With approximately 10,000 members taking up residence in the twin towns of Arizona’s Colorado City and Utah’s Hildale, the members of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints are a closed group of polygamists that practice a very particular type of lifestyle. Not to be confused with the Mormons of LDS church, this lovely tribe of people are fairly closed off from the rest of the Western world. Currently headed up by Warren Jeffs (who is prison serving a life sentence on a charge of being an accomplice to two counts of sexual assault, not to mention the counts of incest and child assault for which he has not been convicted), the group’s life style choices may seem outlandish to the casual observer. But if you look a little closer, you’ll see that there are some even more fun facts about FLDS polygamists that are even more difficult to believe. Here are some tidbits to make your skin crawl:
13 Until Recently, They Weren’t Homeowners
Instead, the majority FLDS members used to live in homes that were owned by a trust managed by the polygamist community, known as the United Effort Plan. In 2005, the homes became the property of government officials. According to dailymail.co.uk, “About 24 families are now receiving deeds to their homes - a first for a community where nearly all the houses have belonged to sect leaders since 1942.” We suppose that when you have upwards of three wives and more children than you can count, a rental agreement might be a better life choice than investing in a home that you might simply outgrow, but the truth is that giving people the option of owning their residences provides them with a true sense of freedom.
12 Some Of The FLDS Leaders Have Had More Wives Than You Can Imagine
Taking over after his father’s death in 2002, FLDS leader Jeffs has over 70 wives. Apparently the more wives you have, the closer to the highest levels of heaven you get, or something along those lines. Although we’re not sure how that’s working out for wives, seeing as how they only get to marry one dude. What’s even more unusual is that they all live together—meaning that they either have a massive home or eat in shifts. According to reuters.com, one founder, Joseph Smith, married at least 24 women, with his successor, Brigham Young, taking approximately 20 brides.
11 Sources Of Entertainment Are A No-No
Feeling that it was too distracting to the faith, Warren Jeffs decided that certain forms of entertainment were off limits. Things like television and the Internet were obviously vetoed right away, with birthday and Christmas celebrations being nixed as well. According to ABC News, other forms of entertainment that were thrown to the wind included dogs, toys, camping and fishing—an unbelievable fact that has been confirmed by former FLDS members Joe Broadbent and his sister Sabrina. Jeffs believed that eliminating these things from everyday life was for the better of the community.
10 Red Is On The Outs
According to an article published by NBC News in 2008, female members of the FLDS polygamist group are prohibited from wearing the colour red. The first reason? Because it’s too sensual. The second? Apparently, Christ will be wearing the luscious hue when he returns to earth to claim his 10,000 followers. We’re pretty sure that Jeffs is laughing at that rule though—he was pulled over in a red sports car when the FBI caught up to him in 2006. Wonder what he had to say to his followers about rocking out in Christ’s future ride?
9 Polygamists Are Not To Be Confused With Mormons
According to the former president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Gordon B. Hinckley, “This Church has nothing whatever to do with those practicing polygamy…If any of our members are found to be practicing plural marriage, they are excommunicated, the most serious penalty the Church can impose. Not only are those so involved in direct violation of the civil law, they are in violation of the law of this Church.” Meaning that when you hear the word Mormon, it does not mean “polygamist”. The two sects went their separate ways nearly a century ago, so don’t get it twisted.
8 Alcohol And Coffee Are Ok For FLDS Followers, But Not Necessarily For More Traditional Followers Of The Mormon Faith
While we thought that maybe these indulgences might have been thrown out the window when leader Warren Jeffs decided that entertainment was no good for anyone, apparently coffee and alcohol are okay things in the FLDS faith, according to The Salt Lake City Tribune. Compounds even have bars and coffee shops on site, which is considerably progressive of the faith. According to the Huffington Post, the confusion lies in the fact that Mormon founder Joseph Smith “originally barred the consumption of alcohol, tobacco and hot drinks.” Today, while drinking alcohol is not accepted by the Mormon faith, caffeine is acceptable.
7 FLDS Polygamists Believe That Warren Jeffs Is President
According to ABC News, leader Jeffs “…ordered FLDS families to pull their children out of school and home-school them, using additional teachings from FLDS leaders, including Jeffs himself, who was once a schoolteacher.” The reasoning? Jeffs did not want the children to learn anything that could negatively influence them. Even better? Former FLDS members confirm that young children are taught that Jeffs is the actual president of the USA.
6 Canadian Polygamists Benefit Big When It Comes To The Canadian Child-Care Benefit
Bountiful, B.C. resident Winston Blackmore is the 58-year-old fundamentalist leader of a polygamist community in Canada. According to Canadian publication the National Post, he is also the father of 133 children under the age of 18—making him eligible for a $43, 160 paycheck from the Canadian government, which provides a monthly taxable amount (currently totalling $160 per child) to families with children under the age of eighteen. Blackmore, who is currently awaiting trial on polygamy charges, has approximately 24 wives—the mothers of his bounty of children.
5 Ankles Are Too Sexy To Show Off
Just like in the olden days, ankles are off-limits, which is why the women of the FLDS stay covered up all the time—from head to toe. Necks, arms, legs and ankles are all considered to be too sexy for public exposure, causing unnecessary problems in the community (jealously, lust, etc.). It probably makes for some pretty sweaty summers, which is probably why the ladies tend to stick to the pioneer-styled, pastel-hued dresses. According to NBC News, polygamy expert John Llewellyn, says “…the women cover themselves so that they're unattractive to the outside world or other men."
4 They Have An Actual Genetic Disorder Specific To Their Faith
This makes sense, seeing as how there are so few FLDS members, and that their sexual partners are limited. Known as fumarase deficiency, or polygamist Down’s, the condition affects the nervous system, causing developmental delays. Affected individuals often have smaller heads, larger foreheads and weak muscle tone. While infants usually only survive for mere months, there are a few children who have made it to their teens. According to reuters.com, “The twin border communities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona, have the world's highest known prevalence of fumarase deficiency, an enzyme irregularity that causes severe mental retardation brought on by cousin marriage, doctors say.”
3 Haircuts Are Off-Limits
Female of the FLDS don’t cut their hair—ever. The reasoning behind this one? According to ABC News, “…women cover their bodies from neck to ankles because their bodies are considered sacred temples that can’t be exposed. They also never cut their hair because, according to their teachings, they will need it in heaven to wash men's feet as an anointing.” Must get kind of intense if some chewing gum gets loose in the compound—although the ladies must definitely save a few dollars on haircuts every year.
2 Doing It Isn’t For Fun (We’re Totally Calling Them Out On Ohis One)
Due to the rape charges that Jeffs was named an accomplice on, and the similar charges that he wasn’t convicted of, we’re calling bull on this one. Apparently the FLDS only have sex to procreate—so if your wife is knocked up, you’re supposed to steer clear, as there isn’t any point to getting in on. Get this—from prison, Jeffs attempted to pass a new rule—married couples are no longer supposed to touch, or get it on. Instead, they are supposed to chose from a lot of 15 trusted that Jeffs has decided on.
1 One Wife Won’t Cut It
Three wives seems to be the minimum in the FLDS faith. While it isn’t written in stone, less than three ladies just won’t get you to where you want to be in heaven. The founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, established this rules way back in the 1800s. The FLDS members not only call for this minimum, but also depend on the prophet to arrange their marriages (he also grants your entrance into heaven). According to Canadian newspaper The Vancouver Sun, “The FLDS argues that the prohibition of polygamy does infringe their religious rights since they believe that men require multiple wives to reach the highest heavenly realm.” We wonder how the prophet lets them know who’s going to marry who?