This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
While some readers have found The Tribune's coverage of the Texas raids on the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints compound riveting, a handful of readers have said, "Stop it." This e-mail is typical of the unhappy:
"OK, after three full days of half-page, front page photos and articles on the FLDS raid in Texas, I think you can move on to other topics.
"It's strange that if polygamy is now illegal in this state, the [LDS] Church doesn't recognize it and we are to be mainstream, then why [do you have] all the coverage? Would that mean the locals have practicing relatives there and here and the rest of us have to read about their perverted sex practices?
"I wonder if other papers in the US are still taking up half of their front pages with FLDS news? Seriously, why is this news shoved in our faces each day, on half of the front page?"
There are a number of reasons this raid and its aftermath are important news for this community.
* No. 1, we have members of the FLDS sect here in Hildale, Utah. The leader of that group, Warren Jeffs, has been convicted of accomplice to rape for forcing a teen girl to marry an older man.
As Time magazine wrote in early April:
"The conviction of religious leader Warren Jeffs - self-proclaimed Prophet to the largest polygamist group in North America - was a victory for a new tactic being used by prosecutors in western states. The problem: polygamist churches that were marrying off young girls to older men, some brides as young as 14 and often closely related to their husbands. The proposed solution: Go after the church leaders as accessories to rape.
"The jury in St. George, Utah, agreed with the prosecution. Jeffs, who heads the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), was found guilty of two counts of being an accomplice to the rape of a 14-year-old girl, known throughout the trial as "Jane Doe IV," by forcing her into marriage with her first cousin, Allen Steed."
Jeffs is serving a 10-year sentence, and his Hildale compound has been taken over by a trustee appointed by the court.
* This story is chock full of human interest. There are young women who have borne babies with much older men. There are young women who have little education beyond basic reading and math - and who have few job skills should they ever want to leave the FLDS way of life.
They dress in long, cotton dresses reminiscent of the gowns worn by early settlers in the West.
* There is mystery: Where is the teen who made the phone calls to 911? What kind of lifestyle is going on in the compound, originally described to Eldorado residents as a hunting facility? What will happen to the 419 children pulled out of the compound and now in the custody of Texas child welfare officials?
* The FLDS church is an offshoot of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has its worldwide headquarters in Salt Lake City. And, there was a 1953 raid on polygamists in Utah that proved to be an embarrassment to the cops and the prosecutors.
The FLDS church is one form of polygamy, which is now found in a number of Western states and has created problems for prosecutors.
* The state of Texas is throwing an enormous amount of resources at this raid and seizure of the wives and children - and will pour even more money into prosecution if the case gets that far.
Bad talk: Some readers want to know how to get hateful, obscene or just mean comments off of stories posted on our Web site, http://www.sltrib.com:
"I think your office should be aware of the horrible comments made regarding the 'Autopsy: Evidence that girl was beaten, raped and strangled' article posted on The Salt Lake Tribune [Web site]. The commenter uterbruiser69 should not be allowed to post such horrific comments and I hope that the Tribune will remove them immediately."
A staff member for the Web site removed them at light speed after the complaints started.
The Trib is one of many American newspapers that do not filter reader comments on stories. But, and this is a big but, when readers complain about comments or about a particular person posting comments, the Web staff immediately reviews offending comments and removes them if appropriate.
The fact is this: Tribune staffers would like a comments section with a certain decorum, but some readers cannot be trusted to speak nicely when in the company of nice people. If posters gain a reputation for off-color, nasty or ad hominem remarks, they can be blocked permanently.
* The Reader Advocate's phone number is 801-257-8782. Write to the Reader Advocate, The Salt Lake Tribune, 90 S. 400 West, Suite 700, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101. firstname.lastname@example.org.
* 41: Number sick of FLDS raid coverage
* 25: Number who don't want local stories on A-1
* 9: Number upset over bad grammar
* 33: Number who hate Gordon Monson's column