Back to polygamyville | Buzz Blog

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Back to polygamyville

Posted By on December 6, 2009, 5:00 PM

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This week's cover story -- tentatively titled Shut Out, but that'll probably change -- marks my return to the Utah-Arizona strip after several years absence. Last time I was down there, writing a story about Margaret Cooke's return to Colorado City and the chilly reception she received, was an occasionally disturbing introduction to the tensions and pecularities of life in a polygamous community divided by far much more than simply a state line.---

My story this time around revolves around the United Effort Plan trust, which owns most of the land in the area, and the ongoing battle for control between the FLDS Church leadership and one-time exiles -- also known as apostates in FLDS lingo -- who are struggling to bring what they say are constitutional rights to the residents, both believers and not.

What most stuck in my mind were fragments, wisps of images. Girls in long dresses and wave-crowned hair playing soccer with boys in buttoned-up shirts, one on crutches, in the early afternoon sun in the park above the township. A little girl bouncing up and down on a miniature horse as she raced children on bikes up a dusty sidestreet. A young couple in a white compact following myself and photographer Chad Kirkland around. The roar of a van suddenly flying past us in an all too familar attempt at intimidation.

There are many strips of UEP-owned land where trust properties have been uprooted in "the midnight shuffle" and trucked away to other addresses or to be sold off, all conducted under the cloak of darkness rather than ask court-appointed fiduciary Bruce Wisan for permission. Some argue the FLDS are only building a rod for their own back by encouraging such lawlessness and apparent looting of town properties, but then who ever said logic ruled in this part of the world?


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