Meredith called yesterday morning, having found my contact information through the Utah/Arizona Safety Net Committee of which I'm proud to be a part. She's a Texan by birth but now lives with her husband in the beautiful northwest. She's been riveted by the drama unfolding in her home state as the children of the YFZ Ranch are flung far and wide. In response to her horror (about the secret world of polygamy), Meredith has taken the time to educate herself, reading everything she can get her hands on about the subject. She's dismayed that women who have tried to leave the FLDS community have suffered so much without getting adequate help. She's concluded that any young woman who's being forced into marriage should have the freedom and safety to leave the fundamentalist group that's pushing her around. She also sees the reverberations of massive state intervention. So she wants to do something about it. She doesn't just talk the talk. She's willing to walk the walk, putting her own comfort and resources on the line. She's offering a guesthouse on her property where women with children can stay long enough to "get launched" and stand on their own.
Cheers for Meredith, who offers a real solution—one that could produce cultural change. If the monogamous women of America would reach out to the polygamous women of America, some amazing transformations could take place. Where plural wives will not trust governments, established institutions and monolithic systems, they will trust individuals with pure intent. If people offered the "mother-in-law" apartment in their basement, their second home or even a spare bedroom to help refugees get adequate schooling, employment, and housing then we might be surprised at how many women would choose to leave polygamy—as long as they could take their children with them.
If such genuine but informal kindness exists without regulation, do you think it would work? Are we capable, as individuals, of extending charity without having big organizations act as middlemen?