Polygamy: Trouble In Colorado City Essay

1623 words - 6 pages

Colorado City-Hildale (more commonly known as Colorado City), an isolated town straddling the Arizona-Utah border, has been home to a vigilant Mormon polygamist sect for approximately eighty-five years. Polygamy, also called plural marriage, is the practice of having more than one spouse at one time. In Colorado City, men are the ones taking multiple wives. Breathtaking mountains towering the boundaries of Colorado City act as thick, masonry walls to a fortified fortress. These walls conceal a community contaminated by brainwashing, male chauvinism and abuse toward women and children. Many older, male members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) sexually abuse young children, girls in particular. In many cases, the community will force adolescent girls into marriage with these much older men. The FLDS excommunicates young boys for the most minuscule violations. Men regard women as mere objects, possessions really, only to bear children and cater to their every whim; women must be subservient. Run by one man, Warren Jeffs, this town holds many dark secrets guarded by its inhabitants.After the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) banned the practice of polygamy in 1890, a group of Mormons founded Colorado City in 1913, an isolated location where they could continue the practice without persecution. Straddling a state border, escape would be easy in the event of an invasion by law enforcement. In addition, the vast mountains shielded the town from the rest of society and its "evils". For several decades, the people of Colorado City practiced polygamy with little interference from outsiders. On July 26, 1953, troops raided the town in order to prosecute the polygamists under the command of Arizona Governor, John Howard Pyle. Public sympathy for the polygamists stemmed from newsreels of crying children being torn from their fathers and herded into foster homes. As a result, several of the polygamist men got off with only a short probation and Pyle lost support in the next election. Since the invasion, the FLDS, one man in particular, has ruled the city.Warren Jeffs, prophet and leader of the FLDS, gained his position after his father's death in September of 2002. Jeffs has complete control over all of the members of the church, including unofficial control over law enforcement. As prophet and leader of the FLDS, Jeffs performs marriages and assigns wives to husbands, sometimes relatives. If a woman refuses an arrangement, she could face abuse, death or excommunication from her family, the FLDS or both. If a man is on Jeffs' good side, Jeffs will reward the man with more than one wife. However, Jeffs also exhibits his power by reassigning a man's wives, children and home as a form of punishment. Currently, Jeffs is one of the FBI's most wanted fugitives. He is wanted in Mohave County, Arizona for conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor. Jeffs disappeared from public eye two years ago, when he...

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