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Banished: The Lost Boys of Polygamy
January 9, 2010 4:42 PM   Subscribe

Just in time for the season premiere of Big Love... Banished: The Lost Boys Of Polygamy is a 20 minute documentary exploring the plight of young men who grow up in communities where plural marriage is commonplace.
posted by hippybear (29 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
Here is a story done by a local free weekly about the Lost Boys.
posted by msbutah at 5:13 PM on January 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dang, I'm only halfway through this, but can we put up a heartbreaking warning on this thing?
posted by Mizu at 5:17 PM on January 9, 2010


Not to be nitpicky, but rather than any old communities anywhere that might practice polygamy, aren't these reports specifically about the Jeffs cult?
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:23 PM on January 9, 2010


That was both painful and necessary to watch. Thanks.
posted by AdamCSnider at 5:23 PM on January 9, 2010


Thank you for posting this.

I recall hearing a thesis once, probably overstated, that one of the best single things that could be done in the Middle East would be the prohibition of polygamy. Apparently heartbroken lonely trod-upon angry young men who believe martyrs get dozens of virgins in paradise are ripe targets for terrorism recruitment. Whodda thunk?
posted by jock@law at 5:34 PM on January 9, 2010


I get told there's a problem with the video: is it only available if you're in the States?
posted by jrochest at 5:40 PM on January 9, 2010


Hey, speaking of this topic, I the douchebag that runs the Bountiful, BC, Mormon poly-cult got away with it.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:57 PM on January 9, 2010


Well ... they have to adapt to their specific local market rules and compete accordingly. Similiar to dork hordes vs rock stars ;-P
posted by vertriebskonzept at 6:06 PM on January 9, 2010


See also this Big Love AskMe from today.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:32 PM on January 9, 2010


And to completely self-promote, I co-wrote the book Lost Boy, the memoir of Brent Jeffs. He's the nephew of the "prophet" Warren and grandson of "prophet" Rulon. He grew up on his grandfather's compound in Salt Lake City and was raped by Warren when he was about 5. It was his lawsuit against his uncle-- along with that of several other lost boys-- that sent Warren underground and ultimately onto the FBI's most wanted list.

If you have any questions, I might be able to answer them. Working on that book was quite an experience and I came away incredibly impressed with Brent and his family. It was kind of a real life Big Love-- his dad had 3 wives and 19 kids (it may be 20, it's been a little while since I wrote it ;-) but anyway, two of the wives were sisters and they did *not* get along.

It was amazing to see how mature he was having dealt with not only that trauma, but also essentially being thrown out of the only world he ever knew-- and then the deaths of two of his brothers, one by suicide and the other by an overdose.

Though there are lots of harmful things about that group, if Brent's family are anything to go by, they are incredibly warm and nonmaterialistic and supportive of each other and it's really awful how Warren used to that to control and manipulate people.
posted by Maias at 6:44 PM on January 9, 2010 [22 favorites]


Not to be nitpicky, but rather than any old communities anywhere that might practice polygamy, aren't these reports specifically about the Jeffs cult?

I appreciate this nitpick. The polygamy is the least screwed up part of this story.
posted by lexicakes at 6:50 PM on January 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


And to completely self-promote, I co-wrote the book Lost Boy, the memoir of Brent Jeffs.

It's a heartbreaking, candid, and horrifyingly detailed book. Thanks for helping Brent tell his story.

Another book of yours that I really dug was Help at Any Cost. I didn't know you were MeFi's own!

Not to be nitpicky, but rather than any old communities anywhere that might practice polygamy, aren't these reports specifically about the Jeffs cult?

Big Love, which was referenced in the post, was inspired specifically by the FLDS and other spinoffs of the LDS.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:03 PM on January 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


This just seems to be a math problem where the answer is Of Course.
posted by pianomover at 7:41 PM on January 9, 2010


Hey, speaking of this topic, I the douchebag that runs the Bountiful, BC, Mormon poly-cult got away with it.
I think you're missing a coma after "I" and "poly-cult". And I didn't know you ran a cult in BC.
posted by autopilot at 8:03 PM on January 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


FFF, Maias, I'm learning so many things about my fellow MeFites this evening!
posted by toodleydoodley at 8:32 PM on January 9, 2010


What would happen if people used embryo sorting to simply increase the sex ratio?
posted by delmoi at 8:42 PM on January 9, 2010


What would happen if people used embryo sorting to simply increase the sex ratio?

I don't see how that would work with the FLDS--it would require much more engagement with the health care system than would be feasible for them. Also more $$ than they have.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:28 PM on January 9, 2010


Last time I looked, for every 1000 women in my age group and country there were 1014 men. By natural design, there are always lost boys, it just depends on how they are lost.
posted by 517 at 9:47 PM on January 9, 2010


Last time I looked, for every 1000 women in my age group and country there were 1014 men. By natural design, there are always lost boys, it just depends on how they are lost.

Male/female ratios are remarkably even in the US for the population aged 15 to 65.

Also, there are more gay men than lesbians; studies that go beyond marriage and officially declared partnerships suggest that men are slightly more likely to be partnered than women at all stages of life after age 25.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:00 PM on January 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Opps. Well-done, a touch of the cap to you, good sir, and a good day, too.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:02 PM on January 9, 2010


Always thought it was funny how the ev-psych guys who go to such great lengths to prove that polygyny is ONLY NATURAL always assume that THEY would be one of the lucky few to have multiple wives.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:18 AM on January 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is that true, Afroblanco? I've never read anything like that. I'd hope that anyone taking an ev-psych tack on describing the origins of this kind of behavior (which would be a really difficult and problematic thing to back up with concrete science, I can only assume) wouldn't have some kind of secret polygamist fetish.

But anyway, this documentary is like Jesus Camp, insofar as there's no way I could make it through either; I would be filled with more terrible rage than is healthy. It is just... fractally frustrating to me to see this kind of thing, to understand the ways in which people are complicit in their own oppression because they've been carefully taught to be so. It kills me. I can't imagine how you would go about helping them.

These poor people.
posted by pts at 1:53 AM on January 10, 2010


US only video it appears.
posted by A189Nut at 3:09 AM on January 10, 2010


I think Afroblanco is conflating bloviating proselytes of radical social restructuring, with descriptive theorists. The former very rarely publish papers in reputable scientific journals.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:09 AM on January 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


My in-laws live in St. George, UT, where many of these boys are dropped off or end up. MY mother-in-law would often see boys running heavy construction equipment. Some times she'd see a group of them outside one of the WALMARTS divvy-ing up groceries they'd bought.
posted by paddbear at 8:00 AM on January 10, 2010


people are complicit in their own oppression

It is the particular evil of this kind of oppression that it uses positive and praiseworthy parts of human nature, namely deep and caring family bonds, to consolidate its own power. Could I leave my children behind, however they came to be? It makes me crazy to even think of it. Though then watching my children be sold off to old men or driven away would be a hell just as bad.

And if I were uneducated, afraid, and without resources, how much lower would my odds of escape be?

How many people *do* try to escape, and end up buried in the desert? How many escape by killing themselves? I doubt we have any idea.
posted by emjaybee at 9:50 AM on January 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


thanks you guys!!!! and emjaybee has it-- they use the best parts of human nature to enslave the women and children. Brent estimated that one in five FLDS families has lost at least one child-- often to dangerous under-age labor practices or to this genetic disease that runs in the group. Or just to not being able to watch so many children carefully enough.

They don't *believe* that the disease is genetic so they keep having children and the condition-- it's called fumarase deficiency-- causes all manner of disability and virtually none of the affected kids live to adulthood (it's rare that they make it to their teens). Brent's mom had something like five of them in her family and she spent much of her childhood caring for them. She is an incredible person-- imagine spending most of your childhood taking care of your disabled siblings and watching 5 of them die, marrying at 20 and then having to help raise 19 kids. And then your husband marries your little sister, too!!!
posted by Maias at 2:24 PM on January 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


fractally frustrating

Ace.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:10 PM on January 10, 2010


This illustrates one way in which "traditional" family values (in this case, monogamy) are egalitarian rather than inegalitarian -- they even out the sexual lottery among men. I think liberal people tend to assume that traditionalism is solely inegalitarian, because it represses women. But it's complicated.
posted by grobstein at 7:27 PM on February 7, 2010


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