In my wanderings and stumblings, I came across this story about a Mormon fundamentalist town that spent a great deal of the last 15 years as a cultocracy (theocracy seems to give it far too much credit). I understand how certain cults get started, there are romantic ideas behind them (even if not romantic actions behind them), but this — this seems terrifying.
I do not know what the core tenets of the FLDS church is; I won’t lie, I’ve not read the real Book of Mormon. I am not going to go on some anti-Mormon rant, one of the most beautiful, steely-eyed people I have ever seen is Mormon. I am, however, going to ask questions that have no answer, because I like to waste my time.
How did this cult start? I assume that the LDS Church preaches something similar to the love of Jesus, so what is it that allows them to excommunicate members, reduce the rights of women to that of breeding stock (and, honestly, I’ve heard of farmers taking better care of their breeding stock), allows them to hate strangers, to force them out and away, to have police enforcing the breaking of laws to abuse strangers? Where is the love? How does that start?
In the story I cited, a leader of a cult offshoot of Mormonism (this is not the place to argue whether or not Mormonism is a mainstream cult or religion) controlled every aspect of a town in … Wait for it… This will surprise you… UTAH! Bet you never saw that coming! (Utah; come to see the flatlands, stay because you are now a cult member) He controlled the police, the elections, the town council, the mayor, the utilities. If he didn’t want someone to have utilities, they did not have utilities. All of the buildings in the town were owned by a foundation he controlled (worth over $100,000,000). Stores owned by members of his cult would not serve outsiders, and if your neighbor was not a member of the cult, you were not to talk to them at all.
If you were sent away from the cult (and the list of reasons for excommunication were depressingly long and incredibly mundane), things in your life would go very, very sideways. A police officer could set up a tent by your parking meter, having a pre-written ticket ready for your car the second the timer hit zero.
So what makes you join that cult? For the men, given the convictions many of them faced (the leader was sent to jail for sex with his 12 year old and 14 year old cousins) I would say the lure of the cult was sex with any woman they wanted, and the women had no say. Did I say woman? Forgive me, that was society’s higher standards speaking; I meant women. As with many of the more hard line sects of Mormonism, you had many wives. One of the protagonists (who, to his credit, left the Church as soon as he was physically able) had some 58 siblings. Half siblings; it’s likely, given the numbers I was reading, he is only full siblings with 15 of those 58.
What is it that allows humans to so fully subjugate other humans? Gender and race are never and have never and will never be any reason to do this.
But how does a cult where this practice is not just tolerated, but encouraged get some 8000 members? Well, the birth rate aside, how does such a cult get the first member? The tenth member? The hundredth member?
What is it about humans that makes us so broken? So willing to harm our own family (as that cult would encourage you do to apostates)?
I don’t understand.