Women of the FLDS Speak – The Balcony

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This will be the last post from Monday night’s amazing turn in the YFZ Raid saga. That night, about twenty women from this extremely private group told their stories to members of the media.

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Some of the women on the balcony came down to talk and some didn’t. So I can’t say that every one of these women had their children taken into state’s custody. But you can tell from the visible emotion that all were affected by the day’s events.

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A photographer said to me that he thought some of tonight’s drama was “acting.” My opinion was that the women’s emotion was very genuine, and the stories they told seemed honest and heartfelt. That was my perception from being there. These are people who aren’t exposed to modern media, so coaching them on what to say in the short time before we got there would have been very difficult. Further, any mother who had been separated from her children is going to be heartbroken. That’s human nature.

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There has also been a lot of chatter out there about the motives of these women in deciding to talk. But don’t forget that the battle for public opinion has been going on since the raid began on April 4th. Government agencies have been holding press conferences on a daily basis without anyone questioning their motives in releasing bits of information to support their version of events. Child Protective Services has one of the best communications experts I’ve ever seen in Marleigh Meisner. Hearing the voices of the FLDS women can only help to inform your opinion, no matter which side your opinion leans toward.

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0 Comments

  1. Lots of tissues carried around, but my 2 sisters and I have noticed very few tears coming from their eyes and very few puffy, red or runny eyes or noses.

  2. I would bed to differ that these women have not been coached for very long. You yourself note that since the Salt Creek raidin the 50s, these families have worked to NOT have their children identify specific fathers as their own.

    While this specific raid may not be something they were explicitly prepared for, their training for some raid would seem inevitable, particularly since Texas retains its fame for the Waco raids on the Branch Dividians.

    Your pictures are lovely, but I wish I saw any of these women, in your pictures, or elsewhere, staring into the camera, with the emotions that they display while looking off into some distance.

    Over and over, in Katrina victim pictures, the photograph’s subjects are staring at US, staring into us, honestly seeking an answer to the question “why???”

  3. I agree with Lyndie. No red puffy eyes not tears. I see the same here and all the videos I have watched of these woman. I feel this was all an act to try to get American to stand behind themto get their chidlren back. Then the chidlren would follow in the abouse and sex at early ages forever!!

  4. Aye, I agree with you on the FLDS having a chance to talk, especially the women. My question however is how did these women who live in such a controlled culture come to contact the media to speak? From all that is known of the FLDS it seems it would have been not only with the men’s permission but in fact with their order to do so. Why would the men do this and not speak themselves? Because the men certainly know more about television and the media (cf quotes from FLDS member comparing the raid to television) and they know that the women/mothers will provoke much more sympathy.

    In all of the interviews I have watched I see one statement that the women have certainly been coached on: “Not that I am aware of” or “Not to my knowledge”. These statements have been used universally regarding underage marriage and pregnancy.

    To be honest, I was put in mind of witnesses pleading the fifth every time I heard one of these women say “Not that I am aware of”.

  5. Just one more to add in response to the comments above: I wouldn’t judge the lack of red/puffy eyes to be evidence of no crying. These women have likely been well trained _not_ to cry when in pain, if the stories regarding the patriarchal use of corporal punishment are in fact true.

    As well, to my knowledge, Mormon women exist to serve their men’s needs and to be pleasing. A woman who cries or who has red/puffy eyes would not be pleasing to the sight, and so even if the men did not do anything directly, the women would avoid such behaviours/facial appearances.

  6. These pictures are amazing Trent! Thanks so much for sharing them with us.

    As for the comments above, all I have seen is women in pain. the pictures below are of women with red faces, and swollen eyes, and tears. So I don’t get the lack of compassion you all are talking about that you witness. They look as if they are in shock, totally and utterly in shock, and dismay.

  7. If you’ve ever cried for two weeks in a row, you wouldn’t have any tears left!

  8. These women are in the most utter pain and shock. One minute you are living a sweet life, raising your children with love. The next minute the government comes in and kidnaps all your children. Who gave the government the right to decided what one can worship and/or believe? These women may not be socializing in the “outside” world, but it doesn’t mean they know nothing about it. They can leave whenever they want to. They can feel as they want to. Dress as they want, etc. Its all a matter of choice. This is the life they have chosen and all they want is their innocent children back, and the world to leave them alone.

  9. I did not mean to be without compassion for these mothers when I made the observation about the lack of puffy eyes and runny noses. It was just an observation of mine but was not meant to suggest they aren’t in pain. I just found it strange. The one photo taken on the bus with two women and a young girl sitting togather, I saw pain and fear in the young girl’s face, and that told a true story for me. And that is true. If they were crying for 2 weeks, they would be all cried out. If it were me, I would have left that ranch in 2 seconds if it would have meant losing my kids. I would have stripped that outfit off and put on jeans, and did anything I had to, to get them back. This story and the photos intrigue me on so many levels. I’m suspicious of these people the way they lied in order to get the private land to build the ranch in the first place, their rush to get it up and running, and their total control over their flock. And I worry about the incinerator in their temple, and wonder what they would find if the baby graveyards were dug up. I think its weird that young girls are sent there by their families from all over. Why would loving parents send their kid away? I know that sounds cruel on my part, but I don’t think this is a harmless group of people.

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