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Saints Under SiegeThe Texas State Raid on the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints$
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Stuart A. Wright and James T. Richardson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780814795286

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814795286.001.0001

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Deconstructing Official Rationales for the Texas State Raid on the FLDS

Deconstructing Official Rationales for the Texas State Raid on the FLDS

(p.124) 5 Deconstructing Official Rationales for the Texas State Raid on the FLDS
Saints Under Siege

Stuart A. Wright

NYU Press

This chapter examines the Texas state raid on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints (FLDS) at the Yearning for Zion Ranch, with particular emphasis on the social construction of an alleged threat (in this case, “cult”) and the nature of the oppositional network that fueled the formulation of—and rationale behind—the raid. The raid on the FLDS near Eldorado was launched in response to hoax phone calls from an alleged sixteen-year-old girl inside the FLDS community who said she was raped and beaten by her polygamous husband. This chapter argues that child welfare officials, police, and other moral gatekeepers were predisposed to believe sensational tropes or narratives about the FLDS and had adopted an anticult movement framing of the problem. The chapter considers a recurrent pattern of state raids on minority religions and suggests that an oppositional coalition to new religious movements was firmly rooted in the cultural belief that abuse is pervasive in “cults.”

Keywords:   cults, Texas, state raid, Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints, Yearning for Zion Ranch, hoax phone calls, anticult movement, minority religions, new religious movements

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