Lost boys (Mormon fundamentalism)

For other uses, see Lost Boys.

"Lost boys" is a term used for young men who have been excommunicated or pressured to leave polygamous Mormon fundamentalism groups such as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS).[1] They are alleged to be pressured to leave by adult men to reduce competition for wives within such sects, usually when they are between the ages of 13 and 21.[2]


Since birth rates for boys and girls are roughly equal, and women do not enter the community in large numbers, there are not enough women for all men to have wives.

While some boys leave by their own choice, many are ostensibly banished for conduct such as watching a movie,[3] watching television,[4] playing football, or talking to a girl.[2] Some boys are told not to return unless they can return with a wife. One estimate is that between 400 and 1,000 boys and young men have been pressured to leave for such reasons.[1] There are also young women[5] who have left or been pressured to leave because they did not want to be part of polygamous marriages.[6]

Boys in these sects are commonly raised not to trust the outside world, and may be taught that leaving their communities is a sin worse than murder.[7][8] These boys are usually left with little education or skills applicable to life outside of their community of birth, and must learn to live in a society about which they know little, while dealing with the consequences of being shunned by their families, and believing they are beyond spiritual redemption. The families of banished boys are told that the boys are now dead to them.[4] Some individuals, such as Dan Fischer, a dentist who left the FLDS church, work to help young men who have left or who have been ejected from polygamist organizations in cities like Hildale, Utah, or Colorado City, Arizona.[2][9]

In the 2006-2011 HBO television series Big Love, the main protagonist is a former lost boy, having grown up challenging the elder who drove him out of their community as a teenager. The series portrays machinations of some senior men within a fundamentalist congregation to "reserve" young unmarried women for themselves.

The 2010 documentary film Sons of Perdition depicts the struggles of three real-life lost boys.

The 2013 Off-Broadway play "Exit 27" dramatized the story of 4 lost boys struggling to survive in the desert out side Colorado city. Playwright Aleks Merilo based the script on interviews conducted with lost boys living in Hurricane, Utah.

See also


  1. 1 2 Borger, Julian (2005-06-14). "The lost boys, thrown out of US sect so that older men can marry more wives". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-02-14.
  2. 1 2 3 Henetz, Patty (July 31, 2004). "Krakauer still vexed by FLDS". Deseret News. AP. Archived from the original on 2010-07-31. Retrieved 2013-12-11. [...] Fischer has housed the castoff children and given them jobs in his company, Krakauer said.
  3. Holstein, MD, MS, Ned (2008-04-15). "Texas Polygamy Case: Don't the Boys Count?". Fathers and Families. Retrieved 2013-06-20.
  4. 1 2 Kelly, David (2005-06-19). "Polygamy's 'Lost Boys' expelled from only life they knew". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-04-24.
  5. "Man Accused Of Assaulting Kingston Polygamist Daughter Appears In Court". KSL-TV News. 2006-06-24. Retrieved 2007-02-14.
  6. "Polygamy or abuse? Utah case stirs controversy". CNN. 1998-08-18. Archived from the original on February 11, 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-14.
  7. Wagner, Angie (2004-09-04). "Religious sect's outcasts caught between worlds". Associated Press.
  8. Wagner, Angie. "Boys exiled from polygamist sect seek new life in the outside world". Associated Press. Retrieved 2007-02-14.
  9. http://helpthechildbrides.com/stories/lostboys.htm The Lost Boys of Polygamy


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