FLDS Fashions Turn Frowns Upside-Down

Since the raid on their West Texas ranch, plucky FLDS moms are making their way in the gentile world by selling their signature prairie-style clothing online

FLDS members are well covered in this sampling of pioneer apparel. Some of these styles can be ordered from the <a href=http://fldsdress.com/><b>FLDSDress.com</b></a> website. The young girl in back appears to be wearing a Princess Seam Dress, available in pink, peach, yellow, green, blue, and lavender. Boys' trousers and toddler outfits are also available. We assume everyone here is wearing Underwear Leggins.
FLDS members are well covered in this sampling of pioneer apparel. Some of these styles can be ordered from the FLDSDress.com website. The young girl in back appears to be wearing a Princess Seam Dress, available in pink, peach, yellow, green, blue, and lavender. Boys' trousers and toddler outfits are also available. We assume everyone here is wearing Underwear Leggins. (Photo by Alan Pogue)

The state of Texas has handed them lemons, so the members of the Mormon breakaway sect, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will make lemonade.

Nearly three months after the state raided the FLDS compound in Eldorado and took hundreds of kids into custody – as it turns out, in violation of the law – the FLDS families are still trying to put their lives back together. And many have yet to return to the Eldorado ranch, known as Yearning for Zion, where they've lived since 2004, while officials with the state's Child Protective Services Division are still investigating whether there are any individual cases of child abuse worth bringing to court. Since some families believe that the communal life on the YFZ Ranch is frowned upon by CPS, they're staying away until CPS scatters. Really, who could blame 'em?

But without communal life, many FLDS mothers are having to support themselves and their children out in the general public – and that means paying rent, reports The Salt Lake Tribune. That's the inspiration for a new business venture, started by a group of FLDS mothers: www.fldsdress.com. That's right, the public can now get that signature FLDS prairie-clothing look, direct from FLDS sewing machines. The site features temple garments (long underwear which most Mormon adherents wear under their clothing), onesie footie sleepers for infants and toddlers, jeans, overalls, and the ubiquitous Teen Princess and Teen Vest dresses – all made of polyester or poly/cotton blends, in the solid pastel colors FLDS watchers have come to love.

"We don't know what to expect on demand but we have had a flood of interest," FLDS mom Maggie Jessop told the daily. "Our motive is not to flaunt ourselves or our religion before the world. We have to make a living the same as everyone does." In fact, Jessop tells the Tribune that CPS was actually the inspiration for the new clothing business: When the state took custody of more than 400 FLDS kids, putting them into foster care back in April, many of the kids had nothing more than the clothes they were wearing – and many kids were feeling pressured to begin wearing normal, "gentile" clothing. "No way, no way," was the mothers' response, says Jessop. So they began to sell the proper FLDS clothes – designed to meet "FLDS standards for modesty and neatness," explains the website – to the foster families. "We like to be busy and learn to meet our needs," said Jessop. "Out of ashes growing lilies."

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, FLDS, Child Protective Services, Yearning for Zion, Maggie Jessop

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