Colorado City, Arizona

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Colorado City is a town in Mohave County, Arizona, United States, and is located in a region known as the Arizona Strip. According to 2006 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the town was 4,607.[2] At least three Mormon fundamentalist sects are said to have been based there.[3]

Contents

History

Colorado City, formerly known as Short Creek (or the Short Creek Community), was founded in 1913[4] by members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a breakaway sect of the Salt Lake City-based The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The FLDS membership desired a remote location where they could practice plural marriage, which had been publicly abandoned by the LDS Church in 1890. On July 26, 1953, Arizona Governor John Howard Pyle sent troops into the settlement to stop polygamy in what became known as the Short Creek raid. The two-year legal battle that followed became a public relations disaster that damaged Pyle's political career and set a hands-off tone toward the town in Arizona for the next fifty years.[5]

In January 2004, the local religious leader, Warren Jeffs, expelled a group of twenty men, including the mayor, and gave their wives and children to other men. Jeffs stated he was acting on the orders of God, while the men expelled claimed they were penalized for disagreeing with Jeffs. Observers stated that this was the most severe split to date within the community other than the split between Colorado City and Centennial Park.

According to the Utah attorney general's office, this was not the first time Jeffs was accused for expelling men from the community; as many as four-hundred young men are estimated to have been expelled by Jeffs from 2001–2006. Most were removed for failing to follow Jeffs' rules, or for dating women without his permission. These expelled men and boys, many very naïve and sheltered, often wound up homeless and using drugs in nearby towns such as Hurricane, Utah.[6]

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