Colorado FLDS site searched
A Colorado sheriff used a search warrant to accompany zoning officials on a search of property tied to the Fundamentalist LDS Church.
Custer County Sheriff Fred Jobe obtained the warrant after FLDS members initially denied them entry to the property near Westcliffe, Colo., on July 3. Custer County zoning director Jackie Hobby told the Deseret News she was investigating a zoning complaint about property owned by a member of the polygamous sect.
“We have to follow up on complaints,” she said Friday.
Hobby said she had concerns about venturing onto the property alone and asked to have a police escort.
“They (the FLDS) said no, I could come by myself but I couldn’t bring the cops in,” she said.
Jobe obtained a warrant that allowed him and another deputy to escort Hobby onto the property, she said. Jobe didn’t return a call seeking comment on Friday, but he told Westcliffe’s Wet Mountain Tribune newspaper the warrant did not allow them to search anything for signs of criminal activity.
“Had we seen any criminal activity in plain sight we could have taken action. But that was not the case. We saw no criminal activity,” he told the newspaper.
The Deseret News is indirectly owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (widely known as the Mormon or LDS Church).
This explains why the paper refers to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as the ‘Fundamentalist LDS Church’. The Mormon Church recently started a campaign to try and get the media to accept its version of history with regards to the FLDS — a sect that separated itself from the LDS Church. The LDS Church wants the media to stop equating the two groups.
However, the FLDS has responded to the campaign by rightly pointing out not only that they “are Mormons, too,” but that in fact they — as Fundamentalist Mormons — practice a more original Mormonism than does the official Mormon Church today.
That said, both the LDS Church and its FLDS offshoot are, theologically, considered to be cults of Christianity.
Afraid of what sect might do
Custer County’s sheriff is taking a stand.
“We don’t want them here,” Fred Jobe says of the polygamists who quietly are settling onto his turf. “I just don’t want them to think they’re gonna move in and take over the county.”
As Jobe tells it, followers of Warren Jeffs‘ Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have moved into four compounds in Custer County and two in Fremont County.
At the prodding of an anti-FLDS group called Step Up, Thomas and nearly 200 locals crammed into Custer County Middle School’s gym Thursday to learn about their new neighbors from a woman who escaped from a similar sect.Trailer: Banking on Heaven.
Laurie Allen’s documentary, “Banking on Heaven,” features accounts of mind-control and child molestation, labor violations and hunger in Colorado City, the FLDS hub on the Arizona-Utah line. Allen raised legitimate concerns about child abuse, welfare fraud and teenage boys cast from the sect so parents can offer their daughters to Jeff’s loyal elders.
With rapt applause from her audience, she went further by mocking the religion, which she likens to the Taliban, and deriding its minions as unChristian followers of polygamous Old Testament Jews. Allen — who encourages raids on the group such as the one this year in Eldorado, Texas — raised fears Thursday about the sect propagating like rabbits, drowning deformed babies, taking over county government and engaging in Waco-like standoffs, Jonestown-like mass suicides, Auschwitz-like incinerations and other unneighborly acts of blood atonement.
I have covered the FLDS, been harassed by polygamous police goons in Colorado City and had my car keyed and a colleague’s tire slashed while reporting on women who fled.
I empathize with residents loath to ignore abuses in their neighborhoods and laud them for contemplating safehouses should sect members seek their help.
But there’s no evidence of wrongdoing among the FLDS in Custer County, where I’m assuming there is still religious freedom and the presumption that we are innocent until proved guilty.