Cult busters

Legislature provides new tool to rescue Colorado City school district

This is a good-news editorial.

But it can’t be full of happy talk because the core issue remains deeply disturbing, illegal and so tightly entrenched that victims defend it.

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The good news nibbles around the edges of the polygamous cult that festers in Colorado City and in Hildale, Utah.


The FLDS is also considered to be a cult of Christianity. Sociologically,the group is a high-control cult.

Known as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, this group has nothing to do with the mainstream Mormon Church or any other legitimate religion. This is a cult, and it uses the trappings of religion to exercise complete control over its followers.

This editorial can’t praise law officers who rode in on fast horses and conquered a cult that assigns young girls as multiple wives of old men while driving young men away from the community.

That didn’t happen.

This editorial can’t rejoice in the fact that dramatic prosecutions have been announced against a group that allegedly engages in child sexual and physical abuse, welfare fraud and tax evasion.

Those prosecutions, we trust, are in the works. But they are, we are told, hard to put together because the cult members are too brainwashed to testify against their abusers.

This editorial does praise state lawmakers for giving Attorney General Terry Goddard another tool with which to begin curbing the excesses of this group.

And that is good news.

The cult, which holds a trust that controls most property used by its members, also controls the local school district, where financial mismanagement put the district $1.5 million in debt, at 6 percent interest, to the Arizona School Risk Retention Trust, which insures the state’s schools.

The district bounced teachers’ paychecks but found the money to buy a private airplane. Yet the state lacked the authority to do anything.

Until now.

A bill passed in this past session will allow the district to be put into receivership for financial mismanagement. Goddard says the process will begin as soon as the law takes effect.

It’s a nibble off the edge of a nasty problem.

But it is good news.

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The Arizona Republic, USA
May 24, 2005 Opinion

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