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Oct 17, Because of the clandestine nature of polygamists, we don't meet other families or see much Just to make sure there's some chemistry there. Apr 10, They include pre-calculus, chemistry, earth science, electronics, plastics, Phoenix Federal Court Verdict Could Cripple Abusive Polygamist. We Introduce the three brave young women who help those trapped in polygamy escape.
Accidents, illnesses and injuries loom large in Alvin Barlow's life. He is said to have more than 30 children and at least half a dozen wives. Over the next several months of New Times' plowing through district records, two more events nearly claimed the lives of his children, which forced him to spend a great deal of time at a hospital in St.
A former teacher, Barlow shakes the hand of each of his four secretaries and four administrative aides every morning. He and his brother Dan, who has served as Colorado City's first and only mayor for 18 years, are the primary spokesmen for the town's polygamous society Prophet Warren Jeffs, who assumed the role of spiritual leader after his father's death last September, rarely speaks to the outside world. The brothers carefully cultivate the city's image as a place steeped in traditional family values despite widespread accounts that fundamentalists are pushing underage girls into polygamous marriages.
Alvin Barlow takes great pride in his ability to find bargains at state surplus sales and has dispatched large teams of students, teachers and parents to retrieve desks, tables and chairs from state offices for later use in Colorado City. Many of the items are eventually resold by the school district at garage-sale prices to private and church-run schools, district records show. Barlow's public frugality, however, cannot mask the deep financial problems facing the school district.
The district Barlow oversees covers an immense, unpopulated area that has a very low assessed property valuation. The district is 25 miles wide and extends from the Utah state line to the north rim of the Grand Canyon. Most of the land is controlled by the government, and no taxes are owed to the district for it. Thus, it has one of the highest tax rates in the state. The assessed valuation of UEP land is kept artificially low.One Man, Six Wives And 29 Children (Polygamy Documentary) - Real Stories
Mohave County taxes many UEP properties at half the normal rate because occupied homes are rarely listed as fully completed, county records show. For more than a decade, the UEP has recouped most if not all of its property taxes allocated to the school district through favorable leases with the district. The practice of funneling taxpayer money back to the UEP and other church entities permeates school district finances.
For decades, the depressed tax base prevented the district from raising enough money to build new school facilities. Instead, the district entered into leases for facilities that were built and owned by a UEP-controlled entity, the Colorado City Improvement Association. By Junethe school district was leasing three association-owned buildings for the elementary and junior high schools, plus additional properties for storage facilities, a health-care building and a bus-maintenance barn.
But the lease deals at least as far as students, teachers and taxpayers were concerned were about to make a bad situation worse. FLDS' Sweet Deal The church leaders' demand that ties be severed with apostates came in Julyand it triggered a series of events resulting in the school district transferring property it had paid for to the Colorado City Improvement Association at a substantial loss.
The sudden withdrawal of 60 percent of its students left the district with more classroom space than it immediately needed. But it was obvious that children from the large and ever-expanding polygamous families from the 2nd Ward, combined with others moving into nearby communities, would eventually fill up the classroom space.
As unfavorable as the lease agreements were to the district, they were providing space for this future population. The district had funds from the state's rapid-decline subsidy that could have covered the costs of holding the empty classrooms for future use. That is, if that money had not been spent on personal expenses, excessive travel, capital purchases and abnormally high staffing. Even so, there was no pressing financial reason to get rid of the three classroom buildings, since the district had already prepaid the leases through June The prudent decision would have been for the district to hold on to the classrooms for future use.
But its allegiance wasn't toward students, teachers and taxpayers. It was toward the FLDS. The FLDS students needed somewhere to go to school, and the classrooms the school district was leasing from the church-controlled Colorado City Improvement Association were the obvious solution.
A month after Warren Jeffs' decree in Julythe school district terminated its lease on the junior high school, which wasn't scheduled to expire until June Terminating the lease early cost the school district dearly. Within weeks, the junior high school was converted into a private, FLDS school.
This scenario was repeated in Novemberwhen the district decided to terminate its lease on the David J. Broadbent elementary building, which also was owned by the Improvement Association. State law requires that bond proceeds be spent for only the uses specified. Darger elementary building, another facility the district was leasing from the association. The association agreed, and extended the Darger building lease through January 31, Once again, the district left expensive improvements landscaping and telephone and computer systems in the Broadbent building and sought no compensation.
Then, at the same time it was relinquishing classroom space, the district held a surplus property sale on August 11, Sold were classroom and teacher desks, office chairs, chalkboards, playground equipment, room dividers, four vehicles, file cabinets, shelving, a driver's education simulator, typewriters, copy machines and bleachers -- just about everything needed to set up a private school.
The result of all this was that by Novemberthe FLDS-controlled Improvement Association -- without spending a dime -- had obtained two former public school facilities for use as private church schools. In addition, the Darger building, which had extended its prepaid lease to Januarywould fall under the FLDS' control in the fall of State Ripped Off In Februarythe Colorado City school district reached a preliminary agreement with the state School Facilities Board to build a new school for kindergartners through 12th graders on 34 acres of state trust land east of town near an industrial park.
The agreement came after a year of negotiations between the district and the state over acquiring a new school. The district qualified for the state-financed project because the Colorado City high school was located in a dangerous, substandard adobe building on five acres of district-owned land in downtown Colorado City.
The state board was well aware that the mass withdrawal of students had cut the district's enrollment from to But given the substandard condition of the high school and the district's low tax base that prevented it from raising enough funds to pay for another school, it decided to build the new, student school for the district. The district, however, did not notify students, teachers and parents of the likelihood that a new school would be constructed -- which later triggered angry outbursts from 2nd Ward parents over the site selected.
Arizona's plans to build the new school shocked Washington County, Utah, public school officials, who were struggling to keep open Phelps Elementary School in Hildale, which is adjacent to Colorado City across the state line.
The Phelps school also had been hit hard by the mass withdrawal of FLDS students and would be forced to close unless more students were found.
For years, some Colorado City children attended the Phelps school through a tuition agreement between Washington County and the Colorado City school district. In FebruaryWashington County school officials offered to sell or lease the Phelps school, with a capacity of about students from kindergarten through eighth grade, to the Colorado City school district. Though County Superintendent File agrees with Granger that an arrangement to continue busing the Arizona kids across the state line could have been reached, the state left the decision to Colorado City officials.
With no other choice, Granger was forced to close the Phelps school in fall Once again, a public school was acquired by an FLDS-controlled organization. But unlike the Colorado City school district that lost money on its transfer of public assets to church entities, Washington County is getting paid. In December2nd Ward parents finally learned of plans by the Colorado City school district to build the new school and were outraged that they had been kept in the dark.
The new school's location was more than three miles from Centennial Park, where most of the students and teachers live. No consideration was given to using land in that community for the school, parents complained at the December board meeting. Knudson notes that the district continued to employ about people for a school district with only about students.
Yet high school sophomore Anne Dockstader complained at the meeting that the high school had not hired a math teacher and that there were no substitute teachers when regular teachers were gone.
The letter was signed by 41 other students. Dockstader pointed out in her letter that the district had two certified math teachers on staff, but they had been reassigned to non-teaching jobs.
At the December meeting, several parents demanded that school board members resign, noting that they have no children attending the public schools.
Board members rejected the requests, and a special session was scheduled for the following week. More than people attended the special meeting. Typically, no more than a couple of citizens attend board sessions.
Once again, resignation demands were rejected. Bistline, who has served on the board sincetold angry parents and teachers. Bistline rejected claims that he and other board members were FLDS puppets.
We don't have to take it. Vocational education is valued highly by FLDS parents, whose children rarely finish high school. There is no indication that any 2nd Ward businesses received subcontracts. The 60,square-foot school and 5,square-foot vocational education building were built in record time and opened in August But there were immediate problems.
The school provided far more space for its few high school students than for its much larger elementary school population.
Even before the first elementary students entered the classrooms of the new school, teachers warned Superintendent Alvin Barlow that there would be immediate overcrowding.
Alvin Barlow ignored the space complaints and proceeded with plans to terminate the lease on the Darger building, which of course could have been used for elementary pupils, particularly since its lease was paid for three and a half more years.
Barlow then presented a plan to return the Darger building to the FLDS' Colorado City Improvement Association on terms more favorable to the association than to the district. Like the junior high school and the Broadbent buildings two years before, the Darger building would soon become a private FLDS school.
The school district has one remaining classroom building that occupies Improvement Association property. The district-owned Title I structure was designed to be movable. The building is adjacent to the Broadbent and Darger facilities. If the district's previous pattern of transferring public school assets to the FLDS continues, it wouldn't be surprising to see the church-controlled Improvement Association obtain the Title I building when the land lease with the district expires on June 30 of this year.
Meanwhile, there are already students at the new school, which opened eight months ago. With a capacity ofit won't be long until it's bulging at the seams. The odyssey was financed by the school district. The travel was justified as a district expense because Jessop was driving to Georgia to pick up a piece of equipment needed for the school.
That the propane oxygenator seemingly could have been shipped by commercial freight in less time and at lower cost didn't stop Jessop and the gang from hitting the road at 5 p. Once a stronghold of church founder Joseph Smith, Nauvoo looms large in Mormon history. Many Mormons make pilgrimages there at least once in their lives.
After four nights on the road, Jessop got serious and drove straight to Marietta, Georgia, where he picked up the propane equipment. The trip ended two days later back in Colorado City. They got back just in time for the equipment to be installed for the first day of school.
Jeffrey Jessop's summer jaunt -- for personal and dubious business reasons -- is typical of the district's travel policy. School district records document an amazing amount of travel conducted by district administrators and principals.
There aren't many weeks of a given year when somebody working for the district isn't in Phoenix, Kingman, Flagstaff, Tucson or Las Vegas. In some instances, the same employee will make the mile round-trip drive from Colorado City to Phoenix twice in one week, records show. The relentless travel hasn't gone unnoticed by Arizona Department of Education and state School Facilities Board officials.
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Friesen adds that the travel by the Colorado City employees has often been unnecessary; the issues easily could have been resolved by telephone or through e-mail.
The situation got so ridiculous that secretaries at the School Facilities Board tended to laugh about how often the Colorado City district officials -- sometimes with multiple wives in tow -- would show up unexpectedly at state offices.
The expense of all this travel, however, is no joke for taxpayers. Nearly all of the vehicles are handed out to administrators, principals and support personnel and are used for district as well as personal needs. Superintendent Alvin Barlow says the district does not require employees to keep track of personal miles driven and allows employees to take the vehicles home.
At the same time, the district does not list personal use of district vehicles in its employee contracts, thereby allowing workers to escape from paying state and federal taxes on the benefit.
State law mandates that school district vehicles are for official use only. The large number of district vehicles issued to employees seemed to concern school board member W. Meldrum at a January 19,meeting. I've brought this up two or three times before, yet we go right on doing the same thing. Free use of a large vehicle is a substantial benefit for the average polygamist, who has a very large family to transport.
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Just to make sure there's some chemistry there. During that interview, someone said, "There's not a woman out there who's going to share a man without religion being a factor. Because "Sister Wives" doesn't really talk about the religious factor at all, and sort of focuses instead on the practical upsides to living in polygamy. The Browns are deeply, deeply religious.
They would not be in that principle if it weren't for religious reasons. I can't say "no woman" as a blanket statement, because we're only talking about fundamentalist Mormons.
We do not live it for any other reasons but religious reasons. The family makes a point early on in the show, and they make it repeatedly, that each wife has her own separate sexual relationship with Kody. One of the stereotypes is that it's a big love fest. Is that a misconception you deal with a lot? People also think there's some sort of relationship between the wives, which is absolutely not true. Like I say, we have a very high moral standard and that's not included in it.
What are some other misconceptions that you have to dispel often? Oh, that we're in poverty, and we have to depend on welfare, and that the women are uneducated, and that we're barefoot and pregnant every year, and we abuse the children.
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That we all wear prairie dresses. In the last episode, Robyn, the fourth wife, said: Well, you have to get over being selfish. You're sharing somebody that you love very much, and that's difficult for some people.
They're living it for religious reasons, but they've still got feelings. And the man has to learn, as time goes on, how to become a better father and a better husband.
And a woman has the advantage -- to come into a family after he's been married for a while and been a dad. She can see what kind of a father he is. She gets to benefit from the training and the experience he has gained from being married to one or two other wives. Kody has been with the three wives for 16 years plus. What is the benefit of bringing a fourth wife in so many years later?
The only reason you do it is because you feel that the Lord wanted you to do that. Here's a single mother that has three kids, who's trying to raise them by herself. That's very difficult, and I was kind of in the same boat. I had three kids as well. I thought it was wonderful when I was able to become the second wife of another man, because my kids then had a dad again. So, they didn't plan this. It's just that if you believe in this principle, you don't put a limit on the number of wives you're going to take.
I thought it was interesting that Meri, the first wife, initiated the courtship between Kody and Robyn. That happens frequently in our families. It isn't the husband that's out looking for another wife. It's one of the existing wives that frequently makes the suggestion: Why don't we have her over and see how she gets along?
Robyn was divorced before she met the Browns. What is the attitude towards divorce in your community? In our scriptures it says that as long as that woman takes a step up, like if she's in monogamy and then joins a plural family, then that is correct.
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But if a woman marries in polygamy, and then leaves the plural family and the lifestyle and marries somebody in monogamy, to us that's not correct procedure. But of course, in the eyes of the world, that's fine. We raise our kids with the free agency that they can choose what kind of marriage they want when they get to be adults. It's not something that's forced on them. I think people feel like we're brainwashing our kids and forcing them all to live plural marriage when they get older.
And that's not the case at all. My kids did not choose that, and we still have a good relationship. One of the wives said it's sometimes easier for them to say that they're sisters. What are some of the coping mechanisms for living within mainstream society, when questions arise? People handle it different ways. I didn't ever admit publicly that I was a second wife.
My own parents didn't know for a while. Because of the LDS church's influence in the state, you don't go around telling your neighbors that you are a plural wife. I never took the name of my second husband. Sometimes people will say my sister, my cousin, my friend, or whatever works best for them.
Are the Browns jeopardizing their public lives by coming out on the show? No, they've said before they even went on the show that everybody already knew. Their co-workers, the kids' friends, their neighbors.
So did the law enforcement, I'm sure. It's not something that they had been hiding. How do you respond to feminist criticism to this lifestyle? I call myself a feminist fundamentalist, because I feel like I have the best of both worlds. When my husband is visiting one of the other wives, I can have time to go out to dinner and a movie with my friends. I can have one-on-one time with my kids, I can have a job, I can go back and get my education and still have kids because there's a sister wife to help take care of them.
Feminists think oh, they're subdued.