Bound by Fear: Polygamy in Arizona

For decades the state has let a feudal colony of fundamentalist Mormons force underage girls into illegal polygamous marriages

"Every child in that town is danger, every person is," Spencer warned.

Ruth's Destination

Despite the beatings, shunnings and jealousy, despite the dark thoughts that pushed her to wishing she were dead, Ruth Stubbs has moved back to Colorado City.

Located on the Arizona Strip, Colorado City is cut off from the rest of Arizona by the Grand Canyon to the south and the Colorado River to the east.
Located on the Arizona Strip, Colorado City is cut off from the rest of Arizona by the Grand Canyon to the south and the Colorado River to the east.
The Leroy S. Johnson Meeting Hall.
John Dougherty
The Leroy S. Johnson Meeting Hall.

"She got [to Phoenix], and it scared the hell out of her," said her sister, Pennie Peterson, who tried to convince Ruth that she should not return.

Peterson knows well the difficulties faced by young girls trying to flee the town, having experienced the same turmoil 15 years ago when she fled initially to Las Vegas.

"To come out . . . is like going into the twilight zone," she says. "It's scary."

Just weeks before her child-custody case in Maricopa County was to be settled late last year, Ruth moved in with another sister back in Colorado City. She had left the town 10 months earlier with two children, and returned with three -- the last also Rodney Holm's child.

A lifetime of religious indoctrination that demands strict obedience is not easily shaken.

"They still have control and power over her and can still talk her into whatever," Peterson says.

Her child-custody case has been moved to Washington County, Utah -- where the FLDS has more often than not prevailed in such matters. But Rodney Holm says he is not going to challenge Ruth over custody of the children.

Last December, Ruth hid from Utah authorities attempting to serve her a subpoena to testify in a preliminary hearing in the criminal case against Rodney.

Now that she had gone back, Ruth wasn't about to step into a courtroom full of FLDS faithful and testify against the man the Prophet had sealed her to for eternity. And Rodney doesn't expect her to cooperate with prosecutors in the trial later this year.

"My understanding is she is determined to not testify," he says.

Ruth has already gotten herself in big enough trouble; her interview with state investigators will not soon be forgotten by the FLDS. In fact, it is doubtful she can ever live down her sins.

"What she did is the worst crime that she could do [in the community]," Peterson says. "That is, she talked about their religion and exposed their secrets."

All because the Prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wouldn't let her marry the boy she loved who lived down the street

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Ken, (with regards to your comment on Apr 20th, 2008, 07:50)

I don�t believe what you suffered had anything to do with God; it�s a power struggle being fought by the truly weak and unstable inhabitants of this word, desperately trying to convince themselves of their self-righteousness when it�s so plain to see all they want is to be impervious to our laws and poke fun at morality. These people could sit in front of a mirror and look themselves in the eye and truly believe what they are doing is correct, like the saying �as happy as a pig in s**t� these creatures have never been educated to question, just to accept without question, so have no comparison. As for taking your own life, would you hang yourself in a barn cos the pigs got in the shit again?

What I�m trying to say is that you have broken away from that way of life, as you understood it be wrong, despite the fact it was the way you were raised, so you must see you are a very special, insightful and strong willed person to go against your family, your blood, and do what is obviously right and moral in this very corrupt world, this world needs more people like yourself to stand up for what is write, no matter what the consequences, don�t deprive the world..


Living without freedom.

Being born into the Polygamist Cult,FLDS Headquarter at the time was colorado city AZ, Being a child of the Black Family, knowing of others that have left (My couple of Uncles), that joined Satan and the evil people, outsiders the Gentiles as they were called,

It just meant that we would have to make up for the wrong that we had done to the community by being Pure and doing everything that the only proffit of god told us, even if it meant Killing anyone that he had asked us to even our parrents or brothers.

This life was just a test, a test to see if we are ready to Join Jesus in heaven, To build up the kingdom of heaven we need children and wives to bring with us in the afterlife, there are three levels of heaven and to be on the highest level where Jesus is then we need 3 wives, God knows when it is time for us to have children when girls can have children then they must have a child every 11 months and we will follow there cycles so we know when the time is right.

I felt bad for the Gentiles, Asking my Father "Is it fair that they are going to hell?" and the answer was well they might have another Chance but a new world will have to be built but God did that in 6 days so anything is possible.

Then he would add but since you have been chosen by god to be a part of Zion then if you were to leave then God would through your soul into the melting pot of Hell, where you would no longer exist in the afterlife,

I asked allot of questions wich was not good it meant that the evil spirit as my grandma taught me was doubting my faith in God (blind faith),

I remember being punished as a Child, Water torture was the method used by my grandma, I remember her water boarding my younger Brothers, to the point of breaking there spirit (spanking them then runing water over there face from the kitchen sink) , Grandma would say that the young toddlers were susceptible to evil spirits entering there bodies and that by doing this they would leave, Then as we got older around 9 or so she would change the methods of purifying our bodies by as she would say "Shocking the Devil out of us" throwing ice water in our face and making me angry at what point I would run as she would have my Cousins chasing me with water around the Yard and running away.

Remembering why I hate my brothers, I was always active when I was younger, running ect. my grandma would resort to giving me enema's as a form of discipline, she would ask my older brothers was (me) good when I was gone? and they would say nope, I would be like please don't lie, (They would mock me saying how does it feel to have water up my butt?)and laugh at me and my grandma would administer the water to the point I could not hold, crying the whole time, I would talk to my parents, and they would never listen. even to this day,

My mom says that grandma was just trying to help me and I was probly sick. no I was not sick my family was and has been 5 years since I have talked to my family, My dad is dead and my family is living to the best of there ability.

It has been 15 years since being kicked out by my Mom and I was 16 at the time and I still feel sad, Should I have just taken my life when I was younger, so much pain and unhappiness in the name of God.

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