Sunday, July 3, 2016

Tiny Tombstones: Inside the FLDS Graveyard for Babies Born from Incest | Broadly

The lot is unmarked and unremarkable. There is no sign. A scrappy white wooden fence runs the length of it along Canyon Street. It is bordered to the north by a well-maintained lot where there sits a stately red brick home with UEP (United Effort Plan, the church trust which is now controlled by the state of Utah in the aftermath of Jeffs' conviction) spelled out in white brick on its south-facing side. At the lot's northwest corner, a metal gate—the kind you might find on a cattle ranch—hangs open on its hinge. The baby cemetery is a mess of overgrown weeds and dry, cracked dirt, home to hundreds of infant and toddler-size graves, not all of them marked. Many of the souls interred here lived not longer than a day, some just two days, two weeks, or two years. Some feature more expensive-looking gravestones, and include, beyond names and dates, terms of endearment such as: "Sweet baby girl," "Our son," and "Heaven's very special child." Still more, rather cryptically, feature child-size palm and footprints.

There are baby graves year that date back as earlier as the 1950s, potentially even earlier: many are unmarked. The last infant grave marked in this cemetery is dated 2010; Warren issued an edict from prison banning sex in 2011, so few infants have been born since then (the few babies born each year are the product of institutionalized rape by cult-appointed seed bearers). There are also graves lacking any dates whatsoever. Some read simply, "Baby Keate," or "Baby Bateman," or "Baby Cooke," with holes where numeric date tiles might otherwise be placed.

The quick answer for why this polygamous community has buried so many of its children is inbreeding, according to community members. Almost everyone here is some variation of cousin, and, until Warren was locked up and decided to put a hold on all marriages, most men and women were paired together in order to preserve certain esteemed bloodlines. Sisters married the same man in polygamous celestial weddings; brothers from one family married sisters from another (meaning their kids are double cousins). And, because this cult is so tight-knit and averse to strangers, the gene pool is rather limited.

Tiny Tombstones: Inside the FLDS Graveyard for Babies Born from Incest | Broadly

No comments:

Post a Comment