Open Letter to Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff

July 27, 2010 

Attorney General Mark Shurtleff

Salt Lake City, Utah

By Email

Dear Attorney General Mark Shurtleff: 

Re: Your reaction to the overturning of Warren Jeffs’ prosecution 

You are quoted as saying that you were “shocked” and “disappointed” by the decision of the Utah Supreme Court today to overturn the prosecution of Warren Steed Jeffs in which he was found guilty on all counts of being an accomplice to rape in the forced marriage of 14-year-old Elissa Wall to her 19-year-old cousin, Allan Steed.  We are shocked by your shocking reaction. 

Did you not hold a “polygamy summit” in 2003 in St. George, Utah?  At that summit, did you not tell the audience that you would not prosecute a “religious belief?”  In spite of you and your courts knowing that the FLDS terrorizes its members with threats of hellfire; and, that they force women and underage girls to become concubines in FLDS harems, which is rape, and that young men are thrown out in order to cater to “polygamy math” you persist in calling the FLDS a religion. No bona fide religion breaks the law, denies the civil rights of its members, and rapes its women and girls. The FLDS is not a religion. It is a cult.  Paragraph 52 of your high court’s ruling makes no sense—not only did Jeffs transport Elissa Wall across state lines to perform the illegal marriage, the only reason for marriage in the FLDS is to procreate, so Jeffs knew that Ms. Wall would unwillingly go to a marriage bed with a man she detested. 

Did you not use some of the $750,000 federal resource money given to the State of Utah to “deal with the problem of polygamy” to set up a Safety Net Committee?  When interested parties gathered around the table for discussion, did you not tell those opposing polygamy not to speak at this meeting?  I have first-hand accounts saying that you gave no voice to anti-polygamy groups and/or persons. 

You wrote a “Primer” for social service providers.  Did that “Primer” not support polygamy while going after its abuses?  Polygamy is abuse, Mr. Shurtleff.  It is abuse of the rights of women and children.  

When the YFZ raid happened, did you not spend thousands of dollars to send two women who are pro-polygamists (neither of whom lives in a polygamous relationship!) to Texas to teach social service providers there how to deal with polygamy?  

Have you not read Elissa Wall’s book, Stolen Innocence, in which she chronicles her story and the obvious fact that the Mann Act was transgressed over and over again, even in the transporting of FLDS girls and boys to Canada for marriage and for slave labor in the FLDS logging camps in Alberta? 

Have you not read Carolyn Jessop’s books, Escape and Triumph, wherein she tells of her own experiences going to Texas after the raid and a lead investigator telling her that women who could cry easily in front of the cameras were shipped in from Utah to put on a show for the media?  Her own story of witnessing underage marriages is heartbreaking. 

You are supposed to be a lawmaker in your state.  What have you done to see that laws protecting men, women, and child victims of cults like the FLDS have been implemented in your state?  The infested waters of the FLDS started to roil in 2001.  What have you done to make your state safe from the FLDS?  You’ve had nine years.  Nothing, nothing, nothing! 

Did you know from the beginning that the charges against Warren Jeffs would not hold up in higher courts?  You are the Attorney General, why didn’t you ensure that charges were laid that would prosecute Jeffs through the courts?  How well do you know your own law, Mr. Shurtleff?  Jeffs was on the FBI’s ten most-wanted list.  Utah has let everyone who wants to see justice for the victims of polygamy down. 

We, in Canada, are looking down at you with such disgust.  Not “disappointment,” disgust.  You are a part of the United States of America, a country that champions its rights and freedoms, yet you give no such rights to victims of the horrendous crime of polygamy!  Canada has more legal ammunition to fight the crime of polygamy than you will ever have with your refusal to ratify the ERA or CEDAW; and, we intend to win this battle.  

We respectfully request a reply. 

Nancy Mereska, President

Stop Polygamy in Canada


8 responses to this post.

  1. It appears many people think the FLDS is a Christian religion because it has the name of Jesus Christ in its title, “The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.” Jesus must look down from Heaven and weep at the cruelty, tyranny and rape being committed in His holy name. If there is such a place as Hell, the FLDS leadership is going to burn in it.


  2. Posted by Sokpuppette on July 30, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Yeah, this is anonymous. Sorry…

    So, sure, Jeffs is an accomplice to rape. I hear he’s a rapist himself. The FLDS is a loony cult. The FLDS colonies are despotic theocracies. No argument there.

    But what does Elissa Wall have to do with polygamy? The news says the guy she was forced to “marry” didn’t have any other wives. One-wife-only cults can do the same thing, and they do do it, all the time.

    These cults treat women and girls like everybody else treats cars. Their polygamy is an EFFECT of that, not the CAUSE of it.

    Give men total power. Tell them they’re the elect. Tell them women are beneath them. Let them believe they’re God’s mouthpieces. Surprise! Pretty soon God is gonna “tell” one of those “prophets” that God wants him to have a lot of women, and to hell with what the women think. And maybe his friends too. But that’s not going to be the first scumbag thing he’ll do in God’s name, and it’s not going to be the last.

    Why are you so hung up on polygamy? The FLDS wouldn’t be Disneyland without polygamy. Scientology isn’t a unicorn farm just because it hasn’t gotten around to polygamy.

    Deal with the cult part, and the polygamy part will take care of itself. Don’t deal with the cult part, and even if you somehow stop the polygamy, the cult will still be treating everybody but the top guys like garbage. And you won’t stop the polygamy anyway, as long as the prophet’s word is law.

    Watch out what you ask the law to do, too. It’s clumsy, and it’s got sharp edges. There’s a reason it’s hard to convict people even when they’re slimeballs. And the law can’t break cult mind control.


  3. Posted by fred grant on December 23, 2010 at 1:11 am

    polygamy…mark shurtliff ut.attorny genral.dont do what needs to be done he deos what thomas s monsen tell him what to do..they dont mess with the poligamust.yes the lds church say they dont practice any more ha ha they lye about alot..mormans and polygamy go hand in hand..dont mess with toms polygamust or his illegal mexicans


  4. Polygamy, historically, precedes monogamy and is practised by most people who have not had their cultures altered by western missionaries and the dominant modern norms. There is a syllogism here. Because cults are presumed to practice polygamy, all polygamists are cultists and can be disposed of by the same method.

    This was the traditional approach to polygamy and was simply called extermination. The policy of selective extermination of all primitive peoples, in part because they practised polygamy, was not controversial in the 19th Century and is not now, if you look at the Middle East and other places where the extermination of tribal people by Islamist.

    The liberal feminism of much of my generation has not been flexible enough to see when it is being exploited in a way that has unintended results. Remember the feminist deprecation of the veil that preceded 911 and the war against Al Queda. There is an old saw: pick your friends carefully, but your enemies even more carefully. The way women dressed was used, in part, to spark a war.
    I fear a torture/terror state that will extend from Afghanistan to the Eastern End of Turkey. All for the improvement of women’s lives.
    A touching sentiment, but I believe the only way to implement this resolution is to allow countries and minority regions within them to regulate and then move on to consensus initiatives to improve the status of women.

    Women gain status with education, their capacity to bring home the bacon, How they–improved when family incomes rise, religious and tribal tolerance. The effects of banning polygamy will not be consistent from region to region. American Polygamy will be the last to go, because the criminal methods of eradication ignored by developed nations when practised in the 3rd world will be employed,
    and the high cost, well paying methods used in the US will degrade
    our ability to call ourselves a free nation. All women will lose funding for needed projects in attempts to enforce unenforceable laws. The money will go to enforce laws based on an ineffective
    resolution, ie, directly to high paying jobs for men.

    The world is going to hell in a hand basket. Change is everywhere and we must learn to adapt our strategies to the rapidly changing conditions and situations it presents, for the benefit of women.

    We need to be flexible.

    The polygamy article of this resolution is functioning here as a rider does in legislation. It is slowing down the implementation of adoption of a needed convention for the welfare of women. If we keep dragging it along behind us, it will slow us down until the resolution we need to pass slows to a stop due to sheer exhaustion and loss of momentum. The US will probably never ratify it.


  5. Change is everywhere and we must learn to adapt our strategies to the rapidly changing conditions and situations it presents, for the benefit of women. We need to be flexible.

    The polygamy article of this resolution is functioning here as a rider does in legislation. It is slowing down the implementation of adoption of a needed convention for the welfare of women. If we keep dragging it along behind us, it will slow us down until the resolution we need to pass slows to a stop due to sheer exhaustion of supporters and loss of momentum. The US will probably never ratify it.

    This article is 6 months old and there has been progress in holding child bigamists accountable since that time. Making the FLDS and similar isolated groups the model of all polygamy is inaccurate and unfair.

    The growth area in polygamy is among women who have had children by the same man, bonding together to survive housing and other costs. Since the mothers are in contact with one another in shared custody arrangements, where housing is unaffordable, it is happening as one woman after another is evicted due to loss of income. Islam is a factor, not the main factor–women, unless they are close, prefer to live separately but in the same school district.

    In the dominant form of polygamy, most children do not marry in polygamy and many do not make decisions about marriage until they , and so the lack of access to potential wives is confined to closed organised religions with a ban on associating with outsiders and all the faults of the original English settlers who knew only two worlds–the concubinage that shored up the British Aristocracy, marriage of cousins in order to keep the money in the family, and primogenitor.

    Consanguinity was not confined to marriage but
    developed over eras as people lived and married only within an area of 100 miles or less. The kith of Scotland were a clan where kith and
    kindreds celebrated festivals where sex and thus children were likely to be born. Even this was not enough to disperse genes enough to prevent genetic diseases in the old country.

    Cousin marriages might be made illegal and tend towards the opening of closed polygamous groups. Two of a relative’s birthing class friends babies were born on the same day as hers. Both of the children had gross deformities. The Cedar City database could easily be accessed, but only Howard Hughes Memorial Genome Project, as it was first called,
    is interested.

    Better to play Mc Geary with labouring mothers.
    Those with designated birthing centers will only stop using them, requiring more midwives and a less comfortable environment.

    Or they might stop using the hospital in Cedar City if notice of these children is too obvious. Since they are radiation linked, the deformities will not be eliminated when incest in an MK Ultra Generation is eliminated. We are all down winders, some more than others.

    Gregory Bateson, a Counterintelligence Officer in WWII divided groups into two basic types. One may be characterised by grand solutions,
    A ‘now for something completely different’ approach. The other type of society analyses the situation, breaks it into component parts, and
    then modifies the situation by changing only what has to be changed.

    We may be arguing over which strategy should dominate the other, not about cults, criminal acts or polygamy that exists for reason of simple affinity to the lifestyle through, say, a happy childhood.


  6. Posted by FRED GRANT on February 27, 2011 at 12:27 am



  7. have your heard about Barney McKenna & Olmstead??


  8. Thank you for the open letter.


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