Tuesday, October 14, 2014

When Men Become Gods--A Review


--When Men Become Gods is my 5th book in my study of the FLDS.  I've read Carolyn Jessop and Flora Jessop's accounts, and I'm listening to Rebecca Musser's on Cd.

--The women's accounts were their own personal stories.  In contrast, Singular gives a history and an overview of the FLDS movement.  He share the history of the Mormons, starting with Joseph Smith.

--He then details how things went wrong with some of the modern leaders of the FLDS.  And he shares about the women who started escaping and fighting back, and about the brave few who helped them.  The women and those who helped them were listed by Singular as the "Resistance".

--A list of just some who made up the "Resistance":
1) Flora Jessop--One of the many women who escaped and fought back
2) Sam Brower--A private investigator
3) Elaine Tyler--She assisted women who were trying to escape the FLDS, and she founded the Hope Organization.
4) Gary Engels--An investigator hired by Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith
5) Ross Chatwin--A loyal FLDS member who was kicked out by Warren Jeffs.  He was one of the few men who chose to fight back.  Most of the time Jeffs took away these men's homes and wives and children.  But Chatwin refused to leave his home, and his wife and kids stayed by his side instead of obeying Jeffs.
6) The Lost Boys--Teenage boys who were kicked out of the FLDS, so that the older men have more women to choose from.
--As I've studied all that has gone into the FLDS being exposed, I have been upset that Flora Jessop hasn't been given more credit for her role.  Below is Singular's description of her, and I think it's a good one:
Every revolution produced somebody like Flora Jessop: a flamethrower who jolted others into action.  She had a knack for inspiring victimized women to come forward--and for turning off strong FLDS opponents and embarrassing the police or other authorities.  In the absence of any organized effort to enforce the law along the border for the past several decades, Flora, like Laura Chapman before her, had stepped forward and done what others wouldn't.  Nobody else had wanted to take the risks to help the men, women, boys, girls, and childhood victims of polygamy--least of all the Latter-day Saints church up in Salt Lake City.--p. 121

--As the government authorities and members of the resistance tried to figure out how to bring the members of the FLDS to justice, they had some concerns.  They feared a Waco or Jonestown catastrophe.  The governments of Arizona, Utah and the Federal government were afraid to tackle the many crimes that were being committed in the FLDS community.  Yet, finally something needed to be done. The FLDS wasn't above the law and questions started to be raised by many, below are some:
What about the rising costs of welfare and of treating fumarase deficiency?  What if citizens across the nation with no connection to Mormon fundamentalists had to pick up the tab for other people's very expensive marital and sexual practices?  What if a religious sect on the Utah-Arizona border were being run like a criminal enterprise, similar to the mafia?  Or like a terrorist outfit, answerable only to its Prophet?--p. 115

--Singular shares how the authorities finally go after Jeffs, eventually putting him on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List.  And about the 3 sisters who testified against him, Elissa Wall, Theresa Wall and Rebecca Musser.

--Elissa Wall was forced into marriage when she was barely 14 and was raped by her husband.  Not only was this Jeffs' idea, but he refused to listen to her many cries for help and told her to "keep sweet" and submit to her husband.

--When Jeffs was declared guilty by a jury of his peers, several of the heroic women who stood up against him had this to say:
This wasn't just lawyering in the courtroom, this was justice.--Elaine Tyler

Opinion is a fleeting thing, but truth outlasts the sun.--Elissa Wall quoting Emily Dickinson
--Laura Chapman (one of the first women who fought back) was happy with the verdict, but warned people that the fight against the FLDS was far from over:
So much is still lacking in terms of accountability...Elissa Wall's parents not only failed to protect her but prepared a child in a wedding dress for her abuser.  They are culpable by law and should be charged.  If Warren Jeffs has 80 wives, and birth certificates of his 264 children prove this, he should be charged with 79 counts of bigamy...He was not charged for violating the Mann Act (taking a minor across state lines for sexual purposes).  Elissa was taken to Nevada to be married.  Jeffs should be held accountable for the human trafficking of women and children to Canada...

An apology should be issued to the thousands of people, over 160 years, who have lived in extreme conditions of poverty, emotional and spiritual abuse, sexual coercion and assault because of this doctrine that places men as superior over women.  Since the LDS church is one of the wealthiest religious organizations in the world, they should fund non-profit organizations to provide resources for refugees of polygamy.  They should no longer allow a man to be sealed for time and all eternity to more than one woman.

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