I made the mistake of going to the county library this morning. I didn't think about what was going on at the courthouse; the library is just across the street south of the courthouse. Parking was at a premium as there were 14 broadcast trucks parked around the courthouse, plus many additional vans from radio and television news services.
Today was the day that the hearings for all of the 400 plus FLDS children were held. Each child is represented by an attorney serving as ad litum. The task of the ad litum is to represent the child's best interest. There can be nothing easy about recommending to the court that the child is better off back in the home they have known, or in the state's foster care system.
The FLDS is completely foreign to the common west Texas resident. The attorney generals of Utah and Arizona have prepared a primer that helps we "gentiles" to understand the FLDS society.
This is a rare instance when I don't have an opinion on what is going on. On the one hand it seems that there may be some abuse (underage pregnancy seems to make this clear), on the other hand this sect has a totally different culture than mainstream America. A hundred years ago it was not rare, perhaps uncommon, but not unheard of, for young teenage women to enter into marriage and bear children. I may be wrong, but from my reading of history, it was fairly common for women from 14 and up to marry and have families in Appalachia, up to the early part of the 20th century. The age of consent in Canada was 14 years until February 28th of THIS year (it is now 16). I can see where there might be difference of opinion based on religious beliefs.
All I can finally say is that I hope our legal system ends up doing the thing that is best for these children; whether that is returning them to the ranch in Eldorado or placing them in permanent custody of the State of Texas.