DON'T FORGET THE OTHER VICTIMS OF POLYGAMY
I am thrilled that Elizabeth Smart has returned to her family. I know from personal experience the pain of having family members secreted away by fundamentalist Mormons who practice polygamy and other extremist beliefs. In this flurry of attention to a bright, lovely, talented typical Mormon girl, lets not forget about the thousands of other bright, lovely, talented girls in Hilldale, Utah, Colorado City, Arizona, Creston, B.C., and in numerous enclaves in the Salt Lake and Utah Valleys who are being taken from their families at young ages and being made to submit to older men who brainwash them in their perverted belief systems. These girls have even less choice than Elizabeth had, because, in many cases, their own families sacrifice them to these men in order to further their own status within the polygamist cults.
I, too, sought, fought, prayed, and pled for the return of my 6 nephews and nieces: Wayne, Vonnie, Taylor, Julia, Janelle, and Deanne Thornton (Fischer) from 1987 to 1991. However, the State of Utah, in its Supreme Court in 1991, sentenced my nephews and nieces to a lifetime of submission, drudgery, loss of rights, isolation, and separation from a family that loved them by ruling that the Vaughn Fischer commune, a part of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints cult in Southern Utah, avowed polygamists and separatists, with no blood or legal ties to my family, could yank these 6 children from our family and do whatever they wanted with them. They did. While you imagine what the worst that might have happened to Elizabeth Smart, imagine it thousand fold for those young girls that are daily being turned over to polygamous marriages.
Let us celebrate the return of Elizabeth to her family, but do something about the thousands of other girls who do not have the resources her family does to achieve positive outcomes and normal lives.
Janet E. Johanson
Survivor of Polygamy