Mayor Zitting: It’s business as usual in Hildale
HILDALE – The rumors of a mass exodus of people from Hildale and Colorado City to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints‘ compound in Eldorado, Texas, appear to be just that – rumors.
Hildale Mayor David Zitting said Monday that he hadn’t noticed that anyone had left.
“I drove over here, and there are people around,” Zitting said.
It was business as usual Monday. The city offices were open, as were local businesses. Some of the residents may have left for Texas, but apparently not in large numbers.
But some people have left the twin cities, and they left home without warning, as Colorado City resident Ross Chatwin found out. Chatwin, who shared a house and was disputing the ownership of the home with his brother Steven, visited his father less than a mile away on March 27. Two hours later, when Chatwin and his family returned home, they found that Steven and his family had packed up and left without leaving word as to where they had gone.
“We came back and everything was gone – the washer, dryer, stove and refrigerator – everything,” Chatwin said. “It was like he never lived here.”
Although Chatwin has no proof his brother left for Eldorado, he believes that is where his brother went.
Wednesday marks the 175th anniversary of the founding of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Joseph Smith. It also is Conference Day for those of the FLDS religion, which teaches polygamy as part of its doctrine. While the FLDS church holds to its roots with the LDS church, FLDS members are banned from LDS temples. In fact, the LDS church excommunicates members who practice polygamy.
Wednesday is supposed to be set aside as a day for fasting and praying, and the new FLDS temple in Texas is expected to be dedicated that day. However, Chatwin said that Warren Jeffs, the self-proclaimed prophet of the FLDS faith, also has predicted Wednesday, April 6, to be the end of the world.
“Eldorado is a new beginning, and the rest of the world will be swept clean,” Chatwin said. “During the destruction, Jeffs and the faithful will be lifted up into the clouds.”
While Ross Chatwin isn’t buying any of Jeffs’ claims, Chatwin said Jeffs has predicted the end of the world several times in the past.
Chatwin said because his brother is still faithful to Jeffs, Chatwin is worried about what will happen if the apocalypse doesn’t materialize.
“I’m just worried that Warren may do something radical,” Chatwin said.
But after Wednesday, when the day has come and gone without any ending of the world, Chatwin said he is hopeful that his brother and others faithful to Jeffs will recognize Jeffs for what he is and isn’t.
“I think a lot of people have had enough (of Warren), and once they realize this was a wild goose chase, I hope they will return home, and they will be welcomed back,” Chatwin said.