23 Jun 2008

Yearning for Zion: What next for the polygamists?

The Sunday Times - UK
June 22, 2008

Girls, believed to be the victims of paedophilia at the hands of a religious sect in Texas, were rescued in April. So why are they now back with their alleged abusers?

by Bryan Appleyard

Six-year-old Samuel Jeffs has only one leg. On April 3 he was taken away from his home and his mother by the Texas Child Protective Services (CPS). His father, Warren Jeffs, is in prison, convicted in Utah of being an accomplice to child rape.

On May 19, Samuel’s mother, Sharon Barlow, is sitting in a San Angelo courtroom with her attorney to hear a review of Samuel’s care. She is wearing an ankle-length turquoise dress, cut roughly in the style of a 19th-century prairie housewife’s. She has reddish hair, a pointed nose, sleepy eyes and poor skin. The hair rises in a high wave from her forehead, a thin strand is plaited into a circle on top of her head, and the rest is bundled into a heavy braid. She looks unwell. It is 100F outside, but the courtroom is over-air-conditioned and freezing. Judge Barbara Walther constantly adjusts a thermostat on the wall behind her, but it seems to have no effect.

Samuel is well represented. He has his own attorney, a CPS worker and a court-appointed special advocate. This is a review hearing to check on his progress. He has the judge on his side too. She asks searching questions about his medical care. She sympathises with his handicap. The judge had polio as a child and wears callipers. Daily she hauls herself onto her dais, from which she presides over this monumental, unprecedented case. For Samuel is not the only child involved. There are another 460-plus children, all taken in one night from the Yearning for Zion (YFZ) ranch by the CPS, sheriff’s deputies and Texas Rangers. The ranch, which belongs to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), is near Eldorado (pronounced locally Eldoraydo), 45 miles south of here. They were being saved from what was alleged to be an abusive environment

“Why,” asks the judge, “does he have only one leg?” The lawyers look at each other and eventually agree on a genetic defect. As the legal wrangling ends, Samuel’s attorney rises to make one last, important point. “He’s a great little guy!”

On May 13, I had watched Judge Walther preside over a preliminary hearing in the case of Pamela Jeffs, aka Pamela Jessop. Again the turquoise prairie dress, again the sleepy eyes, again the sharp nose, but this time the hair is lustrous and even more elaborately arranged, the braid at the back forming a pattern like a prawn shell. The skin is fresh and clear. In profile she could be 14, and there is something childish about her whole demeanour. She chews her tongue a lot and she has a cereal bar in the side netting of her bag. Full-face, however, she looks older, anything between 18 and 25. It is this ambiguity about her appearance that is the point of this hearing.

When taken from the ranch, Pamela was regarded by the CPS as a child, though she gave her age as 18. She was pregnant and, if she was a child, this amounted to sexual abuse. The baby, Jonathan, was born after her removal from the ranch. She also has another 18-month-old son, Matthew; his age suggests she must have been pregnant when she was underage. The father of both is said to be 22-year-old Jackson Jessop, whose whereabouts is unknown. But today the CPS has accepted Pamela is 18. She is no longer a child but the authorities still have her children. This has led to appalling legal complications about who is allowed to represent whom. As a result, tension is mounting between the social workers and the lawyers. The legal wrangling suddenly explodes. “I take great offence that you should discuss this in front of the press!” shouts Randy Stout, a lawyer acting for the child. He gestures with contempt at the local-paper guy and me and storms out. “You started it, Randy!” yells Andrea Sloan, one of Pamela’s attorneys. Finally, Stout, a kind of fat comedy Texan, but decent, is placated and some sort of deal is done.

In care, the YFZ children have been a problem, not just because of the trauma of separation from their families. Life at the ranch was strict. Children seldom, if ever, went outside – women did so, but apparently only when accompanied by their husbands. The children were “home-educated” and they did seem to have mastered basic skills. But outside reading, writing and arithmetic, there were issues. They had been taught some very weird science and had limited experience of play.

“When the children first came into care,” says Debra Brown, who runs the San Angelo court-appointed special advocate (Casa) scheme, “they had never seen crayons. A crayon is a pretty standard, normal deal for an American child. When I went into the ranch, you would not have assumed children even lived there. There were no toys, no stuffed animals, no dolls, no footballs. The concept of play was not in their upbringing: they worked from a very early age.” The children eagerly gardened, made their beds, organised the laundry and washed dishes, exactly what they had done at home. Much of their ranch life was taken up with praying and singing and listening to tapes of the sermons of Warren Jeffs, the leader and prophet of the FLDS. Some, I was told, were still listening on cassette players in foster care.

These sermons are what you and I would call mad. In a gentle, hypnotic, “listen to me carefully” kind of voice that seems to be designed to draw you in closer, making you collude in the insanity – a technique Hitler used in small groups – Jeffs explains that women must be utterly subservient to their men, that black people were put on Earth as Satan’s representatives, that the Beatles – “useless people nobody would hire” – corrupted the world by spreading black music, and so on. The children thoroughly absorbed his messages. Once outside, they pointed and laughed at blacks. He had also taught them that the colour red was forbidden, as it was reserved for Christ’s robe on his return to Earth. They recoiled from the colour. They were convinced that the world outside the sect, especially its laws, was evil and that the “gentiles” – non-members of the FLDS – were damned. “I’m getting used to being called an evil gentile,” says one of the children’s lawyers in court.

The mothers, Sharon and Pamela, had two things in common. First, the sleepy eyes and the nose, combined with a slightly absent expression. They share these features with Jeffs. Secondly, they were both convinced that Jeffs was the one true prophet, in touch with God daily. Jeffs has told them that their sole purpose in life is to “keep sweet” and to serve and honour their husbands without complaint. The ranch being a polygamous society, they must do this in harmony with many other wives. Jeffs is thought to have had between 60 and 90. A man, it is said, cannot get to heaven unless he has at least three wives.

On TV, one ranch wife, Margaret Jessop, was asked why almost everybody else in America regarded polygamy with distaste. Her glasses glinted in the studio lights. She smiled. “It must be because they are uneducated.”

But why polygamy? “Because there’s just not enough good men to go round.”

Leaving polygamy, racism and the oppression of women aside, Jeffs – the man who dictates these clothes, these manners, this life – is also a convicted child-abuser. From all the accounts I have read, from all the reports and evidence I have heard and from all I have been told, I can say, unhesitatingly, he is a monster.

Nevertheless, in individualistic, libertarian Texas there is anger about the raid. One day, at the back of the courtroom, I fall into conversation with an enormously fat lawyer who doesn’t want to be named. (This case is characterised by very fat lawyers and very thin defendants. Jeffs imposed rigid anti-obesity laws on his own family, and wherever he went the rest of the sect followed.) In the florid dialect of this unique and infinitely exotic state, the fat lawyer casts doubt on the legality of everything the CPS has done. “They went in with a search warrant wide enough to turn an 18-wheeler round in.” He says there may have been “bad apples” at the ranch, but that couldn’t justify the mass seizure. He also mutters about the “vagina mafia” – feminists out to attack the ranch’s patriarchal structure. Men, he believes, are okay. “Everybody I met on Mars was a pretty nice guy and I have never been to Venus.”

He had, it turns out, a point. A few days after the Pamela and Sharon hearings, the Texas appeal court overrules Judge Walther’s decision to endorse the CPS’s seizure of the children. There was, the judges argued, no immediate danger to the children and the mass seizure was unjustified. Any such action should have been done on a case-by-case basis.

The CPS went into a huddle and then struck back. State attorneys released pictures in court of Warren Jeffs with a 12-year-old girl he was said to have married in July 2006. In one he is kissing her in a “husbandly way”. It was Jeffs who dominated life on the ranch – his portrait is in almost every room – and here was clear evidence that the “Jeffs way” involved underage sex.

The state appealed to the Texas Supreme Court. On May 30, this court backed the lower court, though it acknowledged the need to continue official involvement with the children, and it looked as though the children would be returned. When I heard this news, I felt sick. I e-mail Steve Singular, author of When Men Become Gods, a devastating exposé of FLDS life under Jeffs: “I suppose that exhausts the options.” “There may be more options,” he e-mails back.

I hope so. Children should have crayons.

Then there are further twists. Judge Walther resists the move to return the children involved in the appeal. She won’t sign the papers. She wants to add restrictions to the parents’ movements. I would guess she is playing for time. DNA tests on all the families were to be completed soon. They will establish paternity and maternity, incest and maybe child abuse. They may disentangle the complex and concealed familial relationships on the ranch. They could lead to criminal charges that could put the civil case in an entirely different light. But, finally, Walther succumbs, the children are returned, though they can’t leave the state and a watch will be kept on the families. Meanwhile, in Arizona, Warren Jeffs, on trial again, had to give DNA samples to aid the Texas investigation. The court documents also state that records from the ranch suggest he was recently “married” to two girls, one 12, one 14. There is, in this case, more, always more.

I drive south from San Angelo. The landscape is green; it was an unusually wet spring. Eagles and vultures circle the long straight road. As I approach Eldorado, I notice a strange-shaped block on a hill. This is Pave Paws – a phased array warning system, basically a big radar, a relic of Reagan’s “Star Wars” defence system. It’s where, at 9pm on April 3, men from various sheriff’s departments with an armed personnel character, Swat teams and Texas Rangers mustered to move on the YFZ ranch below.

They were responding to a call, made on March 29, from somebody called Sarah, who claimed to be a 16-year-old girl who had suffered physical and sexual abuse at the ranch. The call may have been a hoax, and there is speculation about this five-day gap. But it seems, to me at least, pretty obvious that the authorities had 1993 on their mind. This was when they besieged a ranch near another Texas city, Waco. Inside lived the Branch Davidian religious sect, led by David Koresh. The siege was a human and political catastrophe. The ranch burnt down and 76 people died. There had been rumours of arms caches on the YFZ ranch and nobody knew what orders Jeffs had given the sect, so some force was necessary. But nobody wanted a repetition of Waco; this time, nobody was going to mess with Texas. And as for the possible hoax – well, the authorities had a lot more than that one call to go on. Sheriff David Doran of Eldorado had had an informant within the FLDS ever since the FLDS took over the ranch in 2004.

In the event, after two hours of negotiations, the rangers and deputies were allowed in. They called in the waiting CPS staff. They could search the ranch for children, though attempts were made to hide them. But they were refused entry to the temple, the huge white building that counterpoints Pave Paws in this otherwise almost empty landscape. They brought in the “jaws of life” – the big expanding tools used to cut people out of car wrecks – and forced their way in. It remains unclear what they found there.

Eldorado is a town of 2,000 people with 13 churches. It was one of the last places to be settled in Texas. There was no water to be found until they drilled deep into the ground. Now the local economy is doing okay on the back of ranching, hunting, oil and natural gas. People here are as extravagantly friendly and hospitable as they are everywhere else in west Texas.

During one visit, I am in my car when I am deafened by sirens. Is this another raid? I see a fire engine and a sheriff’s car racing down the highway. It turns out to be the baseball team leaving town: they always get an escort out and in. If they win, they get a full-blooded street parade. It’s a real town, Eldorado, a real place in Texas, a very real state. In fact, everywhere I go, people insist on the benign reality of their communities. The lawyers are proud that around 400 attorneys stepped forward to represent the children on a pro bono basis. In the Emmanuel Episcopal Church in San Angelo, a quilting group started making quilts for every child. “It’s a way of showing these children someone cares,” says the group leader, Judith Lester. Some expressed hope that the kindness of the outside world would persuade the children of the folly of the Jeffs way.

A few miles northeast of Eldorado is the ranch, dominated by the architecturally illiterate temple. Metal gates bar the way onto a long approach drive, which ends with some kind of guard tower. This dumb, lumpen block is where the story, for the moment, ends.

The story began in 1630 when, before setting sail for America, John Winthrop, the English leader of a group of Puritans planning to settle in New England, delivered his sermon A Model of Christian Charity. “For we must consider,” he said, “that we shall be as a city upon a hill.”

For good or ill, American exceptionalism had been born. The phrase “city on the hill” is still evoked to describe the highest idealism and the lowest folly. The idea that this nation is unique in history has informed political rhetoric from Winthrop to Jefferson, Lincoln, Reagan and Bush. The idea that the US has alighted on a human system superior to all others still drives the neo-conservatives and the Christian right. It drove the supremely noble act of America’s salvation of Europe in the second world war as surely as it drove the supreme folly of the occupation of Iraq.

But one interpretation in particular leads to Eldorado and Judge Walther’s courtroom. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – the Mormons – is founded upon visions, exclusively granted to one Joseph Smith, in which angels told him the true church had been lost and must be restored. Following Smith’s death, Brigham Young led the members of this new church to Utah. Salt Lake City remains the headquarters of the Mormon faith. America, the city on the hill, was to be the birthplace of the new, true Christianity. And the scale of the country, its great open spaces, allowed the Mormons to seek out and settle their own Zion, the new Jerusalem.

The early Mormons practised polygamy. It was said to be a divine mandate, but it was also a way of spreading and defending Mormonism by increasing the birth rate. In 1890 the church abandoned polygamy under pressure from the federal government. A hard core never accepted this decision, and from them sprang the FLDS. It has an estimated 10,000 members, primarily in the cities of Hildale and Colorado City, in what used to be called Short Creek on the border of Utah and Arizona. Though there are no legal polygamous marriages, the FLDS has “spiritual” marriages. These have, in fact, become the tool of a remarkably rigid patriarchy.

The mainstream Mormon church had bought into the idea of America as the city on the hill, but the FLDS had taken a crucial step away from this idea. Now everybody was wrong except them. The city on the hill could still be built in America, but it would have to be built in spite of the majority of the population; the rest of the country could – would – go to hell. This idea anticipated the conviction that America was not living up to its true destiny, the conviction that inspired the resurgent evangelism of the Christian right from the late 1960s onwards.

Life on the state line was fairly peaceful for the FLDS, not least because the local cops were members of the church, so any awkwardness involving, for example, errant wives was hushed up. In any case, a significant proportion of the population of Utah is of polygamous descent, so local sentiment tended to be sympathetic.

Nevertheless, in 1953 the Arizona governor John Howard Pyle, hearing stories about the ranch, instituted a large raid. Men were dragged out at gunpoint and children were separated from mothers. Press pictures captured the scene and sympathy swung away from Pyle and towards the FLDS. It was a political disaster that anticipated Waco. All returned to “normal” until Warren Jeffs took over in 2002. Jeffs succeeded his father, Rulon, as the sect’s prophet. Rulon was comparatively liberal, but his son was to become a rabid totalitarian. Born in 1955, he came of age in the midst of an astonishing – and, by secular liberals, entirely unexpected – rise in evangelical and fundamentalist religion, both in mainstream and radical cults. The world was, once again, divided into good and evil. And nowhere was it more divided than within the FLDS under Jeffs’s rule. Carolyn Jessop fled from the tyranny, and in her book, Escape, she describes Jeffs as having “zero charisma”. But he imposed his will by other means. “Warren thrived,” she writes, “on brutality, and seemed to love hurting people. He’d pull some kids out of their classroom and beat them on an almost daily basis. Warren targeted the kids from bad homes whose parents wouldn’t make waves even if their kids told.”

He imposed an ever stricter dress code. Under their prairie dresses the women are required to wear special long underwear. He removed all the FLDS children from the local public schools and insisted they be educated within the compound by almost entirely unqualified members. He intensified the control of the men over the women and frequently ejected members from the FLDS, promising them eternal damnation.

The ejection of males is crucial to the preservation of the community. The dynamics of the society are obvious: through polygamous marriage to brides chosen by the prophet, old and middle-aged men retain access to young women. Jeffs forbade contact between young men and girls. This leaves a surplus of young men. Many are ejected or drift away – former FLDS boys tend to fare badly in the outside world and are known as “the lost boys”. Those that remain provide a pool of free labour for the FLDS businesses – mainly construction, at which they seem to excel. (They have also been involved in government business. Members of Congress have been asking questions about how an FLDS business came to be a supplier to the Pentagon.)

But nobody should be fooled by the obvious sexual motivation of the older men into thinking they don’t believe what they say. These people are unquestionably believers in their mad religion.

Jeffs went too far. From a variety of different directions – fiscal and criminal – the authorities were closing in. He went on the run for two years. He was one of the FBI’s 10 most-wanted men. He organised safe houses up and down the west. “There,” in the words of Steve Singular, “he would preach, get laid, deliver a sermon, tell them to be more obedient and then leave.”

In 2004, his nephew, Brent Jeffs, testified that he had been sodomised by Jeffs when he was five or six. And, fatefully, a girl called Elissa Wall came forward to say that at 14 she had been forcibly married by Jeffs to her 19-year-old cousin. Jeffs was finally recognised by a cop and arrested in August 2006 in Nevada. Wall’s testimony earned Jeffs 10 years to life. He is now appearing in Arizona on further charges. Meanwhile, Jeffs’s evasions and contempt for gentile law had led Utah to seize $100m in FLDS assets, and the accountant in charge is pursuing funds in Texas – the ranch is valued for tax purposes at $20m.

Jeffs started the Eldorado project when things were getting hot in Colorado City and Hildale. They bought up the land and he sent down his most faithful followers. Eldorado was remote and Texas tends to be very permissive about home schooling, another case of the culture’s absolute faith in the individual against the state. A fierce lobby defends the right to teach at home. I asked one lawyer, Guy Choate, why the ranch hadn’t been inspected for the quality of its education. “Don’t even go there,” he said.

Jeffs put Merril Jessop in charge, a man who, judging by the book by his former “wife” Carolyn, is quite a piece of work. The first thing to say about him is he’s one hell of a builder. The land outside Eldorado was bought, as far as the locals are concerned, under false pretences. “We knew about the purchase but we didn’t know who they were,” says Randy Mankin, editor and proprietor of the paper The Eldorado Success. “They represented themselves as a hunting lodge. They were deceptive from the get-go.”

Mankin and his wife had their suspicions and began arranging flights over the land. What they saw was not a hunting lodge. With incredible speed, huge log cabins – around 30,000 square feet – went up and the colossal foundations of the temple were dug. Most of the structure seems to have gone up in under a month. All the buildings are of phenomenal quality. One of Mankin’s pictures shows a gathering of workers praying, led, Mankin believes, by Jeffs. Mankin, a great roly-poly guy, is like something out of a film. In fact, locals have talked about which actors they would like to play them in the film of the FLDS story – Mankin favours Tom Selleck. He has few doubts about the uses of the ranch – “a camping ground for paedophiles”. A quarry was dug to provide the temple’s limestone cladding. There was a cement works, and a farm was created with a cheese factory and fields of, among other things, alfalfa. “Alfalfa,” writes Carolyn Jessop, “was one of Merril’s hobbies.”

Merril’s building competence seems to have been matched by political savvy within the FLDS. Under Rulon’s reign, he tied himself to the Jeffs family by marrying his daughters to Rulon’s sons and then to Warren – “Merril,” writes Carolyn, “saw it as a shrewd move.” By the time Jeffs was arrested, it was clear that Merril was to be his main man in the outside world.

But at this point, Merril’s competence fails him. His personal life seems to be one disaster after another, an appalling advertisement for polygamy. His multiple wives were dominated by Barbara, who paid only lip service to polygamy and effectively demanded almost unique access to Merril. In spite of his total power over his women and his freedom to take as many wives as he chose, he managed to be henpecked by one woman. He had all the disadvantages of monogamy and none of the advantages of polygamy.

Merril is a fool. That much is comic; the rest is not. Carolyn’s book portrays a man of callousness and brutality. At one point he seems to be willing a sick son of his to die as a rebuke to Carolyn’s mounting indiscipline. The lives of the women were made miserable by his casual indifference to their welfare. Merril was so bad at all this that he managed to inspire rebellion among his wives, unthinkable within the FLDS. But he was always backed by Jeffs, and most of the women believed every word Jeffs spoke – primarily that “keeping sweet” and obeying the command of their husbands was their only hope for heaven.

Until Jeffs’s arrest, things seemed to be going well for Merril. The locals were suspicious about the ranch, but grateful for the money. The FLDS spent freely on building materials and farming products. In San Angelo they now say most of the money was spent in Eldorado and in Eldorado they say it was mostly spent in San Angelo, but, one way or another, it was spent. The FLDS always paid in cash. They also paid local taxes of $450,000 a year and, curiously, did not claim the exemption available to religious organisations. The men were seen about town – identifiable by shirts buttoned up to the throat and down to the wrist and, often, bib overalls – but women were seldom seen and children, as far as I could establish, never. The only big news was on April 6, 2005. Jeffs had forecast the end of the world and the national press descended on the ranch. Mankin had a friend dressed up as the Grim Reaper standing at the gates – “We thought it was a pretty good joke.” The world did not end.

But for those who knew about the sect, this calm hid a terrible reality. Jeffs’s arrest held out the hope that his tyranny might be about to end. Merril may be a good builder, but he’s no prophet, so there may have been a spiritual vacuum. Hopes were raised further when, in prison, Jeffs cracked. He appeared in court drooling, out of control. On January 24, 2007 he told his congregation by jail telephone that he was a wicked man because of things he had done in his youth with a sister and a daughter. This meant he wasn’t a true priest and couldn’t be the prophet. These hopes were dashed, however, by Jeffs’s recent courtroom appearances in Arizona, healthy-looking and suited. Videos smuggled out of the jail show him talking to his wives, telling them God’s wishes. He was the prophet once more. He is said to have been talking to one group the night before the April 3 raid. He seems to be directing operations at the YFZ ranch and still able to command the unwavering devotion of his followers.

Back at San Angelo on May 19, the media circus was in town again. It was the start of the review hearings needed to take place 60 days after any child has been taken by the authorities, and the supremely photogenic parade of strangely clad, weirdly coiffed women up the courtroom steps is about to begin again. Satellite trucks are lined up on the streets and TV reporters are hanging about with camera crews. The media role in this story has been crucial. Access to the sect members has been controlled by Rod Parker, a suave attorney in Salt Lake City. He has been running a campaign to normalise the FLDS. This has involved a few media visits to the ranch, escorted by the equally suave Willie Jessop, who at one point waved his hand across the pastoral spectacle of the farm and said: “This is America!” Parker has also orchestrated interviews with the most talkative and fresh-looking sect members, though with the supercilious Margaret Jessop – “Because there’s just not enough good men to go round” – he seems to have blundered. She came across as your worst nightmare.

The legal and media actors all seem to be co-ordinated. They are carefully trying to uncouple the ranch from Jeffs – not easy when all the pictures show images of Jeffs in every room. That “few bad apples” remark of my fat lawyer was echoed by all the lawyers, and repeatedly on TV. This anticipates the criminal case. Even if child abuse is proved, then the sect may be saved if it can be shown it was not systemic. Meanwhile, the criminal case is likely to be just as brilliantly handled by the defence. The FLDS has hired some of the best criminal attorneys in Texas.

Jeffs has always warned his followers of the wickedness of government and the law beyond the walls and fences of their compounds. And he knows how to spread confusion and dissent among the media and the lawyers. In the end, I suspect, the outcome will be decided in the corridors of Washington. Harry Reid is the majority leader in the Senate. He is a Mormon. Few things can be more embarrassing to the Mormon church than the FLDS, and there are plenty of whispers suggesting Reid wants it sorted out. It’s a crazy sect run by a man who, if not mad, is certainly bad. But is it legally vulnerable? This goes to the heart of the American way.

In his book, Steve Singular argues that the law is the best weapon against religious extremism. At Short Creek in 1953 and Waco in 1993, the failure of force became apparent. Singular links this point to the failure of force in the war on terror. Just as in Iraq and at Guantanamo, the law has been abused. Due process works; force doesn’t. “There may be lots of jokes about lawyers,” he says, “but they are really the way to go.”

The problem is, of course, what does the law actually say? If there was systematic child abuse at the YFZ, then the case is made. But what if there wasn’t? Will the FLDS then be allowed to continue to enclose its children, making them incapable of handling the outside world other than with suspicion, their heads full of nonsensical science, racism and sexism so extreme as to defy belief? American libertarianism, the mentality of the settler and the frontiersman says yes, but government is closing in. America is still in a state of becoming.

Sleepy, sun-bleached, late-settled Eldorado – the name is derived from the golden city of God of the Spanish conquistadors – is where this is all happening; and San Angelo, a frontier town once known primarily for hookers and gamblers and where you can lunch on a brothelburger at Miss Hattie’s, the old whorehouse – are where the battles are being fought. The geography makes sense, for this is the old edge of America, a liminal land where mental and physical borders remain ill-defined. Like the rest of the great territory that runs from west Texas through Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Idaho and Montana and is known simply as the west, it is incompletely settled. In these vast empty spaces, people can still lose themselves in their dreams of the city on the hill. But what they are really looking for is a home, a home full of quilts and kindness, a home from which six-year-old Samuel Jeffs can find his place in the world on only one leg.

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