High Country News deserves praise for publication of Debra Weyermann's article, "The Darkest Shade of Polygamy" (HCN, 6/11/12). The article appears to be well-researched and firmly based on verifiable fact, and in several respects even more compelling than Jon Krakauer's earlier book, Under the Banner of Heaven. Readers might also question the reasons for the muted public and government response to documented child rape of young women by FLDS practitioners as compared to that of Jerry Sandusky and his superiors in the Penn State scandal.
Aside from the issue of rape, attempts by letter-writers McMahon and Berry to portray polygamy as an acceptable "live-and-let-live" lifestyle seem unconvincing (HCN, 7/23/12). Given the closed nature of the FLDS lifestyle, it may be difficult to determine how widespread the welfare cheating is by FLDS women who claim status as single mothers, or how prevalent the evils imposed on "lost boys." Simple math examining the likely number of descendants of polygamous males in such a society points to a culture where few males would contribute to family support, many males would be excluded from heterosexual relationships, and there would be a prevalence of "single-mom" families.