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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