Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Prep School

In 1998 a mid-sized (300+ student) private school called Alta academy closed its doors. Several months ago I wrote about racist activities at suburban Alta high school in the Salt Lake valley. Alta Academy was just a short drive from Alta High; drive a bit further and you would begin climbing the grade towards the ski resort that shared the name “Alta” with both the public high school and the private academy.

For twenty-two years of its near 30 year existence the Alta Academy had one principal. That principal was recently sentenced to serve a bazillion years in some Texas prison.
1988 Alta Academy Yearbook Photo

A couple months ago I wrote about FLDS (Fundamentalist Later-Day Saints church) members breaking into a publicly-held building where they stole a few metric tons of books. They burned some of the books, and then “donated" the rest to a LDS-run charity several hundred miles away. How many laws were broken? What purpose would such an action serve save to demonstrate the control one group had over a community. This book-burning was a true fascist-terrorist-conspiracy.

Conspiracies were apparently part of the standard curriculum at Alta Academy. Warren Jeffs maintained that the Federal Government was orchestrating numerous conspiracies. The spectrum of conspiracies Jeffs taught ranged from mind-control to faked moon landings.

“At Alta Academy, Warren told us that men have never been on the moon. He told us that the Lord would never allow man on the moon. He said that the Lord allowed them to land on a little no name planet in space but he would never allow them to land on the moon.” – former Alta Academy student

Thousands of people drive by the former site of Alta Academy every day on their way to Alta and Snowbird ski resorts. Utah created a license-plate with the tagline “Greatest Snow on Earth” in part because of the great skiing at these resorts. In the summer thousands of cyclists puff their way up the conveniently-located-yet-awesome incline. The mouth of little cottonwood canyon is some particularly choice real-estate. Selling it no-doubt helped finance the huge Yearning for Zion ranch in Texas.

Running the Academy helped to develop the twisted psycho-sexual control fantasies that are the hallmark of the over 10,000 strong FLDS faith. Control was imposed over dress, speech, and facial expressions.

“I enjoyed my time at Alta Academy, but I didn’t have anything much to compare it to” -- Former Alta Academy student

Jeffs was seen holding a five year old boy up by his ankle and “shaking the evil out of him”. Jeffs would demonstrate “proper submission” for wives by pulling one of his wives by her hair into the front of a classroom full of boys and yanking her to her knees. When he was done she thanked him.

He also allegedly repeatedly sodomized five and six-year-old boys in the bathrooms of Alta Academy.

These activities and more were reported to Utah authorities who could not successfully investigate or prosecute him. Jeffs did not completely move to the backwater of Colorado City until 2002. Most of these activities were done in an upscale suburban neighborhood of the modern metropolis that is the Salt Lake Valley.

Jeffs taught purity, goodness, and sweetness to thousands of folks. He led people in multi-hour-long prayer sessions. In order for Jeffs to be guilty a jury would have to conclude that these foundations of their own faith were not absolute protection against sin and evil. In order for these accusations to be true a jury would have to discount the very words that their faith called the definition of truth. In order to wade through the piety of Jeffs and arrive at the physical truth of the situation a jury would have to conclude that there was an accurate method for determining reality that was independent of their faith; a method that could be applied to matters of faith. It is not hard to craft a jury in Utah that could simply not go there.

Jeffs attempted to exploit this weakness in Texas. He provided hours of theological information to the jury. Despite being repeatedly admonished by the judge for presenting irrelevant material he manipulated the context of his presentations to continue his teachings. For one dodge he put a devout FLDS member on the stand so he could ask him long scriptural questions. Eventually he was shut down. The jury was not swayed by his fundamentalist-Mormon religious appeal. This was Texas after all; not Utah.

There have been some attempts to prosecute Jeffs in Utah, but they have failed or been overturned on appeal.

Some people would have you believe that Jeffs began his raping and psychological abuse only after he moved to the YFZ compound in Texas. I have even been told that he created the YFZ ranch because he could not conduct the same perverted activities in Utah without getting caught. The book-burners of Colorado City know this is not true. There is in fact every reason to believe that the rapes continue as the FLDS wage civil-war trying to replace Jeffs as their prophet from god.

Some of the rapes could be prevented if the Utah authorities put people in jail for their part in book-burning conspiracies.

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