Exiled FLDS father granted more time with estranged children

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Religion News Blog — An exiled former member of the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) was granted increased visitation rights with his estranged children, including overnight custody, Friday during a 5th District Court hearing.

The Spectrum reports

Colorado City resident Lorin Holm was granted temporary visitation rights in February to see the children of his two “spiritual wives,” who have shunned Holm since FLDS Church leaders cast him out of the community Jan. 9, 2011, for an undeclared sin. […]

Court-appointed guardian ad litem attorney Nadine Hansen told [Judge James] Shumate that Holm’s youngest three children are “doing really well” with the court-ordered visitation, but some of the oldest six children are still resisting efforts at reunification.

Attorney Rodney Parker, representing the children’s mothers, Patricia and Lynda Peine, said much of the estrangement exists because Holm taught his family to shun exiled members of the church. Holm has previously testified he told his family members to respect church leaders’ wishes at the time they exiled him from the church.

“They view him as basically having flip-flopped from what he told them before,” Parker said.

Holm’s attorney, Roger Hoole, told the newspaper the church is monitoring and controlling it (the visitation) from the position of the mothers — something Parker denies.

Hoole said Holm continues to hope he will eventually get full custody of the children so that they are no longer “in a home controlled by Warren Jeffs.”

Holm, the father of 25 children with three wives was excommunicated from the FLDS in January 2011. According to a report in the Salt Lake Tribune last December

Holm said he was a faithful member of the sect who donated thousands of dollars and was even re-baptized in late 2010. But on Jan. 9, he was called to the meetinghouse, surrounded by about 25 men and told he “unworthy.”

“There’s no trial, you don’t get a hearing or anything,” he said.

He said didn’t understand the “correction,” but accepted it and did what was expected of him. He left town, walking away from his three wives and children.

When his request for a return to his wives and children was denied by FLDS bishop Lyle Jeffs, Warren Jeffs’ brother, Holm started questioning the latter’s leadership.

He has since filed a lawsuit seeking custody, and hopes that through the case he can show his family the evidence against Warren Jeffs:

“If my wives knew what he was teaching, they wouldn’t put up with it for five minutes,” he said. “I’m going to go get my kids and teach them how to be children.”

Warren Jeffs, the religious cult’s heavy-handed leader, was convicted last August of child sexual assault in a case stemming from two young followers he took as brides in what his church calls “spiritual marriages.”

Jeffs was sentenced to life plus 20 years in prison.

Nevertheless, he continues to rule the cult with an iron fist.

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This post was last updated: May. 9, 2014