The head of the polygamous church on the Utah-Arizona border has banished more members, ordering them to repent from afar of unspecified sins.
Several residents say Warren Jeffs, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, purged at least eight church members living in Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., in the past few weeks. Most residents of the twin cities support plural marriage as a tenet of their religion.
Richard Holm, a former Colorado City councilman who was ousted by Jeffs from the FLDS Church last year, put the number at eight, including one wife. Jeffs, who cast out 21 men in January, generally ousts only men, telling them to leave their wives and children behind.
Holm and Rodney Parker, a Salt Lake City attorney who represents the church, confirmed that Truman Barlow was among those told to leave.
Barlow is the son of the late polygamous prophet John Y. Barlow and brother to other church members who were thrown out in January, including longtime Colorado City Mayor Dan Barlow.
The “adjustments” ordered this year by Jeffs have drawn attention to the closed community, which lies in an isolated spot on the Arizona Strip north of the Grand Canyon.
Since the January expulsions, Utah and Arizona law enforcement have beefed up patrols in the twin cities and social service agencies have announced they are ready to help anyone who wants to leave the polygamous culture.
However, Jeffs and almost all residents refuse to talk to outsiders.
“It seems quiet,” Holm said Tuesday. “There’s a lot of fear.”