In 2015 I co-edited an edited collection with Jared Tamez on the "Mormons in Mexico," and the borderlands, which looked mostly at the mainline Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 2011 I published a book which looked at one of the offshoots of mainline Latter-day Saint practice in central Mexico. I've travelled in this area and I have taken students to this part of Mexico. There are a few things about the current narratives regarding the LeBaron ambush and killings and the narrative around them that isn't sitting well with me:
1) The LeBarons, the Romneys, the Browns, the Allreds, the Whettens ... or any other white Mormon in Mexico (be they LDS or otherwise) are pretty much passing footnotes in the global history of Mormonism. Interesting footnotes, but hardly the foundational families or stories of what has become a world-wide movement.
2) The LeBaron community and the traditional "Colonias Mormones" are not one and the same. LeBaron isn't considered to be one of the "Mormon Colonies" by Chihuahenses or the LDS folks in the other colonies. It is true that if you go back to the late 1800s they share the same roots, but that divide sets in pretty quickly, and the early 20s those are very different groups and communities.
3) Hey, reporter or blogger or anthro student ... you may be crowing that you "got a Mormon in Colonia Juarez to talk to you about their community." Ummmm... those folks are not some sort of locked and hidden enclave that refuses to talk to outsiders. If you roll up to the traditional Mormon Colonies like Dublan or Juarez, pretty much anybody is going to talk to you. Tour buses visit from Mexico City. John Hatch even runs a tour company in the colonies and will take you anywhere you want to go, either in the colonies or around Chihuahua. Nelda will talk to you about Apaches. Mauricio will sing cowboy songs to you. And they will all talk about the colonies. But then again WHAT ARE YOU TALKING TO THE LDS COLONISTS FOR? They aren't part of this story. They are cool places to visit ... but they are not part of this story.
4) Jorge Castaneda - as much as he perturbed me in his work for the PAN - is one of the few folks talking about there being other reasons for this violence than a cartel accident. Is it about water rights? Maybe. I personally doubt that based on other water contexts in the state, but it is certainly still possible. The strike hit two different groups of cars, 10 miles apart. It is hard to think this is an "accident." We just have too little information at this point for US tanks to start rolling into Chihuahua.
Teenage Parents in Central America
3 hours ago