A 29-year-old woman who lived at the FLDS ranch at the time of the CPS raid spoke to members of the Rotary Club of Houston earlier today. The woman spoke briefly and wouldn't reveal her name, but her attorney said she wanted the crowd to understand that the FLDS mothers were quite normal.
"I chose to [be married]," she said. "I know a lot of people say, 'Oh, they're supposed to say that,' but if I didn't want to be here, I wouldn't be here. If I didn't want to be a mother, I wouldn't be."
The woman said she was married when she was 20. She gave birth to her first child at 25. When Child Protective Services raided the ranch, she presented a Texas driver's license that stated her age. Still, she was held as a minor for about two months before being reunited with her children. She's living in San Antonio until CPS investigations are complete.
"I could not do anything. I could not make phone calls, I could not have a newspaper, I could not use a computer, which was surprising because they didn't know I had a computer," she said. "I was treated as though I was an idiot."
The woman was a nice face for the FLDS mothers. Her speech was a nice ending to the event, and it fit in well with the theme that emerged from other speakers: the raid and investigation by Child Protective Services has been a disaster.
But when the FLDS mother chose to answer questions from the audience, she was immediately challenged.
"You did not mention your husband," an audience member said. "You didn't mention if he had other wives, or had been with 13-year-olds, 14-year-olds. Are there friends you know that have been given a spiritual husband and are having children?"
The woman didn't answer the question, but her attorney told the crowd the father of the woman's children had several wives, but none were underage.
It was disappointing that a state official, like someone from Child Protective Services, didn't speak, but congrats to the Rotary Club of Houston for putting on an interesting event.
-- Paul Knight
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