstream have to jump through hoops to get it [welfare]."

    There's plenty of multi-generational welfare families in our urban areas, so getting "assistance" can't be that hard.

    Read what Kim in NY wrote. Very few posters in these FLDS threads have made as much sense.

    May 14, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  9. naknudson

    What about all the welfare payments being made to all the mothers that has been reported on CNN? If twhat these fathers say is true which I truly doubt then who is getting all that money? People in mainstream have to jump through hoops to get it how can these people who are bearing so many children?

    May 14, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  10. Jay, Denver CO

    I believe part of their petition to get the kids back includes the phrase:

    "...if there's grass on the field play ball!"

    May 14, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  11. Kim in NY

    Ann –
    I believe you are being judgmental. I personally do not agree with their religion, but there are many who don't agree with mine. Asking someone to sacrifice their beliefs is never the answer. If this was the world they were raised in, it is not abnormal. And let's face it, there are many others who go too far the other way... There are kids that have no religion, no boundaries, they mess up in school, do drugs, lie, cheat, steal and have babies in single family homes that can't support them. The children that I have seen, and that's not many, have looked healthy and clean. They do chores, outside and get fresh air. They respect their families and know how to read and write. There are good and bad in all.... Let's not condemn all Catholics because of the past abuses by priests, nor should we condemn all polygamists because of a certain few who have abused the religion. I think recent history has showed us all religions can be taken too far.... Let's not start our own jihad like scenario .......

    May 14, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  12. Justin, Chicago

    We should ban all religions.

    May 14, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  13. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    The men should have been removed and the children and women should never have been disrupted. If there is evidence of crime against the children why haven't these men been jailed?

    May 14, 2008 at 1:55 pm |
  14. Marcia

    How do they know which parent is the father of which child? Warren Jeffs excommunicated so many men and forced them to leave, then gave their wives to someone else. Do these fathers that were driven away have any rights; if anyone has the right to find their children its these men. However, I doubt that this is ever going to be sorted out.

    May 14, 2008 at 1:36 pm |
  15. Steven

    If there is no evidence of illegal activity, the children should be returned. I disagree with their beliefs, but the government must show cause. However, the state will need time to investigate the situation and look over all private and public records pertaining to these individuals (while observing privacy regulations).

    May 14, 2008 at 1:25 pm |
  16. Ann

    If they want their children back and really love them, then get out of the cult, stay out for at least a year, get a regular job, put their children in school (private or public), and prove they can survive in society. For someone to be "mixed up" in such a religion, there has to be some kind of abnormal , mental issue going on. Even if there was no sexual or physical abuse, they are destroying these children's minds. Seek professional help....then think about getting your children.

    May 14, 2008 at 1:23 pm |
  17. nate

    arrest the men, let the women and kids go

    May 14, 2008 at 1:05 pm |
  18. Cindy

    Makes sense to me that they'd lie to the court trying to get out of the mess that they themselves created! They lie about the girls ages and being married so young why not lie now? It is ridiculous that they try to say they live in single family homes when every body and his brother knows that they don't. If they did they would need WAY more houses out there on that compound.

    May 14, 2008 at 1:01 pm |