True, they were supposedly being arrested and tried not for their actual faith but for openly declaring their convictions and for bringing up their children in the same spirit. As Tanya Khodkevich wrote:
You can pray freely
But just so God alone can hear.
(She received a ten-year sentence for these verses.) A person convinced that he possessed spiritual truth was required to conceal it from his own children! In the twenties the religious education of children was classified as a political crime under Article 58-10 of the Code — in other words, counterrevolutionary propoganda! True, one was still permitted to renounce one’s religion at one’s trial: it didn’t often happen but it nonetheless did happen that the father would renounce his religion and remain at home to raise the children while the mother went to the Solovetsky Islands.
I saw some of the Polygamy and Associated Crimes hearings on C-SPAN a few weeks ago. It was almost more than I could bear to watch, we are not as far away from the conditions characterized by the statement above as one would like to think.