Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Jeffs' conviction ruling points to worsening FLDS land war

Posted By on July 27, 2010, 5:27 PM

Genevive Hainline lives in a house close to the main highway that runs through twin polygamous townships Hildale and Colorado City. Walk from the kitchen into the living room you pass under an arch that reads "Welcome home." ---For Hainline, though, there's little outside of her house that makes Colorado City very homelike these days.

She was granted permission to move in several years ago by the United Effort Plan trust, which owns most of the land the FLDS and non-FLDS residents of the twin townships Colorado City and Hildale reside on. But as a recent video shown on KUTV demonstrates, local judicial forces seem intent on pushing her out. She was arrested with her husband and held over night in jail by local law officials enforcing a local judge's order, one that's reportedly countermanded however by a state judge's ruling.

Hainline was granted access to the property in 2008 by the Utah court-appointed UEP trust and has been renovating it piece by piece with her husband. When she took possession, it was little more than a shell with one exterior wall missing, the interiors full of inches of dirt, dead pigeons and cat corpses.

Although she and her mother were kicked out when she was one, she returned to the polygamous townships for many summers, she said. "We grew up haulin hay, riding horses around town, hiking, bottling in summer, eatin' peaches till we were sick." She wanted to give her children the same idyllic childhood. 

But when I visited her last September for my cover story on the ongoing battles between the FLDS and the UEP, entitled Polygamist vs Polygamist, the continuing harassment of, she claimed, neighbors who view her as the enemy, videoing her every movement, and cops constantly and menacingly checking on her, was making her life hell. Three officers came over one time, she recalled, while she was picking up trash on her property, which, she said had been abandoned for six years before she moved in, and asked her what she was doing.

Much of the tension focused on a garage at the end of her property and a neighbor's struggles, she alleged, to take it over when she wasn't looking and turn it into an apartment that would help the FLDS force her off the land. She in turn was trying to get the UEP to give the rest of the lot. "I don't want to live in misery with these guys taking my home away that I'm banking on."

Hainline father and grandfather, she says, donated 70 acres to the UEP. It's her heritage and one that the FLDS seem determined to deny her. She, along with Ron and Ginger Cooke and others who once belonged to the FLDS, left and returned once the UEP opened up the land to those they saw as having legitimate involvement in its past, have faced increasingly aggressive tactics to get them to leave the polygamous townships before the Utah Supreme Court makes a decision on the fate of the land's ownership. Reports of horse shootings, crops being plowed over and residents being run off the road, all allegedly by FLDS members, have raised the temperature of the land war to new heights.  

In the meantime, with the reversal today by Utah's Supreme Court of Warren Jeffs' conviction of two counts of felony rape as an accomplice to child rape, the FLDS, say insiders, will only step up their campaign of what non-FLDS residents in the townships term intimidatory and violent tactics to get them to leave.

For Hainline, the tactics, she said in September felt like an attempt at "religious cleansing. They're trying to purify [the townships] and make it God's land. They have to get the evil influences out of the community, build a wall around it," she says about the intentions of her polygamous neighbors.  

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