Saturday, April 25, 2015

Colorado City, Pipe Springs National Monument and More Rain

The onslaught of pictures of red rocks has been interrupted by rain.  I feel so bad for the tent campers in Zion.  Yesterday they had torrential rain and hail.  It has rained off and on all day today.  The roof of the RV is now covered in leaves from the over hanging trees.  I hate trees.

Anyway, with the weather being so terrible, we went for a drive.  We drove out towards Colorado City because, well, because we are nosy.  We see many sister wives in the grocery store in Hurricane. They are recognizable because they dress like this.  They're also wearing pants underneath those dresses.  That's gotta be hot in the summer.

Colorado City and Hilldale are both home to the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, who are polygamists.  Both towns are poor and look bad.  What really struck me is how many houses have fences like this.  It's probably because of people like me pointing cameras at them.  Most of the houses are owned by the FLDS church, and if you're not suitably subservient to what ever Jeffs brother is in charge, you can be ousted.  Due to the fact that about half the people in the two towns are descended from one of the two founders, there is a lot of cousin marriage.  This has resulted in a high incidence of fumarase deficiency, which leads to developmental disorders and death.  There are no dogs, the FLDS banned them. 

Why do they dress like that?  The dresses were instituted in 1953 after a raid on Colorado City.  Prior to that women could wear pants.  Every aspect of what women wear or do is controlled by the men.  They don't cut their hair (ever) because when they are in heaven, they'll be washing their husband's feet with it. 

If you're interested, here is an interesting piece on why they dress like that.  And HERE is an article on the community in general.
The Salt Lake City local news carried a piece the other night about the legal wife of Lyle Jeffs petitioning the courts for custody of their two youngest children.  In her brief she said that things were even worse under the rule of Lyle than under Warren.  The courts denied her requests.  You can read about it HERE.  Warren Jeffs, the current prophet, is serving life plus 20 for child rape.  The fact that underage girls are given to elderly men in marriage is not a secret.  Why the Justice Department does not arrest these people for human trafficking is beyond me.

After Colorado City, we drove out to the Pipe Springs National Monument.  This is a very interesting stop, and explains why the FLDS is in the area.   In the 1800s the Mormons moved in to the area around Pipe Springs.  They were heading west to escape the boundaries of the United States so they could have multiple wives.  Apparently Brigham Young had huge goals for the church; extending it into Mexico, to the west coast, and eventually the world.  The Mormon church built the Winsor Castle to sequester water and to be a way station for Mormons heading west.  This is a photo of a photo of the castle taken on a much nicer day.

After the US and Mexico signed a treaty, the land from sea to shining sea came under US rule.  The Eastern media equated polygamy with slavery, and consequently public sentiment was very much against it.  In response, the US government sent 2/3 of the standing army to Utah to put a stop to it.  Many sister wives ended up living in the Castle in secret so that the marshals would not put their husbands in jail. 

Like every encounter between the whites and the Native Americans, the local Paiutes lost, big time.  After measles and small pox had killed off 80% of the Native Americans; the sequestration of water, and the running of cattle on Paiute land killed their way of life.

There are some preserved old buildings and a little bit of live stock on the grounds.

There are ranger tours on the half hour of the castle.  If you're driving AZ 389, this is worth a stop.  There is a 20 minute video that discusses the history of the area that we thought was very well done.

It's now raining so hard it's bouncing.  Jim is wearing socks.  This almost never happens.


  1. We read a very interesting book called Escape by Carolyn Jessop that describes her escape from the FLDS in 2008. It is fascinating and is supposed to be made in to a movie at some point.

    1. I've seen references to the book, I should download it. It's hard to believe women and kids are having to escape in this day and age.

  2. Thanks for the interesting history lesson.