Polygamy: Trouble in Colorado City

Essay by sardiddleCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 2006

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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...