From the May 2008 Idaho Observer:

Feds test police state powers on Texas religious community

Did the Branch Davidians deserve to die? We have noticed over time that the state justifies doing horrible things to people who can be singled out as "different" because the public is less likely be concerned about them. While we may not agree with peopleís religious beliefs or social values, should we tolerate the use of police power to raid them, remove their happy and healthy children from loving homes and place them in state custody? What if the state moves to seize of their property though there is no evidence that any real crimes have been committed? Search your soul on this story and decide whether or not the interests of the people of Texas are being served in this case or if the state of Texas is serving itself.

Compiled from reports

On April 3, 2008, Yearning for Zion (YFZ), a community of 600 about four miles north of Eldorado, Texas, was raided and the state of Texas took into custody over 400 children in the biggest child protective services sweep in U.S. history.

The alleged reason for the raid was an anonymous tip from a 33-year-old woman from Colorado Springs, Colorado, who claimed to be a 16-year-old pregnant wife of an abusive husband. The call turned out to be a hoax.

The community is part of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), a splinter group of the LDS church that has some 10,000 members. They left the LDS church in 1890 when it was decided that polygamy would no longer be sanctioned.

Texas officials have taken 416 children in state custody, separated them from their families and loved ones even though no evidence of abuse had been presented prior to the raid. The mothers are desperately trying to regain custody of their children. Appealing to Governor Rick Perry has proven fruitless.

Governor Perry has gone on record praising Texas CPS for its handling of the caseóforcefully vaccinating all children against their will, subjecting them to invasive physical exams, questioning them regarding sexual acts (traumatizing many younger children), forcing paternity testing (DNA data banking?) and keeping them from their families without cause.

No evidence of abuse has surfaced. These children have just been kidnapped by the state.

There are known polygamist sects in Arizona and north Idaho near the Canadian border and yet their communities are not being raided nor their children taken into state custody.

According to Vox Day of World Net Daily, the CPS "kidnapper-in-chief" Angie Voss stated that five of the 416 children were pregnant or had given birth. Assuming that half of the 416 are female, that is a pregnancy rate of 24 per 1,000. The Texas pregnancy rate among women 15 to 19 is 101 per 1,000.

Itís also worth noting that the "numerous" pregnant 13-year-olds hypothesized by one government worker mysteriously transformed into five "under 18s" when Voss testified.

Utah-based blogger Connor Boyack, who started an online petition drive that received 200 signatures before being sent to officials in Texas, Arizona, Utah and Washington, D.C., said many a Utahan has an unfavorable view of Texas. "I canít speak much for people in general, but the blogs and discussions I have seen talking about this issue donít have favorable words for the Texas government, Boyack said.

"Texasí slogan for its tourism efforts claims that itís like a whole other country. Many feel like that statement is more accurate than one might think of at first glance."

The cost to Texas taxpayers for this boondoggle is staggering. Just to care for the children in state custody is projected to cost $21 million over the next year. Texas is already receiving bills for over $5.3 million for costs related to the initial raid and Schleicher county, home to El Dorado and the ranch, hasnít billed the state yet.

Land grab

In 2003 the 1,700 acres of "scrubland" comprising YFZ was purchased for $700,000. The land has been transformed into a virtual paradise of self-sufficiency with gardens, orchards, cattle and gorgeous homes, bringing up the assessed property value to $20.5 million.

A May 15, 2008 AP story conveniently titled "Polygamist sects finances are murky" reveals that they have paid their taxes on time ($424,000 annually) and many members have employment outside the community. However, the source of the funding for the 2003 purchase of the ranch is under scrutiny with an attorney attempting to get ahold of the documents of a $114 million trust fund that includes most of the homes in the neighboring FLDS towns of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona.

It is believed that this trust funded the communityís construction even though elders of the community deny this as the source of their funding.

Motive. It appears that Texas authorities prompted the 33-year-old Rozita Swinton of Colorado to make the initial phone call that triggered the raid. Though the allegations Swinton made have been proven to be without merit, the state of Texas is still keeping the children. "Do you think that just possibly Swinton could have been paid to make that phone call? Is there a motive here to transfer the YFZ property into state hands?" Internet activist Vickie Davis asked.

The Ports-to-Plains high priority corridor originates in Texas and terminates in Colorado. The FLDS property in Eldorado happens to be right on the path of the Ports-to-Plains corridor. Eldorado is on U.S. 277, between Sonora and San Angelo, links I-10 and I-20 in Texas and is part of the Ports-To-Plains Corridor linking Mexico to Denver, CO. 

Since it is fair to state that there was no probable cause to justify seizing the communityís children, there would have to be another reason to spend over $5 million to raid YFZ.

Though we can only theorize now, if the land is taken from its deeded owners under the doctrine of eminent domain and used in conjunction with the Plains to Ports Corridor, then our theory that the state seized 416 children as a means to justify the transfer of $20.5 million in private property into state hands will become a fact.

With thanks to Vicky Davis of Idaho Falls for her astute posts contributing to this article. For more commentary and insights, go to

Note: Since publication, a Texas judge ordered the children be released back into the custody of their parents as it was determined they were taken without cause. So far, there is no indication that any of the state officials or child protective service employees involved will even be reprimanded for terrorizing innocent children, subjecting them to invasive medical procedures and forcing them to undergo interrogations to determine if they have been sexually abused. While we applaud the judge for at least allowing the children to return home, Texas governor Rick Perry is still supporting the state actors who performed this police-state operation on Texans who did nothing to deserve the invasion of their homes and lives. (DWH)