March 05, 2005

Polygamous church may pull up roots

Rocky Mountain News

By Travis Reed, Associated Press
March 5, 2005

HILDALE, Utah - No one in this secluded polygamous town along the Arizona border is necessarily sure what it will look like a month from now. They don't know where they will live, who will live with them or whether they will be torn from their families and neighbors and uprooted two states away.

Or, if they do know, they're not saying. And neither is the man who will make that decision for them, the reclusive prophet of the polygamous Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who reportedly is building a heavily fortified compound in Texas where he and his closest supporters will live.

"I'm not in a position where I would know much about it, so I don't know that I could really comment one way or the other," said church member David Zitting, who also is Hildale's mayor.

Observers of the church, however, are convinced that church prophet Warren Jeffs, who has a reported 50 to 70 wives, is culling his flock and preparing the most devout followers for the move to Texas to avoid prosecution in Utah on allegations of forced child marriages, sexual abuse, welfare fraud and tax evasion.

Posted by kshaw at March 5, 2005 08:59 AM