SAN ANGELO, Texas In another stage of their public relations campaign to battle stereotypes and speak out against the raid that placed 437 children in state protective custody, the Fundamentalist LDS Church faithful are speaking out on the Internet.
A pair of Web sites were unveiled Monday in an effort to explain the FLDS beliefs and rally public sympathy behind the polygamous sect.
On captivefldschildren.org, photos and video of the raid were posted showing law enforcement's raid on the YFZ Ranch, Texas child protective services workers rounding up children and putting them on buses, and damage apparently done by law enforcement when they searched the compound.
"This site was created by the FLDS people to help the innocent children that were living at the YFZ Ranch in Eldorado, Texas," the site says, including a link to donations to help defray legal costs. Sources at the YFZ Ranch confirmed that the church was behind the creation of the Web sites. Information about who registered the Internet domain names was run through a Canadian company specializing in ensuring the information is kept private.
Pro-polygamy activist Mary Batchelor e-mailed supporters links to the Web sites on Monday. "I don't know if it's real or not but the pictures on there could only have come from those people," Batchelor said. "I'm excited they're doing this, they're really speaking out."
The companion Web site, fldstruth.org, said its goal is to counter the "many lies" circulating around the church. The site promises to provide facts about the church's doctrines, beliefs and teachings. A photo timeline of the FLDS leaders appears to still be under construction.
"And knowing that truth must be the basis of all righteous considerations as pertains to the great redemption work of our Savior in these latter days; we seek to disabuse the minds of the honest in heart, of the deceptions inherent in reports from malicious and evil disposed persons," the site said.
Once known as secretive and cloistered, the FLDS have gone on a public-relations offensive since their children were taken earlier this month. They opened the gates of the Yearning For Zion Ranch to the Deseret News before inviting other news media outlets to visit the compound.FLDS members have also been guests on "Larry King Live" and other TV talk shows denouncing allegations of abuse and pleading for the return of their children.
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