(CBS) "Lost Boys" is the term given to young men who are forced to leave polygamist compounds at a very young age. Many say they're banished on pretexts, enabling older men in such sects to have less competition for younger women and wives.
Most of the Lost Boys are between 13 and 21 when they're kicked out of compounds such as the one in Eldorado, Texas from which authorities removed more than 400 children and teens in a raid earlier this month.
The alleged wrongdoing cited by sect elders when Lost Boys are tossed include things such as watching a movie, playing football, or talking to a girl, Lost Boys say.
Among the many difficulties Lost Boys face is that they're raised to not trust the outside world. They're usually left with little education or life skills and must learn to live in a world about which they know little, while dealing with the deep psychological pain of being shunned by their families and believing they're beyond spiritual redemption.
One such Lost Boy is Brent Jeffs, nephew of controversial imprisoned polygamist leader Warren Jeffs.
Brent chatted withThe Early Show co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez Monday, along with Shannon Price, director of The Diversity Foundation, which helps Lost Boys, among others, housing them and helping to integrate them into society.
Brent told Rodriguez, "(The reason) most of these men, you know, just like me, who were tossed out is if we're not following every little single thing that they say and do, they just find little reasons to kick us out. And you know, merely for the big reason of, you know, we're competition for these older men to get these younger women. It's a sad story.
"They'll usually find something, you know, that you've done wrong. Some little thing, then they'll say, 'well, you need to leave town because you've done this wrong thing. And we don't believe that you need to stay in here with us."
" ... when they're kicked out, these boys, their dad, they're told to drop these boys off at the edge of town and just tell them, 'Good luck.' These boys have nowhere to go. They don't have brothers and sisters, you know, anybody to go to. So they rely on somebody like us (The Diversity Foundation, which Brent is working with), who can kind of help them figure out what they're doing in life. Otherwise, they're just lost and, you know, they end up making some bad decisions down the road. And it's just not a good situation. We definitely need to help them."
Asked if young people in polygamist sects even know it's against the law for someone to marry and have sex with a girl younger than 18, Brent replied, "They don't even talk about it at all in the church. The thing they teach in there is, 'What we tell you to do is what you should do, and you should never, ever question what we tell you to do.' They don't say anything about underage marriages and you're being married to this girl that's definitely not of age to be married. They just don't teach that at all."
Price said services her group makes available to Lost Boys vary, "depending on the child and what their availability is of their family back in their community of origin. So most of them I think generally speaking, they're lacking in education, they're delayed in their maturity. So, we do a lot of life skills instruction to make sure that they can integrate into the larger society."
Monday, February 16, 2009
Will Bagley, Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows;
Fawn Brodie, No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith;
Sally Denton, American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, September, 1857;
Judith Freeman, Red Water;
Philip Jenkins, Mystics and Messiahs: Cults and New Religions in American History;
John D. Lee, Mormonism Unveiled: Or Life and Confession of John D. Lee and Brigham Young;
Bernard Lewis, What Went Wrong?: The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East;
Dorothy Allred Solomon, Predators, Prey, and Other Kinfolk: Growing Up in Polygamy.
Posted by Carrin Mahmood at 11:48 AM