Burning Books

Burning, destroying books for any reason is inexcusable. Burning them because of ‘religious beliefs’ is incomprehensible. Recently, in Colorado City Arizona, an old schoolhouse housing stacked boxes of donated books, was the site of a bonfire of containing some of those titles. At first, the organizers of the drive for a library in the area, believed every book was lost. The schoolhouse’s locks had been changed and the windows boarded up so no one could see inside to assess how many books remained. A few days after the incident, large quantities of boxes were found with intact titles. They haven’t a complete count of how many were recovered, but hopes are that a great deal of them still remain.

The community is owned by the LDS religion–or as most of us know them, Mormons. The state of Arizona had seized some of the property within the town due to unrest among the leaders. This does not sit well with the clannish group. They want ‘no outside interference’ which is what the townspeople believe a library would contain.
At one time there was a library within the town, but it is said that the library closed and one man was culpable of eliminating every piece of literature.

“In 2008, ex-FLDS member Stefanie Colgrove began gathering books from all over the country from book lovers who heard about her idea for a library in the FLDS communities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City.”

Ms. Colgrove received huge donations from entities such as Barnes and Noble and was horrified to think all the work she and others had done was wiped out in a vicious act.

So, from my personal point of view–I need to ask, why? What are these people of God so afraid of? I was told by a very devout Christian, that if you are strong in your faith, then nothing the world shows you will diminish that faith.

So what does this particular sect of Mormons fear from the written word? If they strongly believe in their faith, why would donations from people all over the country alarm them? Is it really about the books, or more to the point, a power struggle? The state tried to give the schoolhouse to the outside communities within Colorado City, the members of the LDS  believe the building is owned by their sect and therefore not the state’s right to give away.

Naturally, there are much more rational ways to go about retaining rights–and I believe the state lost a court case in regard to this issue. That’s where the situation should have started and ended. Burning books as a symbol of autonomy is childlike.

If banning books makes my head explode, burning them sends the pieces of brain matter throughout space! The hypocrisy of any religion who believes in a judgmental God, then committing a crime in the name of that God, is unbelievable. And yet, acts like these and far more destructive ones are carried out on a daily basis in the name of someone’s God. And no one sees the irony.

The only way to defeat small minded,  kool-aid drinking, burning books kind of  group, is to continuing doing what they dislike the most. And that would be marching on gathering more books for the library that will almost definitely open someday, and to educate those who would rather not be part of such a ignorant sect that they are terrified of the written word if not fed to them from their particular little Hitlers.

Naturally, this is my opinion only, and not reflective of the blog’s owner or other content. I think I heard this on TV at some point, and thought it may be a good thing to add here!

Links to the story:






3 thoughts on “Burning Books”

  1. Diane,

    The “book burning” lead in drew me to your posting immediately. I agree with you, I can never see the reason to destroy the history, stories, poetry and gifts living in the written word. Can you just imagine the wonder of the books burned during WWII in Germany? It’s heart breaking.

    However, (comma…you must have know it was coming)in this particular situation I can help you understand. You won’t like it one bit better and neither do I, but here goes. Living here in Utah I suppose we have a different “perspective” on this situation in Colorado. They are NOT LDS or Mormon, they are members of the FLDS cult. Everything that goes on within that town is ran by their leadership, including the teaching and training of their children and the police. Arizona has sent in outside Police to investigate underage marriage and abuse and now it has National units there.

    On to the reason for the book burning. These people are not allowed to watch television, listen to the radio or read any material that is not first approved by the leadership of their church. At all. The sad new is the burning of these wonderful tomes was brought on by the leadership so the people would not be defiled by any other belief system. This town is owned, operated and guarded by the FLDS church and they feel anything outside of their beliefs is perverted.

    Luckily, as you stated in your post and it is included in the news links, some have been saved. The discussion boards here wonder if we may find books on their cult they don’t want us to read. Will it somehow provide fodder for the law enforcement situation they now face? Or are they just afraid the people may come to understand a different way of life?

    My son and daughter-in-law live just outside St. George, which is close to Colorado City, and are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (real Mormons) and they were the first to tell me about it knowing my love of books. Believe me, the law enforcement community is having a very difficult time with the community and the surrounding towns.

    The real hope is the saved books and be restored and put in a place of safety. All this really has to make us stop and wonder at the control issues alive and well in America. Thank you for your post. You brought to other’s attention what may have slipped by.

  2. Destroying books for any reason is inexcusable? Glad to know you’ll be taking in all our old telephone books, the unwanted items from the “free” table at the book sale, the 500 “advance” copies of some awful novel that were dropped off at our library and that we can’t get people to (freely) take…

    • Adrianne–first, telephone books are hardly the same as ‘real’ books. Second, the ‘unwanted’ items at the free table may not interest anyone in your town, but may be just the ticket for others elsewhere–that’s why the internet is so darn nifty. And I’ve never ever in my entire career of reading advance copies seen 500 of them. I’m not sure 500 are even printed. But, even if you had a thousand copies, destroying them surely isn’t your only option. How about recycling? If one cannot pass them on to others, at least the paper could be used for the next bunch of books you’d love to destroy.

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