Home Culture Culture Lists

Photos from Inside the FLDS

A glimpse behind the walls of a closed fundmantalist community

Colorado City, Short Creek, Mormon

Members of FLDS in Hilldale, Utah constructed high walls around their homes.

Trent Nelson

Known collectively as Short Creek, the towns of Hildale and Colorado City, on the border of Utah and Arizona, respectively, have a total population of about 8,000, the majority of which are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It is the largest polygamist enclave in America. For generations, the FLDS leadership has had total control over this desert outpost on the edge of the Grand Canyon, selecting the mayors, the city council and even the town marshals without issue. But in recent years, the DOJ has been investigating allegations that the two towns have been violating residents' civil rights, allowing the church to use public officials to run members who left the faith — "apostates" in FLDS parlance — out of town, denying utility hookups and even spying on citizens.

Church of Latter Day Saints; Hildale; Colorado Springs; Arizona; Warren Jeffs

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune driving around, in Hildale, Utah, Saturday, January 14, 2012. walls

Trent Nelson

Hildale, Utah

FLDS constructed high walls around the city to keep the community as closed as possible.

Church of Latter Day Saints; Hildale; Colorado Springs; Arizona; Warren Jeffs

Colorado City -, Tuesday August 11, 2009. boys on horses with sheep. they yelled "get outta here!"

Trent Nelson

Daily Life in Colorado City

FLDS boys on horses tend to their sheep and yell, "Get outta here!"

Church of Latter Day Saints; Hildale; Colorado Springs; Arizona; Warren Jeffs

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Children climbing a fence at what was once a thriving community zoo, Friday November 30, 2012 in Hildale.

Trent Nelson

Community Zoo

Children climb a fence at what was once a thriving community zoo in Hildale, Utah.

Church of Latter Day Saints; Hildale; Colorado Springs; Arizona; Warren Jeffs

Trent Nelson

Polygamous FLDS Community

A grave marker reads "baby girl" in a cemetery for children in the polygamous FLDS community of Hildale, Utah.

Church of Latter Day Saints; Hildale; Colorado Springs; Arizona; Warren Jeffs

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Allie Steed does her hair, Helen Holm at rear on Saturday December 1, 2012 in Colorado City. The three young women recently left the FLDS church.

Trent Nelson

Doing Their Hair

Allie Steed does her hair while her friend Helen Holm watches. Both women recently left the FLDS church.

Church of Latter Day Saints; Hildale; Colorado Springs; Arizona; Warren Jeffs

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Allie Steed, Helen Holm and Heidi Holm on Saturday December 1, 2012 in Colorado City. The three young women recently left the FLDS church.

Trent Nelson

Women of the FLDS Church

Allie Steed, Helen Holm and Heidi Holm in Colorado City, Arizona, in 2012. The three young women recently left the FLDS church.

Church of Latter Day Saints; Hildale; Colorado Springs; Arizona; Warren Jeffs

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune home with green fence and zion sign over door, in Colorado City Thursday, October 10, 2013.

Trent Nelson

Home of Zion

A Zion sign that notes a place of the "pure in the heart" hangs over a door in Colorado City, Arizona. 

Church of Latter Day Saints; Hildale; Colorado Springs; Arizona; Warren Jeffs

Hildale - A sign in the Hildale Justice Court reads: "No one has a finer command of language than the person who keeps his mouth shut.". for FLDS Hildale/Colorado City Town Marshal story; 12.20.2006

Trent Nelson

Hildale Court House

A sign in the Hildale Justice Court reads, "No one has a finer command of language than the person who keeps his mouth shut."

Church of Latter Day Saints; Hildale; Colorado Springs; Arizona; Warren Jeffs

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Children take in the scene in a Hildale wash where two vehicles came to rest after a flash flood that killed nine people (with four still missing) Tuesday September 15, 2015., the day after an SUV and a van were washed off a road during a flash flood in this polygamous Utah-Arizona border community.

Trent Nelson

Flash Flood

Children take in the scene of a Hildale wash after a flash flood killed 13 people.

Church of Latter Day Saints; Hildale; Colorado Springs; Arizona; Warren Jeffs

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune People gather to look at the Short Creek Wash in Colorado City, Arizona, Wednesday September 16, 2015. The Utah National Guard and law enforcement on Wednesday resumed searching for the last known victim of a flash flood that tore through this polygamous border town home to followers of Warren Jeffs, leaving 13 dead and three injured, all of them women and children.

Trent Nelson

After the Flood

Women and children gather near the Short Creek Wash in Colorado City, Arizona, as the Utah National Guard and law enforcement search for the last known victims of the flash flood.

Show Comments