The book of latterday conmen

Recent UK news has become little but a catalogue of murdered children and murdering children, only varied by the occasional “dog-driven-crazy-by-morons kills child” story. With no wish to add any more to the world’s store of incoherent rantings, I can’t keep reading this stuff. So I turned to BBC International News and CNN for a wider perspective on the world.

But, I am distracted from a BBC “Catholic Church makes yet another huge payout to victims of priestly paedophiles” story by the astonishing CNN Lost Boys story.

The background seems to be that several hundred young men were driven out of a Mormon offshoot sect, apparently because they were postential rivals to the founder (one Warren Jeffs) in his apparent attempt to lay claim to biblical quantities of wives. (Jeffs is presently facing trial for being an accomplice to rape, for his part in arranging the marriage of a 14-year-old to her cousin. )

You might assume that being driven out of this sect couldn’t have a downside. As it turns out, this is indeed the case for a few “lost boys” who sued and got a fairly sizeable payout.

About a half dozen “lost boys” filed suit against Jeffs and the FLDS, saying they were thrown out of the FLDS community to allow older men to have more wives. The suit was partially settled earlier this year, with an agreement for a $250,000 fund to be created for housing assistance, education help and other aid to boys who leave the FLDS.

However, it’s supposed to be a bit psychologically destructive to get thrown out of this cozy cult world into the cold rest of the planet. (As opposed to getting brought up in it then? Come on.)
The pseudonymous “lost boy” interviewed by CNN

left behind three mothers and about three dozen siblings. Two of his sisters are married to Jeffs.

In Christopher Hitchens’ “God is not Great”, Hitchens took a fair bit of trouble to demolish the claims of the Mormon faith, pointing out, for example, that its founder, Joeseph Smith, was convicted of fraud a few months before he “discovered” the Book of Mormon.

This seemed something of a sledgehammer to crack a nut, when I first read it. Well, yes, it’s even more blatant nonsense than most religion, being too new to allow suspension of disbelief except among the terminally credulous. And it clearly lacks a supporting transcedental tradition of great artists and musicians. The Osmonds don’t quite cut it against Handel’s Messiah.

Surely Mormons do nothing more offensive than wear ill-fitting suits and monumentally unflattering haircuts, they knock at your front door and try to talk tripe? Act as a sort of voluntary global Public Records Office, albeit for their own demented purposes?

Didn’t all that being a wierd cult, with the elder males having dozens of wives stuff get dumped so that Utah could join the USA?Hmm, it seems not. The FLDS is only a offshoot cult but still couldn’t be anything but Mormon

Ther cult members are, of course, assailing their deity with extravagant pleas for their founder’s relaease.

“It will be very quiet out here all through the trial. I am sure they will be fasting and praying for his release,” says Engels.* “Most of them believe that God’s going to step forward and free him anyway and punish us ‘bad-doers.’ “

Given the utter uselessness of mass prayer – as evidenced by the massive Catholic engagements in exhortations to the deity to intervene in the Madeleine McCann case to bring her back to her parents unharmed – for once, it looks like there’ll actually be a conviction then.

(* No, it’s not the author of the English Working Class mysteriously returned from the grave. According to CNN, it’s “Gary Engels, an investigator for the state of Arizona, has seen many “lost boy” cases.”)