Polygamist Capital of America Suffers Severe Flash Flood, Children Dead
The FLDS church led by imprisoned "prophet" Warren Jeffs (remember the raid on his Texas compound in 2004?) is based out of Hildale, Utah. That community suffered a severe flash flood today that killed at least a dozen with several more missing.
Considered a cult by some definitions, the FLDS founded the town of Hildale in the 1950s on the border with Arizona. Across the state line Colorado City, Arizona, is its sister city, also founded and run by the group. When authorities investigate or arrest members of the group they flee across the state lines, slowing the pursuit.
The FLDS are considered a cult because of rules like banishing the color red, children are not allowed to play with toys, and girls are expected to marry much older men assigned by their leaders starting at age 14.
The flash flood occurred in the early afternoon and ran down major streets, sweeping away a van and an SUV.
Due to polygamous practices, the vehicles were filled with three "sister wives" and their children. Television footage of the emergency response shows women in strange hair dos and home-sewn ankle-length dresses, the "uniform" of FLDS women. The men wear a lot of plaid and denim.
Because the church does not permit its members to have televisions, computers and radios, it was difficult to spread word about the flood.
It also means most of the town is related somehow.
Roughly 600 emergency responders from across the region arrived to help.
The residents who are members of the church are generally not allowed to speak with "outsiders" like firemen and police. Visitors who linger in the town generally find local deputies following them until they leave.
Members of the group are not "Mormons" or LDS. The founders of their church left Mormonism in the 1930s prior to practicing polygamy.