My dream to help ex-FLDS cult members in transition
My dream is an all-inclusive centre housing those leaving the FLDS cult and are in transition.  It would include:
  •  personal counseling based on client-centered psychology,
  • a qualified/certified educational section,
  • a play centre for the children,
  • a music/recreation area,
  • a fully-equipped library,
  • life-skills training coaches,
  • a medical facility,
  •  dental care specialists
  • Legal assistance and advice especially regarding the best interests of the children in polygamy custody battles

In this type of centre, ex-FLDS could interact not only with the professionals there to help them, but with each other as they move from having minds and bodies bound by the dictates of a cult leader to becoming independent, free thinkers able to make positive choices for their lives and the lives of their family members.  Yes, I know it sounds impossible, but I believe that if you are going to dream, you might as well dream big!

There are help centres but often they cost too much; or, they are run by volunteers whose resources are stretched to the limit.  My centre would be funded so that participants could concentrate on moving into the real world, not worry about paying bills.
Most people who have been in any kind of …cult have given over all their personal and financial resources to the leaders.
Also, I would want bursuries to be available for those ready to start their own businesses or continue in education for careers.  I don’t want much, do I?
  1. No, you are not asking for too much.

    The big question is “where to put it”? I have also been thinking about this very thing. The need for a safe-haven in Southern Utah is huge, especially right now during this time of internal upheaval. Your thinking is spot on, but will get even more refined as you go. The people who are caught up in the FLDS cult have very little comprehension of a life that is not under the watchful eye of a very merciless god, which makes their culture and conditioning an almost impenetrable shell, (or shelter), depending on how you want to look at it.

    These communities have doctrines that place them above the law and until recently the proof that their god reigns supreme is manifested in the number of non-convictions relative to their polygamous lifestyle… which has been practically zero. This means to the men that they are being “protected” by their god from the evil gentile world around them.

    The practice of polygamous parents giving their teenage daughters to grown married men in some distant colony (say Bountiful, BC or El Dorado, TX) as a wife to some stranger, and seeing how they can do it with the same ease as if they were giving away free kittens to a good home, smacks of some kind of tribal tradition you might find in foreign country. Couple that with the fact that they have no respect for anyones’ laws or any of the many matters-of-fact that we find glaring, we may as well get it into our heads right now that we are dealing with a bizarre cross-culture that should be handled the same way we would handle oursleves in a foreign country.

    Your idea of a shelter closely parallels my idea for some type of U.S. (or Canadian) Embassy being set up right in the middle of the FLDS compound. The foreigners might want to object, but it would certainly be a reminder of exactly WHO their land lord is. If you staffed it with armed guards around the clock, same as any other Embassy, and set up all of your counselors and advisors inside the building, a victim of tyranny or abuse would not have to plan an escape in order to get help or protection from the frightening (so-called evil) outside world . All they would have to do is make it inside the front gate.

    This is not outside the power of Child protective services and it should certainly be within our respective governments budgets.

    The reports from HOH, (Holding Out Help) in Utah, which is a volunteer organization that is dedicated to helping refugees transition into mainstream society, say that most of the fleeing cult members who do escape are quickly tracked down and coerced into coming right back to the place they were running from. An Embassy (or shelter) could serve as neutral ground where both parties could recieve counselling, and legal advice, just as you describe. Classes that provide insight and awareness could run daily, or around the clock, using the same technologies we enjoy for our own further education. A lounge with recliners and big screen T.V.’s could become the first glimpse of the outside world that some of those deprived adults have yearning to be a part of. The refugees could be guaranteed shelter, and a place to stay during negotiations, and they could stay there until arrangements could be made for their departure into the unknown culture beyond their compound, or things might work out that they can return to their homes with renewed understandings that abuse will not be tolerated.

    I really appreciated seeing your post.

    • Your comments expanded on mine to a realm I have never even dreamed of. Why is it the FLDS are allowed to build a gated, guarded compound where they commit such egregious crimes against their own members; yet, if the governments of the U.S. or Canada were to set up an embassy for the protection of these people, once again, cries of government interference would ring from sea to sea. A cult, as you know, crumbles when the leader is taken out. We are witnessing the slow disntegration of the FLDS in Colorado City but those poor, lost people who find themselves thrust into mainstream society are not ready. Now we have rumours of babies and young girls being kidnapped within this cult. Where are they being taken? To the new coliseum-type structure at the YFZ Ranch? We don’t know. We just don’t know. But, I do know one thing. The cost of your idea is miniscule compared to the cost of destruction to yet another generation of these cult victims. Here, in Canada, we are anxiously watching the trial of Winston Blackmore’s alleged tax-evasion. Will this leader finally be taken out of mainstream society and put in prison?

      • If Winston Blackmore is not found guilty of non-payment of taxes, then those who sympathize with struggling underdogs and despise government of any kind will consider the whole fiasco to be nothing more than targeted harassment of people just trying to live their religion. (Note: This type of annoyance is how our repective countries have arrived at their present state of being “politically correct’.)

        On the other hand…

        If Winston Blackmore is found guilty of some deliberate ploy to avoid paying his share of taxes, then it would certainly please me if the authorities would land him with a substantial fine in conjunction with a reasonable prison sentence. I say this full well realizing that putting Winston Blackmore behind bars for any amount of time will only create a huge burden for everyone involved, at the very least, his imediate household(s), who for the *most part, are dependent on his dictatorial work camps and his less apparent crimminal behavior of tax evasion for their sustenance. (*welfare benefits being the lesser part of their sustenance)

        The combination of these two scenarios will undoubtedly present the Canadian authorities with the undisputed upper hand in the contest of who’s God is more powerful, and Being the more merciful of the two, Parliament could then use their newly acquired leverage to force the defiant FLDS Bishop and his congregant fellow “bleeders of the Beast” to agree to certain terms and conditions, in exchange for a waiver of the portion of the fine that neither Blackmore or the FLDS Church can afford to pay, as well as offer to commute his jail sentence.

        These terms might include;

        A) Permanent access to the compound, in the way of a special Canadian Embassy or other safe-house similar to the ones we have described.

        B) Mandatory field trips to area culture or career centers that offers a glimpse to the outside world so that under-age children might be better able to determine and choose for themselves a life that is not resigned to uninterrupted child rearing or slave labor camps of endless fence post harvesting.

        C) Complete various court-ordered basic courses on the freedoms that are extended to all peoples, as well as human rights, which includes the right of every individual to NOT be abused by others.
        a) This very important course needs to define all forms of abuse, from verbal and emotional abuse to physical and sexual/ritual abuse.
        b) Also important is a detailed lesson on the crime of “undue influence”, which in short order should guarantee the end of all assigned and re-assigned marriages, regardless of one’s age.
        c) A sociology lesson on depression, the side effects of acting on other people’s beliefs that conflict with one’s own inner promptings, unfounded racial prejudice, and gender inequality.
        d) Free access to a public library or educational programs such as the discovery channel.

        The notion that putting a Cult or religious sect Leader behind bars will crumble the Cult has proven to have a drastic side effect. Indoctrinated minds can only be liberated from the hold of their respeced prophets through the education process, something I call “unindoctrination” or deprogramming. This process comes with it’s own challenges Providing the indoctrinated mind to access free information is no guarantee that the brainwashed individual will take advantage of it, but once a few “indoctrinated minds” get a taste of freedom, they in turn will provide the means for others who are more resilient to the idea to give it a chance.

        This is why I am in favor of compelling captured Church leaders (including those in Texas prisons) to complete court-ordered courses as part of the re-habilitaiton and probation.

        There are only a couple thousand people in the British Columbia (Bountiful) camp, most of which are children. In the wake of Justice Bauman’s ruling, and in light of the renewed efforts to eradicate child abuse in all of it’s forms, the community of Bountiful appears to be the perfect place to test pilot programs that will serve to educate other international agencies on the best procedure to successfully remove the maliignant tumor of polygyny from the body general without having to employ radical surgery, (raids,military force) or radiation treatments(intimidation/ostracization) that produce other, equally unhealthy, debilitating side-effects.

        Canada is presently in the best position of any nation to systematically implement the steps that will lead to the promise of lasting change.

        Go Team Canada,

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