Saturday, April 12, 2008

April 12th, 2008 Roundup Of Primary Current Utah Media Stories On The FLDS Eldorado, Texas Situation


The overall story of the situation at the FLDS' Yearning for Zion (YFZ) Ranch in Eldorado, Texas continues to evolve, as Texas authorities now begin to explain the many actions they took more fully. Consequently, the best way for Voice Of Deseret to address this is to present links to the major stories presented by Utah media outlets and provide brief summaries. One of the continuing missions of Voice Of Deseret is to present the Utah perspective in order to counter negative biases and stereotypes about the state and the people.

Deseret Morning News: April 12th story entitled "Barlow to meet with Texas Rangers today": Dale Barlow, who lives in Colorado City, AZ, told the Deseret Morning News he's agreed to meet with the officers who contacted his probation officer to make the arrangements. He said he told Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran a week ago by telephone that he didn't know the girl who called a domestic violence shelter hotline and said she was one of his wives and that he abused her. It was her phone calls that triggered Texas officials to raid the FLDS ranch and remove all 416 children (other media sources claim 419). Barlow said he didn't know if the Rangers planned to arrest him. A warrant for his arrest was issued out of Texas more than a week ago.

Deseret Morning News: April 12th story entitled "Items seized from ranch detailed": On Friday April 11th, Texas authorities released 88 pages detailing a multitude of items seized from the FLDS ranch near Eldorado. Items taken from the property included photographs, computers, hard drives, journals and identification papers. Also listed were many clothing items, including dozens of collections of white clothing, "temple clothes," shoes, belts, slips and one "clip-on tie." One of the more unusual items listed was a "cyanide poisoning document", but Texas authorities said it was nothing more than pages from a first-aid book.

In addition, at least two videotapes of SWAT teams entering the temple were also seized from the compound. Officers also took a video from a birthing room as well as a pregnancy test, cell phones, cameras, pedigree charts and contents from a shredder. Also among items were medical files and photographs of girls and women with the same name as the purported 16-year-old pregnant young mother who called a crisis hotline from the ranch to say she was being physically and sexually abused. It was her phone calls that prompted Texas officials to raid the YFZ Ranch.

At least four medical files for patients with the same or similar name as the caller were seized, as well as "laboratory receipts" for several different girls with the same name.

Other items, which were categorized into 327 entries, include: flash drives, Books of Mormon, children's notebooks, tax records, writing assignments, a folder labeled "attitude and behavior weekly sheet," report cards, baby books, letters from attorneys, "Texas Stake of Zion Bishop's Records" and a paper titled "My Testimony." The search warrant "return" also lists several pages of "miscellaneous documents" from cardboard boxes in addition to "prison mail," "Warren Jeffs records," "mail from Canadian Saints" and "mail from houses in hiding."

A similar story has also been published by the Salt Lake Tribune.

KSL Channel 5 Salt Lake: April 12th story entitled "Arizona AG says only most loyal picked for Texas FLDS compound": Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard says only the most loyal allies of polygamist leader Warren Jeffs were picked to live in a compound in Texas. Warren Jeffs set up the ranch in the Texas scrub country to escape scrutiny from Arizona and Utah, where the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is primarily based. The Arizona AG says those chosen to move to Texas are "Warren Jeffs' all-star cast." Story leads to other related links.

KSL Channel 5 Salt Lake: Late April 11th story entitled "FLDS children to stay in state custody at least another week": A judge has ordered all the children stay in the San Angelo area until after a hearing next week. Child advocates say they say they still don't know who most of the children are. Texas Child Protective Services spokeswoman Marliegh Meisner says, "We don't necessarily have birth certificates on all these children. We have names, as we've told you many times, their names change frequently. Many of them have the very same name, so it has been an unbelievable task." Child services workers say the children may be put in foster homes after that hearing, but the cultural adjustment would require intense counseling. Story leads to other related links.

Salt Lake Tribune: April 12th story entitled "Texas cops meet with Barlow, but don't arrest him": Dale E. Barlow, named in a warrant in Texas in connection with the alleged abuse of a 16-year-old girl, met with Texas Rangers on Saturday April 12th, but was not arrested. Friend Walker, chief of the Mohave County, AZ probation office, said Saturday that the meeting took place in the office of Barlow's St. George, UT probation officer at about noon. Walker did not explain why the Texas authorities did not arrest Barlow. A Texas Rangers' representative also provided no information about the interview. Walker said Barlow was expected to return to his Colorado City, AZ home Saturday. Note: See CNN update and Deseret News update of this story.

Salt Lake Tribune: April 12th story entitled "Texans offer prayers, songs for FLDS women, children": In song and prayer, residents gathered in San Angelo, TX on Saturday April 12th to ask God to guide those aiding and making decisions about the women and children taken a week ago from a polygamous sect's ranch in west Texas. At the San Angelo Visitors' Center, an interfaith service attracted 50 people, who sang hymns and offered prayers for the "pressing human situation" that has gripped this part of Texas and the nation.

Across town, women from the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church and Christ Lutheran Church united for a third day of quilting to benefit children being held at Fort Concho. Twenty women pieced together colorful fabric squares - avoiding any shades of red, which the FLDS consider a sacred hue reserved for Jesus Christ - in a meeting room at the Lutheran Church. Quilts finished by Sunday will be blessed at a service by the Rev. Celia Ellery of the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church and delivered to child advocates to distribute to the children. The quilting bees will continue through next week until there is one comforter for each of the 416 children taken from the YFZ Ranch in Eldorado.

Salt Lake Tribune: April 12th story entitled "FLDS raid generates sympathy": The letters all begin the same way: "Dear friend." So far, fundamentalist Mormons have gathered 400 to 500 of them, all written by children, and as many stuffed animals to send to children from a polygamous sect in west Texas now in state custody here.

The letters, along with diapers, notebooks, pencils and other items will be delivered next week to San Angelo and, organizers hope, into the hands of the women and children from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. "Right now, we are trying to respond with a humanitarian effort to help out the children and women whose lives have been shattered by this," said Mary Batchelor, director for Principle Voices, a Salt Lake City-based education and advocacy organization for polygamous families. "We're ready and willing to support them in many other ways."

Also in the works is a public rally to show support for the sect and the broader fundamentalist community, said to number about 37,000 people in the Intermountain West. Similar acts of compassion are under way across the nation as attention continues to focus on the unprecedented decision to remove all 416 children from the sect's ranch near Eldorado, TX, and take them into state custody.

Discussion of this issue is taking place on a number of prominent forums, to include Free Republic, the Democratic Underground, the Vanguard News Network Forum, and several threads on LDSFiles.com.

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