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You know, even really basic checks should have been able to catch things like this. I can respect some people who want to home school, but they should be willing to put up with some testing and visits to check on them.

Lori S.

I can't agree with your position on home schooling. Baby with bathwater, here.

lyssa Kaehler

Nothing against sex elevated to religious experience (hey, some sex is just that good!) but among consenting adults, please!

Can't say I agree with your argument on homeschooling, either. How would you even enforce compulsory school attendance for kids who have no birth certificates, and according to the state, don't even exist? Most homeschooling families are just normal folks.

funky monkey

Back when I was doing the nasa docent thing (about 8 yrs) I was always amazed when it was 'homeschool' day (rather than the more common 'today we'll be having 5th graders from X elementary in Y city'). Instead of a usual bell curve of some kids needing 'a little more help' and some being a 'little bit more advanced', the curve was completely different:

20% of the kids were _amazing_ - way above grade level, really sharp etc...

10% were about standard for 5th/6th grade

70% were awful. 6th graders unable to multiply etc...

I couldn't help notice that the weaker kids were invariably the ones with the 'jesus loves me' shirts etc... I think the really strong kids were probably competent parents who were 'good' homeschoolers who just want the best education possible for their tyke.

I was really surprised how much worse off the religious kids were. And this is in the SF bay area - I bet it is even more messed up elsewhere.


Well, I understand the dilemma. I homeschooled for four years myself-(the rest of the time my kids did public school) and it was the best thing I ever did for them. Yet it is true that some families-not all, not most, but some-don't do such a hot job.

Funky Monkey, it's possible you were running into folks who were into "unschooling." Apparently you relax and if your kid can't read till 9 or 10, no biggie. Supposedly they do catch up rapidly. Here in NC it is required they be tested yearly. Every state is different in how homeschooling is overseen.

More on topic-I am more and more enraged about why this cult was able to go on so freaking long and ONLY NOW has something been done for these kids. At least Texas has finally taken action. I'm not holding my breath when it comes to Utah and Arizona.


I don't know that I can agree about the homeschooling issue. My son is autistic, and the school often does not adequately meet his needs. I'd be both more demanding and meet his needs, though I think he should have more contact with other kids because of his specific disability rather than being allowed to retreat into his own space.

Schools can be neglectful and injurious to children. They sent my son home once 2 hours early to an empty, locked house as a first grader because they thought it was his responsibility to know where he should be (in the after school program rather than going home on the bus). Had that happened even once more since they lost him the previous week, I'd be homeschooling him and would make whatever life changes I needed to in order to do so.

Though I do send my children to school and think that's the best option for them right now, the libertarian in me fights against the notion that we could move toward making children wards of the state, even while I acknowledge that some people homeschool inadequately and thus shortchange their children for life (as I've seen with friends who are unschoolers). With all the teaching to the standardized tests, I can't say that even the schools do a great job either. I have also known people who have homeschooled well, with their children advancing grade levels above their peers and tackling some great projects.

Though I haven't blogged about the FLDS myself, I completely agree with you about what you say about it. What they're doing is not subject to freedom of religious expression--it's the systematic rape and brutalization of children, and of many of the women as well. For the adult women, it takes a lot to be able to leave an abusive relationship, and when your whole community condones the abuse and you have no allies outside the system in which you were raised, many of them may not have seen an out either. That's not to excuse any complicitness when it came to their own children. People aren't excused from thinking. Maybe I'm being contradictory about this--to what extent are brainwashed victims responsible for their actions? Yet in the same situation, I'd have been the 16 year old calling and feeling guilty for calling, but rebelling against the system (or trying to save my own daughter).

laura queue

here's the thing about homeschooling: it's taking people out of a community, and controlling their information environment.

now, lefties and people with lofty educational standards and an abhorrence of commercialism, capitalism, patriotism, sexism, and other things that come with schooling can get behind that. and three cheers for people who want their kids to get critical thinking and social justice and so on. committed parents can do a good job at whatever type of education they set out to do.

but here's the thing: committed parents might also be committed to the wrong things. inculcating docility, slavish obedience to authority, inability to do critical thinking, rote memorization as learning, and so on.

okay, well, that can happen with any family.

but homeschooling offers the opportunity to insulate. if you're homeschooling, you can remove your kids from the wider community. you can remove them from community supervision and connection. you can prevent them from knowing that other kids are not fucked by their parents or beaten by their teachers or forbidden access to libraries or required to do whatever.

if you're just looking at the positive happy situation of what can happen with good parents in homeschooling, then you're not looking at the situation in its entirety. we can test children who come out of homeschool environments before they get into college: great, that protects colleges from having students who can't cut it, and parents who teach their kids well will never suffer.

but this solution allows people to set up private slave colonies like we've just seen. and while that's the extreme, don't think that lesser forms of abuse are okay: every child who is prevented from having access to and knowledge of the rest of the world is a victim of mental abuse, and is a prisoner of their parents' ideology -- whether progressive & left, or reactionary & right.

laura queue

in other words: if you're judging homeschooling as a social model of educating children, you need to look at all the possible, likely, and actual situations -- not just your own happy one.


I was homeschooled for a while myself because of disability (I was physically unable to leave the house at all--I could not even sit up in a wheelchair). Because of my parents' abusiveness, I am glad I wasn't subjected to more of it. Yes, abusers will find ways to further isolate their victims, with homeschooling being only one way. Even when I was in school, the constant threat was that I would be pulled out of it for minor misdeeds, with excuses given for the behavior.

I'm still not sure that the solution is to outlaw all homeschooling, though, because that wrongly incriminates a lot of people who are doing the best for their children when the school system (and seeking alternatives or appeals there) fails them. We could make the same argument for preschool or daycare, that we should require it of all kids because the parents might not be doing enough (and the early years are when their brains are most malleable).

I don't remember the link, but I looked at some of the FLDS "school" materials, and what they wrote in them is cultish and scary. Perhaps subjecting the curriculum to certain checks and testing the students is one solution--though how's the state to know with any one particular child whether he or she is behind because of homeschooling rather than learning disability, and whether to take action? That wouldn't get at the abuse issues, though, since abusers often take care to hide their behaviors.

I'm not a major proponent of homeschooling by any means but part of me balks about the idea of criminalizing it. For kids like the one in Arkansas who have been beaten up and bullied and their lives threatened or for other kids who sexually harassed or physically assaulted (the Supreme Court case in the '90s), homeschooling can be one alternative when legal recourse and the schools fail.


Sorry for the language issues--having trouble with that.

Lori S.

But Laura, I am also looking at the alternatives to homeschooling and I'm not so happy with those, either. Very profoundly unhappy, in fact. Of course homeschooling offers the opportunity to isolate and insulate. Nobody here has said that homeschooling is all rosy and has no problems and never facilitates any bad trends. Some of us have just said, "banning it might be going too far, though."


Yup I am the nutcase on the other side of the fense.... so I don't expect to get a warm welcome here, but I do ask you to keep in mind what I have to say:

Suppose for just a second that Christ and God are real. Imagine you are standing before God and he is saying judgement time is upon you.

He tells you the world is in the shape its in because mankind didn't listen to his word. And then he says to you... "Did you believe the abuse your husband caused you would be worse then the punishments I will inflict for disobeying my laws.... why then did you not love, honor, and obey your husband as you promised in your wedding vows".

Then he says to you... "Are the abuses your mother allowed and your father put upon you so great that my punishments couldn't be any worse.... why then did you not love and honor your parents?"

See the fact is western civilization, modern education (more correctly uneducation), and this idea that mankind knows better then what God instructed us has caused the downfall of our society. We see the world in the worst shape its ever been in.

Crime rates at an all time high, single parents at an all time high, workplace production at an all time low and why? Because everyone is entitled to their rights... because men, women, and children are all seen as equals... because the head of a household is not a man but rather the legal system... because every man woman and child is given to much freedom and choice.

Some call this slavery, brainwashing, and opression... others call it the laws of God. So yes i will say, religious rights have been violated, and are violated everyday and this is the perfect example!!


Re. Gilead:

OK, well that's an excellent argument for converting to Laura's point of view.

I'm not sure where to begin here, but are you suggesting that we need to go back and enslave black people and withdraw their civil liberties? Or roll back suffrage since men are doing such a great job of running the country? Or recall the ADA because we need to know our proper place as crips?

At what point did the world become in its worst shape? Slavery wasn't worse? Hitler wasn't worse? People starving while working the factories wasn't worse? Pol Pot and the killing fields wasn't worse than your neighborhood this week?--if all those Cambodians hadn't stood up for their rights, I guess he wouldn't have had to massacre them all. Hanging people from the gallows or beheading them for daring to express a different opinion wasn't worse? I mean, really. Yes, let's go engage in a Crusade since that will restore order. God will prove we're right, winner takes all.

How do you presume to know that abuse victims don't often continue to love and honor their parents? And what kind of logic dictates that parents should abuse their children or husbands their wives for no reason other than God could hand it out worse? Who's to say God's not going to punish that? And wouldn't that be contradictory, punishing abusers for abusing while punishing the abused for not taking it? I think God's smarter than that.

How do you presume to know anyone's religious beliefs here? If you're drawing on Biblical support for the subjugation of women, are you suggesting that we should withdraw freedom of religious expression and impose a narrow brand of Christianity on everyone in some kind of police state? Why do you presume that the Pauline Bible, much of it written hundreds of years after Jesus died, is anything other than a reflection of those writers' views rather than the actual Christ? Because someone tells you so? Because the Bible self references? Because you're afraid?

People who have to assert their legal rights are not criminals, nor would I think that they commit most crimes. Single parents are not criminals, and is workplace production actually down? The Families and Work Institute says that more people are working more hours. What evidence do you have that productivity is down in this increasingly technology driven world that ups output rates?


What year or decade is it exactly that you're being nostalgic for?

And if you're supporting Joseph Smith and his minions, then you should be aware that going out and masturbating in the woods and making up a bunch of shit doesn't constitute the truth. The angel Moron-i didn't come down and hand anyone golden plates, and Smith's own witnesses denied what he said. And renaming the American Indians Lamanites and calling them Jews is cultural hegemony, not archaeology. Plus you forget what Joseph Smith did to other men, or what these FDLS loonies are doing to young boys. They've expelled 400 young boys and men from their community for very shallow charges because there aren't enough women for everyone to have multiple wives. Funny how that works.


"Imagine you are standing before God and he is saying judgement time is upon you. He tells you the world is in the shape its in because mankind didn't listen to his word. And then he says to you... "Did you believe the abuse your husband caused you would be worse then the punishments I will inflict for disobeying my laws.... why then did you not love, honor, and obey your husband as you promised in your wedding vows". "

Uh, okay. I'm imagining it.

See that photo up in the top left?

Imagine that and then imagine me going "Fuck you, God."

Pretty Lady

Totally agree that banning homeschooling is going way too far. You cannot control people because you're afraid they might not share the same values as you; that's totalitarian. The FLDS situation is not about homeschooling at all, it's about systemic enslavement of minors, as you point out.

I seriously considered homeschooling myself, and I'd still consider it. The abuse and poor education which happens all too often in the public schools is not something I'd willingly subject a child of mine to, and I can't afford a private school.

I have seen situations where a child was mistreated in a nuclear family, and all the options for interfering were worse than the situation itself. The situation has to be really, really egregious before you're justified in interfering 'for their own good.' Also, small gestures can sometimes be as helpful as gigantic ones; I have heard stories where an adult stood up to an abusive parent in front of the child, just once, and this one moment gave the child the courage and perspective to heal in later life.

You can't make the world perfect by force, because you can't know the long-range consequences of any action. All you can do is respond with integrity within your own circle of influence, and trust in a larger pattern.

Pretty Lady

We see the world in the worst shape its ever been in.

Darling, I grant you that you may be right and we may be wrong; your God may indeed say these things to us, and we are responsible for the consequences of our own actions.

But it is simply not true that the world is in the worst shape it has ever been. Four hundred years ago, it was commonplace to execute a hungry five-year-old for stealing an apple. Bear-baiting and cat-burning were casual public sports. Kingdoms regularly and casually invaded other kingdoms, and the soldiers habitually raped the women, stole food and valuables, and burned villages to the ground. Slavery was a worldwide business which few people objected to. This was normal.

We have come a very long way since then, largely due to the stabilizing and civilizing effects of Christianity. I commend you for having the courage to stand up for your faith in a hostile environment. Please understand that I do not wish to attack you.

laura queue

Imagine that the Zeus is real. Hell, imagine that Allah is real. I have a pretty good imagination, so I'm capable of imagining any of these things is real. That doesn't, of course, actually make them real, and people who delude themselves with these stories are not actually less culpable because they tell themselves their crimes are less than, or their worship of their gods is greater than. ...

even within the contexts of the christian faith, why on earth would the christian god expect people to consent to one sin in order to avoid committing another? that's insane troll logic!

as for the sane folks here: i'm not suggesting "banning" it; nor, do I believe, did Liz. being against something doesn't entail believing it should be banned. I *do* think that that there need to be some sort of significant checks on it to prevent this kind of insane brainwashing and torture.

laura queue

also, "shatteredsoul", try imagining that there are people who don't lie to, rape, and abuse children, and in fact treat children very well, protect them, don't throw them out of the house as "surplus" or force them to fuck people 30 or 40 years older than them when they are barely entering puberty.

i really encourage you, if you are or were one of those raped and abused, or abandoned, children, to believe that there are lots and lots of people who know that was absolutely wrong, no matter what lies were told to justify it.

and if you ended up being complicit in doing wrong in such a situation, know that while you are responsible for your actions, you are also a victim. reading & interacting with the world is a good step towards developing a sense of ethics. which i suggest you're really lacking at this moment.


Yes, I do agree with that, Laura. And if people were coming in and checking on the kids as well as their schoolwork, it would have been clear that there were a lot of children having children.

I'd definitely have to say, "Fuck you, God" and flip him off too if God is like that. Because who wants an evil god? Or an evil god as represented by non-Aramaic Greek scholars writing decades later, pretending to be apostles who are stated to be illiterate? That would be like writing the bio of Martin Luther King from no existing documents 40 years later from interviews only and ascribing all kinds of incivilities to him which he did not say. Kind of like that gossip game kids play. Besides, I don't think there's anything in the Bible that says "Beat the fuck out of your children and wives." That rod thing? That was a shepherd's staff, and the shepherd didn't beat the sheep.

I'd rather do what's right rather than something wrong that people attribute to God.


Hold up and reevaluate, everyone:

Shattered Soul is a man who believes in nonconsensual BDSM. Why is he reading and posting to Liz's website other than to troll or stalk? In complaining about someone who says he isn't a sadist, he has to prove his dominance (one might psychoanalyze and argue this is really between men since that's who he's trying to impress), he says:
"How about the times I had my ex slave give me head and by the end of it her mouth was bloody and her lips were fat? Is that not sadistic? Or the time I made her cook fried chicken totally naked, ended up pissing on her, and send her to the store with the words piss whore written across her chest in a see through white shirt? Are these things not real enough for you? Are they what makes this blog not real?

Because I assure you that you can read about all these things somewhere on my blog. The articles are in the archives. I have done horrific things to my former slaves. Things I am ashamed of. Things I learned and grew because of. I learned about limits and self control the hard way, by fucking up. These things are all real and all me."

Hmm...thank goodness nonsensual sexual relationships are illegal. He's also in a custody battle for his kids.

laura queue

And given his expressed beliefs about abuses such as incest, "predefined marriage" (his euphemism for forced marriage) and so on, i really hope that the family/probate court judge in charge of his case realizes that he is not a fit parent.

... sorry to have fed the troll.


Yes, me too. I didn't even know what predefined marriage is.

Pretty Lady

Ew. Here his tone was exactly like that of all the good Christian wives I have been talking with, lately. Ew.


I thought he was female at first too. The planet Kolob is a very strange place.


This story is pretty much all we're hearing here in Salt Lake these days and it is hard for me to sort through how much is truth verses the media here sensationalizing things because I'm at ground zero for the Mormons.

Your take on this doesn't surprise me, Badger. I'm in agreement with you. And really am glad you're pointing me to places where I might find some more balanced information.

Do you know I'm living in a polygamist house? I've got a "wives" house right behind mind and a tunnel from my basement to theirs. And I'm just a few blocks from Temple Square!


I am not at all being a troll (at least not trying to). I happen to find your postings most fascinating and am truely sorry my opinions offend you. Also had you continued reading about my custody case, you'd have found I did in fact win, but of course not without the help of God.

Also I do not condone the abuse of women or children, and you are sorely mistaken if you believe of my relationships were anything but consentual. In fact, my exslave you posted about and myself are still very good friends and she looks to me with the utmost of respect. There was never anything non-consenting about it... I just went a little father then I should have a bit quicker then I should have. Either way SHE CONCENTED!!

And finally, no God doesn't condone or consent to such things as abuse of spouce or child. In fact its wrong! Just as its wrong not to honor and obey. Both are crimes and neither one is greater then the other.

laura queue

... such things as abuse of spouce or child. In fact its wrong! Just as its wrong not to honor and obey. Both are crimes and neither one is greater then the other.

No, that's where you're wrong. Even within religion there are levels of sins. Disobedience is a sin against one's "duty" to obey, but nothing else; abuse is both inarguably a more serious sin than disobedience, and it ''also'' encompasses disobedience within it.

Note that I'm assuming ''arguendo'' that there is a duty to obey. That's utter bullshit, of course. Ethics and morality are derived solely from human principles, including supposed duties to obey third parties. There is no god, and there is no duty to obey a god or any historico-mythical texts. I'm sorry that you were raised with such a belief, or were encouraged in them in a moment of weakness, but it is plainly obvious that the relativistic stance that people of any particular religion take towards their own faith is obscene as well as stupid.

(I will not respond to trolls any longer.)

Madeline F

This guy is fucking hilarious. I've been smirking about the scenario ever since I read it...


There is the sound of a motorcycle approaching.

YHWH: Did you believe the abuse your husband caused you would be worse then the punishments I will inflict for disobeying my laws.... why then did you not love, honor, and obey your husband as you promised in your wedding vows.

MADELINE: Man what.

ATHENA turns into the scene on a motorcycle. She flips up the visor on her helmet.

ATHENA: Jesus Fucking Christ, YHWH. This "wandering hands" thing is pathetic. (To MADELINE) You ready to blow this popsicle stand?


ATHENA: Mind the snakes.

The fringe of live snakes on ATHENA'S motorcycle jacket aegis flick out tongues in greeting as MADELINE climbs on behind.

YHWH: But you will be cast out of the glory of MY presence forever!

MADELINE: Wheeeeee!


laura queue



Ooh, we "accidentally" forgot the "obey" part in our vows. How convenient. I guess I'll have to turn to lives of crime and degradation now since I won't know how to control myself without male authority. Suddenly I don't understand right from wrong. I think I'll go rob a bank or vandalize an insurance company. I know in my heart God wants me to be miserable, but I just can't help myself.

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