Stepdaughters provide emotional testimony of abuse by Brian David Mitchell

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  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Dec. 11, 2010 2:29 p.m.

    Your question brings up multiple issues.
    To begin with, on what grounds does the government have the right to require church officials to do anything? Freedom of religion means that the religion decides the actions, roles and functions of its clergy, not the state.

    Secondly, at least when this issue came up at the time of the competency hearing it seemed to be alleged by some that Mitchell's then wife had brought up some of the allegations with the police and they brushed her off.

    Thirdly, there are actions that are morally wrong but not illegal.

    Fourthly, do we really want religious leaders acting as auxiliaries of the state. Is this not the common denounciation of the actions of some religious leaders in Nazi Germany? It is hard enough for missionaries to make inroads in some areas when they are falsely percieved as state agents. What if every missionary who heard rumors of sexual contact between 13-year-olds and 18-year-olds, a clear case of statutory rape, reported it to the police? At one point me and my companion actually confronted our mission president with this dilemma.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Dec. 11, 2010 2:22 p.m.

    It is easy to second-guess after the fact. Still, Mecham's testimony leads me to wonder if pursuing charges against Mitchell within the Church to the point of actually excommunicating him for his inapropriate behavior with his step-children would not have been a better course.

    It just seems that Mecham confronted Mitchell, he went off the dead-end, deseret Church and since he was not present they decided to not push the issue more, creating a lack of disciplinary action that made it possible for Mitchell to claim only inactivity when he manipulated his way back into standing in the Church. This seems to also possibly be why Mitchell thought he beat the system when he did not show up to his excommunication hearing later on.

    It is very easy to engage in these second guessings later on, especially in light of the later actions and present accusations against Mitchell. It is hard to know exactly what the charges against Mitchell that Mecham was presented with were, and religious leaders primary function is not disciplining wrong-dorers but trying to lead people to a better way.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Dec. 11, 2010 2:11 p.m.

    Dr. Peterson's point about the one mighty and strong needs to be properly considered. If claiming to be "The one mighty and strong" makes you paranoid-schizophrenic, than there are a lot of such people in the inter-Mountain west.

    However, taken the step further, despite there being no lack of people having made this claim since at least 1890, Mitchell is the only one to engage in out-right kipnapping, and throwing in Le Baron and Lafferty to get three who have engaged in violent criminal activities of kidnapping or murder leaves us with dozens who have not.

    DeMier also ignores the whole independent polygamist phenomenon. Despite all the focus on the FLDS and the attacks on their centralized and thus allegedly suppresive structure deneying individual freedom, it is likely that in the intermountain west plus Texas, Mexico and Western Canada the number of polygamists who recognize and follow no authority being the husband/father or the group is at least as large as those who are in larger Church organizations .

    DeMaier's claim that you need a follower or you are delussional just does not work when applied on the ground.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Dec. 11, 2010 2:00 p.m.

    I am still not convinced the eating of the rabbit was all that bad. The pornographic images during prayer is the most disturbing though.

    On the other hand I think the whole "Grease" incident shows that Mitchell likes exercising pwoer. This is not to attack him for getting mad about Grease. Instead it is to say that hisa method seems to boil down to exercising control. There are multiple ways to pre-screen films to avoid such a show-down while they are being shown, but a shown-down mid-movie is the most obvious assertion of power, and that seems to be a clear motive of Mitchell.

  • The Rabbit (in Spanish) Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 6, 2010 10:25 p.m.

    @ I hear You:

    Does the criminal's rights also include avoiding the actual FACTS of his behavior and past? I understand the law must be followed, and the law provides for a defendant's side of the story to be told. However, when the actions of the defense attorneys amount to nothing more than hiring an "expert" to represent their position what they are actually doing is hiring an actor to play a role.

    Why is it that regardless of a criminal's actions, the defense is ALWAYS able to find someone to say their client isn't guilty? If delving into a peron's mind was reliable, there wouldn't be the contradiction.

  • 42istheanswer SLC, UT
    Dec. 6, 2010 10:08 a.m.

    If he is innocent from mental illness, he would have to not know that what he did was illegal. I thinks that parading people out to show he's mentally ill or not is stupid. He's obviously mentally ill. He showed that he knew what he did was illegal because he made Elizabeth hide so people wouldn't see her & he threatened her if she left.

  • The Karate Kid Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 6, 2010 9:46 a.m.

    Just look at all the victims here. These are some of the most sick and disturbing stories I have ever heard in my life.
    People like Mitchell are sorry excuses for human beings.
    I wish our tax dollars could be spend on a mill stones hung around these peoples necks.
    People who sexually abuse others have no reason to see the light of day ever again.

  • Larry Willard, UT
    Dec. 5, 2010 1:25 p.m.

    Utah has to many nit wit Judges sitting on the bench. They keep getting re elected because they are the chosen ones. The ones that need to be thrown out of office. The Utah Judicial Conduct Comission will not work for the People that has a complaint. They do not care and the Govenor and Attorney General does not care about the People in Utah. The Money this cost is directly aimed at the Pockets of the polititians. Ripping off the system that is flawed. The Deseret refuses to check out the actions of the court and make a big deal out of it to get change for the people. Death is the only way to get rid of these Judges.

  • AllBlack sydney, nsw
    Dec. 4, 2010 1:10 p.m.

    Re Hihopes "I feel it is not right that this trial is Open, she was a minor when she had to go through"

    I agree.

    The irony is that if the words "national security" are placed in front of her testimony, then it wouldn't be public nor an open hearing.

    Something is wrong with the American legal system. You should have kept the British one!

  • AllBlack sydney, nsw
    Dec. 4, 2010 1:03 p.m.

    "..defense attorneys are someday the victim of one of these obviously guilty people.."

    Although I don't particular like any kind of lawyers, I think we should keep in mind that if Mitchell doesn't get a good and proper defense here during this trial and he is convicted he may then get it overturned on appeal based on that substandard defense, and then everyone has to go through all this again including Miss Smart.

    Therefore the defense is also helping out by not putting her through all this again, by doing the best job they possibly can do and settling this matter now in 2010 and not again during a retrial in 2014 or later.

  • Linus Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 4, 2010 12:44 p.m.

    America's court system once pursued truth and justice. The issue addressed in the courts used to be the guilt or innocence of the accused.

    Now, however, practice of the law has become a game of rules and technicalities played between two competitive teams.

    My daughter worked in the Public Defenders' Office a few years back and was sickened at the office celebration and self-congratulation when the defense attorneys successfully freed a guilty party.

    There is no one who believes Brian David Mitchell to be innocent of the atrocities with which he is charged; not even the defense team. But everyone is aware that our justice system has declined to the point Mitchell could yet escape justice. Every selfish, cruel and heartless criminal is a sicko. Society owes justice to their victims; not to the sadistic narcissists.

  • BobP Port Alice, B.C.
    Dec. 4, 2010 9:56 a.m.

    The facts of this case a very evident, the only question is sane or insane. I has become very clear that Mitchell knew what he was doing and he did it for his own reasons.

    Some of those here seem to confuse vengance and justice, and then to become angry when defense attorneys make sure that it is justice being served.

    It has long been said that it is better for a thousand guilty people go free than for one innocent man to be convicted. "Vengence is mine sayeth the Lord" pretty well covers it. If Mitchell does somehow avoid prison for a mental hospital, the Lord will still get him.

    Ease up on the defense lawyers.

  • Y4LYFE Lubbock, TX
    Dec. 4, 2010 9:00 a.m.

    This guy needs prison "crazily bad". He is a bad man and a total D.

  • scriabin Murray, UT
    Dec. 4, 2010 5:33 a.m.

    I am sick and tired of reading about the insanity defense of Brian Mitchell. The guy's a pedophile, pervert, and totally in charge of his mental faculties. A manipulator and someone who thrives on deception, lying, grandiosity, and doing anything to assert his power over other people.

    The guy's a kook and deserves to be put away for life, never to see the light of day for what he did to Elizabeth Smart.

  • Hihopes Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 4, 2010 1:39 a.m.

    I find this so upsetting everyday that this nightmare goes on for Elizabeth. I feel it is
    not right that this trial is Open , she was a
    minor when she had to go through this ordeal
    and her privacy should be protected.
    Any kind of abuse is devastating and life
    changing I cannot imagine the pain and anguish
    Elizabeth is going through with details of her
    horrible ordeal in the media and do not understand
    why this case is not restricted and closed.
    As for Mitchell he is a master minipulator
    he is running the show and the millions of dollars
    he is costing the state is ridiculous. My heart goes out to all the woman he has abused and it is
    sad that the abuse just continues the longer this
    goes on as he continues to get away with shinanigans that prolong the misery of this trial.I hope Elizabeth finds strength in the days ahead She
    is beautiful. this is a never ending tradgedy for her.

  • No name Provo, UT
    Dec. 3, 2010 11:11 p.m.

    I would absolutely HATE being a defense attourney, especially in a case like this where everyone knows that Mitchell is a sick man, not not mentally ill. I won't be surprised if the dense needs therapy after this because it's so heated, and rightfully so. Anyone who is that selfish that they would be willing to ruin someone's life for personal self gratification needs to be locked up. Everyone knows he is guilty. Arguing his "mental capacity" during the time the crime took place doesn't justify a life time of bad decisions and selfish behavior. He's trying to play people for fools. WAKE UP and do the right thing jury. It's been long enough

  • swarthmoregal Philadelphia, PA
    Dec. 3, 2010 11:04 p.m.

    Interesting insights....

    1) If the state court had allowed this guy to be medicated while at the USH, a trajectory similar to Barzee's would have ensued: medication leads to restoration to competence, competence leads to a guilty plea, guilty=incarceration in federal prison (where his regimen of medication would hopefully continue--I'm sorry people, this guy IS mentally ill..)

    2) mentally ill people can still be cunning---cunning, lying and manipulation do not preclude existence of mental illness, delusional people have pockets of lucidity and can can still be highly organized and quite functional, except when it involves their specific delusional cluster.

    3) mental illness does not "legally insane" make. So far, experts have characterized him "mentally ill," not incompetent.

    4) the primary mental health expert that refutes the findings of the three defense docs (who, by the way, net nothing financially and have paid a tremendous cost in terms of harsh, misguided judgements), had, as of december, 2009, billed the US attorney's office $500,000 for his work on the case. Don't think I can post a link, but it appeared in the Deseret News 12/5/09/ by Pat Reavy.


  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Dec. 3, 2010 10:32 p.m.

    The world is a better place with Wanda in prison and it will be that much the better when Mitchell gets introduced into the federal prison system where he will eventually be forgotten by everybody except his victims.

  • Janadele¬© Sydney, NSW
    Dec. 3, 2010 8:18 p.m.

    Elizabeth, Gayler and Heidi, We are so sorry you had to endure such treatment at the hands of this despicable man. Continue to know that none of this was your fault, and that there are many good and honourable men in this world. May your futures be bright, and may Mitchell receive the just consequences of his crimes.

  • BobP Port Alice, B.C.
    Dec. 3, 2010 7:46 p.m.

    This rebuttal testimony has pretty well sealed his fate. He will in a likelihood be found guiltr and not insane. We will know soon,

  • Observation-ist Ogden, UT
    Dec. 3, 2010 7:15 p.m.

    This is both facinating and disheartening. I'm facinated with the line of questions and thinking. I don't much care if he's declared 'insane' or otherwise. Either way, he should not be permitted to spend another day roaming free in society. Whether he dies in a mental institution or the state prison, I don't care. I just don't want him to have another opportunity to wreak havoc on another life.

    I'm disheartended that the defense is permitted to put witnesses on the stand that offer opinions when they really don't know what the heck they're talking about. Isn't there an 'honesty' meter or an 'informed opinion' meter? I hope the jury is wise enough to filter through the crap and get to the heart of the matter.

    Mr. Mitchell should spend the rest of his life separated from society, whether by jail or mental institution, it mattereth not to me.

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 3, 2010 5:02 p.m.

    Mitchell is neurotic, but that is not psychotic (unable to discern reality). If this circus and its clowns, think Dr. Whitehead, does not end soon it will further tarnish this state.

  • mecr Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 3, 2010 4:37 p.m.

    So his book resulted to be a copy cat?


    Also, I guess if somebody reads a book and can't understand.. that makes the book's author's book insane? ... I wonder if dr. Whitehead (or whatever his name was) read a book from Einstein, would he declare Einstein insane too? That doctor is a joke.

  • Third try screen name Mapleton, UT
    Dec. 3, 2010 4:33 p.m.

    How can there be a deadline for a trial? At the very least, extermely unprofessional conduct by the judge. Telling the lawyers to "Hurry up" could jeopardize the case itself.

  • BYUCOLORADO Castle Rock, CO
    Dec. 3, 2010 4:09 p.m.

    RE: Emily

    They are required to report sexual abuse. Although the laws have changed during the years and they have not always been.

  • Thoughtful Voter Spanish Fork, UT
    Dec. 3, 2010 3:12 p.m.

    Thank you for changing the headline. My previous comment makes no sense with the new one, but that's a good thing. Again, I think there is plenty of evidence that this perpetrator was, unfortunately, not "insane" but rather narcissistic and cunning.

  • Emily Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 3, 2010 2:17 p.m.

    Are LDS church officials not required to report sexual abuse to the authorities?

  • kimnprovo Orem, UT
    Dec. 3, 2010 1:19 p.m.

    It is difficult to think that someone who is guilty of a crime might get off. I think it's more difficult though to think about someone being judged in the court of public opinion.

    Most defense attorneys are not trying to circumvent laws or do anything illegal. They are doing the job which keeps our system in check, they are helping the accused explain either how they didn't do that which they are accused or how they did it and cannot be responsible based on accepted reasons.

    For this person to not have competent representation would be a true loss for all Americans. I just remind myself that while at times our less than perfect (but better than most) system might fail, there are eternal consequences for all choices.

  • ouisc Farmington, UT
    Dec. 3, 2010 1:11 p.m.

    The psychiatrists that believe Mitchell is mentally ill are basing their assessment solely on their conversations with Mitchell. Mitchell is outsmarting these psychiatrists like he did multiple police officers.

    I am glad to hear the prosecution discussing evidence outside of conversations Mitchell has had with psychiatrists after his arrest. I'm looking forward to hearing other psychiatrists address that a mentally ill person would not be capable knowing right from wrong every hour of every day for nine consecutive months!

  • Curtis Hight Anchorage, AK
    Dec. 3, 2010 12:52 p.m.

    I love Daniel Peterson! :-)
    (A grateful FARMS Review reader.)

  • JoeCapitalist Orem, UT
    Dec. 3, 2010 12:23 p.m.

    I too, am often very disappointed in our legal system that sometimes allows the guilty to escape the consequences of their actions.

    But I am also often mistrustful of those in power, so I like to see this power checked by making the bar very high to hurdle, thus making it difficult for malicious prosecutors to use the legal system to put innocent people behind bars.

    There are plenty of defense attorneys that disgust me, but I do not wish them and their families ill by hoping they become a victim of one of their defendants.

    Such thoughts are not very Christian.

  • I hear you Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 3, 2010 12:20 p.m.

    Dear Rabbit, I understand your dislike of defense attorneys but please remember that the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty is what the American vision of justice in our constitution is about. The right to an attorney who truly has a duty to represent your interests as a defendant sets us apart from other systems (think Iran or China). The defense, in this case, has not disputed the facts, just the sanity of their client. Doing any less would be a breach of their duty.

  • CB Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 3, 2010 12:19 p.m.

    I think some Dr. who does not know the LDS doctrine and is not familiar with 'LDS speak' could mistakenly think a character like Mitchell was 'mentally ill'. This sorry piece of humanity chose somewhere along the way to follow another path. What he chose to do, was right because it was something he had chosen to do. That's call self indulgent, absorbed and selfish. Such find great delight in manipulating those who are in charge, like police, doctors, lawyers, and judges. He needs to go to prison, amongst the general population, he will adjust, just as he did at the hospital.

  • Thoughtful Voter Spanish Fork, UT
    Dec. 3, 2010 11:32 a.m.

    That's a pretty unfortunate and provocative headline. A more honest headline would have said something like "Mitchell is a rational predator manipulating beliefs in a coherent and intelligent way" since that is more in line with what the witness said. The witness is testifying that he can spout religious doctrines in a reasonable way in order to help prevent a miscarriage of justice where Mitchell just sings his way to alleged "insanity".

    Oh well, the headline worked and it got me to click on it. I just don't appreciate the wording is all.

  • The Rabbit (in Spanish) Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 3, 2010 9:52 a.m.

    I think the "defense" would like to file a motion to exclude anyone who might have evidence which shows Mitchell's guilt!

    I find it funny that "good" defense attorneys are those which are able to get the most obviously guilty criminals to be found not guilty. They will even brag about being able to get guilty people off!

    My only hope is that these "good" defense attorneys are someday the victim of one of these obviously guilty people! I wonder what they will think of their "rights" then!

  • annie Tomball, TX
    Dec. 3, 2010 9:08 a.m.

    I think since one of the defense witnesses implied that this was Mitchells first sex offense (saying it was unusual for a person to have their first felony sex offense when they are older) that the prosecution should be able to list all his previous offenses. You shouldn't be able to imply that being a pedophile is a new thing when it has been your life story.