From time to time, FLDS leaders have been called "the American Taliban." Certainly, FLDS patriarchs dominate their women and children, with Warren Jeffs dictating how they dress (no hearts on clothing, no printed fabrics, and five or six acceptable patterns featuring long sleeves and long skirts). They arrange and force marriages of daughters and widows. They also deprive women of funds, encouraging them to "bleed the Beast" by applying for state and federal welfare programs rather than paying them for their work in FLDS enterprises. In addition, leaders rarely permit women to get adequate education, even though home schooling is de rigeur in FLDS circles and many medical needs are met by community members. All these FLDS restrictions parallel the deprivations imposed on women and children by the Taliban overseas.

However, FLDS leaders pale in comparison to the Afghani Taliban when it comes to violent retribution. Rumors and reports of child and spouse abuse in FLDS compounds don't approach the torture, stoning, and beheading attributed to the Taliban. But violence can certainly be found among the polygamists of the Western Hemisphere, with many murders and disappearances linked to this throwback way of life. (We'll explore this issue in future blogs.) Why do you suppose fundamentalism breeds violence in so many instances? Do you think the FLDS community is a powder keg about to explode?

What Do You Think?