The drama at the Yearning for Zion compound has a familiar ring to anyone raised in any kind of sect that preaches seclusion from the world. Different definitions of reality; different morality; different everything. The outside world is not to be trusted; the outside world is evil; our protective group is heaven.
ABC was recently allowed into the compound and interviewed some of the women, who have now been separated from their children.
Neil Karlinsky, the correspondent, asks a group of mothers who insist that children are not abused in the compound whether or not young girls are forced into marriage.
“We’re talking about our children,” is the reply to Karlinsky’s repeated questioning.
That’s the point — so is Karlinsky, and so is the state. “We can’t understand why the state took the children away from us,” say the mothers. “Because we don’t know what you’re doing to your children,” comes the reply.
Another woman, when asked if she shares a husband with other wives, says she cannot answer the question at this time.
“Why not?” Karlinsky presses.
“Because it’s sacred to me,” she replies.
“I take that to mean a yes,” Karlinsky responds, reading viewers’ minds.
Yet as a parent now, I cannot imagine what the parents of these children must be going through. Not only has Child Protective Services taken these children, but they’ve taken them into the wild of the world. For the parents, these children are at risk in every sense of the word. I imagine the opposite: my child taken from me and plopped down in Yearning for Zion, where everyone holds beliefs diametrically opposed to my own: I would fear for my daughter’s safety in more ways than one.
Jeff Lindsay, at Mormanity, writes,
This case is not about the children. It’s about the power of the State. No apologies. No backing down. No care for the children who are being traumatized and abused as they are torn from their mothers. It’s all for their own good and protection, just like the Cultural Revolution. (Source)
It’s abusive to rip them away from their mothers that way; it’s abusive if young girls are being forced into marriages. Which abuse is worse?