Promising to teach tolerance, awareness and respect of others, the court-ordered parenting classes for members of the Fundamentalist LDS Church are scheduled to finally begin later this week.

The Deseret News has obtained a copy of the programs' curricula that parents from the YFZ Ranch in Eldorado, Texas, must complete as per the June custody agreement.

The classes, which take a total of eight hours to complete, were drawn up to specifically address the parenting situation as it pertains to the FLDS culture. The curricula are titled "The Six Core Strengths for Healthy Childhood Development" but actually include seven programs.

Program One is called "Developing Potential." It's billed as an introductory program to provide a child with "the framework for a life rich in family, friends and personal growth. Teaching children these core strengths will allow children to learn to live and prosper together with people of all kinds."

The other programs scheduled to be taught have titles such as, "Attachment," "Self-Regulation," "Affiliation," "Attunement," "Tolerance" and "Respect." Instructors are given 12 handouts with exercises and a 55-slide PowerPoint presentation to complement the programs.

The descriptions for the various classes say the children will be taught how to "form and maintain healthy emotional bonds with another person," "control primary urges," and become aware and tolerant of different races and cultures.

"With positive modeling, caregivers can insure and build on children's tolerance. The tolerant child is more flexible and adaptive," the curriculum says.

Under the title of "Affiliation," children are taught that the family is the child's most important group. "Most other groups they will join are based on circumstance or common interests," according to the curriculum.

Hundreds of children were taken into state protective custody by Texas Child Protective Services after an April raid on the FLDS Church's YFZ Ranch. The raid was prompted by a phone call from someone claiming to be a 16-year-old girl named "Sarah," who claimed she was pregnant and in an abusive, polygamous marriage to an older man named Dale Barlow. That call is now being investigated as a hoax.

Once on the ranch, child welfare authorities and law enforcement said they witnessed what they believed to be other signs of abuse, leading a judge to order the removal of all of the children. The 440 children were ultimately returned when an Austin appeals court and the Texas Supreme Court ruled the state acted improperly in taking the children.

Under the terms of the agreement for the children's return, 51st District Judge Barbara Walther ordered the parents of the group to take "standard parenting classes." The judge recently divided up the nation's biggest child custody case into more than a hundred smaller cases grouped by families.


E-mail: preavy@desnews.com