The Polygamists: A History of Colorado City, Arizona

Overview

What some of the people have been forced to endure in Colorado City is little different from living in a third world country.

TEN-YEAR-OLD Benjamin Bistline moved with his parents to Short Creek (Colorado City), Arizona, in 1945 to join with a group of excommunicated Mormons who believed in honoring the law of polygamy as revealed by the Prophet Joseph Smith and instituted by Brigham Young.

Mr. Bistline has compiled A DETAILED HISTORY of the ...

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Overview

What some of the people have been forced to endure in Colorado City is little different from living in a third world country.

TEN-YEAR-OLD Benjamin Bistline moved with his parents to Short Creek (Colorado City), Arizona, in 1945 to join with a group of excommunicated Mormons who believed in honoring the law of polygamy as revealed by the Prophet Joseph Smith and instituted by Brigham Young.

Mr. Bistline has compiled A DETAILED HISTORY of the significant events that shaped and sustained this community from the beginning. He tells of the shifts in power, changes in leadership philosophies, persecution from outside forces - and from within.

Mr. Bistline's goal in writing this history is to reveal that the original leadership structure of a Council of men holding common and balancing power has slowly descended into a ONE-MAN TYRANNICAL RULE over the people.

Bistline has observed: 1) Older men being taught to take CHILD BRIDES before the girls are attracted to boys their own age. 2) BOYS DRIVEN OUT of the community for competing with older men for wives. 3) Plural wives expected to apply for WELFARE as single mothers. 4) Men out of favor are "EVICTED" from their homes with their wives and children reassigned to a more compliant man. 5) Community members AFRAID TO DISOBEY the "Prophet" out of fear for their eternal salvation.

RESIDENT HISTORIAN Ben Bistline is recognized as the most credible and knowledgeable source of information about Colorado City. He knows more about the people, their motives, their family connections, their religion, their strengths and their weaknesses than any other pundit. Mr. Bistline is contacted by media and the press from all across the country, and has appeared on CNN and Dateline NBC.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781888106749
  • Publisher: Agreka Books
  • Publication date: 2/15/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 436
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Read an Excerpt

What our people did not realize is described in the polygamist's Law Book, the Doctrine & Covenants. "We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion." D&C 121:39 The faithful people of Colorado City gave their time, talents, money, devotion, and ongoing hard work to build their community, trusting all the while that their leaders would behave honorably and do right by them. Much of the money accumulated by the leadership-controlled UEP Trust came from the people: through work that produced income to the UEP, through requested donations, and regular tithing of 10 percent of their income. This money was used to purchase land for the Trust and the people were "allowed" to build their homes on it. The leaders acted as if the money was rightfully theirs and did not belong to the people who produced it. The leaders did not see themselves as stewards over this money and accountable to the people. Lorin Woolley, who claimed he had been commissioned in 1887 by a prophet of God to keep plural marriage alive, called a Priesthood Council of men to "govern and make decisions together" to oversee it and keep it going. He emphatically taught them what he had been taught: Not to organize, not to set up a church, not to proselyte, not to hold public meetings, not to set up a United Order, and not to collect tithing money from the people. Just quietly teach about plural marriage and live it in secret. But John Yates Barlow, one of the men on the Council apparently came to believe he had been given the Keys of the Priesthood, which polygamists believed was a bestowal by God upon a man so righteous he should have supreme power over others on earth. This dictator type power by John Y. Barlow was used to organize the polygamists, proselyte for new members, create a United Order, and collect tithing money from the people. He taught this One Man Rule to those around him, to the leaders who would succeed him, and to his sons whom he expected would one day take their rightful place and rule. As years passed the "one man" was called a prophet and his direction to the people was taught as coming from God. Otherwise, one's eternal salvation was in jeopardy. Older men needing more wives were taught to take child brides, women were told to apply for welfare as single mothers, boys competing with older men for wives were driven out of the community, and men out of favor were "evicted" from their homes and their wives and children reassigned to a more compliant man. This "unrighteous dominion" described in the Law Book would grow into an unprecedented dictatorship secretly hidden away in a remote corner of America. It would grow and eventually come full circle, creating a stranglehold on the people they never imagined.
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2004

    The Lone Historian of Colorado City Arizona

    A good revision of the authors former book. Its been a pleasure working with Ben Bistline unravelling the under belly of the beast. This book was read by Kon Krakauer and other authors seeking advance knowledge of this secret society.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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