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Lizz Donnelly

Dr. Browne


10, December 2010

Negative Effects of Polygamy on Children

In today's society, keeping children safe from harm is a parent's major concern. Children are viewed as precious and worthy of our protection, but when a child is born into a polygamist family their life can become dangerous. The polygamist's active practice of their religious beliefs endangers their children. Sexual and emotional abuse are two of the negative effects that a polygamist family experiences.

The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS Church) is the largest Mormon fundamentalist congregation and one of United States' largest followers of plural marriage, polygamy, where a man has more than one wife. The FLDS Church was established when its founding members left The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The split occurred because of the LDS Church's rejection of polygamy and its decision to excommunicate the members practicing plural marriage.

One of the most famous FLDS communities is the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Texas, where approximately 700 members reside.

April 2008 a phone call was made to an abuse hotline from the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Texas by a 16-year-old girl accusing her 50-year-old husband of beating and raping her (Children From Texas 1). This accusation lead to a raid that left children and parents frightened for their safety. In this community there were about 700 members, during the raid 462 children were taken off the ranch and placed into temporary foster care. During the police investigation "262 children were declared 'subject to neglect'" (An Anonymous Rep 1). Out of the 262 "neglected children" two teenage girls in custody were pregnant and 30 other minor girls had children of their own from husbands that were at...