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A Historically Polygamist Town Is Allowing Home Ownership For The First Time Ever

Photo of Colorado City sign.
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For most of his life Don Holm was a faithful member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints — a polygamist group often referred to as FLDS. Then, in 2004, Warren Jeffs — the group’s prophet — deemed Holm unworthy of his family and the home that he had built. He kicked Holm out.

“It was the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life,” Holm said.

Under Jeffs’ leadership, the FLDS Church had control of all the money and land of their religious community. It was all part of the United Effort Plan Trust, or UEP.

Holm watched as Jeffs was arrested in 2006, and the state of Utah took over the Trust. A board of local residents was appointed to run the trust, and in 2014, Holm petitioned it to get his home back. The board granted his request.

“It had been run down some, we had to do new flooring and repaint it,” Holm said.

Although Holm moved back in, he didn’t own the land. His home is right on the Utah’s southern border with Colorado City, Arizona and the city leaders there — still largely run by FLDS members — fought against any home ownership. Until now.

The UEP Board of Trustees and the City Council had came to an agreement. They would permit parcels of land to be subsidized, divided up, and handed over to the rightful owners.

Last Friday, during a ceremony at Mohave Community College, the first four deeds were signed in Colorado City. Holm was one of those who signed.

“I would love to see this community come back to where it was before.” Hold said. “Where everybody was looking out after each other.”

Holm sees this as a small step for the community to reclaim what a corrupt leader had stripped away over 10 years ago.

Lee Hale began listening to KUER while he was teaching English at a Middle School in West Jordan (his one hour commute made for plenty of listening time). Inspired by what he heard he applied for the Kroc Fellowship at NPR headquarters in DC and to his surprise, he got it. Since then he has reported on topics ranging from TSA PreCheck to micro apartments in overcrowded cities to the various ways zoo animals stay cool in the summer heat. But, his primary focus has always been education and he returns to Utah to cover the same schools he was teaching in not long ago. Lee is a graduate of Brigham Young University and is also fascinated with the way religion intersects with the culture and communities of the Beehive State. He hopes to tell stories that accurately reflect the beliefs that Utahns hold dear.
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