Polygamous sect members live normal lives
I've been checking my news reader all night, and this same headline keeps resurfacing: "Sect members live 'normal' life on polygamous church ranch."
Call me crazy, but if it's a major news event that a group leads "normal" lives, the lifestyle probably ain't typical.
ELDORADO, Texas - The women who belong to an embattled polygamist sect wear 19th Century-style dresses, but their daily lives don't differ much from their neighbors', including trips to discount super stores and the orthodontist, members said Wednesday.
Members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints gave tours of their Yearning for Zion ranch two weeks after it was raided by law enforcement searching for a 16-year-old girl who called a hot line claiming her husband beat and raped her.
Child welfare officials have removed all 416 children living there from the custody of their parents. The 16-year-old has yet to be found.
Members said Wednesday they wanted to show that their lives — isolated from what they regard as a hostile and sinful outside world — center on family and faith.
A gleaming, white limestone temple is the center of the 1,700-acre ranch with large, log-style homes, a school, a dairy, a rock quarry and a community garden planted with vegetables, fruit trees and a grape arbor.
Set back some three miles from a state highway, the ranch sits behind two locked gates, which outsiders and excommunicated members suggest is a symbol of the control church elders have over the lives of the faithful.
No one who lives there calls it a compound.