Skip to main content.
A non-profit service providing academics, religion professionals and other researchers with religion & cult news
ReligionNewsBlog

Religion news articles about religious cults, sects, world religions, and related issues

Home | About RNB Related: Cult FAQ | Cult Experts | Apologetics Index | Cult Information Search Engine
More articles about: FLDS, Polygamy:

Utah attorney general touring embattled polygamous sect’s community


ReligionNewsBlog.com • Friday December 19, 2008

“The truth is somewhere in the middle of all that.”

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff accepted his first-ever invitation from a polygamous sect to tour its embattled community Thursday, the clearest signal yet of high-level interest in resolving disputes over the group’s property trust.

Shurtleff visited the Harker Farm in Beryl on Wednesday and on Thursday toured the twin towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., where a majority of residents are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He is meeting with sect member Willie Jessop and attorneys Jim Bradshaw and Ken Okazaki.

The tour included a stop at the abandoned Western Precision building and the newly refurbished Cottonwood Park, which the sect again began managing a week ago.

Shurtleff’s staff has taken a leading role in negotiating a resolution to lawsuits over the sect’s United Effort Plan Trust, which for the past three years has been under court oversight.

The visit marks a turning point in relations between the sect and the Attorney General’s Office. Shurtleff said he had sought such a meeting for years.

“I couldn’t be happier that we’re talking face-to-face,” Shurtleff said. “I am very positive this whole UEP thing can be resolved.”

Shurtleff said he is still “sorting out” his feelings about what he has seen and heard in his first meetings with FLDS members.

“Obviously, I’ve heard one side of story for a long time and I’m hearing a different side of the story,” he said. “The truth is somewhere in the middle of all that.”

Bradshaw said the meeting “very productive,” adding, “There are a lot of really challenging and difficult issues, but we’re trying to work through them.”

Negotiations over the trust began after a Nov. 14 hearing in St. George that drew thousands of FLDS members who objected to a proposed sale of trust land they consider to have historic and religious significance. Rather than proceed with the hearing, 3rd District Judge Denise Lindberg asked the sect and a fiduciary overseeing the trust to “stand down” numerous lawsuits and attempt a “global resolution” of disputes.

Shurtleff met with fiduciary Bruce R. Wisan, his attorneys and a trust advisory board several weeks ago. He said he met with FLDS member Jessop, who is a spokesman for sect members, a week ago.
[...]

Shurtleff said a key aspect of the negotiations is coming up with way to pay fees owed to Wisan and his attorneys and sorting out the lawsuits over the Harker Farm. [...]

Shurtleff said he has heard from former sect members in the community who are concerned about what the resolution will mean, particularly whether they will be forced out of homes they now occupy with Wisan’s permission. Shurtleff said he plans to meet with those individuals as well.

But he said any resolution will also address non-FLDS members’ interests.

“We are not going back to way it was,” he said. “I hope we can get this to a point where everybody gives some and compromises and there is resolution. Every experience I have had here has been positive in that regard.”

- Source: Utah attorney general touring embattled polygamous sect’s community, Brooke Adams, The Salt Lake Tribune (Utah, USA), Dec. 18, 2008 — Summarized by Religion News Blog
info Original content is © Copyright Religion News Blog. All rights reserved.
    Do not republish or repost. Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

share this article Share this article

tag Related Articles

arrow Topic(s): FLDSPolygamy

Comment Comment

Join Religion News Blog at Google+ to comment, share, and follow.

RSS Feed Follow Us


 Follow

Religion News You May Like This As Well

Why are you not using Nozbe?

Don't you need to get things done?

Religion News Search Search Religion News Blog