Polygamy, a Greek word meaning 'many women,' has existed for millenniums. Many cultures and societies have embraced polygamous lifestyles. The early Hebrews (King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines), Chinese, African, Polynesian, and Indian cultures also practiced polygamy.
Members of The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) practiced plural marriages until 1890. After 1890 it was outlawed, but several sects continued to condone and practice multiple marriages. These renegade groups were excommunicated from the LDS church. It is estimated that about 37,000 men, women, and children reside in polygamous family units in North America, with the largest percentage of that population living in Utah.
Recently, state troopers raided the Yearning For Zion (YFZ) Ranch in Eldorado, Texas. A phone call was made to a domestic violence shelter from a girl claiming she was a 16-year-old abuse victim living on the compound. The girl who made the call has never been identified or located. Was it a hoax? No one seems to know at this point, or if they do they aren’t admitting to it.
To date, 465 children from the YFZ Ranch have been placed in the care of the State of Texas’ Child Protective Services. This, however, is not the first time lawmakers removed children from a group that practiced polygamy.
On July 26, 1953, Arizona State Police and the US National Guard took 236 children from their parents in the town of Short Creek, Arizona. Of those 236 children, 150 were not reunited with their parents for over two years, and some children were never returned to their families.
In 1991, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS church) was established in Colorado City, previously known as Short Creek. Their leader was Warren Jeffs, who was put on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List in 2006 for being an accomplice to rape. He was convicted and is now serving a sentence of ten years to life in the Utah State Prison. The Yearning For Zion Ranch in Eldorado, Texas is affiliated with the FLDS Church in Colorado City. Reports circulated in 2005 that Warren Jeff attended the dedication ceremony of the ranch and temple.