|Ex-communicated FLDS Boys are Asking for Help|
By Kimberly Houk|
KSL TV Channel 5 News
More than 400 teenage boys are wandering the streets of southern Utah ... with no where to go ... and no where to call home.
They're called the "Lost Boys" ...
Utah's Attorney General says they've been forced out of their polygamist homes in the community of Colorado City, Arizona ... and Hilldale, Utah.
Kimberly Houk joins us from the State Capitol with more.
More than 1 hundred of the "Lost Boys" filled the Capitol's steps earlier this afternoon.
They were there asking for help ... and wanting to tell their story.
And it's a sad story ... filled with intimate details of what it's like to be a young boy living in the polygamist colony controlled by FLDS prophet Warren Jeffs.
FISCHER: "ON A MONTHLY BASIS MULTIPLE FAMILIES ARE BEING DESTROYED. CHILDREN WAKE UP FINDING THEY HAVE A NEW DADDY FINDING THAT THEY HAVE NEW BROTHERS AND SISTERS."
Families torn apart as one by one young boys are ripped from their families ... and ex-communicated out of their FLDS religion.
SHURTLEFF: "RATHER THAN HELP THEM OR SHIP THEM OFF SOMEWHERE WHERE THEY COULD BE HELPED, THEY SIMPLY KNOCK ON THEIR DOOR AND TAKE THEM AND LET THEM OFF IN THE DESERT."
Completely unprepared for the outside world ... with little education ... and a strong belief that they're going to hell after being cut off from their religion ... the AG's office says these boys are living on the streets, some turning to prostitution for money to eat ... while others turn to drugs and alcohol.
STEED: "IT TOOK A GOOD YEAR PROCESS ... CONTEMPLATING SUICIDE, AND I BELIEVE ALL OF THESE OTHER CHILDREN GO THROUGH THAT AT SOME POINT."
SHURTLEFF: "THEY COME IN AND THEY START TALKING ABOUT THEIR LIVES AND THEY JUST BREAK DOWN AND WEEP LIKE LITTLE BOYS, AND SAY I JUST WANT TO SEE MY MOM, I JUST WANT TO HAVE A FAMILY AGAIN."
Shurtleff says the boys are removed from the polygamist community because right now the population of the twin cities is roughly 50 percent male and 50 percent female.
And for a religion that believes living polygamy is what gets you into heaven ... there has to be more females ... in order for the men to live with multiple wives.
SHURTLEFF: "OBVIOUSLY IF ALL THE YOUNG GIRLS ARE MARRYING THE OLDER MEN ... THERE'S NO CHANCE FOR MOST OF THE BOYS IN THAT COMMUNITY."
And that's why the young boys between the ages of 15 and 23 are tossed out ... left alone ... and lost.
FISCHER: "THESE BOYS NEED HELP FINANCIALLY. THEY NEED HELP IN GUIDANCE, AND DIRECTION."
The state is asking for good male role models to come forward ... to open the arms, homes, and wallets to these boys.
They need strong father-figures to help mentor the young men ... as they transition from the sheltered polygamist colony ... into the real world.
GILBERT: "IT'S HARD TO GET AWAY FROM SOMETHING YOU'VE KNOWN YOUR WHOLE LIFE."
There is a phone number you can call for more information on how to help these boys.
That number is ... 1-877-GET-A-DAD.
Originally broadcast July 31, 2004
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