Justice Department sues polygamist towns in Utah and Arizona

Cafe run by polygamist wives. Hildale UT

In what is certainly a novel approach, the Department of Justice has sued two polygamist towns for religious discrimination against non-members and expelled members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS). This includes “denying non-FLDS individuals housing, police protection, and access to public space and services”. The joint lawsuit is against neighboring Hildale, Arizona and Colorado City, Arizona, which are controlled entirely by FLDS members.

The current head of FLDS, Warren Jeffs, is serving a life sentence in Texas on child sex and bigamy charges, including sexual assault on a 12 year old girl. The issues and facts about polygamists are confused and murky. I recently lived for two years in Cedar City, Utah not too far from Hildale. Perhaps I can shed some light here.

I once mentioned to someone raised in Utah that I thought hiking near polyg (“polyg” is Utah slang for polygamist) areas could be dangerous. He smiled and said, “They’d never find the body.” A garbage truck driver told me he drove to remote polygamist encampments once a week. The men drag the trash bins out to the public road and stand with rifles to insure he doesn’t enter their land.

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