Warren Jeffs’ polygamous sect, FLDS, in ‘sacred land’ standoff

Would you give up your home for your
religion? We’ve always had a place here. We’ve always called it home. The community has mostly been evicted. Short Creek. Technically, two towns:
Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona. The community straddles the state line
just south of Zion National Park, not called Zion by chance. These are sacred
lands to the FLDS or Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints.
The FLDS split from the mainstream Mormon Church a century ago, and settled
in Short Creek, isolated in the desert, where they could practice polygamy and
follow their fundamentalist faith, undisturbed. Their lifestyle is specific
and strict. Men marry multiple wives. Everyone obeys the authority of the
church, and the world is kept out. This is the only way of life I’ve ever known.
Because everyone around you was like you. Most of them are related in one way or
another. It was like a great big family here. Evictions are like the ultimate
spoiling of your goods. They would rather give up a $500,000 house
than sign a piece of paper that symbolized that they were violating what
they believed in. That piece of paper, it’s an agreement with a land trust that
owns almost all land in Short Creek. The FLDS Church used to control the trust,
but now the trust is in the hands of those who’ve left the church.
In 1942, members of the FLDS donated their houses and all their property to that land trust,
called the United Effort Plan or the UEP. It was land for their children, and their
children’s children, and their children’s children to grow up safe and secure in a
place to live. If they didn’t want to live our way of life,
everybody knew you could go, if you wanted to, but you couldn’t have land—
it belonged to the Lord and to the church. The UEP trust still owns most of the
land in Short Creek. It controls the town, it controls the property, controls the
fields, it controls the cemeteries and the parks. But the church no longer
controls the trust. That’s because of Warren Jeffs. Warren Jeffs is the prophet
and leader of the FLDS. He’s in prison for life for sexual abuse of minors, many
young girls who were his child brides. In 2005, when Warren Jeffs landed on
the FBI’s most wanted list and vanished on the run, the state took over the land trust. That was a direct attack on our faith.
The FLDS became even more closed off and distrustful of the outside world.
Well, Uncle Warren’s in prison on false charges. Inside the church, information is kept
limited. They’re taught not to trust the government or believe the news, so the
faithful are in fierce denial about Warren Jeffs being a convicted pedophile
and still believe he is their prophet who speaks the word of God. From prison,
he continues to control the church. Under Warren Jeffs’ leadership, rules became
stricter, and many left the faith, whether by choice or excommunication. Those still
in the church aren’t allowed to interact with former members, known to them as
apostates. We don’t talk to apostates. We feel like they’ve made their choice.
Go ahead, go live your life, don’t bother us. The ones that came back after they
already left, and came back to grab land, they should leave. Many of these
so-called apostates stay in Short Creek, living side-by-side but totally cut off
from their neighbors still in the faith. For me, I didn’t believe in the exact
same things as everyone around me. If I didn’t go to the same church that I was
gonna be ostracized. I made the decision to leave. I had no intention of ever
moving back to this place. Jeff Barlow moved back to Short Creek to
work for the UEP. He oversees the evictions. In order to stay in houses
owned by the trust, occupants have to sign that agreement with them — sort of
like a lease. But that’s a problem for the faithful because the trust is now
managed entirely by former members of the church, and the FLDS won’t interact
with them or sit on the trust’s board alongside them. Religious homes won’t
communicate at all with the trust, pay property taxes, or sign their agreement.
It’s not anything specific in the agreement, just that it means dealing
with apostates which is forbidden. So FLDS families are being evicted by the
trust. Is there anybody still inside the house? This is what they want us to sign. To sign this is like saying, “I acknowledge you own our sacred
land and therefore I no longer am part of the FLDS.” When taxes get to be five
years delinquent, the trust loses that property to the county. We’re gonna have
to take action to protect the property and give them an exact list of the
things that they need to do to stay in the home. Then we got a 10-day pay-or-vacate notice.
At that point we started packing up. I always come back to you. Always come
back to me. For the FLDS, their narrative is one of religious persecution. But from
the outside, it’s a bit like they’re opting into their plight, acting on
seemingly arbitrary restrictions. But to them, it’s real, regardless of the right
or wrongness of their ideology or the crimes of their leader. It’s what they’ve
been taught all their lives. To them, not only does going against the church mean
being ostracized by their community, it’s literally a matter of being banished
from heaven in the afterlife — that to them is worse than eviction. Pretty much
everyone in town is either in the religion or used to be — except for
Christine. Christine moved to Short Creek last year. Though never FLDS, she once
practiced polygamy herself with a man she believed to be a prophet. The
experience was extremely traumatizing for her. This is the famous crick. So now
she’s motivated to be an advocate for women in similar polygamist situations.
She runs a charity called Voices for Dignity. I just love it here. She’s taken
on the role of acting as a go-between for the FLDS in the UEP. By doing this,
she hopes to bring a stop to the evictions. And there are people that are
in desperate need of housing. They’re not just losing their home, they’re losing
their community, they’re losing their, their sacred places, they’re losing their
social support system, they’re losing everything they’ve ever known.
An FLDS food processing plant was evicted. The FLDS meetinghouse was evicted. Then, the storehouse was evicted.
Everything the storehouse had was donated or consecrated, and the
storehouse would distribute it to the needy. This was the storehouse, surrounded by
huge walls. The church built lots of walls around town. These walls are being
torn down by the trust for new tenants. This is really emotional for everyone in
town, both in and out of the religion. People stopped to watch. Gelene was kicked
out of the religion four years ago. She built these walls with everyone in the
church, so it’s weird for her seeing the walls finally come down. We’d go without food,
we’d go without clothing, we’d go without everything we could to help build those
walls. To see it all just be knocked down in minutes…
It meant liberation, but it’s hard, it’s emotional.
Overnight I was cut off. My husband was an apostate, and he had tainted me.
Although she stayed in Short Creek, she hasn’t had any contact with her friends
and family in the faith ever since. I was afraid to even get out of the car ’cause I didn’t
know if they would accept me or even talk to me here. Not everyone is sad
about the walls falling. No, I left the religion. These dear folks just don’t get
it, they think their holy prophet is a perfect priest and man, but he’s nothing
but a pedophile. I am really glad the walls are coming down. There’s a
deep and literal symbolism in these walls coming down. Norma’s home was also
posted for eviction, but she came up with a plan to keep her house, despite the
fact that she won’t sign the trust’s agreement. And I wrote up a letter of
intent. Says, “I intend to live here at this address, to pay the taxes yearly.” It
was not addressed to the reformed UEP because I don’t acknowledge that they
have any right to do it. And then Christine brings the letter to the UEP
for her. This means Norma herself isn’t violating her faith. This might seem a
bit roundabout, but it’s a huge step in bridging the chasm between those
in and out of the church. We were able to bypass this violation of their religion
through this agreement. These evictions were stopped. They have paid delinquent taxes and going forward they’ve also agreed to meet some of the minimum requirements for
occupancy. We would just ask the court to dismiss without prejudice. Once we get
that letter, we’ll update our records to show, and that the tax, they’re paid and we can avoid any evictions altogether. Helping people feel safe enough here that they dare
come back. We’ve been able to stop the eviction of four houses already with
this new method. You know, OK, when the next batch will come? We’re supposed to
be doing 20 every two weeks. What I’d rather do is give you time to talk to
him first. As long as we can find out that a letter is coming, then he can delay it
more. Does that mean they are gonna be off the posting list? Yeah, if they’re doing taxes, and
the lenders tell me it won’t take that long. Can we get the letter today? You think
you know who you are, and you’re set and stable in your life, and your religion,
and where you’re going, and then all of a sudden one day,
you have to relearn who you are, and I started looking and searching into the
Warren Jeffs files. And until that moment, I had no idea. It’s a hard road. Some people
love the changes, some people love the diversity, other people look back at the
60s and the 70s, and they long for those times where the whole town all belonged to
the same religion, and it was more homogenous, but we live where we live, we
live in the time we live, and that’s right now and right here. We’re all
family, we’re all part of the same community, we’re gonna have to find a way to coexist. I want my grandchildren to live here, and
to love it, and to be safe. We love our fences because it keeps our children in
and other people out. It’s still our sacred land. If you’re interested in more land rights issues in Utah, Bears Ears National Monument was just opened to
mining prospectors. Now anyone can stake a claim on the land, so NBC tried to.
Check out the video here.

100 thoughts on “Warren Jeffs’ polygamous sect, FLDS, in ‘sacred land’ standoff”

  1. Is there some way to restrict Warren Jeffs from making phone calls from prison? I think these FLDS communities should be shut down…it’s nothing more than a cult.

  2. All this sacred land is bullshit. No such thing, just a way to claim ownership of something that doesn't belong to you.

  3. The prophet gets all your assets, fucks your wife and daughters and you call him the son of God. Tell people they are special, control what they hear, work them sun up to sundown and they will do anything for you. None of these fat cows are special.

  4. Lol..it's all sacred lands of the natives these things are like Epstein follower's, sex slave industry is going strong in America..

  5. they could have created a micro nation only if they pay their taxes and just call it a donation to the united states. but im totally against incest and polygamist.

  6. This is necessary… I feel bad for those brainwashed women… but change is often painful. This is an abusive cult and it has been exceedingly diffcult to stop the abuse. These people need to be forced out and the de programming process will begin… it may not be a hundred percent… but giving different narratives to people living in these kinds of deviant societies is sort of a natural sociological key to repairing and minimizing the problem.

  7. "The Greater Southwest encompasses a broad area, including Arizona, New Mexico, southern Colorado, southern Utah, and far western Texas, as well as the northwest Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora. People lived in this arid to semi-arid landscape for more than 13,000 years before Europeans arrived; Major culture areas in the U.S. Southwest include the Ancestral Pueblo, the Mogollon, and the Hohokam. All of these groups were settled farmers"

  8. its not a faith …. get real man its all evil.. if you read the Holy Byble you will see what faith is…. damn some people are just so stupid

  9. Does any of these people realize about the laws where they live at. Someone should go in there and teach them about the laws and now this devil has been raping young girls. These people seem like they'd have zero intelligence that they are totally brainwashed they needs professional advice from Christian leaders to lawyers and counseling they are upset because they don't know any other way except that they don't know anything about the outside world this is very sad. I hope their profit gets the crap beat out of him I am surprised he is still living after raping all those young girls and these women don't know any better that these girls should not be having sex until they're of age nevermind with an old man

  10. No sympathy for these stupid dumbasses. They want to live this fucked-up life and hurt children, they deserve what they get.

  11. They stop the evictions, yet perpetuate the polygamy that enslaves women and brainwashes children. Utterly disgusting. Better that the families are evicted, seek outside help in desperation, and break free of the trance they’re in.

  12. These people get so much flack but these people need true repentance and salvation from the TRUE God of the Holy Bible.

  13. these people should not have a Fucking thing but what they believe in… go live in a fucking tent u bat shit crazies. Hello u women it’s 2019 time to get it together and speak for yourself and not be brainwashed abused women and allow your babies to be raped as u sit back and do nothing to save them from 40 plus year old men… disgusting!!! shame shame shame on all of you

  14. A prophet who profits from mindless, female morons and cretins then uses their little kids as sex toys. Now that is the real America.

  15. This is a violent and abusive cult that encourages child rape and brutality against woman. This is not anything anyone of any integrity should be supporting in any way shape or form.

  16. If it were truly of God, then they shouldn't obey the authority of the church, they should obey God.
    But of the three founders of the Mormon church, two recanted their claims that they received a revelation from God.

  17. There's no mention in here about Dream City Church and The Dream Center up there. The house W.J. used to abuse women is now being used to rehabilitate victims of sex abuse and trafficking. His wife who the property was given to gave it to the Dream Center. There's also a food bank starting up there because of Dream City Church. There is hope for these people.

  18. Ummmmm excuse me? "Sacred" land???
    I'm gonna say theirs probably a few Native American Tribes that should and do claim those as THEIR SACRED LAND.
    And since they got a few hundred to thousands of years more time in those areas…. So to literally kick them off their land an steal it, only to then turn around and claim people can't make you move cuz it's your SACRED land. Is about as big a slap in the face to all Native Americans past, present, and future.

  19. Wow, such awful comments here. These comments wouldn’t be made if the victims getting kicked out of their house were black, Brown or any other race other than white. The fact that these people are white means that they will get little support from the outside world. The truth is there is racism out there and in today’s world it’s against whites.

  20. This is nothing but a breeding ground for dirty pedophiles. And those fucking women give their children knowingly to those dirty pedophiles. And those children are raped in the name of God. I would like to castrate all those pedophiles with a very blunt knife.


  22. The Law should not concern itself with private morality. By doing so , it creates a sickening uniformity reminiscent of Soviet Communism at its worst.

  23. If Warren Jeffs cares about his people he needs to allow them to pay their taxes and keep their homes. He's so sick but I do feel sympathy for his followers, especially children that have no choice.

  24. I'm sure they dont even know the 1st commandment. THOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME. hypocrites they deserve what they have coming. Warren is being molested like he did to others for so many years. BAM!!

  25. Sacred land of rapists, homophobes who would hang everyone who didn’t agree with their fanatical religion if it weren’t for the US government. I say let them become homeless and have to deal with the real world where they can’t sell their daughters to pedos to keep up their lifestyle.

  26. He took over after the good one his dad rulan died and he forced them to accept him as their prophet every day in school prayers they had to say that

  27. I am in no way agreeing with their ideology, I wish everyone in that cult would realize the truth, but I feel terrible that they're losing their homes. I don't know about sacred land or anything but these people have been misguided into trusting a false religion and now instead of being helped and guided toward truth peacefully they're being punished in a way that's going to make their fear even worse. These aren't monsters they're lost people who are being forced out of the only homes they know and having their lives ripped away.

  28. It's the CHILDREN who are always going to suffer the most.

    The adults make the decisions that affect the lives of themselves and Everyone in their communities, who they'll worship and how, and who they'll associate with, but it's the people who have the most to lose that will suffer the most for these decisions, good or bad.

    And the people who have the most to lose are ALWAYS the children.

    Maybe these people should start placing more value on their children's lives and a little less on the charlatan who's in prison for using Religion to justify his own pedophilic sexual deviance.

    The brainwashing has to STOP before the cycle can be broken.

  29. He keeps out the world so you people won't know what a fake and twisted man Jeff's is. God wouldn't speak to a pedophile and I wish all you idiots who gave him your daughters should rot with him. A REAL prophet following God's law wouldn't want to sleep with a bunch of children! How can you be so ignorant???????

  30. I know what they doing is wrong but it is heartbreaking to see people being evicted but they should’ve signed that paper

  31. The trust just wants the residents to pay a fee to cover the taxes. $100 a year per household. That's it. That's not unreasonable. Hell, the residents can pay the taxes themselves as shown in the video.

  32. I dont care how adults decide to live their lives as long as they arent harming anyone and they are open with themselves and are in love. If a group of adults have chosen to live a polygamous life and they go into it with open eyes and understanding who am I to judge but here is the key word……. adult. Anyone under 21 is too young to fully grasp the psychological ramifications of such a complex net of relationships. When it comes to kids they cant make such decisions, they have no knowledge or experience on which to process and truly make such a choice and to be honest anyone who marries off a kid in my view is guilty of abuse and even grooming if it was a pattern of behavior. I wish the FLDS members would realise the difference between what Jeff brainwashed them of and the answer. Jeff isnt a prophet, he isnt a messenger of God, he is a man with sick perversions.

  33. False charges??? ? Are u kidding me???? it's cuz these people are so brainwashed it's okay if minors get raped old ass perverts like this, freaking polygamous piece of crap!!!; He created this group so that he can practice his perversion on young girls and molest young girls and rape them with everybody thinking is okay I cannot believe people think this is okay!!!!! Get it together people it's not ok!!!!! It's rape n child molesation as you please!!!! It's just pure child pedophile

  34. Sacred? By Proclamation. JosephsMyth did the samething:: he claimed The Garden of Eden is in Missouri. And so on. The Navajo and Hopi were here. Mormons showed up c. 1870 in this area.

  35. This is a borning ass life these wife nd kids have they in a Desert with nothing no life i agree take they property away they in a nasty dangrouse lieing ass cult

  36. Sacred land my mother fuckn ass
    Your so called prophet is a pedophile the way you live is disgusting and not righteous at all you so called mothers let your daughters get raped and beaten by multiple men as you watch you all are a bunch of sick fucks

  37. “ wah wah wah we need our sacred land to keep raping children and ripping off the government!” We are not criminals LOL we are religious warriors STF you and the Stepford bitch narrating this stupid documentary. Their idea of “all in the family is not my idea of all in the family LOL. I bet there are some videos Somewhere online of the X-rated kind if you know what I mean but they won’t admit it

  38. These people are FUCKING sick! Living on STOLEN land and led by a fucking pedophile! Warren Jeff’s needs a needle in his veins and quick!

  39. So, where are they gonna live? According to them, the world is full of apostates. Which they still would a)have to pay property tax b)communicate or talk with them.
    So just sign the damn paper and talk to them as little as possible. No matter what the real world does t live by their rules.

  40. “Direct attack on our faith” Even if you accept the polygamy, Jeffs has ordered the rape of so many women and girls. Children are being abused. Husbands are neglectful and brainwashing and scaring their wives into obeying them without having their own will. Fuck a faith that abuses women and children. Watch any of the surviors stories. These people are fooling the outside world into believing that their “faith” is okay. Rape is wrong. Abuse is wrong. Slavery is wrong. That’s essentially what they are. Slaves to Warren Jeffs. That’s why everyone is leaving. I pray that these people will be set free.

  41. You had to escape like a ninja to get out you couldn’t just walk out. Want your kids to go with you? To bad! The church and residents decided that your kids are no longer your kids

  42. Oh boo hoo hoo. This is a VERY sick religion, and maybe when the older members of the community die off, their children can have a chance. How is Warren Jeffs not cut off from his mail and phone priviledges???

  43. The women and children have been so brainwashed that they’re completely blind to everything that’s wrong with this cult. It’s all they know. All they’ve been taught. It’s so incredibly sad and scary. Evictions need to continue and the state needs to intervene and provide housing & psychological help to them. I don’t even understand how this community and cult exists. How is it even legal???!! Where are the police? I don’t understand how polygamy is legal in any form. This way of life is so inhumane to women and innocent children. I pray they find themselves and their worth. I pray they one day see that God wants more for their lives.

  44. My gosh people, you belong to a CULT that has killed the souls of to many children. You do have choices but chose to be victims. So be it.

  45. Stop playing the victim you brought this on you by yourself by believing Warren Jeff he no a prophet he is a pedophile and a scam artist…

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