You remember the Warren Jeffs/Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints scandal, don’t you? Sure you do.
As you might recall, Jeffs was nabbed after a couple of years on the run. He ruled his little cult like a tyrant, forcing teenage girls into marriages with men upwards of 50 years of age, or even their own cousins of similar age, and telling them they’d lose their chance at “salvation” if they didn’t comply. The FLDS lived in these remote, isolated towns straddling the Arizona-Utah border, and were the classic closed community. Lately they had been building a compound in central Texas, scaring many of the locals with the possibility of another Branch Davidian blowout in the offing. When rescued from the life imposed on them by Jeffs, a number of former FLDS teenagers reportedly had to be taught such basics as how to bathe.
Now there’s a new tragedy that’s emerged as a result of all this fundie polygamist inbreeding. Babies born to FLDS cultists are afflicted with an extremely rare genetic disorder called fumarase deficiency. According to the news article, it’s “an enzyme irregularity that causes severe mental retardation brought on by cousin marriage.” Among children born with the condition, “brain cells fail to receive enough fuel to grow, multiply and function properly because of a missing enzyme needed to generate energy from food, causing severe mental retardation and muscle control problems.” Lovely. Evidently the condition is so rare out in the real world, where normal people live, that the FLDS community in Arizona can claim fully half the world’s cases of fumarase deficiency!
In Jeffs’ tinpot holy dictatorship, in addition to being forced into multiple marriages, young people went without education. Needless to say, free inquiry was not allowed. Religious tyranny is the only way you can get a group of people blindly to accept engaging in repugnant and potentially deadly behaviors, all in the belief it’s what God wants. Unfortunately, the price for rejecting reason in favor of lunacy is often too high to pay.