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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: January 13, 2011 07:01PM

A half-page above-the-fold picture of Carolyn Jessop accompanies today's newspaper article about "water torture of babies", described by Carolyn at the ongoing polygamy trial in Vancouver, B.C.

I know we've discussed this before (most notably when Carolyn Jessop was in the US news at the time Warren Jeffs was imprisoned). It's startling to see it in local news at a trial, yet welcome too, as the more the information gets out there the more things may change for the better.

From the article:

"Water torture of babies is one way some members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints instil fear of authority, a former member testified Wednesday.

"It's quite common," Carolyn Blackmore Jessop said. She was a witness for the B.C. government in the constitutional reference case to determine whether Canada's polygamy law is valid.

"They spank the baby and when it cries, they hold the baby face up under the tap with running water. When they stop crying, they spank it again and the cycle is repeated until they are exhausted."

"It's typically done by fathers and it's called "breaking in."

"Jessop talked about the practice during her testimony in B.C. Supreme Court.

"Her assertions about water torture were not challenged by FLDS lawyer Robert Wickett during cross-examination.

"Outside the courthouse, Jessop said water torture is common enough that there doesn't seem to be any shame attached to the practice.

"In court, Jessop said water torture was one of the reasons that she gave for gaining sole custody of her children after she left the [FLDS] group in 2003. She said her ex-husband, Merril Jessop, used it on "a lot" of his 54 children, including her own.

"Merril was very abusive," she said.

"Abuse is one reason Jessop left the FLDS... As long as she stayed, Jessop felt powerless to protect her children from physical abuse because of the over-arching requirement of unquestioning obedience.

"Polygamy is not pretty to look at. It is nice that it is tucked away in a dark corner where nobody has to see its realities because it's creepy," she told Chief Justice Robert Bauman, adding that her biggest concern is that polygamy and all of its consequent abuses are ignored by the courts and law enforcement.

"Jessop favours decriminalization, but only if it means that abuses will be investigated and prosecuted, including what she calls the "educational neglect" that results in most FLDS children -- at least in the United States -- growing up illiterate, unaware of their rights as citizens and unable to function in the outside world.

"Jessop is the granddaughter of Harold Blackmore, who founded the community of Bountiful, B.C. Her mother's family have been polygamists since Joseph Smith had his revelation about plural marriage."

Carolyn's statement that "polygamy and all of its consequent abuses are ignored by the courts and law enforcement" is the focus of my interest and involvement with the issue.

She favours decriminalization "but only if it means that abuses will be investigated and prosecuted, including what she calls the "educational neglect"..."

That is also my hope and goal, that abuse in these closed communities is acknowledged, investigated, prosecuted and prevented.

Carolyn is granddaughter to Harold Blackmore, who founded Bountiful, B.C., as the article states. Blackmore was "husband" to Debbie Palmer, the Canadian anti-polygamy activist I've mentioned here before. She "married" him when she was 15. He was 57 (iirc) at the time.

I love how this reporter often inserts the line "since Joseph Smith had his revelation about polygamy" in her articles. The media may be constrained by the Mormon Church's insistence that reporters include a proviso in every article or news piece to distance the mainstream Mormon Church from the FLDS ("there is no connection between them", etc) but some of them find a way to tie in Joseph Smith. The Mormon leaders can't deny a connection to Joseph Smith, you wouldn't think.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/13/2011 08:23PM by Nightingale.

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Posted by: Raptor Jesus ( )
Date: January 13, 2011 07:06PM

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: January 13, 2011 07:18PM

Note how the water torture is used as a means to instill "fear of authority", according to Carolyn. It's so pervasive, she said, that there isn't even any stigma attached to it, meaning that women don't try and protect their children from it.

In the article, one part that I didn't quote says that Carolyn was "terrified" of her husband and Warren Jeffs. This goes a long way to explain why the women submit, a phenomenon that many outside (and especially assertive women) cannot easily understand.

Despite her fear, Carolyn left the FLDS, largely to try and protect her children. I have heard her state that with many of the FLDS women "there is no mother bear there", meaning they have lost the instinct to protect their children. I have heard and read about some of the abuse perpetrated on children, even the tiniest, and on women. It is horrific to discover that many of the women are the abusers. One ex-plural wife I have spoken to described experiencing constant physical and emotional abuse from an early age, much of it from her stepmother. I cannot visualize a group of adults, especially women, being physically present during such incidents and accepting it as the norm, but they do. And reading of widespread sexual abuse of pre-school girls, that leaves obvious evidence (eg: bleeding, bladder infections, pain) is also horrifying. How can such an environment be allowed to exist for generations?

This is the type of systemic harm existing in FLDS polygamous communes that I hope the judge hears about and takes into consideration. Maybe this time the authorities can convincingly investigate such allegations, prosecute the offenders, and improve life for the children, even if they must stay in the compounds. I fervently hope the abuse can be addressed and stopped and that the children receive the education that will widen their horizons and open up choices for them as they come of age.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/13/2011 07:20PM by Nightingale.

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Posted by: Raptor Jesus ( )
Date: January 13, 2011 07:22PM

While the methods they instill were shocking and brand new to me, it doesn't surprise me about the systematic instillation of unquestioning heirarchy and unquestioned authority.

This is Mormonism to an even more extreme than we were subjected to.

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Posted by: Summer ( )
Date: January 13, 2011 08:29PM

Well, it is said that bravery is acting to do the right thing in spite of your fears. In that regard, I see Carolyn Jessup as being a very brave woman.

What's scary is that the FLDS is pretending to have anything to do with Jesus, God, Christianity, etc. A spiritual group? NOT.

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Posted by: NeverMo in CA ( )
Date: January 13, 2011 07:28PM

My God, I really wish I hadn't read that article; I am trying not to cry. How utterly sick. I knew polygamy was abusive, but spanking BABIES for crying and holding their faces under running taps? How can any state government allow this to keep happening? The FLDS' attorney didn't even try to deny that it happens!

I have a Mormon friend who says she's fine with polygamy if "the women choose it." I've tried to no avail to explain to her that it is pretty hard to choose something if you have been raised in an abusive environment since childhood (and if you believe polygamy is your only means to salvation).

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Posted by: Twinker ( )
Date: January 13, 2011 08:37PM

Is it any different than 'waterboarding'?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/13/2011 08:38PM by Twinker.

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: January 13, 2011 09:36PM

Good point.

It sounds like the same method for both, yes.

I cannot believe that this is occurring or that the govt doesn't launch a full investigation at this very moment so that no more babies are subjected to this vile treatment.

I just can't stand thinking about it going on and on and on. Who could even come up with such a thing as waterboarding babies and who could stand by and let it keep happening?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/13/2011 09:54PM by Nightingale.

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Posted by: Skunk Puppet ( )
Date: January 13, 2011 10:15PM

Also, in her book, "Escape" I don't recall Carolyn mentioning this baby waterboarding method but my memory may be faulty. Does anybody else remember this?

I am not questioning Carolyn's veracity about this harsh disciplining technique, but my impression from Carolyn's book is that her husband, Merril, was an absent, minimal and negligent father who had little interaction with his massive brood of offspring and left it to his wives and daughters to deal with the children. It would surprise me if Merril even bothered to take the time to torture his children.

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: January 13, 2011 10:40PM

I think I remember it from her book but I couldn't swear to it. I should look it up. I've heard about this before today's article on it and I believe it was from her book. I'll try to verify this.

I know from other books on FLDS life and from speaking to another ex-plural wife (not Carolyn) that the children are subjected to abuse from a very early age. One woman I know of was one of a group of toddlers and pre-schoolers who were sexually abused in a group. The details still make me wince. Some of the abuses have led to life-long physical problems, apart from the mental and emotional effects.

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Posted by: loveskids ( )
Date: January 14, 2011 01:37AM

I have both of Carolyn Jessop's books,"Escape",and her newest one "Triumph". I am almost positive she mentions the water torture of babies in one of them. The sister wives were very abusive to each other and to the children. The children were often punished very severly. Things that should have CPS investigating.
After all those children-400 or so,were pulled out of that compound in 2008,I wonder if there was much follow up. Social Services was supposed to check in often,but I bet it never happened.

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