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Polygamy and the 'Lost Boys'

June 18, 2005

Re "Lost to the Only Life They Knew," Column One, June 13: It's interesting that your article on the homeless boys of polygamy and the Michael Jackson verdict came on the same day. Is no one ever going to speak up for the children?

In the 1920s, about 12 years after polygamy was outlawed by the Mormon Church, my father lived with his parents and brother and sister in Salt Lake City. One night his father came home with another woman and announced to his mother that he was taking this woman as his plural wife. My stunned grandmother ran to her parents with her three very young children. In those days there was no alimony and probably no child-support either. Because my grandmother could not support herself and the children, my father and his siblings grew up in a Salt Lake City orphanage.

Polygamy is evil. Polygamy was evil in the 1830s when Joseph Smith introduced it into the Mormon Church. Polygamy was evil in the 1920s when it destroyed my father's family. Polygamy is evil today when offshoots of the Mormon Church practice it openly and have done so for generations with no fear of arrest.

Let's ask Gordon B. Hinckley, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to step up with financial help for those children trying to escape polygamy. Let's also ask Hinckley to officially repudiate polygamy. Let's ask him to remove the principle of polygamy from one of Mormonism's most sacred books, Doctrine and Covenants 132:40-66. Do it for the children.

Patricia Dorsa

Woodland Hills

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I am a fifth-generation member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), and a descendant of polygamy. I feel no shame about my ancestors; they lived in a different time, when there were more female than male church members, and women needed husbands for support and to make the long trek across the plains. (I am also proud of my spunky great-grandmother who, when her husband was considering a third wife after arriving in Utah, chose a divorce.)

However, I am thoroughly disgusted with the travesty that has been allowed to continue through the years with the plural marriages of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints group. I do not believe these men are truly following any religious beliefs; they are just old goats looking for as many partners as possible.

I applaud those in Utah who are taking in and helping the young men who have been expelled, and encourage more families to do as the Glauser family has done. However, the governments of Utah and Arizona should be ashamed. It is time for them to put a stop to this abuse of women and children.

Kathy Kinnick

Chino

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What a sad situation for the "lost boys," victims of an oppressive religion and its leaders, who pass judgment from their ivory towers. Mere kids, estranged from their families and the only life they've known, simply for being who they are. Ironically, many readers who would find this as truly an appalling incidence of child abuse would have no qualms about kicking their own gay son or daughter out of their home and community, simply for being who they are.

Dave Hoen

Santa Ana

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The Supreme Court ruled that federal law trumps local law when it comes to really sick people growing marijuana in their backyards. We can't legalize marijuana because of the message it sends to "the children."

Massachusetts allowed same-sex marriage a year ago but resurrected a turn-of-the-century law to keep out-of-state couples from obtaining a marriage license. Our president supports a constitutional amendment to trump state law and ban all same-sex marriages, all in the name of protecting "traditional family values."

But if you belong to a cult that has the name "Jesus" in it, it's OK to father 71 children by underage mothers and kick excess boys to the curb "like unwanted pets." This child abuse has been allowed to flourish in the open for decades while our government pursues pot growers and gays. That's a pretty warped vision of "family values."

Mark A. Overturf

Reseda

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