Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Cult leaders at it again

Warren Jeffs, the leader of a breakaway Mormon sect, was finally arrested on charges of sexual misconduct after running from law enforcement for two years. Believe it or not, this sex offender has been on the loose for a dozen years when he led a sect of patriarchs who believe it is god's will to "marry" underage girls.

What's interesting about this case is that local authorities in Arizona and Nevada have known about the sect for years, and the official Mormon Church has remained silent about its operation. We're talking about dozens and dozens of girls being married off to creepy older men.

The girls are indoctrinated at a young age into being subservient to men, to believe that men are the rulers over their minds and bodies. This isn't ordinary sex offense; this is evil mind control in the service of patriarchy.

When Mormon feminists were active in lobbying for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, the Mormon Church excommunicated them, and also campaigned hard to defeat the amendment nationwide. One reason the ERA lost by such a narrow margin was because of the Mormon Church. Sonia Johnson, an ex-Mormon ERA activist and feminist visionary, documents this in her groundbreaking book, From Housewife to Heretic. Perversely, I found this wonderful book in a bookstore in Salt Lake City in 1985. For those of you who haven't read Sonia Johnson's books, I highly recommend them.

I find it interesting that this same Mormon Church never spoke up forcefully against Jeffs and his followers. We do have this old boys club, and they do protect each other. I've noticed that when the mainstream press interviews Mormon leaders, the questions are never tough enough about their woman-hating theology.

I'm amazed how women accept this, and it makes me realize that even the larger Mormon Church really is a patriarchal cult. This "theology" is deadly to women and girls, and as long as women support these institutions, we're going to have old men molesting young girls.

As Mary Daly put it so eloquently in Gyn/Ecology:

"As we move further on the metapatriarchal journey, we find deeper and deeper layers of these demonic patterns embedded in the culture, implanted in our souls. These constitute mindbindings comparable to the footbindings which mutilated millions of Chinese women for a thousand years. Stripping away layer after layer of these mindbinding societal / mental embeds is the a-mazing essential to the journey."

Just think of the collaboration between Warren Jeffs and local police who looked the other way when obvious sexual abuse was going on. Think of the Mormon Church's silence about these renegade groups. Only when women start shining the spotlight on these practices, and when they decode the message of male supremacy, do "authorities" finally take action and make arrests.

What can we learn from all of this? Women have to be alert to patriarchal mind control, and women have to get a good feminist education. We now have a huge body of academic and visionary work out there, and this renaissance of women's soul writing and philosophical analysis is the golden labrys that can cut through the male-stream to freedom.

It's up to women to make use of this knowledge, and be alert, so that we can be free.

You can't assume that the police or the male-controlled churches will ever be just in the cause of women, nor do they care when creepy old men take on many underage girls as sexual slaves.