Mainstream Men Just Don't Get Fundamentalist Patriarchs

The potential uses of the bed found in the FLDS temple at Eldorado no longer rouse the prurient interest it once did. (An expert indicates that all Mormon-type temples have beds for temple workers or visitors who may become dizzy from fasting, or who fall ill during sessions). But the image of an old man tupping a barely-married pubescent girl persists. A neighbor, father to his own nail-painting, Ipod-toting teenager, cannot imagine a father of daughters perpetrating such wrong. His notion of "pedophile" doesn't include a reader of scriptures, a man who takes the sacrament and thanks God daily for the bounty of life.

The pedophilia permitted in this religious culture may have secretly lascivious roots, but the attraction lies in power and control rather than erotica. By commandeering young bodies, an old man also commandeers youthful life. While a girl's character is still soft, he can mold her to fit in his family system. The more pliable her personality, the easier the transition. The result: new verve in the patriarch's home and the growth of the family kingdom. Media emphasis on sex for sport comes from a secular orientation, rather than a fundamentalist perspective. The real juice for FLDS patriarchs doesn't come from rollicking in bed; it comes from taking over young lives.

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