Saints Under Siege
The Texas State Raid on the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: NYU Press
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List of Abbreviations
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Preface and Acknowledgments
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Texas now has the distinction of being home to two of the most dramatic government raids on religious sects in recent U.S. history. The deadly federal raid on the Branch Davidians outside Waco in 1993 stands as the most memorable law enforcement debacle in modern times, resulting in the deaths of 86 people...
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On April 3, 2008, Texas state police and the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) raided the Yearning for Zion Ranch near Eldorado, Texas, a community of eight hundred members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), a Mormon sect that continues to practice...
PART ONE: HISTORICAL CONTEXT
1. The Past as Prologue: A Comparison of the Short Creek and Eldorado Polygamy Raids
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When the story of the raid on the community of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) at the Eldorado, Texas, Yearning for Zion (YFZ) Ranch rolled out, the past was prologue. The similarities between the Short Creek raid of 1953 and the Eldorado raid of 2008 are striking, resonating...
2. Rescuing Children? Government Raids and Child Abuse Allegations in Historical and Cross-Cultural Perspective
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The Texas raid on the Yearning for Zion (YFZ) community, now generally considered an egregious and expensive miscalculation, was not the first time that secular authorities have attempted to rescue children from an unconventional communitarian society. In the four cases described below, the authorities were...
3. The Struggle for Legitimacy: Tensions between the LDS and FLDS
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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) has spent a considerable amount of time, money, and effort to distance itself from polygamy and those who continued the practice since it stopped performing plural marriages in the early 1900s (Cragun and Nielsen 2009). Those efforts were redoubled as a result...
PART TWO: SOCIAL AND CULTURAL DIMENSIONS
4. Reader Responses to the Yearning for Zion Ranch Raid and Its Aftermath on the Websites of the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News
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While national media provide broad-based and politically astute perspectives for readers and audiences, they sometimes fail to fully understand local or regional cultural nuances that affect a story. The 2008 Texas state raid on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) is a case in...
5. Deconstructing Official Rationales for the Texas State Raid on the FLDS
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The massive state raid on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints (FLDS) near Eldorado, Texas, in 2008 was predicated on hoax phone calls to a domestic violence shelter hotline from an alleged sixteen-year-old girl inside the FLDS community who said she was raped and beaten by her polygamous...
6. Texas Redux: A Comparative Analysis of the FLDS and Branch Davidian Raids
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In the initial days after the Texas state raid, in 2008, on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) in Eldorado, some observers invoked a comparison with the disastrous federal raid on the Branch Davidians outside Waco fifteen years earlier. Although the raids had some ostensible...
7. Large-Scale FLDS Raids: The Dangers and Appeal of Crime Control Theater
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The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) has been portrayed by the media, politicians, and law enforcement officials as a sect that engages in and encourages illegal and immoral behavior. The negative portrayal of this religious group has resulted in two arguably ill-conceived and..
PART THREE: LEGAL AND POLITICAL PERSPECTIVES
8. Strategic Dissolution and the Politics of Opposition: Parallels in the State Raids on the Twelve Tribes and the FLDS
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On June 22, 1984, the State of Vermont illegally seized 112 children from the Twelve Tribes Community in Island Pond, Vermont, following allegations of child abuse (Swantko 1998a; Palmer 1998). After individual hearings District Court Judge Frank Mahady ordered the children returned to their parents and issued...
9. Political and Legislative Context of the FLDS Raid in Texas
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When new religious movements (NRMs) first appeared in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s they were greeted favorably, as many in society, including some parents, were pleased to see young people choosing religion over the radical political activism of that chaotic time. The circumstances changed...
10. Pyrrhic Victory? An Analysis of the Appeal Court Opinions Concerning the FLDS Children
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The 2008 Texas raid on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) at the Yearning for Zion (YFZ) Ranch that resulted in more than four hundred children being taken into custody by the state was not an anomalous event, as the chapters in this volume make clear. New religious...
About the Contributors
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Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2011