Former FLDS member is sharing her insights on the sect
"These children have a lot to overcome," she said. "They need most of all to be placed in homes where they'll be taught the gospel of Jesus Christ and released from their religious bondage."
Pastor Clark also called for prayers for the FLDS children and their parents Sunday.
"The sad thing is, especially with these children ... the only hope they have is Jesus Christ. The only hope and peace these women will find is through Jesus Christ. And these men, no matter what you think of them, they need Jesus Christ," he said.
"Pray for Ms. Mary and the people she serves."
Based on the number of smiles, handshakes and hugs, whether to strangers or fellow church members, the small San Angelo congregation couldn't have been friendlier. And their questions and comments about their FLDS neighbors reflected concern based on their Christian beliefs as much as curiosity for the unusual FLDS lifestyle.
But the lines distinguishing the differences between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the FLDS sect, which broke away more than 100 years ago, definitely seemed to be blurred during question and answer segments.
When asked how so many become "converted to Mormonism," Mackert relayed a story of a woman becoming converted to "Fundamental Mormonism" and proceeded to praise aspects of FLDS members.
"Other than the polygamy thing, which we see as immoral, they're honest people, hard-working. There's a lot to admire about them. They're clean, have well-behaved children ... "
"I agree. I've been to Salt Lake," one congregation member interrupted.
Another asked about her "most difficult obstacle in sharing the faith with the Mormons."
"With the FLDS, my most difficult hurdle is just getting an audience with them," she replied. "Just get it (the conversation) off what you believe and what God says."
Why do the women interviewed by the media appear to have little inflection and "appear like zombies?" another asked.
"Well, they kind of are. When you begin to deny your feelings, all of them (their feelings) go," Mackert said, adding FLDS women are taught to "keep sweet" and not get swept up in their emotions.
"Even with children taken from them, it's hard for them to get hold of the emotions it stirs because they're so out of touch with their feelings," she said. "It took months of counseling before I felt feelings at the same time as an event occurred."
Mackert shared her "testimony" across town at the Baptist Temple later Sunday evening. She's taken her message to churches, groups and college audiences in Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington and other Texas cities during the past week and plans to return next month for more engagements."This phase of my mission is to educate people and also raise the financial support I need to take care of these children, God willing," she said.
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