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Judge rules polygamous border towns discriminate, but he won’t break up the police force

“A federal judge has issued a major ruling in a discrimination case involving the polygamous border towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz[ona]. In an order issued late Tuesday and obtained by FOX 13, U.S. District Court Judge Russel Holland ruled the town governments and their police force did discriminate against non-members of the Fundamentalist LDS Church. However, he declined to enforce severe sanctions against them, including dismantling the police force. …The ruling stems from a lawsuit leveled in Phoenix by the U.S. Department of Justice against Hildale and Colorado City, accusing the towns of discriminating against non-FLDS members in housing and services. The police force was accused of acting as de facto agents for imprisoned FLDS leader Warren Jeffs. Judge Hilland agreed that Colorado City Marshals turned a blind eye to criminal activities, including those involving FLDS leader Warren Jeffs. …However, the judge ruled that he was unpersuaded by Justice Department arguments that the town governments should be dismantled. The feds, along with Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, argued the Colorado City Marshals should be replaced with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Utah and the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona. Instead, the judge demanded outside police consultants and new hiring procedures be implemented, and ordered the Colorado City Marshal’s Office to purchase body cameras. …‘It is now time for the citizens of Colorado City and City of Hildale to come together and accept the fact that communal ownership of residential property in the Defendant Cities is a thing of the past,’ the judge wrote. ‘All residents of the Defendant Cities must be afforded equal access to housing and residential services, to nondiscriminatory law enforcement, and to free exercise of their religious preferences that are not contrary to law.’ In an email to FOX 13, Blake Hamilton, an attorney for Hildale, expressed hope that an independent monitor would resolve the situation.” (FOX 13 News, 04/18/17) [8.3]

Fugitive FLDS church leader Lyle Jeffs arrested in South Dakota

“Fugitive Fundamentalist LDS Church leader Lyle Jeffs has been arrested in South Dakota,” the FBI confirmed to FOX 13. Jeffs is in the Minnehaha County Jail in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on a U.S. Marshals hold. No other details surrounding his arrest were immediately released. “…Since then, the FBI elevated Jeffs to its ‘Most Wanted’ list with a $50,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.” Next week would have marked one year on the lam. Lyle Jeffs is the brother of imprisoned polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, who is serving a life sentence in Texas for child sex assault related to underage marriages. The FLDS Church has maintained a compound in South Dakota, near the tiny town of Pringle. “FOX 13 visited it last year. It features a guard tower, and has a massive footprint for a development that some have speculated could be the site of a new temple.” (Fox 13 News, 06/15/17) [8.3]

Judge in polygamous child-labor case orders $200K payment

“A federal judge has ordered a company with ties to a polygamous sect to pay at least $200,000 in back wages to children who were sent to work picking pecans for long hours in the cold. U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell handed down the sharply worded order after deciding that Paragon Contractors sent kids as young as 6 to the 2012 harvest, sometimes with little food and few bathroom breaks. …The company has deep connections to the sect led by Warren Jeffs, who is serving a life sentence in Texas after being convicted of sexually assaulting girls he considered brides. The company was under pressure to make money for its leaders when it sent children to the fields, she said. The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints [FLDS] doesn’t have a spokesman or contact where it can be reached. Prosecutors also asked for the independent overseer, arguing that there’s one federal labor investigator in the region and he can’t keep an eye on Paragon while completing his other responsibilities. …Meanwhile, an Arizona jury found this spring that the twin polygamous towns of Hillsdale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona, violated the constitutional rights of nonbelievers by denying them basic services such as police protection. Several members have also been charged in Utah with conducting a multimillion-dollar food-stamp fraud scheme, though leader Lyle Jeffs escaped home confinement in that case and remains on the run.” (ABC News, 12/08/16) [IT 8.2]

6 Defendants take plea deals in polygamous food-stamp case

“Six additional members of a polygamous group based on the Utah-Arizona border took plea deals Wednesday to avoid jail time in a multimillion-dollar food-stamp fraud case. The six pleaded guilty to fraud Wednesday in St. George, Utah, leaving only fugitive leader Lyle Jeffs and two others with charges still pending in the case filed [in] February against 11 people. They faced up to 25 years in prison. …The six who took the deals worked in different roles managing the two convenience stores where prosecutors say the fraudulent transactions occurred or the community storehouse where food bought by food stamps was brought, with leaders deciding how to distribute it. They were: Kimball Dee Barlow, 52; Kristal Dutson, 55; Winford Johnson Barlow, 51; Rulon Mormon Barlow, 46; Ruth Peine Barlow, 42: and Hyrum Bygnal Dutson, who turns 61 this month. …Known as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints [FLDS], the group believes polygamy brings exaltation in heaven—a legacy of the early Mormon church. The mainstream Mormon church abandoned the practice in 1890 and strictly prohibits it today.” (KJZZ, Associated Press, 01/05/17) [IT 8.2]

No jail, no fine for FLDS member in food-stamp fraud case

“SALT LAKE CITY—One of the last members of the Fundamentalist LDS [FLDS] Church facing food-stamp fraud charges has struck a plea deal. Preston Barlow pleaded guilty on Friday to a misdemeanor charge of aiding and abetting Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program benefits fraud. He got no jail time, no probation, and no fines, except a $25 assessment and he must attend a class on the proper use of food stamp benefits. …Barlow is the last defendant to strike a plea bargain or have charges dismissed—with the notable exception of FLDS leader Lyle Jeffs, who remains a fugitive. His brother, imprisoned polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, was an unindicted co-conspirator, who is serving life in a Texas prison for child sex assault but remains in charge of the FLDS Church.” (fox13now.com, 3/24/17) [IT 8.2]

Canada’s biggest polygamist says he doesn’t favor legalizing polygamy

“The Canadian government is prosecuting Winston Blackmore for polygamy… Blackmore has married 27 women and has 145 children… Blackmore, 59, was the bishop for the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints [FLDS] in a community within Lister, British Columbia known as Bountiful. In 2002, the Jeffs family ousted Blackmore. In what residents there refer to as ‘The Split,’ many of Blackmore’s parishioners followed him out of the FLDS. He still acts as a bishop to those who follow him. Blackmore spoke to Sunstone about his family history. Toward the end of his lecture, Blackmore addressed the legal action Canada has taken against him. He was arrested in 2007—handcuffed in front of his children, he said—on a charge of polygamy. A court later dismissed the case over concerns of how the special prosecutor was selected… Blackmore contended Friday that Canada has changed the definition of common-law marriages in order to prosecute him. He said that he and his wives have officially declared themselves ‘friends.’” (Salt Lake Tribune, 08/02/16) [IT 8.1]

Two polygamous leaders are arrested while awaiting trial on food-stamp-fraud charges

“Seth Jeffs and John Wayman, two leaders in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints [FLDS], were arrested Monday on suspicion of violating the terms of their release from jail as they await trial in a food-stamp-fraud case. Seth Jeffs—brother to imprisoned FLDS leader Warren Jeffs—and John Wayman, a business owner and former bishop for the polygamous sect, were booked into Washington County jail after being accused of violating their pre-trial release conditions, said Melodie Rydalch, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Salt Lake City. The men were ordered to wear GPS ankle monitors and remain in Utah, though Seth Jeffs was given limited travel release to South Dakota, where he leads an FLDS congregation. Rydalch did not say which conditions the men are suspected of violating. Jail records indicate Seth Jeffs was arrested by a Washington County sheriff’s deputy, while Wayman was arrested by a federal agent… Lyle Jeffs, Seth Jeffs, Wayman and eight others have pleaded not guilty to fraud and money-laundering charges alleging they diverted at least $12 million worth of food-stamp benefits from FLDS members in Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., collectively known as Short Creek. FLDS sect leaders instructed followers to donate items they bought with their food-stamp cards to a church warehouse, prosecutors say, then the leaders decided how to distribute the products among the membership. In addition, food stamps allegedly were cashed at sect-owned stores without the users getting anything in return. The money was then diverted to front companies and used to pay thousands for a tractor, truck and other items, prosecutors say.” (Salt Lake Tribune, 08/01/16) [IT 8.1]

Trial begins for three people facing child-removal charges

“A trial for three people associated with the polygamous [FLDS] community of Bountiful facing alleged child-related charges began on Monday in Cranbrook Supreme Court. Brandon Blackmore, Emily Blackmore and James Oler are all facing one count of removal of a child from Canada, with each charge being approved by a special prosecutor in August 2014.... According to a government release, the unlawful removal of a child from Canada charges were approved following new information gathered during the investigations in the U.S., with RCMP receiving a large volume of documentary information seized by American authorities. Additional charges were considered, namely, alleged offences of sexual exploitation; however, those charges were not approved after Wilson determined that the standard was not met.” (Cranbrook Daily Townsman, 10/24/16) [IT 8.1]

Polygamous sect verdict: Religion is not a shield for crime

A federal jury found the two FLDS-run towns of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona “guilty of multiple civil rights violations, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation rounded up 11 FLDS leaders on felony welfare fraud charges. The jury found that the towns sabotaged people who were considered threats, that the police departments harassed and intimidated nonbelievers, and that local officials denied services to new residents from outside of the faith.  . . . A federal jury found that the FLDS towns, run from a Texas prison by convicted child molester and bigamist Warren Jeffs, violated child labor laws as well as civil rights laws, which they did by refusing service to nonbelievers, many of whom live side by side with FLDS adherents, who post signs reading ‘Zion’ on their front porches.” (The Christian Century, 03/14/16) [IT 7.3 2016]

Former child bride, polygamous trust settle lawsuit for $2.75M

“Former child bride Elissa Wall has reached a $2.75 million settlement with the United Effort Plan [UEP], the trust that oversees homes and other real estate in the polygamous border towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz[ona]. Wall, who originally filed her lawsuit under the moniker ‘MJ’ because she was a juvenile when she was forced to marry, will receive a mix of cash and property.  . . . On March 23, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that the UEP—now a charitable trust under management independent from the FLDS—could be held liable for Jeffs’ role in forcing Wall to marry. The justices then sent the case back to Salt Lake County's 3rd District Court, where the settlement occurred. In 2001, Jeffs was head of the UEP and Wall’s attorneys argued that he was acting in his capacity as trustee of the UEP when he forced her to wed her 19-year-old cousin that year.  . . . Attorneys for the UEP unsuccessfully countered that ordering a marriage to an underage girl is so far outside the bounds of Jeffs’ duties as trustee that the trust cannot be liable.” (The Salt Lake Tribune, 05/06/16) [IT 7.3 2016]

“Nearly 200 children from a polygamous sect had to work long hours in the cold, sometimes with little food, as they picked pecans for a Utah contracting company with ties to the group, a federal judge found in a decision that marks the latest blow to the group. U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell held Paragon Contractors in contempt of court, siding with federal labor lawyers who said kids as young as 6 were sent to the harvest. The government said the company had deep connections to the sect led by Warren Jeffs and was under pressure to make money for its leaders before it used 1,400 workers, including 175 children, as unpaid labor. Paragon denied that, saying families from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints [FLDS] volunteered to pick up fallen nuts in the city of Hurricane.  . . . Sect members believe polygamy brings exaltation in heaven. It is a legacy of the early teachings of the Mormon church, but the mainstream faith abandoned the practice more than [a] century ago.” (ABC News, 06/02/16) [IT 7.3 2016]

Bountiful polygamy case heads straight to trial

The Canadian Ministry of the Attorney General has signed off on special prosecutor Peter Wilson’s request to avoid a preliminary inquiry and head straight to trial against Winston Blackmore. Blackmore is a polygamist leader of a fundamentalist Mormon commune and is alleged to have more than two dozen wives. Blackmore has chosen to be tried by judge and jury. No date has been set for the trial of the Bountiful, British Columbia resident, but  [IT 7.1 2016]

Op-ed: Smith polygamy essays commendable, but still not the full story

Gary James Bergera, columnist and the author of six published studies of early Mormon polygamy, has offered insightful and thought-provoking perspective on the Latter Day Saints (LDS) Church’s publication of essays about its practice of plural marriage, which represent a good first step in acknowledging the history of the controversial doctrine (see Peggy Fletcher Stack, “New Mormon Essay: Joseph Smith Married Teens, Other Men’s Wives,” Salt Lake Tribune, Oct. 22, 2014). The essays, presented as news releases, exhibit an informed grasp of the growing number of relevant scholarly articles and books that have appeared since the 1980s.

The anonymous authors of the essays tackle head-on some of the most problematic aspects of the church’s embrace of what it once called “celestial marriage.” This term includes church founder Joseph Smith’s marriages to young women, at least one of whom was 14 (the essays characterize her as just shy of 15); Smith’s marriages to other men’s wives (which the essays contend may not have included sexual relations); Smith’s concealing most of his plural marriages from his civil wife, Emma Hale; Smith’s and the church’s carefully worded denials regarding the practice of polygamy; the church’s “civil disobedience” in performing the illegal marriages; and the church’s clandestine attempts to keep plural marriage alive for a decade or more even after publicly disavowing it in 1890.

The essays recognize that the church cannot explain away to everyone’s satisfaction the many inconsistencies, misstatements, and contradictions that accompany the history of plural marriage. In fact, the essays’ candor is sometimes jarring. Clearly, the authors believe that “hard facts” are a more effective palliative than spin.

As past managing editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Bergera’s perspective on the potential limitations of these essays is worth noting. To wit:

“The essays risk falling short in three areas. First, the essay on polygamy during Joseph Smith’s lifetime reflects an emerging apologetic argument that seeks to portray Smith as a reluctant polygamist who had to be coerced by an angel into engaging in sexual relations with his plural wives. Such a position misrepresents Smith’s zest for life and self-perception as Heaven’s lawgiver, while imposing on him a particular brand of morality that was foreign to him. ‘That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right under another,’ he taught (History of the church, 5:134). He also stated that there were ‘many things in the Bible which do not, as they now stand, accord with the revelation of the Holy Ghost to me’ (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 211).”

“Second, for reasons not stated, the essays fail to mention, even in endnotes, some of the most important scholarship on Mormon polygamy. These omissions include, but are not limited to: Martha Bradley and Mary Woodward’s Four Zinas: A Story of Mothers and Daughters on the Mormon Frontier (Signature Books, 2000), a groundbreaking study of women and polygamy; Lawrence Foster’s Religion and Sexuality (University of Illinois Press, 1981), an early important work by an eminent non-LDS historian; George D. Smith’s Nauvoo Polygamy (Signature Books, 2nd ed. 2011), a work especially valuable for its statistical and genealogical data (apparently cited in one endnote without reference); and D. Michael Quinn’s truly groundbreaking discussion of post-1890 polygamy, ‘LDS Church Authority and New Plural Marriages’ (Dialogue, Spring 1985). Granted that space in the church’s essays was limited, still the failure to credit these, and other past, researchers for their contributions seems deliberate.”

And “Finally, the essays cite primary manuscript sources held by the church that are not available to the general public to consult. This makes it appear that access to the church’s vast archival holdings is more open than is actually the case. These documents include the diaries of George Q. Cannon, Francis M. Lyman, Heber J. Grant, Matthias F. Cowley, and others. Historians and other researchers can only hope that such records may one day be as accessible as the essays imply.”

Bergera concludes that “There is much to recommend the LDS Church’s new essays on Mormon polygamy. There is also much still left to be done in narrating as fully and as accurately as possible the tumultuous history of the church’s distinctive, controversial practice.” (Salt Lake Tribune, 11/2–3/14) [IT 6.2 2015]

Polygamous leader Lyle Jeffs has a network of hiding spots

“Rachel Jeffs didn’t even know where she was living. Somewhere in Idaho is all she knew.  . . . She and the other women there were not allowed to leave, Jeffs said, or even to go outside during daylight. ‘We could go outside at night on the deck and stuff, but not during the day,’ Jeffs said. ‘And we were supposed to sew—everybody—and stay in the house and clean and make meals.’ Jeffs was living in what the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints [FLDS] calls a ‘house of hiding.’ Her caretaker there, she said in an interview Wednesday, was her uncle—Lyle Jeffs. Former FLDS followers suspect he is now living in such a house—somewhere. The house of hiding network was one reason federal prosecutors asked Lyle be kept in jail pending his trial in October on two counts related to food stamp fraud. U.S. District Court Judge Ted Stewart released Lyle from jail earlier this month. Jeffs became a federal fugitive on June 19 when he ditched his GPS ankle monitor. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.  . . . Rachel assumes Lyle is with one or two other people living in some house of hiding that only a few in his circle know of. Soon a driver will move him to another house in a vehicle owned by a third person. ‘It’s very much thought out how to hide people,’ Rachel said.” (The Salt Lake Tribune, 06/26/16) [IT 7.3 2016]

Things to know about polygamous-sect food-stamp fraud case

In the sister cities of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona, “Federal prosecutors say FLDS church leaders orchestrated a yearslong [sic] scheme instructing members how to use food-stamp benefits illegally for the benefit of the faith and avoid getting caught.” Prosecutors have asked judges to keep the following men in custody, arguing they are likely to flee and try to hide in the group's elaborate network of houses throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada: Lyle Jeffs, who runs day-to-day operations in the community by carrying out orders from his imprisoned brother Warren Jeffs; Seth Jeffs, another brother who runs the group’s South Dakota compound; John Wayman, a confidant of Warren Jeffs who handles legal and tax issues; and Nephi Steed Allred, an accountant who set up corporations and helped move around the group’s money. Prosecutors say the polygamists likely would use aliases, disguises, false identification, and prepaid cellphones to avoid being caught—just as Warren Jeffs did in the mid-2000s. (ABC News, 02/27/16) [IT 7.2 2016]

Kids from polygamous sect say they harvested pecans for years at leader’s orders

FLDS bishop Lyle Jeffs and a company who worked with FLDS, Paragon Contractors, have been fined by the government for using children and unpaid labor during harvests at the Southern Utah Pecan Ranch near Hurricane. The case began when CNN aired video of children working at the ranch in 2012, but the Labor Department contends that kids worked there for years. Alyssa Bistline, 21, who left the FLDS in 2014, was one of the nut harvesters; she says she began working at the ranch harvests at age 13. The new court filings have affidavits from other people, some of them still minors, who say they or their family worked at the ranch. One girl who is now 14 says she worked at the ranch when she was 10 to 12 years old. She said that even girls with nut allergies had to work. (Salt Lake Tribune, 10/1/15) [IT 7.1 2016]

Warren Jeffs’ son won’t pursue sex-abuse charges against the FLDS leader

Roy Jeffs, the son of the FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, shared his story with Fox 13 about the abuse that he endured at the hand of his father. Roy Jeffs says he is not interested in pursuing criminal charges against his father, but wanted to share his story so that others who have been abused by the FLDS won’t be afraid to come out. “I feel like my father's got what he's deserved. As far as justice, he's got a life sentence," he said, referring to Warren Jeffs' conviction in Texas. "People need to step up, the state needs to step up," Tonia Tewell, the executive director of Holding Out Help, a group that helps people leaving polygamous communities, said. “We need to get some funding in place to get some housing and counseling services that can help all the people that want to leave and are waiting to leave.” (Fox 13, 10/2/15) [IT 7.1 2016]

Wife of Utah polygamist leader files for divorce; describes disturbing, allegedly “illegal” practices

Charlene Wall Jeffs, the legal wife of Lyle Jeffs, who is the leader of the FLDS group and brother of imprisoned Warren Jeffs, has filed for a divorce and wants custody of her minor children. Lyle and Charlene have been married since 1983 and have had 10 children. Two teenage children, a boy and a girl, are still minors and the object of her custody claim. Charlene has been excluded from the teens’ lives for 3 years.

Charlene filed a petition on April 10, 2015, in the 5th District Juvenile Court in St. George, Utah. The petition asks that her two children in Lyle Jeff’s compound in Hildale be placed with her or into protective custody. The documents show that Judge Paul Dame didn’t view the children to be in immediate danger and declined her request to remove them immediately from Jeffs’ compound. The divorce petition was filed April 17, 2015, in a separate case in 3rd District Court in Tooele.

Documents filed by Charlene discuss her life in the group. Charlene was sent away in November of 2002 to repent because she didn’t know how to properly treat the Priesthood—i.e., FLDS leaders. In her first year of exile, she was allowed to live in the family home, but she couldn’t mother her children. In the second year of exile, she was moved into a guesthouse in Hildale. After two years of repenting, she returned to the family home but wasn’t allowed to rear her children. In September of 2014, Charlene was ordered to leave her husband’s compound for being “unrighteous” and hasn’t seen her children since then.

In the papers filed, Charlene described what she says are two illegal practices. One, adopted in recent years, is the “seed bearer” doctrine, in which men no longer are allowed to have children with their wives. Instead, a group of seed bearers have been chosen to impregnate other men’s wives. The second practice she describes is the “Law of Sarah,” in which FLDS women perform sex acts on one another to prepare for an encounter with a man in the Priesthood.

Warren Jeffs, 59, is serving a sentence of life plus 20 years in Texas for convictions related to taking two girls as child brides. He is still considered the president and prophet of the church and communicates orders through his family. (The Salt Lake Tribune, 4/24/15) [IT 6.3 2015]

Mob of Utah polygamists stands off against woman seeking custody of child

In Utah, Sabrina Broadbent, a former FLDS polygamist, obtained custody of her children. Broadbent then went back to the FLDS compound to get her children. But Flora Jessop, a former polygamist, told ABC 4 in Utah that 600 devout polygamist followers of former FLDS leader Warren Jeffs refused to release Broadbent’s children. They surrounded the van Broadbent was in and vandalized her vehicle. Then when police came, the children were released. When Broadbent returned home she discovered that someone had broken in and destroyed nearly everything she had. The Sheriff’s department later learned that Broadbent's own children vandalized the home. The department says this struggle is one children face when they leave the compound. (KTRK-TV Salt Lake City, 4/8/15) [IT 6.3 2015]

Mysterious “tent city” springing up in FLDS towns

A massive “tent city” is springing up in the polygamous border towns of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona as an apparent response to a threat of eviction by the court-controlled United Effort Plan (UEP) Trust in a long-running land war. A source gave FOX 13 a series of photographs that show the construction of the giant white tents being built behind a huge wall with “no trespassing” signs all around it. The tents appear to be able to shelter hundreds. The source said no one is living in the tents yet.

In 2005, a judge in Salt Lake City’s 3rd District Court took control of the UEP amid allegations that FLDS leader Warren Jeffs mismanaged it. Recently, the UEP began evicting people for not paying a $100-a-month occupancy fee to stay in their homes. Jeffrey L. Shields, the lawyer for the UEP’s court-appointed fiduciary, said he believed the tents are the FLDS leadership’s response.

Tonia Tewell, whose nonprofit group works with people in need in the polygamous communities, called the situation there a “humanitarian crisis.” Hundreds have left or been excommunicated by Jeffs, leaving the church with nothing (members consecrate most of their property to the FLDS church). Jeffs still controls the church from his Texas prison cell, where he is serving a life sentence for child sex assault related to underage “marriages.”

If the courts start evicting people en masse, Tewell said it will strain social service providers’ ability to help. The Utah Attorney General’s Office said it was monitoring the situation and urged people in need to contact social-service providers. (fox13now, 12/15/14) [IT 6.2 2015]

Police vow loyalty to polygamous leader in letters, feds say

The US Justice Department alleges in a lawsuit that the towns of Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah “discriminate against nonbelievers by denying them housing, water services and police protection.” Community officials deny the allegations. “Attorneys for the towns have acknowledged past problems with the police department but pointed out that the officers who didn’t cooperate in the search for [Warren] Jeffs are no longer working in law enforcement. They say no officers have been decertified since then. . . Some letters professing allegiance to Jeffs were written by then-Colorado City Mayor Richard Allred, other town officials and two police officers, including Fred J. Barlow, who was leader of the towns’ police department.” (St. George News, 1/26/16) [IT 7.2 2016]

Towns run by polygamist sect discriminated against nonbelievers, jury finds

In a follow-up to the preceding report, “Two border towns run by a polygamist sect violated the constitutional rights of nonbelievers, a jury decided Monday after a dramatic seven-week trial that included testimony from people who said they were denied basic utilities like water and harassed by the local marshal’s office. . . The Justice Department alleged that the leadership of the towns is beholden to Warren Jeffs, the religion’s prophet imprisoned for life for child sexual assault. . . Because the government prevailed, police and government services could be handed over to a receivership that answers to the federal government, but the government hasn’t said what relief it will seek.” (Los Angeles Times, 3/7/16) [IT 7.2 2016]

Family settles polygamist towns’ lawsuit for $3M

A family that was awarded a $5.2 million judgment over a denied water hookup by the two polygamous towns of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona because they’re not members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has settled for less to avoid an appeal. Ronald and Jinjer Cooke will get about $3 million from insurers and utility companies representing the towns, according to a private agreement obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune.

In addition to the $3 million, the settlement stipulated the cities must provide water access to the Cookes. The cities already had made electricity and sewer connections but refused to provide water. Evidence from the case could be used in an ongoing US Department of Justice lawsuit over housing discrimination in Hildale and Colorado City, but the settlement bars the Cookes from participating in that lawsuit. (ABC News, 12/12/14) [IT 6.2 2015]

Like many conservative Christian denominations, the 15 million-member Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) officially bans homosexual activity and considers it grounds for exclusion from Mormon rites, rituals, and the afterlife. But today, many people who identify as both Mormon and LGBT are gaining acceptance within the wider LDS church and culture. And 2 years ago, following backlash from its support of California’s Proposition 8 that banned gay marriage, the church launched a new website exploring the relationship between its LGBT members and the broader church. 

Many credit Mitch Mayne, 43, with fostering this change. In 2011 Mayne became the first publicly gay Mormon executive secretary and held the post for more than two years in a church with an all-volunteer, all-male clergy. Referring to Facebook, Twitter, and the popular blog he started when he became executive secretary to chronicle his experience as both gay and Mormon, Mayne explains that “social media has enabled us to coalesce and create informed allies inside the Mormon faith and build the recognition that how we respond to LGBT individuals is everyone’s concern. I have great faith in Mormons. They really want this change.”

Several other Mormon factions also have taken to Facebook, Twitter, and the blogosphere to push back against church norms and a culture they consider unfair, outdated, and at times hateful. Feminists have been among the most active, using social media to support gender equality in the church, including opening the priesthood to women, and relaxing dress requirements to allow Mormon women to wear pants to church.

A 2014 church survey of about 1,000 randomly selected members suggests these campaigns are prompting responses, if not clear change, in the church. John Gustav-Wrathall, a senior vice president of Affirmation, an independent organization that supports LGBT Mormons and their families, credits the Internet with the fact that “We are starting to see a significant disconnect between what the church is telling people to believe about same-sex marriage and homosexuality and what people actually believe and accept.”

Mayne agrees. “For [church leaders] to put up the website is phenomenal. … If you look at the web there is gay Mormon stuff everywhere, and 5 years ago that wasn’t the case. … The Internet has broken the bonds of silence.”

But church officials say their doctrine is guided only by revelation and Scripture, not by popular opinion. “There has been no change whatever in the Church belief that homosexual sex is sinful,” LDS spokesman Eric Hawkins wrote in response to emailed questions. “What has changed—with Church encouragement—is how to respond to those who struggle to stay in the Church and at the same time maintain that doctrinal position.”

At the least, Mormons’ attitudes toward social media are in flux. Last year, Elder M. Russell Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the church’s second-highest presiding body, warned church members of the persuasive powers of the Internet. Yet in August, Elder David A. Bednar, also a member of the Quorum, suggested Mormons take to social media ”to sweep the Earth as with a flood.” (Religion News Service, 9/15/14) [IT 6.1 2015]

A follower of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) sect and son of high-ranking FLDS member Merril Jessop, Nathan Jessop, 49, was expected to plead guilty to child-injury offenses in a plea agreement under which he is scheduled to serve 90 days in jail (another 360 days were suspended) and 2 years of probation.

Jessop came under public scrutiny after eight boys, ages 13 to 17, for whom he was the assigned caretaker in his so-called repentance home in Idaho were taken from the home in a police raid. The boys had been banished from the FLDS for alleged infractions of church rules. Jessop’s job was to “reprogram” the teens for the FLDS, and to remove them from a flock where they might compete with older men for young women wanted as wives. Two of the eight boys seized from Jessop’s home were placed in foster care, and six others were returned to their parents.

In an update, Nathan Jessop has gone to jail to begin serving his 90-day term. (Reuters, 9/3/14; Vancouver Sun, 10/2/14) [IT 6.1 2015]

In a rare win for the FLDS in a lawsuit, a federal judge will not disband the police force in the polygamous towns of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona, home to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS). James A. Teilborg, who presided over a related trial earlier this year in Phoenix, said booting the towns’ marshals and replacing them with sheriff’s deputies and court-appointed monitors would be burdensome for the towns and the state of Arizona, and that the burden would continue “into potential perpetuity.”

In his ruling, Teilborg stated that “The Court does not doubt that the disbanding of the local law enforcement and the appointment of a monitor would be effective at preventing future discrimination by Defendants”; but he instead ordered the town governments and the related utilities not to discriminate for 10 years, and to pay the state of Arizona a combined $200,000. (The Salt Lake Tribune, 9/6/14) [IT 6.1 2015]

A Justice Department civil-rights lawsuit alleges that the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), rather than elected leaders, runs the towns of Hilldale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona, and that this violates the separation of church and state demanded by the Constitution. The suit documents requests by the mayor of one of the majority polygamist towns for detailed advice on governing from jailed FLDS leader Warren Jeffs. The mayor, for example, asked the imprisoned Jeffs who he thought ought to be police chief and who should be sent to the police academy. The suit, as well as statements of former church members, provide a great deal of evidence to support previous allegations of a wide range of illegal links between church and state: The town allegedly withheld water services from a nonchurch family; it practiced housing discrimination; and it developed intimate fiduciary relationships with the FLDS. (Salt Lake Tribune, 11/3/13) [IT 5.2]

St. Paul Guardian Insurance Company and The Travelers Indemnity Company filed a lawsuit against Colorado City, Arizona and Hilldale, Utah in December 2013 to get out of covering the two predominantly polygamous towns accused of operating as arms of the FLDS Church. The lawsuit was prompted by a Department of Justice (DOJ) case that accuses the twin towns on the Arizona border of policing and housing discrimination . In court documents, the insurance companies argue that their coverage does not includ defending the towns in the DOJ case. Colorado City disagrees, according to court documents, arguing that the companies’ contracts mean they do have to pay up so the towns can defend themselves in the DOJ case. Attorneys and a spokesman for Travelers Indemnity declined to comment on the case, saying they could not speak about active litigation.

The DOJ case also remains in a holding pattern while the towns fight another lawsuit filed by the Cooke family. In that case, the non-polygamous Cooke family claims the towns violated their civil rights by refusing them a water hookup, among other things. No hearings have been scheduled yet in the insurance case lawsuit. (Salt Lake Tribune, 1/21/14) [IT 5.2]

Former Canadian bishop of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) Winston Blackmore has voluntarily admitted under oath and without a lawyer that 10 of his 22 wives were underage when he married them, and three were only 15, according to the transcript of his Feb. 28 deposition in Salt Lake City for a civil case involving church property. Blackmore, whose uncle originally established the community known as Bountiful, British Columbia, admitted to having married one 15-year-old, whom he repeatedly described as being “just about 16.” He was 42 at the time. In addition to admitting to having married underage girls, Blackmore acknowledged that as the FLDS bishop he also performed plural marriages involving girls under the age of 19. But after Warren Jeffs forced him out of the FLDS, Blackmore said he has refused to perform any plural marriages involving girls under 18. Because the deposition was voluntary and done under oath, Blackmore’s statements are public and could be used by criminal prosecutors in both Utah and British Columbia. It’s likely that if he had had a lawyer with him, the lawyer would have advised him not to answer the questions on the grounds that doing so might incriminate him. Maybe now prosecutors in British Columbia and Utah finally will need to take action against Blackmore.

Blackmore was the bishop responsible for the congregations in Bountiful, British Columbia and the Alberta communities of Rosemary and Cardston and was a trustee for the United Effort Plan from the mid-1980s until Warren Jeffs kicked him out of the FLDS in 2002. Since then, Blackmore has continued as the spiritual leader to about 500 people in those communities.

In 1992, the B.C. attorney general refused to lay charges of polygamy or sexual exploitation against Blackmore and another church elder, Dalmon Oler, because of concerns that Canada’s antipolygamy law might be found to be unconstitutional. Only in January 2009 were Blackmore and then-FLDS bishop James Oler (Dalmon’s son) each finally charged with one count of polygamy, charges that were subsequently dropped after Blackmore’s lawyer successfully argued that the special prosecutor who recommended the charges had been improperly hired. In 2010, the provincial government launched a constitutional reference case in the B.C. Supreme Court to determine whether the federal law was valid. The law was upheld in a decision released in November 2011. Having recently received more files from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), whose investigation continues, another special prosecutor hired in January 2012 is still considering whether any charges ought to be filed against Blackmore and others in Bountiful. (Vancouver Sun, March 14, 2014) [IT 5.2]

A man exiled by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) polygamous sect has won permanent custody of his children from two ex-wives who are still members of the group. Judge James Shumate granted the custody to Lorin Holm at the conclusion of a 5th District Court trial in St. George, Utah. Shumate left door open for Holm and his estranged polygamous wives to agree on new family arrangement, the St. George Spectrum reports.

Holm sued to get sole custody of the children in 2011 after he was kicked out of the sect based in the twin towns of Hilldale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona earlier that year for being deemed unfaithful. He had three wives and more than a dozen children. Today, he lives with his first wife, who also left the church.

Holm argued that his children could be sexually abused, forced into child labor, or kicked out of the church while being raised by his former wives, one of whom said she tells her children to respect Holm and denied knowing why they call him an apostate. Other exiled FLDS men hailed the ruling as a precedent-setting victory that will make it easier for them to get their kids back, if not their wives, according to the Spectrum. (The Salt Lake Tribune and Wire Services, 3/27/14) [IT 5.2]

Charges Laid Against Bountiful Leader Winston Blackmore After Judge Rules Charter Should Not Protect Polygamists

Polygamous sect leader Winston Blackmore, who has exercised power and control for decades over some 500 souls from his Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS) stronghold in Bountiful, British Columbia (BC), recently fought the tax man and lost. A Tax Court of Canada judge agreed last year with an earlier ruling finding that Blackmore had underreported his private company’s income by $1.8 million over 6 years. The judge slapped him with $150,000 in penalties and dismissed claims that his community is a “religious communal congregation” and thus tax exempt.

Mr. Blackmore is also being sued by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for alleged trademark violation. The church, which represents mainstream Mormons, wants nothing to do with Mr. Blackmore or Bountiful and its polygamous ways.

But these are the least of his worries as he now faces criminal prosecution. BC’s Criminal Justice Branch (CJB) recently announced that, on recommendations from the RCMP and the advice of a special prosecutor appointed by the province’s Attorney General, Mr. Blackmore and another man, James Oler, have each been charged with one count of polygamy.

Crown prosecutors now have access to a lengthy and detailed analysis of Bountiful, its polygamous practice, and the law. Written in 2011 by BC’s Chief Justice Robert Bauman, the document is described in Bauman’s own words as “the most comprehensive judicial record on the subject ever produced.”

Bauman was asked to declare whether Canada’s longstanding but seldom-used antipolygamy law is consistent with the freedoms guaranteed by the Charter. He heard from dozens of expert witnesses and former sect members over 5 months, and then described in his report what really goes on at Bountiful. He dismissed claims that the divided community is free of abuse and harm. Instead, harm is what the Bountiful question is all about, Chief Justice Bauman concluded. “Harm to women, to children, to society and to the institution of monogamous marriage.”

Specifically, he found that women in polygamous relationships “are at an elevated risk of physical and psychological harm. They face higher rates of domestic violence and abuse, including sexual abuse.” And children in polygamous families “face higher infant mortality. … They tend to suffer more emotional, behavioural and physical problems, and … lower educational achievement than children in monogamous families.” He wrote that early marriage for girls, frequently to older men, is common.

Chief Justice Bauman listened, reflected, and then determined that any Charter breaches caused by Canada’s antipolygamy law are “demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society,” and that the prohibition on polygamy “is consistent with, …further, Canada’s international human rights obligations. … In my view, the salutary effects of the prohibition far outweigh the deleterious.”

With this document in hand, BC’s CJB are proceeding with the criminal prosecution of Blackmore and Oler. The two men are scheduled to appear in a provincial courtroom in Creston, BC in October. When the trial begins, prosecutors might point to evidence that Mr. Blackmore gave at an unrelated civil trial in Salt Lake City earlier this year. There, he acknowledged to having wedded on different occasions three 15-year-old girls. “I never touched anyone before they were 16,” he testified. (National Post, 8/14/14) [IT 5.3]

Arizona Attorney General Asks Judge to Shut Down Polygamous Towns

Police Force Pointing to statements town marshal Helaman Barlow made in April admitting that law-enforcement officers discriminated against residents who do not belong to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS), Arizona Attorney General Thomas Horne has asked a federal judge to disband the police department of the twin cities of Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah. Barlow recounted numerous incidents in which deputies tried to thwart legal action against FLDS members and harm nonmembers. 

Barlow made the statements in April, contradicting his testimony from a civil-rights trial less than a month earlier, according to documents the Attorney General filed in federal court. Barlow described such actions as secretly recording meetings with Texas and federal investigators about Warren Jeffs; ignoring illegal marriages of young girls in Hilldale and Colorado City by FLDS men; not reporting the doctoring of “numerous” police reports that otherwise would have reflected poorly on the marshal’s office; and giving advance warning to local residents when outside law enforcement planned to interview those residents. Barlow allegedly said that the FLDS church often directed activities at the marshal’s office, selected members who would attend the police academy, had access to municipal security cameras, and conducted meetings with Barlow to plan “how best to protect our church or church members.”

In March, a jury awarded non-FLDS residents Ronald and Jinjer Cooke $5.2 million at the trial of their discrimination lawsuit, finding that the two towns had denied them access to utilities for years. After the police department put Barlow—no longer an FLDS member himself—on paid leave, he secured immunity from state and federal prosecutors and admitted to falsely denying discrimination by deputies in the Cooke trial. According to Horne, Barlow said he had been afraid to testify truthfully at the Cooke trial because “it could have jeopardized his employment and his associations within the community,” where the “Marshal’s Office has operated for decades, and continues to operate, as the de facto law enforcement arm of the FLDS Church in support of the FLDS Church’s discriminatory policies.”

Barlow’s statements “[lead] to the inescapable conclusion that the disbandment of the Colorado City/Hildale Marshal’s Office is the only remedy that will stop the FLDS-controlled towns ... from using their willing participant Marshal’s Office as a tool to perpetuate their historical discriminatory pattern and practice of interfering with the ... rights of non-FLDS people.” (Salt Lake Tribune, 6/17/14) [IT 5.3]

Dispute Over Legal Fees Prolongs Polygamy Custody Case

What is being called a landmark custody case isn’t over yet for Lorin Holm, a former member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), who in March won legal custody of his nine minor children from his former wives Lynda Peine and Patricia Peine, active polygamists and current FLDS members. Under Utah code 30-3-3, paragraph 1, which states that in a child-custody case the court may order one party to pay the other party’s legal fees if there is a financial need, regardless of who wins the case, Holm now faces the potential of paying his ex-wives’ legal fees of more than $76,000.

Holmes’ attorney Hoole said the statute makes sense in many cases to ensure equality when an impoverished spouse and a wealthy spouse are engaged in a custody battle, but Holm’s wives had good legal counsel throughout the case and demonstrated no financial need before the ruling. Enforcement of the statute also would place a burden on the hundreds of other ex-polygamous fathers who have been similarly ejected from the FLDS community and severed from their families, many of whom also would like to gain custody of their children. Six former FLDS men who watched Holm’s court case with interest have filed declarations with the court on Holm’s behalf to show that his former wives and others still living within the FLDS community have the ability through the church to pay their own legal fees.

The apostate church members are told by the FLDS to repent of their often-unspecified sins before they can return. “These are men who have given everything they own to the church and they got pushed away, thrown out,” Hoole said. “They’re sent away, …told to write letters of repentance and …just beat themselves up writing anything and everything they can possibly think of,” Hoole said. “In the meantime, their families are poisoned against them.” According to Hoole, the most commonly stated reason men currently are being sent away is for killing unborn children. He said he doesn’t know if that relates to FLDS members using birth control or something else. “These men have no idea what that means.”

The conclusion of Holm’s 3-year-long custody case was the last ruling handed down by Judge James Shumate, who recently retired. The legal-fee-payment matter is being handled by Judge G. Michael Westfall and hasn’t been submitted for a decision yet. Ultimately, the fees issue for attorneys will come down to a ruling and possibly an appeal. In the meantime, although Holm has physical custody of his children now, Hoole said that getting them back mentally and emotionally will be a longer process. “They’re coming around slowly,” he said. (Dixie Press Online, 5/17/14) [IT 5.3]

Former prominent FLDS member Willie Jessop has purchased two parcels of land in FLDS-dominated Hilldale, Utah—a school, a row of apartments, a warehouse, and three large homes. His offer of $3.6 million was a credit bid based on the $30 million judgment he obtained against FLDS leaders when they failed to respond to his lawsuit alleging that they orchestrated a late-night break-in of his business. Jessop led a tour of community members inside one of the buildings, where he pointed to walls more than a foot thick and said they were to provide soundproofing while leader Warren Jeffs had sex with underage girls. He said the compound was to have been like the group’s Yearning for Zion ranch, in Texas, where FLDS leaders sexually abused young girls taken as plural wives. (Salt Lake Tribune, 4/26/13) [IT 4.3 2013] 

Zach Bowers, now 18, three years ago joined the continuing exodus of teenagers from the FLDS enclaves of Hilldale, Arizona and Colorado City, Utah, where he grew up the son of a man who married two sisters and raised 32 children. Zach, and many other young people who fled the authoritarian confines of the FLDS, have been welcomed into the homes of mainline Mormons in Saint George, Utah. Zach’s new home, with the Hofhines family, serves as “a cultural crucible where the former sect members witness life in mainstream society. They’ve learned about the intimacy of a nuclear family, how to spend fun time with parental figures—off-roading, seeing movies, even taking a cruise.” Adjustment has been difficult: “When you get out,” Zack says, “with everything they told [you] you can’t do, now you say, ‘Just watch me.’” The head of a nonprofit that assists kids like Zach says, “They’re akin to a refugee population, except they were born in the U.S.” Zach’s father agreed that the Hofhines should have Zach’s power of attorney, and they have now adopted him. (Los Angeles Times, 5/8/13) [IT 4.3 2013] 

Members of the Brown family, who appear on TLC’s Sister Wives, say they are consenting adults living a life they have chosen, one without the sexism and child abuse commonly attributed to polygamy. The wives took part recently in a University of Nevada Las Vegas forum that included antipolygamist former plural wives who painted a different picture. Willie Steed, from the documentary Breaking Polygamy: the Reeducation of Willie Steed, spoke about his experiences with child labor, an abusive father, lack of education, and hiding from federal authorities because of his family ties to FLDS leader Warren Jeffs. “My experience of polygamy was hell,” he said. “They say this life is about free agency. This was not free agency. Children really take a beating in polygamy.” Christine Brown, in contrast, spoke of growing up with her father’s sister wives and desiring the same for her own children. Kollene Snow, once a member of the Mormon Kingston Clan, said her family’s sister wives hated each other. Kristyn Decker, author of Fifty Years in Polygamy: Big Secrets and Little White Lies, spoke of her heartbreak at having to share her husband. Also commenting at the forum was Christine Maria Katas, who founded Voices for Dignity, which is against legalizing polygamy. Kody Brown maintained that ”Secrecy is a Petri dish for abuse. We have a transparent family. Our experience isn’t your experience.” He accused critics of stereotyping and said that “real crimes”—abuse and neglect—should be prosecuted, “not polygamy.” (Las Vegas Weekly, 5/1/13) [IT 4.3 2013] 

A federal judge in June ruled that Justice Department fair-housing claims against the FLDS-dominated towns of Colorado City, Arizona and Hilldale, Utah are appropriate at this time because it has not been shown that the claims were not brought beyond the time allowed by the statute of limitations. The suit alleges that public officials in the towns—including the police and people running the utilities—have colluded with FLDS leadership to discriminate in various ways against citizens who are not church members. The Justice Department says, for example, Defendants have denied non-FLDS members access to housing in the cities, and they have coerced and intimidated, threatened and interfered with housing rights of non-FLDS members[,] ... inappropriately used [their] state-granted law enforcement authority to enforce the edicts of the FLDS[,] ... and misdirected public resources in the service of the FLDS. (Courthouse News Service, 6/19/13) [IT 4.3 2013] 

The Utah Supreme Court has cleared the way for the state to break up the real-estate trust, now held in receivership, of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS). The court rejected an appeal from certain FLDS members who were trying to block the sale of an FLDS farm, ruling that the appellants had no standing to challenge the sale because they don’t own the farm as individuals. The court ruled previously that the FLDS could not stop the takeover of $100 million in church assets. Meanwhile, a 5th District Court judge in St. George allowed a former FLDS member to occupy 20 acres of land he originally donated to the church. The receiver actually sold the land to the ex-member two and a half years ago, but local authorities [controlled by the FLDS] initially refused to give him water or electric service. (Deseret News, 1/29/13) [IT 4.2 2013] 

Although the Supreme Court of British Columbia has upheld the constitutionality of the law criminalizing polygamy, religious and propolyamory [sic] activists will still forcefully argue against criminalization, this despite the studied disagreement of civil libertarian Craig Jones, who represented the British Columbia Department of Justice in the matter. In his book, A Cruel Arithmetic: Inside the Case Against Polygamy, Jones says that in a polygamous society such as the Bountiful, British Columbia offshoot of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), the criminality is inherent in the closed system. Every time a man takes an additional wife, another man in the community is left with no one to marry. And as the adult females are married off, younger and younger wives are taken. This leads to child trafficking, sexual exploitation of minors, and “lost boys”—young men who are marginalized and even expelled from their homes. Jones believes that the state must take action not only against “bad” polygamy, which involves coercion and abuse in polygamous marriages, but also against polygamous societies. Those against criminalization feel that the court’s decision outlaws all polygamous relationships rather than just polygamous relationships that break other laws on the books, such as statutes against child abuse. (Canadian Lawyer Magazine, 1/21/13) [IT 4.2 2013] 

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne is investigating the possibility that marshals in Colorado City, Arizona, and adjacent Hilldale, Utah, are forcibly preventing women from escaping the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS). Horne lost an attempt in the Arizona Legislature last year to abolish the Colorado City Marshal’s Office and replace law enforcement there with deputies from the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office. He allocated funds for limited patrols by deputies and will soon ask the legislature to take up the bill again. (ABC News, 1/23/13) [IT 4.2 2013] 

Utah Third District Judge Denise Lindberg has given initial approval for the creation of a trustees board to oversee the properties of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) on the Utah-Arizona border. But until Utah legislators pay $5.6 million to the receiver, his attorneys, and other firms hired to liquidate the assets of the trust once run by FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, the process of deciding how to redistribute the $100 million in property owned by current and former members remains gridlocked. Some suggest it will be difficult to put together an impartial trustee board since many of the estimated 7,500 people living in the towns where the properties lie are followers of Jeffs, who continues to run the FLDS from jail. Utah prosecutor David Wolf said authorities would ensure that board members are capable of thinking for themselves, and an attorney for the trust said that safeguards were in place to prevent members from blindly following Jeffs. (AP, 3/5/13) [IT 4.2 2013] 

The dozens of security cameras on the streets of Hilldale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona—towns controlled by followers of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints—are designed to monitor community members and keep them loyal to FLDS leadership, according to former follower William Jessop, who runs a school in town for families that have quit the church. The US Department of Justice has sued officials of the two towns, alleging they have supported a campaign of intimidation against former FLDS members and denied them services. Town officials say that the cameras are used simply to monitor sensitive areas, just as other municipalities use them. (Salt Lake Tribune, 3/22/13) [IT 4.2 2013] 

Having gained legal control of the FLDS property trust that holds the houses and land where thousands of its members live and work, the state of Utah has begun to discuss with residents how to deal with the property. This will be difficult, given the community’s polygamous history, the excommunication of many from the sect, and the deep divisions within it. The crowd of about 150 at a first meeting with Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff to discuss the issue did not appear to contain any of the thousands of FLDS members still loyal to jailed leader Warren Jeffs. Winston Blackmore, head of the breakaway FLDS community in Bountiful, British Colombia, attended; the Canadian property is held by the trust. One possible solution, returning the property deeds to the people who live on the trust, would not be easy. Who, for example, would be given a home built by a man who was excommunicated and left his family behind? … The man who built the home is one possibility, but the family—still faithful to Jeffs, and possibly no longer speaking to their apostate husband and father—needs it. (Salt Lake Tribune, 12/1/12) [IT 4.1 2013] 

The Eldorado, Texas, settlement of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) is now virtually abandoned, and the state is attempting to seize it in a forfeiture action. Fear of the church has subsided, and Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran says that it is a “non-issue for this community.” (Reporter News, 12/3/12) [IT 4.1 2013] 

The history of the state raid on the FLDS Yearning for Zion Ranch, and the subsequent investigation of the community and its leaders, its treatment of children, and the nature and effects of the state’s intervention are reviewed at length in the Texas Observer, 10/1/12. [IT 3.3 2012] 

The Utah Supreme Court has, for the second time, ruled that the FLDS waited too long to challenge a 2005 court-ordered takeover of its community finances. The decision might help settle conflicting rulings by state and federal judges over whether Utah had the power to seize the community trust. A US District Judge last year ordered Utah to give the trust back to the church, saying that the seizure violated its constitutional rights. (San Angelo Standard-Times, 10/4/12) [IT 3.3 2012] 

The British Columbia government hasn’t protected children in the Bountiful community of the FLDS. Since January, a number of boys have been banished; 40 children have been taken away from their fathers and given to “new” “dads” after their biological fathers were deemed unworthy and expelled by the church. There are reportedly only 30 men left, still taking orders from the jailed Warren Jeffs, who has said only 12 to 15 resident men are worthy of impregnating FLDS women and girls. He is also said to have forbidden all but minimal physical contact between mothers and their remaining children, and warned that fathers will be deemed adulterers if they so much as hug a toddler. Play and recreational activity are forbidden, and it looks like the community will be allowed to staff the local elementary-secondary school with unaccredited teachers, by agreement with the Education Ministry, thus saving taxpayers $1.1 million. Ironically, this apparent ceding of certain state controls follows the determination in a reference case by Chief Justice Robert Baumann that polygamy is so harmful to children, women, and society that limiting religious freedom and freedom of association is justified. (Vancouver Sun, 9/10/12) [IT 3.3 2012] 

The FLDS compound near Pringle, South Dakota, which has been in a continuous construction mode for some time—with 22 structures completed—now has four buildings underway, one with a 100-foot by 120-foot foundation. The permit for the building states that it’s for storage. The others include a chicken coop and milking barn that could house hundreds of residents. (Keloland.com, 9/13/12) [IT 3.3 2012] 

Excommunication usually means that the expelled must leave their homes and families—while their wives and children can be assigned to other men. Former FLDS official Willie Jessop says midwives, a doctor, and a dentist are among those recently excommunicated. He believes this is dangerous for the community and especially for pregnant women. And when pregnancies occur, he adds, couples feel they must keep the fact a secret. “They cover up the medical health of the wife [and] don’t get prenatal care. It’s the women and children and most innocent who are the most vulnerable and pay the ultimate price of abuse.” Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice has filed a civil rights lawsuit accusing the FLDS-dominated police and major utility companies in Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah of religious bias toward nonmembers. The suit, which does not contain criminal charges, accuses municipal authorities of “operating as an arm of the FLDS” for at least twenty years. (Salt Lake Tribune, 6/28/12) [IT 3.2 2012] 

Former member Wallace Jeffs says that his brother, Warren Jeffs, jailed leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, has excommunicated some fifty members in recent weeks, some for having had sexual relations, which he has banned—even between spouses, and then for using contraceptives, which he calls the “murder of unborn children.” Moreover, according to Wallace Jeffs, church leaders loyal to Warren have halted church meetings until the “lifting up” (the end of the world). [IT 3.2 2012] 

William E. Jessop, who has in the past challenged Warren Jeffs for the presidency of the 10,000 member FLDS church, has sent a letter to members asking them to renounce Jeffs for his “immoral behavior,” adding: “Please take this as a matter of life and death.” The letter was co-signed by Willie Jessop, Jeffs’ former spokesman. Lyle Jeffs reportedly sent a text to the faithful telling them to “pay no heed.” (fox13now.com, 8/18/11) “The vast majority [of FLDS members] are just not going to leave,” says polygamy historian Ken Driggs. “They’ve got family ties and marriage ties and a culture deeply rooted in their faith.” Moreover, Jeffs still has legal control of the church; the Utah Department of Commerce last week reaffirmed him as head of corporations that make up the FLDS, thus denying the claim of church bishop William Jessop that he, not Jeffs, was named years ago as the next prophet. Former member Elissa Wall says: “Now we can really begin to focus on liberating these people and freeing their minds from the mental shackles that Warren Jeffs has put on them.” (News Tribune, 8/11/11) [IT 2.3 2011] 

Former FLDS bishop Frederick Merrill Jessop was sentenced by a Cook County, Texas, court to the maximum ten years in prison and fined $10,000 for officiating at a marriage ceremony between a 12-year-old girl and FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, who was 50 at the time. Court documents and testimony alleged that Jessop had 22 wives, married off 11 daughters and two granddaughters to Jeffs, and participated in 16 underage marriages. (San Angelo Standard Times, 11/8/11) [IT 2.3 2011] 

A Texas jury, after deliberating 40 minutes, sentenced Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) leader Warren Jeffs to life in prison for having sex with underage girls. The prosecutor said Jeffs “perverted a religion to his own ends,” treating women and children not as human beings but as “property for sexual gratification and child bearing.” Evidence in this case,” he added, “shows this is not the prosecution of a people, this is a prosecution to protect people.” (Salt Lake Tribune, 8/9/11) FLDS elder Willie Jessop said, in the wake of the conviction of leader Warren Jeffs: “This is a crisis for every single member of the church, and everybody has to come to grips with it. Any abuse, underage marriages, or any such acts cannot be tolerated within the church. Jessop and others say that underage marriage was introduced only when Jeffs took over from his father, in 2002. A Texas sheriff familiar with the local FLDS settlement thinks members will remain loyal to Jeffs and that he is likely to continue to lead the church, from jail. Yet former member Flora Jessop (no relation to Willie) believes a new leader will emerge. (kfor.com, 8/11/11) [IT 2.3 2011] 

Polygamy advocate and former plu­ral wife Anne Wilde, via video, recent­ly told the British Columbia court judging the legality of Canada’s anti- polygamy law that the practice was legitimized by God through the Mor­mon prophet, Joseph Smith, and exemplified in the Bible. She argues that the 19th century Mormon renunciation of polygamy was an expedient in the face of federal gov­ernment pressure, and that Mormon leadership did not have the right to prohibit it. Wilde, who grew up in a Mormon family, is not an FLDS mem­ber; she calls herself an “independ­ent” fundamentalist. (CTV British Columbia/Canadian Press, 1/13/11) [IT 2.2 2011] 

Truman Oler, a brother of the head of one of the factions that split the Bountiful, British Columbia FLDS community, said in a written affi­davit to the court judging the consti­tutionality of the Canadian anti- polygamy law that the FLDS is “like a cult and that it is damaging for chil­dren to grow up in that environ­ment. The FLDS does not permit anyone free choice. You are told what to do.” Religion controlled every aspect of life, he said, and chil­dren were told to be prepared for whatever the church leadership asked of them. He said that as a child he was given the choice of liv­ing the FLDS way, and gaining eter­nal life in heaven, or being damned and going to Hell forever. “As a small child, I don’t think that second choice is a choice at all.” He said he began to doubt his religion as he reached adulthood; doubts hard­ened when the Bountiful community split between James Oler and Win­ston Blackmore. Families were divid­ed and forbidden to speak to one another. He felt this wasn’t “Christ- like,” and so he left. (CTV British Columbia, 1/18/11) [IT 2.2 2011] 

From jail, where he is awaiting trial, Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints leader Warren Jeffs filed a declaration with the Utah Division of Corporations in which he identified himself as president and “sole” head of the corpo­rate arm of the sect. A former mem­ber says this indicates Jeffs is taking back control—he had resigned as president following an earlier con­viction. Another former member says Jeffs has always been in control, anyway. Jeffs has reportedly excom­municated 30 prominent FLDS members in the past few months, including the mayor of Colorado City and the former mayor of Hildale, both FLDS dominated towns. Former member Carolyn Jessop says that Jeffs began in January to talk about a dream he had indicating that someone was trying to take over his position as prophet. “It’s not about money with him,” she said. “It’s all about power and control . . .. Appar­ently, he told everybody they could not have sex anymore . . . until this is resolved.” (USA Today, 2/24/11) [IT 2.2 2011] 

Winston Blackmore, head of the Bountiful, British Columbia, polyga­mous community of The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, has filed a motion, in the case against him, to ban publication of “any evidence of a witness. . . relating to polygamy, plu­ral marriage, ‘celestial marriage’ (as it is sometimes referred to) or similar practices including any evidence given on examination of discovery or in response to undertakings.” He also asks for a court order shielding wit­nesses from prosecution for polygamy, either under the existing criminal code section or “any succes­sor section that might result from the pending decision in the constitu­tional reference case that was heard in B.C. Supreme Court.” Blackmore believes that without the protections he calls for, none of his witnesses will testify, and if they don’t testify about their religious doctrine of polygamy and about the living arrangements within their community, it won’t be possible to persuade the court that they ought to be taxed as a congre­gation and not as individuals. “Absent the orders sought,” accord­ing to the motion, “the witnesses’ choice is to incriminate themselves or concede the [tax] assessments under appeal.”The government says that Blackmore underestimated by $1.7 million the income and employ­ee and shareholder benefits he received from J.R. Blackmore and Sons, of which he is president. The government contends that the majority of Bountiful’s 1,000 resi­dents had no role in the company’s business and that it “operated for the primary benefit” of Winston Black- more. Blackmore says the money he spent on family expenses was all for the greater good of Bountiful, which he equates with his congregation (Vancouver Sun, 6/1/11) [IT 2.2 2011] 

By contrast, former FLDS follower Suzie Barlow, who at 16 became the second wife of a 51-year-old to whom she was assigned—he already had 11 children, four of them older than she—tells how her father was removed from their home when she was nine, apparently at the whim of FLDS leaders, leaving behind two wives who had borne him 22 children. (Three years later, her mother was devastated to learn that she was, in turn, to become the twelfth “spiritual wife” to an “Uncle Fred.”) Suzie says she refused to have sex with her new husband, but submitted after two years, following FLDS leader Warren Jeffs’ “command.” She tells how she was raped four times by one of her father’s sons while on a camping trip and that the police were not notified. “I was told by my brothers that I don’t deserve to see a doctor.” Due to the workload of a young wife, she was not able to complete ninth grade, and eventually was moved to a “guest house”—in another town—to be “corrected.” Instead, she began to smoke and drink. At a second guest house, she made a friend who helped her escape the FLDS. Four years ago, she gained her high school general equivalency degree. But, she reports, the FLDS does not permit her to contact her mother and siblings. (National Post, 11/27/10) [IT 2.1 2011] 

In deciding that a lower court judge’s charges to the jury were erroneous, the Utah Supreme Court has effectively ruled that the theory behind the state’s “accessory to rape” charge against jailed FLDS leader Warren Jeffs is not valid. Jeffs drew the charge for presiding over the marriage of a follower to an underage young woman in the FLDS community. Jeff’s lawyer had argued that “The state can say Warren Steed Jeffs is on trial, but it’s his . . . church, his religious beliefs that is [sic] on trial here, dressed up as a crime called rape.” Attorney general Shurtleff remarked: “I do recognize and respect our judicial process and the Supreme Court’s responsibility not only for the victims of crimes but for people accused of crimes. But I am left scratching my head as to how we can, in the executive branch of law enforcement, go about protecting children from the actions of religious leaders like Warren Jeffs.” (kcsg.com, 8/25/10) [IT 2.1 2011] 

Former FLDS members still living in the polygamous communities of Hilldale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona, say that local police are assisting in the FLDS campaign to “purify” the towns by forcing out people who have quit the church. For example, town marshals arrested Matt and Genevieve Hailine for trying to clean out a shed in their backyard. The authorities cited a restraining order from a local justice of the peace prohibiting them from an address that does not exist—an address that would be the back yard of their corner plot if it did exist. In another incident, authorities threw the Stubbs family’s harvest out of a collective granary, even though Shane Stubbs had received permission from the court-appointed administrator of the lands in Hilldale and Colorado City to store his wheat there. Stubbs also reported that FLDS members, supported by local marshals, have torn down fences on his land and run off his livestock. (abc4, 7/22/10) [IT 2.1 2011] 

Keith Dutson, Jr., 25, a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), was found guilty in early November of sexual assault associated with his marriage in a church ceremony to a 15-year-old FLDS girl in 2005. Prosecution evidence included DNA reports, church documents, and personal letters. The defense argued: “This is about his belief that [the alleged victim] is his wife.” During the trial, ex-FLDS member Rebecca Musser, testifying as to the authenticity of written evidence from FLDS files, stressed the importance of record keeping among church members. “If it wasn’t recorded, it didn’t happen. If it didn’t happen, you couldn’t gain your salvation.” (San Angelo Standard-Times, 11/1 &2/10) [IT 2.1 2011] 

The Chief Justice of the British Columbia Supreme Court has begun to hear the case involving members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) that will determine the constitutionality of Canada’s anti-polygamy law. It is the first time in Canada that such a case will be heard in the form of a trial with witnesses. The attorney general will not take on the civil liberties implications of the law, but argue, rather, that the statute is necessary because polygamy harms not only the people who practice it, but society as a whole. The AG says that while the B.C. Civil Liberties Union will present an amicus brief presenting the civil liberties position, its argument is “unsustainable” in light of the evidence that polygamy’s harms go beyond the sexualization of children and estrangement of boys and men from polygamous communities. He maintains that polygamy is also an affront to equity and women’s equality, and even antithetical to democracy itself. If the government cannot prove that there is a reasonable apprehension of harm in polygamy, then the chief justice must rule that the law is an unjustifiable breach of constitutionally guaranteed religious freedom, as well as of freedom of expression and association.” (Vancouver Sun, 11/23/10) [IT 2.1 2011] 

Frederick Jessop, bishop of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’ Yearning for Zion Ranch, in Texas, has agreed to pay child support of $148,000, dating to 2003, when his then wife left the sect with their eight children. He’ll pay $2,000 for six months and then $100 monthly thereafter to cover the delinquent amount, and subsequently $2,400 per month to stay current. (Dallas Morning News, 8/6/10) [IT 2.1 2011] 

Water torture is among the ways members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints instill fear of authority among babies, according to former follower Carolyn Blackmore Jessop, testifying in the British Columbia case being heard by the High Court to determine the validity of Canada’s polygamy law. “They spank the baby, and when it cries,” she said, “they hold the baby face up under the tap with running water. When they stop crying, they spank it again and the cycle is repeated until they are exhausted.” Jessup said that water torture was one of the reasons she gained sole custody of her children when she left her husband; she reported that he practiced the water training on many of his 54 children, including her own. Jessup favors decriminalization of polygamy if it means that abuses will be investigated and prosecuted. (Times Colonist, 1/13/11) [IT 2.1 2011] 

Centuries-old laws banning polygamy, aimed to protect people from the ills of multiple marriage, aren’t Christian in origin, according to John Witte, a professor of law at Emory University. Testifying on behalf of the government before the British Columbia High Court in the case involving members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Witte said that “the prohibitions against polygamy are both pre-Christian and post-Christian in their formulation. Pre-Christian, in that we have these formulations in Greek texts and pre-Christian Roman law, and post-Christian, in that the architects of modern liberalism are making clear that if you want to respect rights, if you want to respect dignity, it is crucial to maintain the institution of monogamy and prohibit and criminalize the institution of polygamy.” The court is also considering the argument not only that anti-polygamy laws violate religious freedoms, but that the law amounts to an attempt to impose Christian practices on the public. (Canadian Press, 1/10/11) [IT 2.1 2011] 

An Arizona judge has dismissed the state’s charges against Warren Jeffs, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, clearing the way for his extradition to Texas, where he faces charges of sexual assault and bigamy. Jeffs had been sent to Arizona from Utah to face charges connected with his performing the marriages of two underage girls. The girls, “reviled” and “scapegoated” in their FLDS community, have decided to drop the charges. When he was extradited from Utah to Arizona, Jeffs was serving two five-years-to-life terms for being an accomplice to rape by officiating at the marriage of another underage girl. Jeffs spent much of his time in the Utah prison praying, fasting, and speaking about his faith; he was hospitalized there twice and force-fed several times. . . Abram Harker Jeffs has been found guilty in Texas of sexual assault of a child. He had sex with an underage girl to whom he had been joined in a “celestial” marriage and now faces two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000. [IT 1.2 2010] 

The Utah Supreme Court will soon hear an appeal, by members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, that it overrule a lower court decision authorizing the sale of land the church members say is sacred. The state took over the FLDS land because FLDS management was found to have abused its financial power through a trust that owned the group’s property communally. FLDS members think that their religious freedom was violated by the seizure and reorganization of the trust. The fiduciary who administers the trust says he must sell the FLDS assets to pay the church’s litigation debts and thus keep FLDS members from losing their homes. [IT 1.1 2010] 

The Utah Supreme Court is consider­ing whether a federal court decision to refuse the FLDS appeal of the state takeover of the sect’s property trust was correct. U.S. District Judge Dee Benson had reasoned—from decisions in similar cases by other states’ supreme courts—that Utah, in acting to take over the trust, had been in “forbidden territory . . . virtu­ally from its first step.” (Salt Lake Tribune, 3/8/11) [IT 2.2 2011] 

Regarding the 2007 raid by Texas authorities on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) Yearning for Zion Ranch, two questions arise: Has the state protected the children whom it temporarily separated from their families, or has it left the victims in the care of abusers? And does anyone know where the children are today, and whether or not they are safe? Attempting to answer these questions, this article reviews leader Warren Jeffs’ reasons, taken from his extensive journals, for establishing “places of refuge” for his followers. (Texas Observer, 10/1/12) [IT 3.3 2012] 

It’s frustrating that social workers have not been to the FLDS Yearning for Zion Ranch in more than two years, despite the removal of more than 400 children from the ranch in 2008 in perhaps the largest child custody case in U.S. history. District Judge Barbara Walther ended Child Protective Services involvement when the last case was resolved. Attorneys who represented several of the children say the law permits Child Protective Services to visit anytime. If the law is unclear, the legislature needs to remedy the problem and permit home visits where there’s a question as to whether the conditions that led to the initial investigation have improved. The state should also inspect home schooling at the ranch to ensure that basic standards are met, as well as to bring together state—Texas, Utah, Arizona, Nevada—and federal authorities to forge a cooperative effort to deal, through new laws, with people who cross state lines from one jurisdiction to another [as FLDS members do]. In addition, “while there may be an inclination to regard FLDS women as victims more deserving of sympathy than retribution, it’s just as true that they typically have been directly involved in the child abuse [by being present and participating when it’s committed], and that prosecuting them may be necessary to send a strong message.” (San Angelo Standard Times, 8/27/11) [IT 2.3 2011]

Raymond Jessup, the first member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) Texas settlement to be tried for sexually assaulting an underage girl, to whom he was joined in a “spiritual marriage,” was convicted of a second-degree felony and sentenced to ten years in prison in early November. Jessop, who allegedly has nine wives, still faces a bigamy charge.

A Schleicher County, TX, jury in December, after two hours of deliberation, convicted FLDS member Allan Eugene Keate of sexual assault of a child; he was alleged to have consummated a marriage to an underage girl in 2006. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison because, unlike Raymond Jessop—an FLDS member convicted earlier on a similar charge—Keate’s alleged crime occurred after the Texas legislature added an enhancement to the penal code. The prosecutor said DNA evidence “conclusively proves beyond any conceivable reasonable doubt” that Keate fathered a child with the girl when she was under the age of consent. The defense, which suggested the pregnancy might have been the result of in vitro fertilization or artificial insemination, argued that the state was really prosecuting a religion rather than simply protecting teenage girls. “This is basically a case of inherent fear and distrust of an unpopular religion,” the defense said. “This is holy war waged by the state.” [csr 8.3 2009)

Prominent Mormons who were excommunicated for practicing polygamy have been posthumously re-baptized in Mormon temples, according to researcher Helen Radkey. They include murderer Ervil LeBaron and Roulon Jeffs, former leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints and father of current FLDS leader Warren Jeffs. [csr 8.2, 2009)

A year after the Texas raid on the Fundamentalist church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’ Yearning for Zion Ranch, “life has regained a familiar rhythm” despite continuing economic and social disruption. An FLDS representative said that the group’s willingness to open itself up to public scrutiny, through media access, paved the way for the court’s decision to return all but one of the 439 children taken into custody. An attorney for one FLDS Texas family says that the children “all still have problems of worrying about strange men coming around—are the police coming?—that sort of thing.” A spokesman for Texas family services said: “Despite feeling pride in their efforts on what they knew was a historic case, many employees [of the Department of Family and Protective Services] found the experience exhausting and emotional and experienced significant stress.” [csr 8.2, 2009)

The raid and its aftermath have engendered both a renewed sense of grievance among members and a resolve to defend their way of life. In Utah, the church is pressing—through a campaign called Principle Voices—for the legalization of polygamy. There is sympathy in the legislature for revising the law, and even the attorney general, Mark Shurtleff, who has gotten death threats for defending current law, says: “I’m not being soft on them. But I don’t have the resources to throw them all into jail. I hope they now work through the process of changing the law if they disagree with it.” . . .[csr 8.2, 2009)

“Apostates” who rejected Warren Jeffs’ leadership and resisted his demands to abandon their homes, wives, and children, fear that negotiations between Attorney General Shurtleff and other interested parties may lead to a return to FLDS control of land and housing in the communities. The property was formerly held in a trust by the FLDS, but some of it has been given over to individuals since the trust was placed in the hands of court-appointed receiver Bruce Wisan. The apostates, claiming they’re already being harassed by Jeffs loyalists, think they may eventually be run out of town. They say, “The word . . . is that the Colorado City and Hildale will be purified of all unbelievers—a religious cleansing.” Shurtleff says: “We understand their concerns . . . We’re looking out for them, absolutely. . . Much of our negotiation has been to protect the minority population down there,” where local government and police are still controlled by Jeffs loyalists. . . .[csr 8.2, 2009)

Receiver Wisan has refused an FLDS payment of $192,000 in fees—half of what it owes for six months occupancy of homes in Hildale and Colorado City—because, he says, the payment was made under protest, which means to him that the church wants to protect its legal right to argue against ultimately having to pay at all. A judge will soon decide whether or not to sell the properties—the FLDS trust holds $114 million worth in Utah, Arizona, and British Columbia—if the church doesn’t pay. [csr 8.2, 2009)

Brent Jeffs, one of the “lost boys” [thrown out of the FLDS community to make more young women available for marriage to older men] has written a book, Lost Boy. The account focuses on the accusation—the basis of a civil suit filed in 2004— that his uncle, jailed FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, repeatedly raped him. “In recurring nightmares, ‘shards of memory’ were completing a mosaic: He had been abused.” Brent says Warren Jeffs told him the encounters were “God’s work,” and that if he told anyone about them, he’d “burn in hell.” Brent’s heroin-addicted older brother Calyne, who killed himself in 2002, told a hypnotherapist that, as a child, Warren had abused him, too. “The book follows a familiar motif in memoirs by former FLDS members: A dysfunctional family, including a father with an explosive temper, and dueling plural wives who make life hell.”[csr 8.2, 2009)

The Canadian government is prosecuting three separate cases against, or involving, Winston Blackmore, head of the Bountiful, British Columbia, branch of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The first case involves a criminal charge that he practiced polygamy. This is the first time a Canadian has been charged with polygamy since the adoption of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which protects freedom of religion. Court documents that will be central to the case trace Blackmore’s links to 19 of his contemporaneous wives during 2005–2006. Blackmore says the government should pay his legal bills if the case proceeds.[csr 8.2, 2009)

The second case alleges that Blackmore, through his construction, logging and farming business, earned some $1.84 million in taxable benefits during a recent five-year period, and not just the $116,445 that he reported. The government also says that the firm claimed numerous expenses that were not related to business.[csr 8.2, 2009)

The third case demands that two of Blackmore’s wives return the family support funds they received from the state. One of the women, for example, claimed eligibility based on a family income of $31,000. But after a state reassessment of Blackmore’s finances, the family income was found to be $309,000, which would have disqualified the woman from receiving any assistance. [csr 8.2, 2009)

Polygamy. HOPE is a small, Washington, Utah-based nonprofit, assisted by a $40,000 grant from a women’s organization affiliated with the national Presbyterian Church, that helps women and children leave polygamous lifestyles. HOPE’s Jump Start is a life-skills program aimed to help children 6–17 build self-esteem, develop interpersonal skills, and understand mainstream society. Most of HOPE’s clients are members of families that have left the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. [csr 8.2, 2009)

Polygamy charges against leaders of opposed factions led by Winston Blackmore and James Oler within the FLDS community in Bountiful, British Columbia, were thrown out in September when a judge ruled that the appointment of the case prosecutor was “unlawful.” Many experts had warned that the charges would not hold up in the face of the defendants’ rights and freedoms claims. The judge cited several previous legal opinions that Canada’s polygamy law is unconstitutional. She also noted that experts had advised the province to ask a senior court to rule on the relevant legislation without reference to a particular case. [csr 8.3 2009)

Texas authorities report that the raid earlier this year on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’ compound cost more than $12.4 million. Expenses included care for the children held in state care and payment to hundreds of lawyers appointed by courts to represent the children. [csr 8.1, 2009)

Only one FLDS child among the hundreds taken into custody following the raid remains in foster care, a 14-year-old allegedly married at the age of 12 to leader Warren Jeffs. A judge ruled that her mother was unable to protect her from abuse. Sixty-three other girls have been required to attend seminars on sexual abuse, underage marriage, and Texas law. [csr 8.1, 2009)

Texas has concluded its investigation of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, finding that 12 girls were “spiritually” married between the ages of 12 and 15, but it is unclear what bearing this will have on the criminal indictments of 12 FLDS men. The report says authorities found a “pervasive pattern” of abuse involving the marriage of underage girls to older men and boys being prepared to be perpetrators. Investigators are said to have met with a “pattern of organized deception” that made their work difficult. The probe also found that one in four pubescent girls in the FLDS Eldorado, Texas, settlement had been involved in an underage marriage. [csr 8.1, 2009)

FLDS spokesman Willie Jessop said the report was an attempt by the Childrens Protective Services to “save face” for its “barbaric action” [in removing children from the group, most of whom have now been returned to their families.] He added that the FLDS church had been desecrated and that irreplaceable documents and artifacts of earlier church prophets have been confiscated, along with diaries, wedding pictures, and other personal property seized by authorities. [csr 8.1, 2009)

In a lengthy statement published in the Toronto Globe and Mail, Winston Blackmore said: “Canada has a law against polygamy. . . made specifically against Mormons. Canada also has a Charter of Rights and Freedoms that guarantees every person the right to live their religion, and I guess now, every person except those of us who are Fundamentalist believing and practicing Mormons. . . . This is not about polygamy. . . Tens of thousands of polygamists among many different cultures are hiding in plain sight all across Canada . . . But they are not Fundamentalist Mormons! To us, this is about religious persecution. Persecution has always been about politics. Whatever else is involved with it, it is still about politics. It is therefore no surprise to us that this spectacular grandstanding event [his arrest] has happened in the face of an up-and-coming provincial election.” [csr 8.1, 2009)

Former Liberal Party MP Blair Suffredine is part of Winston Blackmore’s defense team. Pointing to the law that now permits gay marriage, Suffredine says, “It seems a little difficult to imagine how the polygamy section will survive a Charter challenge where it’s actually somebody who genuinely believes [in polygamy] under their religion, and has practiced it for many years.” [csr 8.1, 2009)

Among the 600 pages of exhibits attached to the Texas child custody case involving the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are “notes, dictation, revelations, and lessons” to his followers written by leader Warren Jeffs while he was a fugitive from justice. As he viewed on TV the destruction being wrought by Katrina on New Orleans, he wrote: “I asked the Lord to particularly destroy the French Quarter . . . a center of wickedness that is glorified by this generation all over the nation.” Most of Jeffs’ dictations begin with a recitation of his “heavenly sessions,” in which God revealed things to him. Writing while in a Utah jail awaiting trial, Jeffs renounced his title as prophet of the FLDS church; this was at a time when he was briefly hospitalized for an apparent “mental breakdown.” [csr 8.1, 2009)

British Columbia police have charged leaders of the two factions of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Bountiful, Jim Oler and Winston Blackmore, with “practicing polygamy,” the former with two women and the latter with 20. Attorney- General Wally Oppal believes that the charges, based on the Canadian Charter of Rights, will withstand a challenge from those who think that religious freedom rights will trump the Charter’s provisions. Polygamy is an indictable offense in the criminal code, but the law has not been enforced. [csr 8.1, 2009)

A Texas judge on June 2 ordered authorities to return to their families hundreds of children seized in a raid late last month on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) ranch. The terms of the release are severe: parents must agree to be photographed picking up their children, allow themselves to be fingerprinted, provide identification, agree to attend “standard parenting classes,” and agree not interfere with the Texas Child Protective Services’ investigation into alleged child abuse and neglect. The parents must also agree to allow CPS workers to visit, question, and examine the children, both medically and psychologically, in their homes; provide seven days’ notice before any moves, and 48 hours’ notice of any travel over 100 miles from their homes; and promise not leave Texas with their children. Only a few FLDS members have returned to the ranch. Many, fearing more government intrusion, have gone to live elsewhere, while remaining loyal to the FLDS. Some have already found outside jobs and apartments. By August, the cases involving 150 children had been dismissed — mainly because the parents had complied with court requirements — and the Texas Supreme Court ordered the state to release them from custody, saying there was a lack of evidence that they were in danger. The cases are being dropped not because abuse never occurred, but because many children can safely live with a parent or relative — something that members and their lawyers argued early on. [csr 7.3 2008)

Authorities have widened their probe of the group, and are now investigating 20 cases of sexual assault and 50 bigamy charges against members. An FLDS lawyer said conviction on bigamy charges would be difficult because no deception was involved and the plural marriages were consensual. It was noted that, by giving their ages and the names and ages of their children to a grand jury, and undergoing court ordered paternity tests, some of the FLDS mothers might thus contribute to the indictment of their husbands. [csr 7.3 2008)

The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled in August that that there is no religious right to practice polygamy — at least with minors — thus rejecting the claim of an FLDS member that he was entitled to have sex with a 16-year-old girl because she was his “celestial wife.” The unanimous decision held that while the right to believe is absolute, the right to act on that belief is not. The appellant says he may now go to the U.S. Supreme Court, citing the recent striking down of the Texas anti-sodomy law as an argument against anti-polygamy laws, but it may be difficult to sustain that claim because the Arizona case involves a minor, while the Texas case involved adults. The Texas attorney general has indicted imprisoned FLDS leader Warren Jeffs and four followers on charges of first-degree felony sexual assault of a minor. Evidence from the raid on the FLDS compound in Eldorado included two photos of two girls, one 12 and other 13, sitting in Jeffs’ lap and embracing and kissing him. One photo is captioned “first anniversary,” the caption on the other says it’s a “marriage picture.” [csr 7.3 2008)

Utah-based private detective Sam Bower says daughters of FLDS members serve as pawns in alliances. “If your father-in-law is prominent, this helps with business dealings — maybe you have another wife and then you have daughters that you can place with other church members. The circle goes around — the more business dealings, the more wives, the more daughters, the more business dealings, and it goes on.” [csr 7.3 2008)

When the Supreme Court struck down the Texas sodomy law, the state raised the age of consent from 14 to 16, and outlawed marriages between stepchildren and stepparents. These changes were modeled on a Utah law that is thought to have prompted Jeffs to move his followers to Texas. The FLDS now says it will not sanction the marriage of underage girls. [csr 7.3 2008)

Former FLDS member Carolyn Jessop says Jeffs’ continuing hold on members is not simply religious; he is also at the center of a financial and business trust that involves them all. “So many are networked into his crime. Husbands were kicked out; ladies knew they were safe if they were obedient. If they had lots of daughters, they got handed out to everybody — it was like a feast.” If a man resists the leadership, he risks losing his wife (or wives) and his home, she says. “If a woman does [resist], her children are taken from her. The coercive power of the FLDS is immense. Right now, leaving the FLDS is like jumping off a cliff.” [csr 7.3 2008)

Fifty-six percent of Utahns polled in August believe that the federal government should help prosecute crimes in polygamous communities in the state, although members of the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who publicly disavow polygamy, were more likely to oppose federal prosecution than non-LDS respondents. One LDS member said: “If [polygamists] are working hard, holding down jobs, as far as I’m concerned, we ought to leave them alone.” The Texas attorney general said a federal response would greatly diminish “the possibility that persons within the FLDS who may be predisposed to commit polygamy, or other crimes, will simply move their operations to another location. The poll followed Senate Judiciary Committee hearings focused on the FLDS, at which Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid called the communities a “form of organized crime.” [csr 7.3 2008)

The FLDS filed suit in Utah in August seeking to set aside a 2007 judgment awarding $8.8 to a trust, once controlled by Warren Jeffs and other FLDS trustees, which a court-appointed fiduciary found had been misused. The church says the judgment “is now being used to destroy the FLDS Church by systematically taking away its property.” The fiduciary has identified, among other assets, 596 acres in Apple Valley that he says Jeffs transferred to private individuals in order to protect the property from court action. [csr 7.3 2008)

In settling a cilvil rights lawsuit, the owner of Vermillion Deli and Candy Shoppe and Big Dan’s Drive Thru, in polygamous Colorado City, AZ, agreed to serve would-be diners who do not belong to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The restaurants agreed to educate employees about the new policy and to report to the state any refusal-to-serve incidents. [csr 7.1 2008)

Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Chirst of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) leader Warren Jeffs was found guilty by a jury in St. George, Utah, in September, on charges he was an accomplice to rape when he arranged a marriage between an older man and an underage girl, against her will, and threatened her with a loss of heavenly salvation if she disobeyed. The defense characterized the case as a political campaign against an unpopular religion. Jeffs, who faces from five years to life in prison, must still answer similar charges involving two underage brides in Arizona. [csr 6.3 2007]

Anti-polygamy activists in Canada celebrated Jeffs’ conviction, hoping that the Canadian government will now move against British Columbia FLDS offshoot leader Winston Blackmore, who admits to having married 20 women. Although polygamy is illegal in Canada, authorities are reticent to bring charges, fearing a conflict over constitutional principles. . . Fifteen of the “lost boys” — among the great many young men who have fled or been thrown out of Utah and Arizona FLDS communities — are renovating “The House Just Off Bluff,” where they wish to live while going to school or work until they can find places of their own. “They do excellent work,” says Michelle Benward, clinical director of Tropic-based New Frontiers for Families, a non-profit assisting the displaced teens. It’s variously estimated that from 400 to 2,000 boys have left the polygamous settlements over the last six to 10 years, either because they didn’t want to follow the faith or didn’t like the idea of being assigned a wife. Advocates say some were driven out to reduce competition for wives. [csr 6.3 2007]

Following police investigations, the government has appointed a Vancouver, BC, criminal lawyer to investigate, with a view to possible prosecution, charges of polygamy and other sexual offenses within the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints community in Bountiful. [csr 6.2 2007 2007]

The polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints communities in Utah and Arizona have the world’s highest known prevalence of fumarase deficiency, a genetic disorder that is spreading as a result of inbreeding since the 1930s. The disorder causes unusual facial features, frequent epileptic seizures, episodes of coma, and possibly early death. A local investigator for a county attorney says, “They will tell you that if that’s what God wants for you then that’s what you will get.” [csr 6.2 2007]

Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints leader Warren Jeffs, already facing trial for performing underage marriages among followers in Utah and Arizona, has been indicted in Utah on a charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. His defense attorney has asked that the charge of “rape as an accomplice” — in connection with the underage marriages — be declared “unconstitutionally vague.” . . . A former FLDS child bride has refused to testify in the trial of her former husband, forcing prosecutors to dismiss the criminal case against him. Candi Shapley, now 20, said she’s even willing to go to jail for contempt of court to maintain her silence. The district attorney said, “Unfortunately, tremendous pressure has been exerted on her by her parents as well as by some other members of the FLDS Church. . . I was not willing to re-victimize our victim by trying to put her in jail.” Shaply, who said someone had broken into her home after she was named as a witness, stated that she did not want to be a crusader. “I would love to have it all just go away and live my peaceful life.” Her decision not to testify in this and related cases may affect the prosecution of Jeffs, awaiting trial on charges of forcing girls into underage marriages. . . FLDS member Vergel Jessop, who pleaded no contest to child abuse charges for taking an underage wife, was sentenced in Kingman, AZ, to a day in jail and three years’ probation. He must also register as a sex offender. [csr 6.1 2007]

A bill has been introduced into the Arizona House of Representatives that would give sole custody of their children to women who leave polygamous husbands. “What’s clearly happening up there [in the polygamous towns of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints] is clearly child and spousal abuse,” said Rep. David Lujan, D-Phoenix. The bill would also bar unsupervised visits by polygamous fathers if courts found sufficient evidence that the husbands continue in polygamy. The father might gain sole or joint custody or unsupervised visits if judges state their reasons for granting it, in writing, and they deem that there is no significant risk to the children. Lujan says he’ll introduce another bill to provide $500,000 so that shelters can provide transportation and job training for women who leave polygamous husbands. [csr 6.1 2007]

The conviction of Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints member Kelly Fischer for fathering a child by his 15-year-old stepdaughter, whom he “spiritually” married and took as a second wife, is especially notable because it was decided without the testimony of the alleged victim. (He was sentenced to 45 days in jail and three years’ probation.) Neighbor Isaac Wyler testified to what he saw and knew about the relationship, and former FLDS follower Richard Holm testified about the practices of the church. Fischer’s attorneys say the evidence should be discounted because it came from disgruntled excommunicated members and that the Fischer family is happily intact. Former plural wife Carolyn Jessop says of her former brethren: “You are culturally adapted to the abuse, and if you come forward, you will never fit into this society again — which is all you know.” Authorities hope the case sets a precedent for other “polygamy-abuse” cases, while some polygamists fear that the action will turn into a witch hunt targeting polygamists and ignoring non-polygamist women who marry young and bear children.[csr 5.3 2006]

The polygamous communities of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Utah and Nevada are functioning today much as they did before the recent arrest of leader Warren Jeffs. The situation of ex-member DeLoy Bateman, who refused to turn over four of his children to the church six years ago, certainly has not changed. The three eldest of his 17 children have taken Jeffs’ side and broken off communication with their father, even though they live close by. ”They can never see me again,” he said. “What’s the difference between that and death?” Current members of the church are following Jeffs’ orders to say nothing to the press. . . Jeffs was arrested following a routine traffic stop near Las Vegas while traveling in his 2007 Cadillac Escalade with his wife and a brother. Jeffs, who at first gave police an alias when asked to identify himself, had in his possession a variety of wigs and $50,000 in cash but no weapons. . . Jeffs’ critics say he reshaped a loving community into a stern, controlled environment, removing children from the public schools, banning books, music, TV and other forms of entertainment, imposing dress codes, and forbidding red — the color of the devil (though, when arrested he was riding in a bright red SUV and wearing shorts and a white T-shirt, clothes not allowed to followers). Jeffs’ survival of a premature birth marked him, so his parents thought, as chosen by God and deserving of special attention. “That’s bound to create a monster,” says one former member. “It created somebody who held it over the other kids and made him mean. If he gets upset with someone, anything or anyone they care about gets wiped away.” Ex-members hope that his capture will disarm his demands for perfection and diminish the shame he has inflicted on them. “It’s a window of opportunity,” said one. “The church is absolutely not going to collapse, but I think that with Warren gone, the stranglehold he’s had on the people is gone.” . . . The Nevada Attorney General has appointed an investigator to look into the state’s growing polygamous population, mostly FLDS members coming from the sect’s Arizona and Utah communities. He said, “We need to be proactive and send a very clear signal that Nevada is not a hospitable environment to polygamy and/or child labor.” Utah and Arizona policy seems to be that authorities will investigate criminal activity but not prosecute consenting adults engaged in polygamy. . . A Mohave County, AZ, jury has acquitted FLDS member Donald Barlow of sexual offenses related to his polygamous marriage to an assigned underage girl who bore his child when she was 17. The defense says the basis for the acquittal was the state’s inability to prove where the sex occurred. . . Even though the FLDS has lost control of the local public school and its communal property trust, the Hilldale, UT, City Council recently chose two staunch sect followers as new members. One Councilor said he voted for them because, “if they were on the ballot today, the public would vote that way.” Former follower Jethro Barlow, who is a consultant to the court-appointed fiduciary overseeing the FLDS trust, hopes to meet with one of the new councilors, his brother Philip, in an attempt to build relations between the council and the overseers. . . Colorado City police officer Mica Barlow has resigned. He is being investigated by police certification agencies for dereliction of duty following his refusal to cooperate with probes of the FLDS and failing to help the fiduciary track missing equipment taken from trust properties. [csr 5.3 2006]

Lawyers for arrested Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints leader Warren Jeffs have filed a motion in federal court to order the FBI to return his personal papers, computers, and recordings on the ground that they “include confidential religious writings and teachings of the FLDS, as well as privileged communications with FLDS members,” and that they are protected by clergy-communicant privilege. The Utah court-appointed fiduciary in charge of the FLDS trust says sources have told him the material contains a great deal of evidence about FLDS businesses that can help him “investigate, preserve, trace inventory and recover Trust property.” . . . Jeffs, charged in Utah with two counts of rape as an accomplice, a first degree felony, is specifically accused of forcing a teenage girl into a polygamous marriage with an older man and then allegedly threatening her with loss of salvation if she refused. He is charged in Arizona with sexual conduct with a minor and conspiracy to commit sexual conduct in connection with his arranging child bride marriages there. . . A study by a University of Toronto law professor, commissioned by Justice Canada, says Canada is violating international human-rights law by allowing polygamous relationships, which flourish without prosecution in FLDS communities like Bountiful, British Columbia. The report called for a time-limited working group in the Justice Department to help with legal action against polygamy. [csr 5.3 2006]

Jeffrey Lundgren, dismissed in 1987 as a minister of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now called the Community of Christ), was executed in late October for murdering a family of supporters of his new 20-member cult in 1989, near Cleveland, OH. Lundgren, who reportedly believed that the family, which included parents, a 7-year-old and two teenaged girls, was not enthusiastic enough about his teachings, said at his trial that the killings were a “pruning of the vineyard.” He argued that, as a prophet of God, he did not deserve the death penalty. “It’s not a figment of my imagination that I can in fact talk to God, that I can hear his voice.”[csr 5.3 2006]

FLDS member Richard Holm tells how leader Warren Jeffs “repossessed” Holm’s two wives — Jeff’s daughters — and their seven children when Holm criticized his father-in-law. Despite Holm’s repenting, Jeffs gave the wives to Holm’s brother. Dozens of FLDS men have suffered such treatment. A basic FLDS religious text can be interpreted as sanctioning the repossessing practice. [csr 5.2 2006]

A former FLDS member confirms investigative reports that Warren Jeffs teaches the old Mormon doctrine of blood atonement — killing an apostate in order to save his soul through the shedding of his blood. Another former member says, “Warren has been teaching for a long time that those who are guilty of adultery must be blood-atoned.” Although it cannot be implemented now because the government won’t allow it, Jeffs allegedly says followers will be able to practice the policy in the future. [csr 5.2 2006]

The Utah Attorney General has produced The Primer, a 56-page guide to polygamous towns in Utah and surrounding states. It deals with the history and sociology of the communities and includes a glossary of special terms residents used to describe aspects of their society, definitions of domestic violence, state criminal codes, and a report on the psychological impact of polygamy on women and children.[csr 5.2 2006]

The Tapestry Against Polygamy organization thinks The Primer endorses polygamy, that it’s “one more attempt to normalize polygamy.” Social worker Marsdon says The Primer “has created a dialogue within the polygamous community and with the government and social services. It opened my mind to how many people live the lifestyle. There’s like 50 groups. I had no idea. It told me some of the history that I didn’t know. For example, this group (the Kingstons) doesn’t dress in bonnets and long dresses.” [csr 5.2 2006]

The Arizona Attorney General’s office has issued a companion guide to Utah’s Primer which has a Safety Net Directory listing government agencies and non-profits, including Tapestry Against Polygamy, that help abuse victims in polygamous societies. Both documents have been posted on the Internet and a newsletter publicizing updates is to be sent to people in the communities.[csr 5.2 2006]

Police in the FLDS towns of Hilldale, UT, and Colorado City, AZ, say a number of teenagers disenchanted with the church are leaving, but “they’re underage and there’s not much we can do for them legally,” says Gary Engles, a special investigator for the Mohave County Attorney’s Office. The boys are similar to those thrown out of the towns last year [by Warren Jeffs, because they threatened to compete with older men for wives]. They end up in the nearby towns. Some stay with sympathetic relatives. But service providers cannot help because the boys are minors and runaways who must, by law, be returned to their families, although Utah recently passed a measure — drawn up to address the problem — that allows 16- and 17-year-olds to petition the juvenile courts for emancipation from their parents, which would make them eligible for direct social services. . . Elaine Taylor, who works with the HOPE Organization, which is devoted to assisting people leaving polygamy, says many runaways wait until they’re adults before coming for help. “There was a girl who was living in the basement of another girl I was helping. She told me, ‘I was living in rags and I couldn’t tell you I was there.’ It broke my heart,” Taylor said. A representative of the Utah Department of Human Services said the agency would like the legislature to “broaden the scope of what we can do to help these kids. They’re in dire need of assistance. Not just from state agencies but from entire communities.”[csr 5.2 2006]

FLDS leader Warren Jeffs’ younger brother, Seth, has been placed on probation for three years and fined $2,500 for helping Warren elude authorities seeking to arrest him for arranging marriages between older men and underage girls. Seth, who says he’ll move to Colorado, declared, “I’ve done all I can to remove myself from this situation.” With one legal wife and one plural wife, Seth describes his marital situation as, “living my religion,” while his attorney remarked: “How is it any different from being legally married and having a mistress that he supports?” The attorney characterized Hilldale and Colorado City as “an environment of paranoia,” where the atmosphere is “poisonous.” Residents reportedly no longer hold church services or community events because of on-going scrutiny by the FBI and local law enforcement.[csr 5.2 2006]

Members of the Bountiful, British Columbia, branch of the FLDS have now paid taxes on 300 acres of church property held by the United Effort Planned Trust, the entity which owns and controls property there as well as in the church’s Utah and Arizona communities. Accountant Bruce Wisan, appointed by a Utah court to supervise the mismanaged trust, has also begun to collect taxes on FLDS property in the U.S., although it is not clear whether residents there are paying in defiance of fugitive leader Warren Jeffs’ orders not to do so, or because other church leaders have decided to cooperate in order to retain trust assets. [csr 5.2 2006]

Kelly Fischer, 39, a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), has been found guilty — by a Kingman, AZ, jury — of engaging in sex with an underage girl whom he took as a plural wife. Prosecutors charged that he conspired with FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, and the girl’s mother, to arrange the courting and marriage. Fischer was the first of eight FLDS men to be charged in similar cases. The girl’s mother had been “re-assigned” by Jeffs to be Fischer’s second wife in 1997 or 1998. The daughter, who was then 13 or 14, would become Fischer’s third wife. Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith said: “This case is not about polygamy. It is about underage sex practices . . . I think the jury is speaking for the fact that that is not something that should be tolerated, no matter where it happens.” The jury’s decision was based on the testimony of two former FLDS members who spoke of the relationship they observed between Fischer and the girl, and about the nature of relations between the sexes in the polygamous community. Due to resistance in the FLDS community, neither the victim nor persons allegedly involved in setting up the relationship testified. Fischer faces four months to two years in prison on each of two counts, but he may be sentenced only to a year’s probation.[csr 5.2 2006]

The FBI has raised its reward from $10,000 to $60,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints leader Warren Jeffs, wanted on charges of arranging the marriage of a 16-year-old girl to a 28-year-old man who was already married. . . A Utah Superior Court judge has denied three separate motions from a defendant challenging the state constitution’s ban on polygamy. The defendant’s lawyer argued that, given a modern analysis of FLDS religious practices, the ban was no longer valid. He also said that the ban would harm the defense.[csr 5.1 2006]

The court-appointed overseer of the FLDS towns of Hilldale, UT, and Colorado City, AZ, has threatened to evict residents who don’t cooperate in paying taxes and with his efforts to manage the community’s property. He blames FLDS leaders for a “wholesale lack of cooperation and hostility” from followers and even local police officers. . . About 1,500 homeowners in the Colorado City School District have refused to pay property taxes, afraid that still-powerful absent leaders will banish them from the community if they pay. . . Federal agents seized a global positioning device from Seth Jeffs, presumably to help them find his brother, fugitive FLDS leader Warren Jeffs. . . A severe birth defect called Fumarase Deficiency, now affecting FLDS towns, stems from intermarriage among close relatives. According to experts, the defect explains severe mental retardation.[csr 5.1 2006]

Fugitive FLDS leader Warren Jeffs has now been charged with first-degree felonies for his alleged role in arranging a marriage between a teen-age girl and an older man. A prosecutor says the case does not concern either religion or polygamy but is rather about the violation of the law by a person in authority over a vulnerable young girl who, moreover, objected to the marriage. Prominent FLDS members James Allred and Mica Barlow have been jailed for contempt of court for failing to respond to a subpoena ordering them to appear before a federal grand jury in Phoenix that is investigating Jeffs’ whereabouts. Barlow is a deputy town marshal for the FLDS communities of Colorado City, AZ, and Hilldale, UT, while Allred is the postmaster. FLDS followers believe that “to betray leadership is an extreme sin” that could cost them their salvation. Jeffs’ brother Seth has pleaded guilty to providing the means for his brother to remain in hiding last year. [csr 5.1 2006]

Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
A Third District Court judge in Salt Lake City has indicated that she will approve a restructuring of the United Effort Plan Trust — the entity that owns all the real estate in the polygamous communities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The restructuring will allow residents to gain control over the properties they occupy by receiving “deeds outright” or through “spendthrift trusts.” They also have the option of remaining tenants, a likely choice for the most faithful. (A spendthrift trust is a middle ground that allows a resident to use the property but prevents it from being turned over again to the FLDS or “another central authority.”) The reform plan calls also for a seven member board — five of the appointees would be former FLDS members — to manage the trust’s assets, including public property and to encourage educational and economic opportunities in the towns. . . Gary Engels, a police officer appointed by the County attorney to work in the FLDS town of Colorado City, AZ, says he’s been followed and harassed as he drives around investigating alleged criminal activities in the polygamous community. “Usually, it’s the younger men. They’ll follow me, pass, cut in front of me, box me in, force me off the road, throw rocks. It’s intimidation, games they try to play.” . . . The ‘Jane Doe’ who will be the lead witness in the case against FLDS leader Warren Jeffs is prepared for her role, according to a county attorney. It is a case, he says, “about someone in a position of power and authority abusing a young girl.” In calling for other victims to come forward, he said, “We will do everything we can to protect and preserve the privacy, confidentiality and respect for people who want to come out” of the polygamous community. He believes that the FLDS will not react violently to state actions because the group “has historically been very docile.” [csr 5.3 2006]

The judge who decided the case said he doesn’t see Fischer as a typical sexual predator and that the young woman does not consider herself a victim. He noted that the parent-approved relationship would have been legal if Fischer had not already been married and had legally wed her. The case was not about polygamy, he said. “My attitude and perception has been that polygamy in Colorado City is something that is perfectly acceptable to the government agencies in this area and the only reason these cases have become involved in the criminal justice system are the assertions and allegations that some of the plural wives were underage when they had sex.” He added that the case was not concerned with an attempt to “re-educate or brainwash these people and the church in Colorado City to get rid of their religious beliefs and give up the practice of polygamy. What this case is about is to discourage people in that community or any other community from having sex with girls that are underage.” The judge concluded by saying that while Fischer was motivated by “sincere religious belief,” he considered it “abominable” and “very hard to accept [that] someone can subscribe to a religion that allows them to have multiple wives at the same time.”[csr 5.3 2006]

The County attorney who prosecuted the case said that many of the letters written in support of Fischer arrogantly implied that “the laws of the land don’t apply, just the laws of the FLDS and the laws of the prophet [leader Warren Jeffs].”[csr 5.3 2006]

The charity that assists boys who have been driven out of the polygamous FLDS towns on the Utah-Arizona border wants to call them “Children of Diversity” rather than continue to refer to them as the “lost boys.” Current popular usage “makes them feel like they are lost, like they are victims, and a lot of these kids don’t want to be pigeon-holed,” said Shannon Price, director of The Diversity Foundation. [csr 5.3 2006]

Western Precision, Inc., one of the largest employers among FLDS-linked firms, renamed Newera, is moving to Las Vegas. The company, which has allegedly given up to $100,000 a month to FLDS leaders, and generated extra income by demanding free work on Saturdays and withholding salaries, is in the midst of a legal battle with Bruce Wisan, the federally-appointed fiduciary now controlling FLDS holdings. Wisan says that Western Precision was owned and controlled by fugitive FLDS prophet Warren Jeffs and the trust when it was sold to “insiders and/or alter egos” of Jeffs and the trust. An attorney for two former FLDS members, who sued to protect their interest in church assets, says members are increasingly branching out from the polygamous communities to places like Las Vegas in search of revenue to support Jeffs. An FLDS-related construction company, meanwhile, has reported earning $7.5 million on projects for the Las Vegas Valley Water District. [csr 5.3 2006]

Bountiful/Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
The ruling Liberal Party government and the opposition New Democrats in British Columbia have joined in saying they want to help women, especially those brought in from the U.S., escape from the polygamous British Columbia commune of Bountiful, a 1947 offshoot of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. A local member of the provincial parliament says: “There’s the beginning of a kind of critical mass of interest and also the beginning of discourse between governments, municipal, provincial and federal, and between political parties.” [csr 5.1 2006]

Representatives of some polygamous communities in Arizona and Utah not connected with the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints [FLDS] appear to be receptive to the advocacy group Principle Voice of Polygamy’s appeal to follow state law concerning the age at which girls should be allowed to marry. The Apostolic United Brethren says it has long recommended that girls be at least 18 before marriage. “We’re not the cliquish, cultist type people you see [in the FLDS communities],” said a spokesman.[csr 4.3 2005 2005]

Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Survey Says FLDS Is Largest Mormon Fundamentalist Group
An informal survey suggests that the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) is the largest fundamentalist Mormon sect and that the population of such groups, estimated to total some 37,000, is growing, although fewer than half the members appear to be living in plural households. Tapestry Against Polygamy, however, believes that there are 100,000 polygamists in the Intermountain West, while a physician who did a survey five years ago for Voices for Utah Children said then that were 20,000 to 40,000 in that region. The 1996 book Polygamous Families in Contemporary Society quoted an urban fundamentalist group’s statement that 20–40 percent of followers practiced polygamy, with a third of the relationships consisting of a man and two women. (Brooke Adams, Salt Lake Tribune, Internet, 8/9/05) [csr 4.3 2005]

Polygamists Being Considered for Trust Fund Board
It is surprising to find that polygamists are being included in a list of people being considered by a Utah court as replacements for Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’ leader Warren Jeffs, and his lieutenants, to sit on the board of a $100 million trust fund set up by the fugitive Jeff’s to run his polygamous community of 10,000 in Hilldale, UT, and Colorado City, AZ. [csr 4.3 2005]

A former state senator, a County supervisor, and even former FLDS member and church critic Flora Jessop, “would make better guardians of a trust that, in addition to being Jeffs’ former piggy bank and the deep-pocket target of lawsuits and lawyers’ fees, represents the life work of people trapped in a cult where justice is long overdue.” (Arizona Republic, Internet, 8/11/05) [csr 4.3 2005]

Jeffs on “Most-Wanted” List
The FBI has placed Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’ (FLDS) leader Warren Jeffs on its most-wanted list, saying he and thirty followers could be in north-central Florida, where they may be looking for property to purchase. (Mark Schaffer, Arizona Republic, Internet, 8/19/05) [csr 4.3 2005]

Bounty on Leader, Arrests
Utah and Arizona officials are offering a reward of $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of Warren Jeffs, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS). He is wanted on charges of felony child abuse for allegedly arranging and officiating at the marriage of a sixteen-year-old girl to an already married man.

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said he did not think Jeffs was armed and dangerous, but noted that “he has private security that are armed and they travel with him.”[csr 4.3 2005]

Meanwhile, eight men associated with the FLDS, who live in its Colorado City, AZ, community, have been arrested and indicted for alleged sexual misconduct with minors [probably associated with underage marriage]. (Geoffrey Fattah, Deseret Morning News, Internet, 7/14/05) [csr 4.3 2005]

Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Allegedly Building Temple for End of the World
The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) is building a seven-story temple at its new Texas settlement “big enough to hold an enormous congregation.” The church said when it bought the property that it would be a hunting retreat. But the editor of the local paper says: “They lied to us about the purpose they were coming here for.” He adds that the builders “are driven to get it done quick,” perhaps in time for what a private detective calls an apocalyptic deadline—the 175th anniversary of the founding of the Mormon Church.[csr 4.2 2005]

FLDS Leader Warren Jeffs and numerous followers have left the FLDS towns in Arizona and Utah and settled in Texas in the wake of lawsuits against him for child sexual abuse and racketeering.[csr 4.2 2005]

Local opinion of the settlement runs the gamut from ‘hands off’ to ‘drive them out.’ Anti-polygamy activists suggest that another ‘Waco’ is possible, but the local sheriff, who maintains good communication with the settlement, says: “I don’t expect any trouble.” (John Hollenhorst, KSL TV News, Internet, 2/17/05)[csr 4.2 2005]

Meanwhile, dissidents who say that FLDS finances are in “disarray,” have asked a Utah judge to appoint new trustees and a receiver to stop alleged waste of FLDS assets. (Pamela Manson, Salt Lake Tribune, Internet, 2/19/05) [csr 4.2 2005]

Call to Remove FLDS Judge
The Utah Judicial Conduct Commission has called for the removal from the bench of Judge Walter Steed, a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, because he is a polygamist, which is against the law. Both the state attorney general and the county attorney have refused to file charges against the judge, however. The state Supreme Court is likely to address the issue soon. (AP in San Diego Tribune, Internet, 2/25/05)[csr 4.2 2005]

Last year, Hildale, AZ, police officer Rodney Holm, an FLDS member, was convicted of bigamy and sexual misconduct and lost his job. (Salt Lake Tribune, Internet, 2/28/05) [csr 4.2 2005]

Jeffs Ruled in Default
FLDS leader Warren Jeffs has lost the right to defend himself against allegations that he orchestrated the firing and blacklisting of a former member in the sect’s communities on the Arizona-Utah border. Shem Fisher alleges that Jeffs acted because Fisher supposedly no longer adhered to the FLDS faith. (Pamela Manson, Salt Lake Tribune, Internet, 3/12/05) [csr 4.2 2005]

Move to Check FLDS
Texas State Rep. Harvey Hildebrand has filed bills aimed to control the activities of the new settlement, in San Angelo, of the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He would raise the minimum age of marriage with parents’ consent from 14 to 16, make it illegal for stepparents to marry stepchildren, and make stricter residency rules for public office seekers. One bill would allow the local county hospital district to switch from at-large to single-member district to prevent the FLDS from controlling the hospital board and its money.[csr 4.2 2005]

The legislator says he wants to prevent the growth of a community like the ones on the Arizona-Utah border from which the FLDS settlers have come. An FLDS attorney says it is impossible to enact laws against the group because sect members believe their salvation depends on practicing polygamy, and “there’s not a lot the state can do to stop someone who thinks their eternal salvation is at stake.” (Bill Hanna, Knight Rider News Service in Salt Lake Tribune, Internet, 3/28/05) [csr 4.2 2005]

Texas House Committee Inquiry
Utah attorney general Mark Shurtleff has told the Texas House Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee that he spent most of his last term in office trying to bring charges of pedophilia, child sexual abuse, and welfare fraud against Warren Jeffs, the leader of the Utah-based Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), which is building a large settlement in Texas.[csr 4.2 2005]

John Krakauer, who has written a book about the FLDS, told the committee that FLDS women are assigned husbands by leader Warren Jeffs, prohibited from gaining a formal education, and cut off from contact with much of the outside world.[csr 4.2 2005]

Rep. Toby Goodman said: “I hope this group doesn’t think it can come to Texas, which is kind of a law-and-order state, and commit acts of sodomy and child abuse. This state will literally go after these people.” (Cox News Service in Oxford Press, Internet, 4/14/05) [csr 4.2 2005]

Added to Hate Group List
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups and extremist activities, has added the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to its list because of leader Warren Jeffs’ remarks that blacks are the “seed of Cain” and “uncouth or rude and filthy . . . low in their habits, wild and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed on mankind.” (Pamela Mason, Salt Lake Tribune, Internet, 4/21/05) [csr 4.2 2005]

Senate Rejects Broad Grounds for School Takeover
The Arizona Senate has voted to limit to “financial mismanagement” the possible grounds for state takeovers of dysfunctional school districts. The legislators acted in response to reform calls stemming from allegations that the school district, staffed mainly by members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was not in compliance with many state regulations. One senator said that state funding for Colorado City’s public schools “supports the polygamist community and, indirectly, the victimization of young women.” (AP in Mohave Daily News, Internet, 4/29/05) [csr 4.2 2005]

State Seizes Funds
A Utah court has temporarily frozen $100 million in land, housing, and other assets of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) because of “sufficient evidence” that FLDS head Warren Jeffs, and several of his associates in a controlling trust, committed a breach of faith by selling property to church insiders at less than market value. The attorney general of Arizona, which is home to an FLDS community, called the ruling “a major step toward reducing the arbitrary power of Warren Jeffs and protecting the trust from his manipulation, liquidation [Jeff’s appears to be moving his headquarters settlement to Texas], and misuse.” (Robert Anglen, Arizona Republic, Internet, 5/28/05) [csr 4.2 2005]

Buildings Disappear in Wake of Judgment
Two buildings in the adjoining Arizona and Utah communities of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have been dismantled and carted away in the wake of a Utah judge’s order to freeze the assets of the trust that controls most of the property and assets in the polygamous communities. (AP in KSL NewsRadio 1160, Internet, 6/2/05) [csr 4.2 2005]

Women Taught to Conform to “The Principle”
Women raised in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are taught to conform to “The Principle” that men must have at least three wives to reach heaven’s highest level. They are also taught that “we would become goddesses beside the man we were assigned to because he would be a God,” to them, said Debbie Palmer, formerly in a polygamous marriage, who added that women are forced to have sex during the fertile period of their menstrual cycle. FLDS prophet Warren Jeffs also teaches that a woman can be exalted and live with her children after death only if she is married to a man with at least three wives.[csr 4.2 2005]

Palmer said her newborn son was given away to be raised “to be a man in the priesthood” by another of her husband’s wives, 150 miles away. “When they bought the boy back three months later, I was in shock and I was afraid to get attached.” When her husband fell out of favor with FLDS leadership, she was released form the marriage and given to another, who abused her and molested two of her children, she said.[csr 4.2 2005]

Children are told that their only father is their mother’s new husband, which destroys the genealogy. As families and last names are confused, blood relatives will increasingly marry, according to attorney Roger Hoole, who is prosecuting a civil suit against Jeffs. (Deborah Frazier and Gwen Florio, Rocky Mountain News, Internet, 7/16/05; Roger H. Hoole, Opinion, Salt Lake Tribune, Internet, 6/11/05) [csr 4.2 2005]

Jeffs Charged with Sexual Misconduct
Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints leader Warren Jeffs, who has not been seen in public for 18 months, was recently charged in Arizona with the felony of arranging a marriage between a 16-year-old girl and a 28-year old married man, who has himself been charged with sexual assault and sexual conduct with a minor. (Justin Hill, Salt Lake Tribune, Internet, 6/11/05) [csr 4.2 2005]

Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Polygamous Police May Be Decertified
The POST Council, the governing body for the state police academy, will investigate the Hilldale, Utah, police department to learn if any of the officers in the town, dominated by the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is practicing polygamy, which is against the law. Hilldale officer Rodney Holme was decertified following his conviction several years ago for felony bigamy. [csr 4.1 2005]

Hilldale Chief Sam Roundy says: “If they’re going to look at us for polygamy, they better look at every police officer in the state to see which ones have broken any laws of any kind. We’re trying to live our religion. How many police officers around the state have stepped out on their wives or committed adultery? That’s against the law, too.” (Jennifer Dobner and Nancy Perkins, Deseret Morning News, Internet, 9/23/04) [csr 4.1 2005]

Refuge Not Being Used
The Mohave County Multiple-Use Facility, which the state of Arizona has set up in Colorado City as a place to which women and children in the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints can turn for help to deal with alleged abusive treatment, is not fully set up and staffed, nor has there yet been any demand for services. A local construction crew hired to set up the building walked off the project after learning its purpose. “I’m not sure they [residents] will [take advantage of the services],” says a county supervisor, “but we don’t know that, and we can’t sit with our head in the sand and never try anything.” (Brooke Adams, Salt Lake Tribune, Internet, 10/5/05) [csr 4.1 2005]

Women Deny Abuse Charges
Concerned About Missing Daughter
Jane Blackmore, of Vancouver, BC, is concerned about the welfare of her daughter, Susie Johnson, whom she fears may now be living in the walled, barbed wire-protected compound recently built by Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints leader Warren Jeffs, near Eldorado, TX. Jeffs has said the compound is a place for followers to be “lifted up,” which makes local authorities, and Ms. Blackmore, fear a mass suicide of FLDS members seeking to avoid state investigations of the Arizona and Utah polygamous communities they recently left.[csr 4.1 2005]

Ms. Blackmore says: “Everyone who goes to these compounds is completely cut off from everyone that they’ve known their whole lives. They’re not allowed to communicate with anyone. No phone calls, no letters, nothing. Completely cut off. Complete isolation.” (Jane Armstrong, Toronto Globe and Mail, Internet, 9/30/05) [csr 4.1 2005]

Texas Compound Growing
The new Texas compound of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), established to relieve state authorities’ investigative pressure on its Utah and Arizona communities, has grown to a dozen buildings. The group, which recently put up for sale 1300 acres of its home area along the Utah-Arizona border, is also developing a parcel of land in Colorado. (Pamela Manson, Salt Lake Tribune, Internet, 11/10/04) [csr 4.1 2005]

FLDS Split
There is also a spit between the vast majority of FLDS members, in their Arizona-Utah towns, who are loyal to Warren Jeffs, and some of the men he has excommunicated because they rejected his absolute authority. One family reflects this split in a unique way. Ross Chatwin, who refused the prophet’s order to leave his home and family, lives with his wife and children in the finished basement, even though the FLDS owns the house. Ross’s brother Steven and his family live above. They were given the home when Ross was expelled from the FLDS. Ross remains thanks to a court order recognizing that he finished the basic structure presented to him when he moved in. (Brooke Adams, Salt Lake Tribune, Internet, 11/14/04) [csr 4.1 2005]

Leader on the Run
Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) leader Warren Jeffs is on the run from possible prosecution for directing the “looting” of the Colorado City, AZ, school system, which he, as FLDS leader, controlled. The school district’s checks are now bouncing, while Jeffs, followed by hundreds of followers, is thought to have gone underground at the new FLDS settlement, in Texas. [csr 4.1 2005]

Jeffs ordered FLDS members to take their children out of the Colorado City schools and send them to church schools, then reportedly diverted public funds to benefit the church school, which allegedly provides sinecures and pays teachers only $18,000 a year. Jeffs is said to hate the teachers and children at the Colorado City public schools because they are members of a rival polygamist Mormon sect from the nearby town of Centennial Park.[csr 4.1 2005]

“The time for law enforcement in Arizona and Utah to act has long passed. Issue an arrest warrant for Warren Jeffs now!” (John Dougherty, Phoenix New Times, Internet, 11/25/04) [csr 4.1 2005]

Response to Criticism
Responding to widespread criticism from outside her community, a woman member of the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, writing anonymously [to the author of this article], says her childhood in the church’s strongholds in Hilldale, AZ, and Colorado City, UT, was not as described by her outspoken childhood companion, and former FLDS member, Flora Jessop. “We are not brainwashed, abused housewives forced into loveless marriages at young ages. The truth is we are just a peaceful people trying to raise our families and live our religion.” [csr 4.1 2005]

She said she does not personally know anyone who was married before the age of 16, and that most wait until they’re 18. Nor does she know of any women receiving food stamps or other public assistance fraudulently, pretending to be a single mother [while actually being one among several plural wives], as critics charge.[csr 4.1 2005]

As to the allegation that many young FLDS men have been excommunicated because they offer too much competition to older men, who seek multiple wives, the woman said that the younger leavers simply don’t want to live by the community’s rules, preferring instead the “party” lifestyle, under-age drinking, sex before marriage, smoking, drugs, and the like. [csr 4.1 2005]

Regarding the perception that FLDS leader Warren Jeffs is ‘lying low’, she recalled that Mormon founder Joseph Smith was murdered by a crowd that had been threatening him, and the government had done nothing to stop it. “Would we want to risk that?” (Mike Weland, Kootenai Valley Press, Internet, 1/12/05) [csr 4.1 2005]

Texas Settlement Reflects 19th Century Conflict
The new Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints settlement in Texas under prophet Warren Jeffs includes a building that seems patterned after a temple ordered built in 1846 by Mormon founder Joseph Smith, in Nauvoo, IL, before the Mormons fled west, to Utah. Jeffs and the FLDS are facing lawsuits and state investigations in the FLDS home communities in Arizona and Utah.[csr 4.1 2005]

John Krakauer, author of a book on the church, and critical of it, says the new structure could be linked to Jeffs’ apocalyptic preaching as well as to his sense of himself as the final Mormon prophet. “Warren has predicted the end of the world twice already this year. He’s also said the ‘the destructions’ will come sometime between the laying of the cornerstone and the completion of the temple.”[csr 4.1 2005]

Krakauer believes that when Jeffs is “finally cornered . . . he’ll fight to the bitter end.” Jeffs compares himself to the martyred Joseph Smith, Krakauer says, “and it’s all coinciding with God’s plan for destruction.” An excommunicated follower says he thinks Jeffs is more like Jim Jones than David Koresh. “He won’t go out guns firing. It will be suicide. And if he gets backed into a corner, he’ll take them all with him, those that will go, the faithful.” (John MacCormack, San Antonio Express-News, Internet, 2/2/05) [csr 4.1 2005]

Probe into Polygamous Police
The Utah State Police Academy is reviewing the “lifestyles” of more than half of the Hilldale, UT, police force partly because it questions whether 13 officers, all practicing FLDS polygamists, can police one another. Bigamy is a crime in Utah, but like adultery, also a crime, it is rarely prosecuted. [csr 3.3 2004]

Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Lawsuit Aimed at Jeffs and FLDS
Former polygamist and wealthy businessman Dan Fischer, a dentist whose company, Ultradent, develops and sells advanced dental equipment worldwide, and Baltimore-based lawyer Joanne Suder, known for taking on sexual abuse lawsuits, are working together on suits against leader Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Their suits allege child sexual abuse, abandonment, and financial fraud.[csr 3.3 2004]

Fischer, who does charitable work in pediatric dentistry, helps hundreds of boys and young men aged 13–21 who have been forced by older men out of the FLDS strongholds of Hilldate, UT, and Colorado City, AZ because they would otherwise compete with their elders for young, marriageable women. He is also helping Suder gather evidence for the lawsuits. In addition, Fischer has developed a mentoring program for the boys and young men, and houses some of them in apartments in remodeled Ultradent buildings. (AP, Internet, 9/18/04) [csr 3.3 2004]

Auditing Is a Way to Get at Corrupt Church
Finding improprieties in the way the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints runs its publicly-financed school district is less dramatic than prosecuting the alleged sexual abuse and labor violations of the polygamist group, but it might be more effective. Such an approach has worked well to prosecute many Mafia figures and white collar criminals. “Coupled with private lawsuits, like the one brought by [leader Warren] Jeffs’ nephew, and criminal investigations, it creates pressure that can crack this cult.” (Opinion, Arizona Republic, Internet, 8/26/04) [csr 3.3 2004]

Polygamous Wives Plan PR
Racketeering Statutes Invoked
Six former members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have filed a conspiracy lawsuit against leader Warren Jeffs and one of his assistants, accusing them of assault, threats, unlawful dealing of property, theft by extortion, child kidnapping, official misconduct, and theft of services. The complaint, filed in Third District Court, in Salt Lake City, claims the church has engaged in “systematic excommunication” of adolescents and young men in order to reduce competition for wives.” (Chicago Tribune, Internet, 8/29/04) [csr 3.3 2004]

Hiding Behind Religion
The reason why Arizona law has not stopped the “perversion of faith and family” that allows destructive polygamous practices of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was a “botched effort” to do so fifty years ago. A raid at that time led to such bad publicity that the police have been [according to the editorialist] “cowed ever since. The problem was that the victims, who were dragged away from their homes in tears, refused to cooperate with their rescuers.[csr 3.3 2004]

“Efforts to prosecute the FLDS are not an assault on religion, because this group’s disregard for civil rights of men, women, and children reveal it to be a cult . . . where tyranny is disguised by the robes of a ‘prophet’ and individual rights are buried. Now law enforcement is moving against this fundamentalist cult. It’s about time.” (Opinion, Arizona Republic, Internet, 8/4/04) [csr 3.3 2004]

Mormon Leader Rejects Blackmore
Wayne Bourne, a high priest of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, says that Winston Blackmore, leader of a breakaway faction of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints — itself is an offshoot of the mainline Mormon church — “has false and foolish notions about polygamy,” and that Blackmore’s religion “has as much to do with the Church of Latter-day Saints [Mormons] as Martin Luther has to do with Catholicism.” Blackmore, whose grandfather was excommunicated from the Mormon church in the late 19th century, lives with 20 wives and 500 followers in Bountiful, British Columbia. (Mike D’Amour, Calgary Sun, 7/28/04) [csr 3.3 2004]

Jeffs Banishes More Followers
Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints leader Warren Jeffs, who banished 21 male followers in January, telling them to leave their wives and children behind, has reportedly cast out eight more. Since the earlier expulsions from the polygamous communities of Hilldale, UT, and neighboring Colorado City, CO, law enforcement authorities have increased patrols in the area, and social service agencies have said they’re ready to help anyone who wants to leave the towns. [csr 3.3 2004]

The recently expelled include Truman Barlow, son of the late polygamous prophet John Y. Barlow. Former member Richard Holm, once the Colorado City mayor, whom Jeffs ousted from the church last year, says of the community: “It seems quiet [but] there’s a lot of fear.” (Pamela Manson, Salt Lake Tribune, Internet, 7/28/04) [csr 3.3 2004]

Sexual Assault Allegedly Called God’s Work
Brent Jeffs, a former member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, has accused three of his uncles, including church leader Warren Jeffs, of sexually assaulting him on numerous occasions at a church school when he was a child. He says they told him that what they had done was “God’s work,” a way to make him a man, and that if he told anyone he would suffer the pain of eternal damnation. (Pamela Manson, Salt Lake Tribune, Internet, 7/30/04) [csr 3.3 2004]

Legislature Has Not Responded to Old Concerns
The previously secret report questioned whether children raised in the group “are ever capable of exercising any freedom of choice . . . particularly poignant when it involves a teenage girl who has known nothing beyond life in the group (and is) placed in marriage with a man several decades her senior who already has a number of wives and children.” (Mike D’Amur, Calgary Sun, Internet, 8/1/04) [csr 3.3 2004]

Help Lost Boys
Jon Krakauer and Dan Fischer, leaders of Diversity, a group established by former members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, are asking public assistance for more than 400 teenage boys and young men who have been thrown out of the church by parents under the influence of leader Warren Jeffs. Banished for such offenses as “associating” with non-church members, watching three movies, or wanting to attend public school, some now live out of cars or behind dumpsters.[csr 3.3 2004]

“The major issue here is the treatment of children,” said Fischer, who adds that the church defends its actions as expressions of religious freedom even as it destroys families. [csr 3.3 2004]

Krakauer, author of Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, says the main reason for the banishments is that, since a polygamist in the community needs multiple wives to gain God’s approval, he has to get rid of boys, who would compete with him for the limited number of available females. The boys who are thrown out cannot function well in the world outside the 10,000-member community, so they end up on the streets, sometimes turning to drugs and prostitution. They cannot break away, Krakauer says, because they are taught from an early age that evil will befall them if they leave. “It is drummed into their heads they don’t stand a chance out there. These kids are programmed to fail.” (Patty Henetz, AP in Deseret Morning News, 7/31/04; Stephen Speckman, Deseret Morning News, Internet, 8/1/04) [csr 3.3 2004]

Will Cooperate with Investigation
Winston Blackmore, head of the Bountiful, British Columbia, breakaway branch of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, says he welcomes a recently-announced investigation into alleged acts of sexual exploitation, forced marriages, and child abuse in his group. British Columbia attorney general Geoff Plant says: “All of these are crimes that need to be investigated that don’t relate to polygamy.” Blackmore declares he wants to act on the charges, if they are true, and to rehabilitate the perpetrators. (Mike D’Amour, Calgary Sun, Internet, 7/27/04) [csr 3.3 2004]

Says Polygamy Is His Constitutional Right
Former police officer Rodney Holm, a member of the Hilldale, UT-based polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is appealing his convictions for bigamy and sex with a wife who was a minor. He argues that polygamy is a constitutional right that is not socially harmful, as critics claim, and that “current demographics, domestic relations law, and religious diversity all accommodate plural marriage.”[csr 3.3 2004]

The appeal claims traditional marriage is no longer the norm in the U.S., that domestic laws against cohabitation and fornication, for example, are anachronistic and hardly enforced against those practicing new lifestyles. It is ironic, Holm adds, that the relevant laws are “asserted as weapons . . . against those living a traditional, family-grounded, religious-based lifestyle.”

Prosecutors contend that there is no constitutional right to have sex with a minor. (Pamela Manson, Salt Lake Tribune, Internet, 7/2/04) [csr 3.3 2004]

Investigation Requested, Promised
The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association has called for a public investigation into allegations of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, and denial of equal rights by members of the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), in the town of Bountiful. The civil liberties group stresses that the alleged abuse, not polygamy, is the issue. [csr 3.3 2004]

Texas Town Anxious about Polygamist Newcomers
Many people in Eldorado, TX, are worried about plans for a settlement in their midst by followers of the 10,000-member Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) who come from the polygamous communities of Hilldale, UT, and Colorado City, AZ, where the FLDS is being investigated on charges of underage marriages, child abuse, and welfare fraud. Residents are bothered by the secrecy of FLDS plans and the group’s practice of multiple marriages.[csr 3.3 2004]

People here have been reading a book by former FLDS member Flora Jessup, who says that living in remote areas is one of the ways FLDS leader Warren Jeffs controls church followers. FLDS lawyer Rod Parker says: “I see the Texas thing as more of a place to retreat from some of the pressure they’re now under.” [csr 3.3 2004]

The local sheriff, although aware that the FLDS is allegedly stockpiling weapons, says it is not considered a violent group. (Jean Marbella, Baltimore Sun, Internet, 6/3/04) [csr 3.3 2004]

Church Can’t Take His House
Mohave County Superior Court Judge James Chavez has ruled that the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints cannot evict church critic and member Ross Chatwin from a home on land it owns in Colorado City, AZ. Chavez ruled that Chatwin has “possessory” interest in the property because the church promised he could live there for life. The judge also said the FLDS cannot evict Chatwin without compensation for improvements he’s made. (AP, Internet, 6/3/04) [csr 3.3 2004]

Public School Teaches Polygamy Is Good
Woman’s Life in Polygamous Community
Flora Jessop, an anti-polygamy activist who grew up in the polygamous Arizona community of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) was 13 when, having told child-welfare workers her father had sexually abused her, she was placed in the custody of her uncle, Fred Jessup, in whose home she says she remained a virtual prisoner for three years. There, isolated from other children, and finishing high school through a mail-order GED course, she changed beds and cared for babies at the in-home birthing clinic run by her aunt.[csr 3.3 2004]

Jessop says she was told at 14 she would be married to Sam Barlow, a man who taunted her at church, saying he would “tame” her. “Touch me,” she recalls replying, “and you’re dead.” So the marriage did not take place. But when her father gave her the choice of going to a mental hospital or getting married, she chose the latter course because it promised potential freedom. Shortly after her marriage to Philip LeGrande, in Las Vegas, she ran. “Poor Phil, says Ben Bistline, a former FLDS member. “He loved her. He kept sending her money. Of course, she was not coming back.” (Brook Adams, Salt Lake Tribune, Internet, 4/12/04) [csr 3.3 2004]

Doomsday Failure Leads to Bankruptcy
Some members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) in Utah and Arizona have declared bankruptcy, and others remain deeply in debt because the church’s prophecy that the end of the world was at hand did not come to pass. Says former church member Ezra Draper: “People were counseled in their business decisions that the end was tomorrow. They would use cash on hand to progress the needs of the church, whatever request [FLDS leader Warren Jeffs] was making of them, because the big one was going to drop sooner or later. Instead of making 30-year plans, they were making three-month plans.” (Brooke Adams, Salt Lake Tribune, Internet, 5/5/04) [csr 3.3 2004]

Texas Sheriff Tours Polygamous Town
Schleicher County, TX, Sheriff David Dolan recently toured the polygamous town of Colorado City, AZ, in order to get a feel for the kind of settlement he might expect back in his home state if, as it is speculated, Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints leader Warren Jeffs relocates there.[csr 3.3 2004]

After his tour, guided by the Colorado City chief of police, Doran said: “There wasn’t anything we didn’t see — very hospitable, very open. It was very eye-opening. I was humbled by what I’ve seen. I got to see a community that works.” [csr 3.3 2004]

Anti-polygamy activists, as well as some in Schleicher County, fear another Waco disaster may result from the proposed settlement of a church suffering severe internal conflict over the dictatorial controls exercised by its leader. (Jane Zhang, The Spectrum, South Utah, Internet, 5/18/04) [csr 3.3 2004]

Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Woman’s Life in Polygamous Community
Flora Jessop, an anti-polygamy activist who grew up in the polygamous Arizona community of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) was 13 when, having told child-welfare workers her father had sexually abused her, she was placed in the custody of her uncle, Fred Jessup, in whose home she says she remained a virtual prisoner for three years. There, isolated from other children, and finishing high school through a mail-order GED course, she changed beds and cared for babies at the in-home birthing clinic run by her aunt.

Probe into Polygamous Police
The Utah State Police Academy is reviewing the “lifestyles” of more than half of the Hilldale, UT, police force partly because it questions whether 13 officers, all practicing FLDS polygamists, can police one another. Bigamy is a crime in Utah, but like adultery, also a crime, it is rarely prosecuted. [csr 3.2 2004]

The Attorney General says he can’t afford to prosecute every bigamy case but that he will act against polygamists who also commit welfare fraud or sexual crimes against minors. (Matt Canham and Matthew D. LaPlante, Salt Lake Tribune, Internet, 6/16/04) [csr 3.2 2004 2004]

Jessop says she was told at 14 she would be married to Sam Barlow, a man who taunted her at church, saying he would “tame” her. “Touch me,” she recalls replying, “and you’re dead.” So the marriage did not take place. But when her father gave her the choice of going to a mental hospital or getting married, she chose the latter course because it promised potential freedom. Shortly after her marriage to Philip LeGrande, in Las Vegas, she ran. “Poor Phil, says Ben Bistline, a former FLDS member. “He loved her. He kept sending her money. Of course, she was not coming back.” (Brook Adams, Salt Lake Tribune, Internet, 4/12/04) [csr 3.2 2004 2004]

Doomsday Failure Leads to Bankruptcy
Some members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) in Utah and Arizona have declared bankruptcy, and others remain deeply in debt because the church’s prophecy that the end of the world was at hand did not come to pass. Says former church member Ezra Draper: “People were counseled in their business decisions that the end was tomorrow. They would use cash on hand to progress the needs of the church, whatever request [FLDS leader Warren Jeffs] was making of them, because the big one was going to drop sooner or later. Instead of making 30-year plans, they were making three-month plans.” (Brooke Adams, Salt Lake Tribune, Internet, 5/5/04) [csr 3.2 2004 2004]

Texas Sheriff Tours Polygamous Town
Schleicher County, TX, Sheriff David Dolan recently toured the polygamous town of Colorado City, AZ, in order to get a feel for the kind of settlement he might expect back in his home state if, as it is speculated, Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints leader Warren Jeffs relocates there.[csr 3.2 2004]

After his tour, guided by the Colorado City chief of police, Doran said: “There wasn’t anything we didn’t see — very hospitable, very open. It was very eye-opening. I was humbled by what I’ve seen. I got to see a community that works.” [csr 3.2 2004]

Anti-polygamy activists, as well as some in Schleicher County, fear another Waco disaster may result from the proposed settlement of a church suffering severe internal conflict over the dictatorial controls exercised by its leader. (Jane Zhang, The Spectrum, South Utah, Internet, 5/18/04) [csr 3.2 2004 2004]

Texas Town Anxious about Polygamist Newcomers
Many people in Eldorado, TX, are worried about plans for a settlement in their midst by followers of the 10,000-member Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) who come from the polygamous communities of Hilldale, UT, and Colorado City, AZ, where the FLDS is being investigated on charges of underage marriages, child abuse, and welfare fraud. Residents are bothered by the secrecy of FLDS plans and the group’s practice of multiple marriages.[csr 3.2 2004]

People here have been reading a book by former FLDS member Flora Jessup, who says that living in remote areas is one of the ways FLDS leader Warren Jeffs controls church followers. FLDS lawyer Rod Parker says: “I see the Texas thing as more of a place to retreat from some of the pressure they’re now under.” [csr 3.2 2004]

The local sheriff, although aware that the FLDS is allegedly stockpiling weapons, says it is not considered a violent group. (Jean Marbella, Baltimore Sun, Internet, 6/3/04) [csr 3.2 2004 2004]

Church Can’t Take His House
Mohave County Superior Court Judge James Chavez has ruled that the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints cannot evict church critic and member Ross Chatwin from a home on land it owns in Colorado City, AZ. Chavez ruled that Chatwin has “possessory” interest in the property because the church promised he could live there for life. The judge also said the FLDS cannot evict Chatwin without compensation for improvements he’s made. (AP, Internet, 6/3/04) [csr 3.2 2004 2004]

Public School Teaches Polygamy Is Good
Says Polygamy Is His Constitutional Right
Former police officer Rodney Holm, a member of the Hilldale, UT-based polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is appealing his convictions for bigamy and sex with a wife who was a minor. He argues that polygamy is a constitutional right that is not socially harmful, as critics claim, and that “current demographics, domestic relations law, and religious diversity all accommodate plural marriage.”[csr 3.2 2004]

The appeal claims traditional marriage is no longer the norm in the U.S., that domestic laws against cohabitation and fornication, for example, are anachronistic and hardly enforced against those practicing new lifestyles. It is ironic, Holm adds, that the relevant laws are “asserted as weapons . . . against those living a traditional, family-grounded, religious-based lifestyle.” [csr 3.2 2004]

Prosecutors contend that there is no constitutional right to have sex with a minor. (Pamela Manson, Salt Lake Tribune, Internet, 7/2/04) [csr 3.2 2004 2004]

Investigation Requested, Promised
The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association has called for a public investigation into allegations of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, and denial of equal rights by members of the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), in the town of Bountiful. The civil liberties group stresses that the alleged abuse, not polygamy, is the issue. [csr 3.2 2004]

Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Ex-Member Threatened with Death
The conflict over leadership within the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) continues even as the states of Utah and Arizona become more involved in investigating allegations of bigamy, incest, underage marriages, sexual abuse of children, and welfare fraud said to be rampant in the polygamous communities of Colorado City, AZ and the adjacent Hilldale, UT.[csr 3.1 2004]

Ross Chatwin, one of a score of members recently excommunicated by FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, has refused to leave his home and family as ordered. “This Hitler-like dictator has got to be stopped before he ruins us all and this beautiful town,” said Chatwin. Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff calls the FLDS a “cult” and Jeffs a racist “evil dictator.” State investigator Ron Barton says: “Families are being destroyed.” Critics contend that the group brainwashes women to believe they have no other choice. Pam Black, who had 14 children while in an arranged marriage before she was evicted from her home five years ago says: “We’re programmed from babyhood to say ‘yes, yes, yes.’” Other critics say the expulsions are connected to Jeffs’ attempts to consolidate wealth and power. (The FLDS is reportedly worth $100 million.) [csr 3.1 2004]

Colorado City and Hilldale, home to about 10,000 FLDS members, who constitute the great majority of inhabitants, form what is believed to be the center of the American polygamist movement. The attorneys general of both states have been investigating the communities for some time, but have stepped up their efforts in the last year in the wake of several highly publicized prosecutions of polygamists. They say they are developing a plan to assist an expected exodus of women and children from the FLDS towns. The plan includes a special justice center to which they can flee, and fliers and a billboard displaying a domestic abuse hotline number. But no billboard has yet gone up and the hotline, which only operates during the day, advises those who call after hours to dial 911, which gives them local law enforcement, probably staffed by officers associated with the FLDS. The hotline coordinator says: “We have met with people with families down in that area. They’re going to take our information back down there. Educating them that it’s a safe place to call is the first thing we have to do.” There has as yet been no exodus. [csr 3.1 2004]

Even though Ross Chatwin says the church is notorious for retaliating against dissidents — a former member writing a book about the FLDS has received death threats — he is speaking out, he says, to encourage others to stand up to Jeffs. Chatwin emphasized during a news conference on his front lawn that his argument is not with the church or with plural marriage, only with Jeffs, who two years ago succeeded his father, Rulon Jeffs, as leader. [csr 3.1 2004]

Yet the next day Chatwin and his wife renounced polygamy. She said that when her husband was excommunicated leaders told her to seek a more worthy mate. “I do not fear that I am risking my salvation by staying [with him].” Mrs. Chatwin related how her father told Jeffs he wanted his daughter to marry Chatwin. “I actually had my eye on another guy, she says, “but they gave me [the traditional] 24 hours to think it over and I came to a testimony that I should marry Ross. I don’t have a testimony to leave him.” The couple said the marriage was a success. “We learned to love each other,” her husband added. (Church member Eugene Johnson has obtained an injunction to keep Chatwin and his wife from seeing Johnson’s daughters; Johnson accused Chatwin of trying to woo them as new wives. Chatwin first said the girls simply sought his help to leave the community. Later he admitted that he did, indeed, have some thoughts about taking a second wife.)[csr 3.1 2004]

Anti-polygamist Flora Jessop has removed from a safe house provided by the state two girls who ran away from their FLDS families. She said they would be getting “a complete makeover,” cutting their long hair, wearing makeup, and putting polish on their nails. Jessop, a member of the board of “Help The Child Brides,” recently engineered the removal of director Bob Curran, who had said that her approach jeopardized the group’s credibility[csr 3.1 2004]

Shurleff says investigators are looking mostly at crimes against women and children, and will soon include organized tax and accounting crimes. But he thinks multiple wives is a more difficult matter. “If we start charging people with just bigamy all those polygamists who are helping us with investigations of child sexual abuse are going to go underground.” Moreover, “I don’t have the resources to go after 4.000 people. If we arrest all the men, what happens to all the women and children in those polygamous families?”[csr 3.1 2004]

Shurtleff’s attempts to subpoena information about underage marriages have not yet succeeded, and Jeffs has not answered authorities’ calls to come forward. “We are being told that underage marriages are being performed by Warren Jeffs. Then we hear it’s not happening and they have nothing to hide. Then we’re hearing from women and children who have been down there that it is happening,” Shurtleff said. Community members seem especially suspicious of the state’s renewed interest because of a raid five decades ago in which many children were rounded up and taken into custody for a time by authorities.[csr 3.1 2004]

Jeremy Kingston, of Utah’s polygamous Kingston “clan,” was recently sentenced to one year in jail for marrying his 15-year old cousin, who is also his aunt. LuAnn Kingston, who left him last year and went to police, is now with her children in a new marriage, away from the group. She says: “This has been happening for generations. My mom is married to her uncle and she married him as a minor and they continue to do this. . . they are marrying minors to adults and they are now marrying minors to minors . . . It needs to stop.”[csr 3.1 2004]

(Nancy Perkins, Deseret Morning News, Internet, 1/22/04 and 1/26/04; AP in New York Times, Internet, 1/23/04; Hilary Groutage Smith, Salt Lake Tribune, Internet, 1/25/04 and 1/28/04; KLS TV, Internet, 1/26/04; Patrick O’Driscoll, USA Today, Internet, 1/26/04; Mark Hall, Havasu News, Internet, 2/5/04; Paul Davenport, Casper Star Tribune, Internet, 2/5/04) [csr 3.1 2004]

Girl’s Protective Custody Order Rescinded
An Arizona judge has vacated a protective order that a 17-year-old obtained against her father’s reclaiming her after she ran away from her home in the polygamous town of Colorado City, AZ, with her 23-year-old boyfriend. The girl sought the order after an interview with social service officials who, along with other state agencies, are investigating alleged abuses, including underage marriages in polygamous communities in Utah and Arizona controlled by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints [FLDS]. [csr 3.1 2004]

The father, Dan Wyman, who gained his own court order against the boyfriend’s seeing his daughter in order “to ensure her safety,” said: “People talk about these young girls being married off [in the FLDS towns]. I was just trying to keep her from running off to get married until she’s older.” He said he and his wife and 13 children are a “peaceful family,” but came under state scrutiny when his daughter complained about being punished “with a few whacks with a willow [in the words of this report]. But Arizona officials found no abuse and the girl remained at home. It is likely now that she will return there from foster care in which the agency placed her. (Hilary G. Smith, Salt Lake Tribune, Internet, 1/31/04) [csr 3.1 2004]

Families Split as Control Tightens
The Wylers, of Colorado City, AZ, provide an example of family splits as Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints leader Warren Jeffs seeks to consolidate his control of the polygamous church by casting out those who will not obey him.[csr 3.1 2004]

Five grown daughters and sons of Marvin Wyler, 59, consider their other 24 siblings apostates. “This one just broke us clear wide open,” says Wyler, who remains a member of the church but does not believe in Jeffs as its prophet. “That’s pretty heartbreaking. My grandkids, I can’t even see. I can’t even give them a hug.”[csr 3.1 2004]

Jeffs forbids members from associating with apostates — whose land the church owns and whose wives are being reassigned to other men. He has canceled group gatherings, church activities, community dances, holiday celebrations and the hanging of American flags. Members who speak to the press risk losing their families and homes to the church.[csr 3.1 2004]

Marvin Wyler’s son Isaac, whose wives urged him not to leave — they have now been given to other men [so that their souls will be saved] — says: “Today, only a few will dare to think for themselves. They’ve been indoctrinated with the idea that their salvation with this life and the life to come depends on this man, so with that, he has all power over everybody.” But another of Wyler’s sons, Stephen Chatwin, says: “I believe just like father taught me. I don’t see why he should be sad. We all get our choice of belief.” [csr 3.1 2004]

Marvin Wyler says that he became disillusioned with Jeffs when the prophet ordered the congregation to “fast and pray for the execution of Jason Williams.” Williams unsuccessfully sued the church alleging his ex-wife was brainwashed to divorce him and become the plural wife of another man by former prophet Rulon Jeffs, Warren’s father. “I couldn’t go along with it,” Wyler says, so church members started shunning him. (Jane Zhang, The Spectrum [So. Utah], Internet, 2/13/04) [csr 3.1 2004]

Another Perspective on “Runaways”
The father of Fawn Broadbent, one of the two Colorado City, AZ, teenagers who ran away from home in the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints community earlier this year, says his daughter had refused to go to school and that he and his wife are now willing to let her live away from them, provided this agreement is not seen as an admission that she was mistreated at home. [csr 3.1 2004]

Esther Holm, the mother of the other runaway, also named Fawn, says her daughter is a loving child but troubled by the departure from the community of some of her brothers. “She’s had a really hard time. We know that. We haven’t talked religion to her in our home for a long time. This is my eighteenth teenager. I’ve never had anyone take a child away from me. This is just terrible.” (Brooke Adams, Salt Lake Tribune, Internet, 2/26/04)[csr 3.1 2004]

Both Fawns are technically in state custody, but officials have not yet been able to locate them for assignment to foster homes. Joni Holm, Fawn’s sister-in-law, says she speaks with her niece every day, “but I’m not going to advise them to come out because I can’t guarantee their safety.” It is said the girls fear being sent home. (Nancy Perkins, Deseret Morning News, Internet, 4/7/04 [csr 3.1 2004]

Ideology of Control
Leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) towns in Arizona and Utah control followers through the doctrine that a man must have a least three wives in order to go to heaven, according to Ben Bistline, an excommunicated member, in his new self-published book, The Polygamists: A History of Colorado City, Arizona. He adds that FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, who has been excommunicating men who oppose his policies and very leadership, does not grant wives unless the men are deemed worthy, and worthiness is measured, says Bistline, by the amount of money they give to the people in power. [csr 3.1 2004]

“Your first responsibility is to the leaders. Your family comes second” in a community where the FLDS owns all the property and has the right to evict anyone, says the non-polygamous Bistline. Those who brought Jeffs to power, Bistline adds, “created a God, and their God got out of control.” Bistline calls Jeffs “an egotistical maniac” who “just does insane things.” (Jane Zhang, The Spectrum, South Utah, Internet, 3/17/04) [csr 3.1 2004]

Great Contrast between Two FLDS Towns
The town of Centennial Park, AZ, begun 20 years ago by polygamous families when they split with the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, appears to be a different kind of society. Unlike the FLDS towns, said one resident, “We have no political agenda. We don’t threaten men and we don’t threaten women.” In Centennial Park, in contrast to Colorado City, homes are well kept and neat, rather than unfinished and apparently unplanned, people are friendly to outsiders, church services are open to visitors, and the congregation seems integrated into the surrounding community. [csr 3.1 2004]

One plural wife, for example — who lives with her businessman husband and several other wives in a 33,000 square foot hotel-like home — teaches technology at the local high school. She and her co-wives each have luxurious living quarters, including jetted tubs, balconies, and walk in closets. The approximately 50 children sleep two or three to a room equipped with bath, computer, TV and VCR. [csr 3.1 2004]

“Ours is a lifestyle choice,” says the husband — who asked to remain anonymous — where people stay married. “Nor is coercion or constraint a factor. If a woman approaches me and wants to join the family, I tell her: ‘Tell me about the exciting things you’re doing in your life. I want to be stimulated when I talk to you. Don’t follow three steps behind me.’ ” (Hilary Groutage, Salt Lake Tribune, 3/14/04) [csr 3.1 2004]

Controlled Election
The recent Colorado City primary election for city council was a sham and indicates the tight control by Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints leaders over a population living under the unspoken rule that a break with church authorities, or questioning them, will lead to being thrown out of the community. When asked if residents voted under duress — three church-supported men received, respectively, 95.4 percent, 93.9 percent, and 97.2 percent of the vote — one local man replied, “absolutely not.”[csr 3.1 2004]

“But the fact is, vote results like this indicate a likelihood of a repressive community where, although residents may be legally allowed to challenge the existing authority, they could risk everything if they don’t fall in line.” Editorial, The Spectrum, South Utah, 3/14/04) [csr 3.1 2004]

Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Ex-Member Threatened with Death
The conflict over leadership within the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) continues even as the states of Utah and Arizona become more involved in investigating allegations of bigamy, incest, underage marriages, sexual abuse of children, and welfare fraud said to be rampant in the polygamous communities of Colorado City, AZ and the adjacent Hilldale, UT.[csr 3.1 2004]

Ross Chatwin, one of a score of members recently excommunicated by FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, has refused to leave his home and family as ordered. “This Hitler-like dictator has got to be stopped before he ruins us all and this beautiful town,” said Chatwin. Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff calls the FLDS a “cult” and Jeffs a racist “evil dictator.” State investigator Ron Barton says: “Families are being destroyed.” Critics contend that the group brainwashes women to believe they have no other choice. Pam Black, who had 14 children while in an arranged marriage before she was evicted from her home five years ago says: “We’re programmed from babyhood to say ‘yes, yes, yes.’” Other critics say the expulsions are connected to Jeffs’ attempts to consolidate wealth and power. (The FLDS is reportedly worth $100 million.) [csr 3.1 2004]

Colorado City and Hilldale, home to about 10,000 FLDS members, who constitute the great majority of inhabitants, form what is believed to be the center of the American polygamist movement. The attorneys general of both states have been investigating the communities for some time, but have stepped up their efforts in the last year in the wake of several highly publicized prosecutions of polygamists. They say they are developing a plan to assist an expected exodus of women and children from the FLDS towns. The plan includes a special justice center to which they can flee, and fliers and a billboard displaying a domestic abuse hotline number. But no billboard has yet gone up and the hotline, which only operates during the day, advises those who call after hours to dial 911, which gives them local law enforcement, probably staffed by officers associated with the FLDS. The hotline coordinator says: “We have met with people with families down in that area. They’re going to take our information back down there. Educating them that it’s a safe place to call is the first thing we have to do.” There has as yet been no exodus. [csr 3.1 2004]

Even though Ross Chatwin says the church is notorious for retaliating against dissidents — a former member writing a book about the FLDS has received death threats — he is speaking out, he says, to encourage others to stand up to Jeffs. Chatwin emphasized during a news conference on his front lawn that his argument is not with the church or with plural marriage, only with Jeffs, who two years ago succeeded his father, Rulon Jeffs, as leader. [csr 3.1 2004]

Yet the next day Chatwin and his wife renounced polygamy. She said that when her husband was excommunicated leaders told her to seek a more worthy mate. “I do not fear that I am risking my salvation by staying [with him].” Mrs. Chatwin related how her father told Jeffs he wanted his daughter to marry Chatwin. “I actually had my eye on another guy, she says, “but they gave me [the traditional] 24 hours to think it over and I came to a testimony that I should marry Ross. I don’t have a testimony to leave him.” The couple said the marriage was a success. “We learned to love each other,” her husband added. (Church member Eugene Johnson has obtained an injunction to keep Chatwin and his wife from seeing Johnson’s daughters; Johnson accused Chatwin of trying to woo them as new wives. Chatwin first said the girls simply sought his help to leave the community. Later he admitted that he did, indeed, have some thoughts about taking a second wife.)[csr 3.1 2004]

Anti-polygamist Flora Jessop has removed from a safe house provided by the state two girls who ran away from their FLDS families. She said they would be getting “a complete makeover,” cutting their long hair, wearing makeup, and putting polish on their nails. Jessop, a member of the board of “Help The Child Brides,” recently engineered the removal of director Bob Curran, who had said that her approach jeopardized the group’s credibility[csr 3.1 2004]

Shurleff says investigators are looking mostly at crimes against women and children, and will soon include organized tax and accounting crimes. But he thinks multiple wives is a more difficult matter. “If we start charging people with just bigamy all those polygamists who are helping us with investigations of child sexual abuse are going to go underground.” Moreover, “I don’t have the resources to go after 4.000 people. If we arrest all the men, what happens to all the women and children in those polygamous families?”[csr 3.1 2004]

Shurtleff’s attempts to subpoena information about underage marriages have not yet succeeded, and Jeffs has not answered authorities’ calls to come forward. “We are being told that underage marriages are being performed by Warren Jeffs. Then we hear it’s not happening and they have nothing to hide. Then we’re hearing from women and children who have been down there that it is happening,” Shurtleff said. Community members seem especially suspicious of the state’s renewed interest because of a raid five decades ago in which many children were rounded up and taken into custody for a time by authorities.[csr 3.1 2004]

Jeremy Kingston, of Utah’s polygamous Kingston “clan,” was recently sentenced to one year in jail for marrying his 15-year old cousin, who is also his aunt. LuAnn Kingston, who left him last year and went to police, is now with her children in a new marriage, away from the group. She says: “This has been happening for generations. My mom is married to her uncle and she married him as a minor and they continue to do this. . . they are marrying minors to adults and they are now marrying minors to minors . . . It needs to stop.”[csr 3.1 2004]

(Nancy Perkins, Deseret Morning News, Internet, 1/22/04 and 1/26/04; AP in New York Times, Internet, 1/23/04; Hilary Groutage Smith, Salt Lake Tribune, Internet, 1/25/04 and 1/28/04; KLS TV, Internet, 1/26/04; Patrick O’Driscoll, USA Today, Internet, 1/26/04; Mark Hall, Havasu News, Internet, 2/5/04; Paul Davenport, Casper Star Tribune, Internet, 2/5/04) [csr 3.1 2004]

Arizona controlled by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints [FLDS]. [csr 3.1 2004]
The father, Dan Wyman, who gained his own court order against the boyfriend’s seeing his daughter in order “to ensure her safety,” said: “People talk about these young girls being married off [in the FLDS towns]. I was just trying to keep her from running off to get married until she’s older.” He said he and his wife and 13 children are a “peaceful family,” but came under state scrutiny when his daughter complained about being punished “with a few whacks with a willow [in the words of this report]. But Arizona officials found no abuse and the girl remained at home. It is likely now that she will return there from foster care in which the agency placed her. (Hilary G. Smith, Salt Lake Tribune, Internet, 1/31/04) [csr 3.1 2004]

Families Split as Control Tightens
The Wylers, of Colorado City, AZ, provide an example of family splits as Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints leader Warren Jeffs seeks to consolidate his control of the polygamous church by casting out those who will not obey him.[csr 3.1 2004]

Five grown daughters and sons of Marvin Wyler, 59, consider their other 24 siblings apostates. “This one just broke us clear wide open,” says Wyler, who remains a member of the church but does not believe in Jeffs as its prophet. “That’s pretty heartbreaking. My grandkids, I can’t even see. I can’t even give them a hug.”[csr 3.1 2004]

Jeffs forbids members from associating with apostates — whose land the church owns and whose wives are being reassigned to other men. He has canceled group gatherings, church activities, community dances, holiday celebrations and the hanging of American flags. Members who speak to the press risk losing their families and homes to the church.[csr 3.1 2004]

Marvin Wyler’s son Isaac, whose wives urged him not to leave — they have now been given to other men [so that their souls will be saved] — says: “Today, only a few will dare to think for themselves. They’ve been indoctrinated with the idea that their salvation with this life and the life to come depends on this man, so with that, he has all power over everybody.” But another of Wyler’s sons, Stephen Chatwin, says: “I believe just like father taught me. I don’t see why he should be sad. We all get our choice of belief.” [csr 3.1 2004]

Marvin Wyler says that he became disillusioned with Jeffs when the prophet ordered the congregation to “fast and pray for the execution of Jason Williams.” Williams unsuccessfully sued the church alleging his ex-wife was brainwashed to divorce him and become the plural wife of another man by former prophet Rulon Jeffs, Warren’s father. “I couldn’t go along with it,” Wyler says, so church members started shunning him. (Jane Zhang, The Spectrum [So. Utah], Internet, 2/13/04) [csr 3.1 2004

Another Perspective on “Runaways”
The father of Fawn Broadbent, one of the two Colorado City, AZ, teenagers who ran away from home in the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints community earlier this year, says his daughter had refused to go to school and that he and his wife are now willing to let her live away from them, provided this agreement is not seen as an admission that she was mistreated at home. [csr 3.1 2004]

Esther Holm, the mother of the other runaway, also named Fawn, says her daughter is a loving child but troubled by the departure from the community of some of her brothers. “She’s had a really hard time. We know that. We haven’t talked religion to her in our home for a long time. This is my eighteenth teenager. I’ve never had anyone take a child away from me. This is just terrible.” (Brooke Adams, Salt Lake Tribune, Internet, 2/26/04)[csr 3.1 2004]

Both Fawns are technically in state custody, but officials have not yet been able to locate them for assignment to foster homes. Joni Holm, Fawn’s sister-in-law, says she speaks with her niece every day, “but I’m not going to advise them to come out because I can’t guarantee their safety.” It is said the girls fear being sent home. (Nancy Perkins, Deseret Morning News, Internet, 4/7/04 [csr 3.1 2004]

Ideology of Control
Leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) towns in Arizona and Utah control followers through the doctrine that a man must have a least three wives in order to go to heaven, according to Ben Bistline, an excommunicated member, in his new self-published book, The Polygamists: A History of Colorado City, Arizona. He adds that FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, who has been excommunicating men who oppose his policies and very leadership, does not grant wives unless the men are deemed worthy, and worthiness is measured, says Bistline, by the amount of money they give to the people in power. [csr 3.1 2004]

“Your first responsibility is to the leaders. Your family comes second” in a community where the FLDS owns all the property and has the right to evict anyone, says the non-polygamous Bistline. Those who brought Jeffs to power, Bistline adds, “created a God, and their God got out of control.” Bistline calls Jeffs “an egotistical maniac” who “just does insane things.” (Jane Zhang, The Spectrum, South Utah, Internet, 3/17/04) [csr 3.1 2004]

Great Contrast between Two FLDS Towns
The town of Centennial Park, AZ, begun 20 years ago by polygamous families when they split with the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, appears to be a different kind of society. Unlike the FLDS towns, said one resident, “We have no political agenda. We don’t threaten men and we don’t threaten women.” In Centennial Park, in contrast to Colorado City, homes are well kept and neat, rather than unfinished and apparently unplanned, people are friendly to outsiders, church services are open to visitors, and the congregation seems integrated into the surrounding community. [csr 3.1 2004]

One plural wife, for example — who lives with her businessman husband and several other wives in a 33,000 square foot hotel-like home — teaches technology at the local high school. She and her co-wives each have luxurious living quarters, including jetted tubs, balconies, and walk in closets. The approximately 50 children sleep two or three to a room equipped with bath, computer, TV and VCR. [csr 3.1 2004]

“Ours is a lifestyle choice,” says the husband — who asked to remain anonymous — where people stay married. “Nor is coercion or constraint a factor. If a woman approaches me and wants to join the family, I tell her: ‘Tell me about the exciting things you’re doing in your life. I want to be stimulated when I talk to you. Don’t follow three steps behind me.’ ” (Hilary Groutage, Salt Lake Tribune, 3/14/04) [csr 3.1 2004]

Controlled Election
The recent Colorado City primary election for city council was a sham and indicates the tight control by Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints leaders over a population living under the unspoken rule that a break with church authorities, or questioning them, will lead to being thrown out of the community. When asked if residents voted under duress — three church-supported men received, respectively, 95.4 percent, 93.9 percent, and 97.2 percent of the vote — one local man replied, “absolutely not.”[csr 3.1 2004]

“But the fact is, vote results like this indicate a likelihood of a repressive community where, although residents may be legally allowed to challenge the existing authority, they could risk everything if they don’t fall in line.” Editorial, The Spectrum, South Utah, 3/14/04) [csr 3.1 2004]

Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints/Polygamy
Accused of Aiding Underage Marriage
Suzie Hubbs, 36, a wife in a polygamous household in Utah that belongs to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has been charged with abetting bigamy and illegal sex for getting her sister to marry into that household. Her husband, Rodney Holm, also 36, was charged with illegally marrying the sister. In the past, men have been charged for polygamy in Utah, although rarely, and this is the first time that a woman has been charged in connection with the practice. [csr 2.1 2003]

Anti-polygamy activist and former plural wife Flora Jessop said of the decision: “It is not only holding the man responsible but holding the other adults in the home responsible for not reporting child abuse.” (AP, Internet, 10/15/02) [csr 2.1 2003]

Writer of Memo Alleging Criminal Activity Sought
Officials are trying to identify the author of a purported Attorney General’s Office memo describing widespread criminal activity in the polygamous community of Colorado City, AZ, which is controlled by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. [csr 2.1 2003]

Attorney General Janet Napolitano says that the document is fraudulent, but her office says nonetheless that the information in the memo is accurate and addresses legitimate concerns, including allegations of widespread rape, incest, molestation, underage marriages, weapons violations, and welfare fraud. Some observers say that neither the state nor local jurisdictions have pressed to investigate or bring charges against such alleged abuses. [csr 2.1 2003]

A campaign led by state representative Linda Binder, of Lake Havasu, has urged the legislature and the Attorney General to take action against child abuse and other crimes in polygamous communities. Napolitano’s run for governor, and a wish not to get involved in religious freedom issues, may explain the lack of action. (John Dougherty, Phoenix New Times, Internet, 10/24/02) [csr 2.1 2003]

Politician Says Polygamist Group Is Like Branch Davidians
Arizona gubernatorial candidate Richard Mahoney’s TV ads claimed that the crimes allegedly committed by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a polygamist group, are “worse than Waco.” Mahoney suggested that the Mormon background of his opponent, Matt Salmon, would prevent the latter from going after the sect, which has been accused of rape, domestic violence, and welfare fraud, among other things. (Bill Whitaker, Waco Tribune Herald, Internet, 10/27/02) [csr 2.1 2003]