The story of how a polygamous sect rules the sister towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., has fascinated journalists and law enforcement for years.
I’ve previously written about the sect for GetReligion here. The latest news has been how an influx of new residents into the area is slowly loosening the FLDS’ grip.
One’s worst enemies are always from within, as the Associated Press told us last week. It turns out that Hildale’s new mayor, who is stirring up things, knows the ins and outs of the sect only too well.
The new mayor of a mostly polygamous town on the Utah-Arizona border is finishing off a complete overhaul of municipal staff and boards after mass resignations when she took office in January to become the first woman and first non-member of the polygamous sect to hold the seat.
Six of the seven Hildale, Utah, town workers quit after Mayor Donia Jessop was elected and took charge of the local government run by the sect for more than a century. They were joined by nine members of various town boards, including utility board chairman Jacob N. Jessop. All were members of the sect, the mayor said.
Jacob Jessop said his religious beliefs prevented him from working for a woman and with people who are not sect members, according to resignation letters obtained Thursday by The Associated Press through a public records request. The mayor’s husband is distantly related to Jessop in the town of about 3,000 people where many have that last name.
Most are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, an offshoot of Mormonism that continues polygamy more than a century after mainstream Mormons ceased doing so.
What’s really interesting is the nature of the new mayor herself: