Saturday, April 19, 2008

Polygamist Children Situation

I still find the Texas polygamy sect's child custody battle riveting. More information has come out about polygamy lifestyle, as ex-members begin to speak out. I watched a video clip tonight of a young woman who left polygamy at age 15, before she was to be married to a 20-year-old man. She picked him because she felt she could marry him, and because she was afraid of the alternative, which was to marry someone much older. She ultimately left, though, because she did not want to marry there and be a part of what she grew up around.

She said that while she was growing up, she was sexually, emotionally and physically abused for as long as she could remember. She also said that her father had 19 wives, and the whole family lived together. She said the wives were in competition with each other, and when angry with another wife, they would often take out their anger on that woman's children.

Her father could never remember her name. He asked her every time he passed her, and also had to ask who her mother was. How tragic.

The children are all told very early that their salvation depends upon following the rules. The whole situation is tragic, but that convoluted, saved-by-works salvation message is the most tragic.

I am an ex-Catholic. Now an Evangelical Protestant, I read the Bible and believe it is the infallible Word of God. I was never encouraged to read it as a Catholic, nor was I encouraged to have a personal relationship with God. All emphasis was on the Church itself, and its practices and rules. Essentially, the Church and all its trappings distracted from the Gospel message.

After leaving, I understood Catholicism to be a good works religion, although I doubt if the Pope would agree with that. Practically speaking, from my experience, it was true. Maybe not so much in 2008; I don't really know how things have changed. I know there have always been saved Catholics who managed to cling to the Gospel message, despite their affiliation with the Catholic church.

A Message of Salvation

I felt truly free of the frustration of trying to earn my salvation when I trusted Christ's work on the cross as being sufficient. Christ uttered, as he was passing away, "It is finished". He meant it. It's as simple as that.

Ephesians 2:8 says it all:
"For is is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast."

Good works are fruit. They are evidence of a changed heart, of the gift of the Holy Spirit, but they are not a condition of salvation.

Galatians 2:16 reminds us:
"..know that a man in not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Christ Jesus. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified."

Fate of Sect Children

The children have been taken away from their sect parents for up to twelve months, with a possible six-month extension, while the state makes their abuse case. During that time, they will be placed in foster homes, within a large geographical region, pending DNA testing of children and parents.

I still don't know what the answer is, but I know what the Lord wants me to do. Pray. Pray much.

God, may these children and families know your truth. They are in your hands. Protect their hearts as they go about the task of bonding with foster families. Place the right people in their paths, the first time. Help them to trust your simple message. May they stop trying to earn their salvation, and enjoy freedom in you.

Mend broken hearts, and heal possible abuse-related wounds, so that they do not define or weigh down these children any longer. May you be glorified through this fiasco, and may your truth become evident to all who are intertwined with this case.


ArthurHu said...

The state would have had a case for this girl. But to remove every one of 414 children from infant age? They kids have mothers who love them, clothes, belongings, pictures. Are they to be scattered like the Australian aborigine children? Hmong do virtually the same thing, could you go into a Hmong village and take out every child under the same excuse?

Mama P said...

This was nicely written. As a struggling Catholic, I always find peoples' stories of faith interesting. As for the polygamy case? Ugg... don't get me started.