Big Love and Big Apathy

Psychologists point out that the opposite of love is not hate, it's apathy. Indifference seems anathema to the bonds of caring that we call love. In a big family, the potential for more affection can result in a greater sense of security, a higher incidence of fond expressions, and generally more love to go around. But when insecurity prevails, the potential for apathy increases. Just as FLDS followers can distance themselves from their neighbors and wholly discount the "wicked world," they can also insulate themselves from each other. Warren Jeffs has proven his willingness to hack away family bonds and excommunicate lifelong FLDS members at his whim.

In abusive environments, where family members build walls to hold secrets in and keep strangers out, vitiated feelings can cause domestic violence. It's related to the "kick your dog because your boss kicked you" syndrome. If you don't dare confront offenders directly, you'll be more likely to take your anger out on those at home-especially the defenseless ones who depend on you. Compassion becomes impossible in such an environment. What can we, on the outside, do to transform numbness to caring, so that children of polygamy don't get cut by this knife-edge between big love and big apathy?

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