The 'lost boys"

Hundreds of boys have been kicked out of Colorado City/Hilldale in the last six years. 

"We have watched many documentaries about the FLDS. However, none of them so far seem to address a fundamental demographical problem within the denomination:

1) Boys and girls are born into the FLDS at approximately equal rates.
2) Males in the FLDS are expected to have many wives.

In order to maintain polygyny as the normal family structure, the FLDS must have many women available for each man. This can only be accomplished by getting rid of most males. This is typically done wrenching male youths from their family origin with a few minutes warning, driving them to another city, and dumping them there without any means of emotional or financial support. They are often referred to as the "lost boys." In essence, the Church creates thousands of orphans as a matter of policy." Source

The current treatment of "lost boys" is a huge waste of human potential.  But what if a branch of the FLDS learned instead to utilize the surplus males for the benefit of the group?

A new mystery novel, Prey for Zion, is based on just that concept.  A successful FLDS entrepreneur, Jesse Cage, gave the "lost boys" love and attention.  Combined with religion and desert isolation, this created in the "lost boys" a fierce loyalty to Jesse Cage.  He then placed them around the country, where they assumed positions of power as judges, officials, and officers in the military.  Now influential men beholden to Cage, they are ready to help Cage when he makes his move--to seize power.

Prey for Zion helps explain the history behind Mormon polygamy and Mitt Romney's ancestors as polygamists in Mexico.

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See many more articles here, when you put in search term "lost boys."
The 19th Wife, a novel about a polygamist culture, realistically portrays the life of a "lost boy."

Field guide to polygamists in Colorado City

To find polygamists in number, you have to go to their habitat. The first thing you wonder is, "Where are all the men?" The next thing you wonder is, "Where is anybody?" Big houses with lot's of cars parked outside, but nobody's outside.

Colorado City is only about 11 miles from the Springdale entrance to Zion National Park, as the raven flies.

The typical polygamist house in Colorado City looks like a shabby hotel, surrounded by a wall.

Prairie dress and hairstyle sets fundamentalist Mormon women apart, so it's hard for them to mix with outsiders. Polygamist men tend to look more mainstream.

A detailed and well-written source: "Colorado City Polygamists: An Inside Look for the Outsider," by Benjamin G. Bistline. The cover photo alone is worth the purchase. 2004

See the wonderful photos showing the daily life of women and children at Yearning for Zion Ranch in Texas.
The Oprah Winfrey Show offers a rare look at the lifestyle behyond the stereotypes.

Here's and account by David Ebershoff of his visit to Colorado City--similar to mine, except I wasn't tailed.

"A House, Ten Wives: Polygamy in Suburbia"

Field Guide--Polygamist-style houses outside Colorado City

This Colorado City house shows the field marks of a polygamist house: large & hotel like, sometimes several front doors, surrounded by a fence or wall or screening vegetation, and often a shabby or unfinished appearance.

A possible house built by a polygamist a long time ago in Escalante.  Equal sides and doors for equal wives?

Large, rambling, shabby house, well-screened, in a town near Zion.

Not necessarily polygamist.  Roses have special meaning for Mormons--they symbolize making the desert bloom.

The FLDS--Abusive to the core

FLDS stands for the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.   The sect rules in Colorado City, the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Texas, and elsewhere.  Their way of life robs human rights from tens of thousands of Americans.

Abuse of boys
The ratio of boys to girls everywhere is about 50:50, yet the FLDS system requires one man having many wives.  It follows that most boys must be kicked out.  Typically, a boy with any sign of normal unruliness is wrenched from the community with little warning, and dumped on the highway or in a neighboring community with little education or means of support.  They are forbidden contact with home except an occasional call to their mother.  It's not surprising that many turn to suicide or drugs.

Abuse of girls
All FLDS children are indoctrinated and isolated from mainstream society.  By the time they reach legal age to marry, many girls, if they had freedom to chose, would refuse to mary old men already with many wives, despite having been taught that their salvation depends on it.  So church leaders marry them before they reach legal age, while they are still compliant.  Having children then binds them to the community.  Leaving the sect then becomes impossible, because they would have to abandon their children to make a new life in an alien world for which they have no skills--a world they have been taught to fear. This indoctrination plus forced marriage amounts to modern slavery.

"Trafficking" in women
Church leaders have absolute power to decide which man a girl will marry.  They even have the power to remove the wives and children from a man they decide isn't loyal enough.  This becomes a powerful tool for controlling other members of the sect.  Women become commodities, traded to bolster the power of leaders.  In this sense, the FLDS is little more than a crime syndicate like the Mafia. Rather than dealing in drugs for money, they deal in women for power.

The Mann Act prohibits trafficking of women across state lines and is sometimes used to prosecute polygamists.

It's organized crime
Benjamin Bistline, who lived with the FLDS for many years, describes their leadership: They "have decades of experience in business, in hiding from and manipulating the government, and in developing strategies to keep people from knowing much about them.  They know the law and how to use it to their advantage.  These men are highly skilled, articulate communicators.  They will publicly and persuasively state what local citizens and authorities want to hear, and then secretly carry out their own agenda, believing that any lie they tell is approved by God.  They have done this for seventy-five years and there is no reason to think they will now change.  The outward impression they make on strangers works.  They are seen a decent and thoughtful men."  Source

In their own words
Read parts of letter to Ben Bistline from a follower of Warren Jeffs: 

"My job is to protect the prophet Warren Jeffs and the Lords chosen people from you cockroaches and scum.  I'm sick and tired of the harassment we get here.  It seems like every other day you gentiles and apostates are looking down our throats trying to make trouble.  Why don't you just leave us alone!  The truth is, you're jealous because you can't have what we got.  We got priesthood and that makes our women and children obedient to us. "

"We live a different more religious way of life and you shouldn't hate us because of it.  You're green with envy because your wifes argue and will leave you if you don't bow and scrape to their needs.  Your children don't obey you.  All they want to do is watch TV and play computer games.  You gentiles don't know how to direct women and children because you don't know about priesthood.  You don't understand what it takes to be the priesthood leader of a family.  We have to raise our children like calves in a stall."  Source: p. 206-7.

Coming soon...

The "Lost Boys"--forced out of polygamous communities, so old men can have the girls

Colorado City polygamists becomming more accepted in St. George