Polygamy and child marriages are not just an African or Asian phenomena. They are being practised in full view in rural USA by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, (FLDS). The members of this bizarre sect have been practising polygamy, child marriages for decades with their leader (whom they still follow) serving a life sentence for sexual assault. They recently came under the scanner (again) for using the police to bully non-members.

The church is breakaway sect of the Mormons and live in areas around Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona. The sect broke off from the other Mormons because they refused to give up polygamy. The self proclaimed ‘prophet’ Warren Jeffs, was on the FBI’s Most Wanted list for sexual assault crimes for multiple marriages to underage girls (some as young as 12 and 15), serves as their leader. He reportedly has 70 wives, 60 children and has been accused of incest by his own children. He has reportedly conducted plenty of child and first-cousin marriages.

Three wives is apparently an ideal number for this community. Having three wives or more is like a stairway to heaven with the blessings and permission of the prophet of course.

An estimated 6000-10,000 members are believed to be part of this bizarre sect and follow some weird rules apart from freely practising polygamy and underage marriage. Women are not allowed to cut their hair as they believe it will be useful in washing Jesus Christ’s feet during the second coming. They are also expected to dress modestly from head to toe. The FLDS don’t recognise Obama or whoever is the reigning President. They believe the pedophile Warren Jeffs to be the president.

The members also suffer from the world’s highest incidence of fumarate deficiency, an extremely rare genetic condition caused largely due to their in-breeding.

They are also unashamedly racist, Warren Jeffs has said, “the black race is the people through which the devil has always been able to bring evil unto the earth”. They also believe in things like blood atonement which is shedding blood to atone for your sins. Reportedly Jeffs has preached something along the lines of killing sinners as a pathway to heaven.

Some 400 members usually boys have been banished from the church ad community. This may sound like a mixed blessing but sadly that isn’t the case. The reasons behind these ex-communications is usually stuff like listening to rock music but some members assert there are not enough women for each man to receive three or more wives. The ‘Lost Boys’ as they are called are left all alone without the resources to support themselves.

You must be wondering how such practices are allowed in a country that is well known for strict enforcement of federal rules. Well, the FLDS is a religious group and they are protected under the first amendment to the U.S constitution. Which makes the state hesitant about prosecuting them. There are lawsuits being filed and raids conducted in homes where sexual assault is said to have been taken place but these horrible practices show no sign of abatement. That being said, maybe it’s time the USA takes a look at their own backyard before pointing fingers at others.

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