Know Your Texas Cults

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With the April raid of Warren Jeffs' FLDS ranch still earning headlines, smaller sects (or “boutique cults,” as Hair Balls likes to call them) in Texas are getting the short shrift. How many people do you think took notice of the fact that an elder in the Abilene-based House of Yaweh was convicted of sexually assaulting a minor Tuesday?

During the trial, Hawkins’s accuser said she was 11 years old when Hawkins started molesting her under the guise of performing checks for cervical cancer. It sounds like the Mormon fundamentalists are hogging the spotlight. We’re not saying that one group is better than the other, but in the interest of public service, we present this useful guide for anyone shopping for a new church.


HoY: Yisrayl Hawkins (formerly “Buffalo” Bill Hawkins) FLDS: To be determined (Warren Jeffs had led the church since 2002, but in 2007 he issued a statement through his lawyers saying he had resigned. However, many in the church still consider him to be a great prophet).

Leader’s previous employment HoY: Officer in the Abiline Police Department; fired in 1977 for having beer in his patrol car FLDS: Accountant; Principal of Alta Academy, an FLDS school

Leader’s legal woes HoY: Charged with five counts of bigamy and one charge of violating child labor laws (Texas, 2008) FLDS: Found guilty on two counts of being an accomplice to rape, for his role in arranging a marriage between a 14-year-old girl and her 19-year-old cousin(Utah, 2007); awaiting trial for similar charges in Arizona

How leader is viewed by family HoY: “He ain't got both oars in the water, if you know what I mean.” (One of Yisrayl’s brothers, quoted in Texas Monthly) FLDS: “He sexually sodomized me when I was a little boy.” (Nephew Brent Jeffs, who sued his uncle in 2004).

Core beliefs HoY:

1) A nuclear war will occur on September 12, 2006. Wait, make that June 12, 2007. Wait, make that June 12, 2008. Wait…

2) Taking child brides


1) “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men.”

2) Taking child brides

Approximate number of leader’s wives HoY: 20 FLDS: 80

Health considerations HoY: Members must be sprayed with disinfectant before entering the temple FLDS: Decades of inbreeding has reportedly resulted in a disproportionate number of children with fumarase deficiency, a rare birth defect causing severe mental retardation and epilepsy.

-- Craig Malisow

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