FLDS sect’s property trust to remain with state, for now

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided to keep a polygamous sect’s property trust under government control Wednesday, siding, for now, with a state court judge in a heated judicial standoff, the Salt Lake Tribune reports:

The appellate judges blocked a federal court order that would have temporarily returned control to theFundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for the first time since the state of Utah took over the trust six years ago.

Court-appointed administrator Bruce Wisan will continue to run the trust but is barred from making any major changes.

U.S. District Judge Dee Benson ruled in February that the state takeover was illegal and this month signed the order temporarily returning it to the FLDS.

Then 3rd District Judge Denise Lindberg, who oversaw the administration of the trust following the state takeover, issued her own order blocking that move. She directed Wisan to disobey Benson’s order to turn over all records.

Benson responded by threatening to send federal marshals to bring Lindberg to his court for contempt proceedings.

The 10th Circuit, which is considering an appeal of Benson’s ruling, paused the standoff by granting Lindberg’s motion for an emergency stay. In an order filed Wednesday, the judges again sided with Lindberg, who argued that Benson overstepped his authority and violated her immunity as a judge.

The United Effort Plan trust was created by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 1942 on the concept of a “united order,” allowing followers to share in its assets. 

FLDS members consider communal living — a principle known as the Law of Consecration and the United Order — an integral part of their religion. Valued at more than $114 million, the trust holds most of the property and homes in the twin FLDS communities located in the border towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz.

But while the UEP was meant to be a good thing, ex-members claim cult leader Warren Jeffs — who rules the sect with an iron fist — used the trust for his own purposes (see video)

About the FLDS

Theologically the FLDS is a sect of the Mormon (LDS) Church.

Mormonism, in turn, is theologically a cult of Christianity.

Theologically, the FLDS is also considered to be a cult of Christianity.

Ironically, in contrast to the Mormon Church, the FLDS practices a more original version of Mormonism while LDS doctrines and teachings constantly change in response to outside pressure and realities.

The FLDS and dozens of other LDS sects came into existence when the Mormon Church was forced to renounce polygamy – till then one of its key doctrines. Followers of these sects are referred to as Mormon Fundamentalists.

Sociologically, the FLDS is a high-demand, high-control, destructive cult. Among other things, it teaches and practices polygamy, breaks up families and marriages, and has engaged in arranged and forced marriages — some with underaged girls.

Sociological vs. theological definitions of the term ‘cult.’
Research resources on the FLDS
Polygamous sects of the Mormon Church


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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday April 29, 2011.
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