Thursday, February 25, 2010
I have been trying to get my head around a tired old controversy. I don't like to comment about something if I cannot make some sense out of the matter in my own brain. In the tireless crusade against Mormon fundamentalism, one popular rallying cry deals with the allegedly "lost" boys of the Arizona Strip.
I believe that Utah's public officials and the supposedly "lost" boys themselves already genuinely resent the "Lost Boy" term. I actually resent the whole concept. I do think I have figured out why the whole controversy is cheap and over-inflated.
First, however, I cannot resist mentioning that Silsby lady from Boise. I mean the one who enlisted a bunch of her fellow church-members to race down to earthquake-stricken Haiti to scoop up a bus-load of cute little black kids (it didn't go well . . . . ). Some people lust after kids. Some are imprisoned. Some are just busybody do-gooders. Either way, one trait in human nature drives some people to want to "rescue" children from family situations they see as unworthy. They think it is right to confiscate the children and place them by force in a new environment. That Silsby lady reminds me of some Utah and Texas folk.
When the pilgrims showed up on our eastern shores, they formed closed, faith-based communities. I mean they blended religion with geography. All the folk in the village were of largely like mind and went to the same Sunday services. Dissension was looked upon with disapproval.
So lets look at the hue and cry over the "Lost Boys" of Colorado City and Hildale. I don't know any of them, but I am sure about one thing. There are two ways to become a "Lost Boy [or girl]":
1. Conduct yourself in a manner which is utterly unacceptable to your family - perhaps to the extent that it is no longer appropriate or safe (considering other siblings) for you to remain in your home. In this case you will probably end up being asked to find alternative accommodations.
2. Decide that you are not ideologically in tune with the secular or religious guidelines set forth for your faith-based community. In this case, you will probably end up wanting to seek alternative accommodations.
So now back to the ideological poachers - there seems to be no shortage of crusaders who want to swoop in and rescue you. My point is that ungovernability and disaffection among youth are an aspect of human life in all parts of the globe. It's just infinitely easier to criticize a faith-based community for challenges among its youth when that community is concentrated in one geographic location. It's also convenient and tantalizing when you hate that community's religion. However, when you look at the two scenarios mentioned above, each has complete legitimacy, and for both parties. Should a religious congregation not have the right to maintain homogeneity and order in its society? Should people not have the right to leave a church and choose a new one (or none)?
This may seem foreign to the average cosmopolitan, but the united states of America were not established to build Cosmopolis, they were established to ensure Constitutional and religious freedoms to Christian townships and their residents.
Our modern, maritime society has played Robin Hood, confiscating from the have's to cater to the have-not's. Welfare entitlements purchase votes at elections. Society cannot quite decide whether to besiege the FLDS for encouraging their young people to stay or for coaxing them to leave, yet it anxiously awaits the opportunity to gather them up and re-program them (with promises of soda pop and candy). Let me venture to say that the whole "Lost Boy" charade has been mostly about political fodder and self-aggrandizing kid-poachers.
I want also to add the post-script that this argument about "not enough girls to go around" is absurd. How many 21st century men are clamoring to get married (or are honorable and worthy enough to be married)? One of the biggest problems the LDS Church faces is the extraordinarily large number of spinsters and divorcees.
With all due respect to those young men and women who have become displaced and needy, I say that exploiting the disaffected for political or personal gain is reprehensible (and Ruth Stubbs would agree).
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