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Polygamy in America
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Are Americans Polygamous? - The Atlantic
Latino Voices. Asian Voices. Following decades of leadership by a priesthood council, a member named Rulon Jeffs, his son Warren and their supporters fashioned a system of one-man rule. After his father died in , Warren Jeffs introduced a regime of authoritarian control under which multiple wives were allocated to the most favored, older men, and TV and the internet were banned. While women had once been allowed to wear dresses with a diversity of colors, prints and flowers, the Jeffs imposed a uniform style with few permitted hues, setting them even further apart from a world they already shunned.
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Still, the church could be generous: as long as you were a member of the faith, it provided a house to live in. In , Warren Jeffs was arrested after a year on the run over allegations of illegally arranging marriages between adult males and children. Five years later he was sentenced to life for child sexual assault; whether through faith or a fear of exile, many members have remained committed to him.
His younger brother Lyle took over the sect — enforcing restrictions on the consumption of certain food items, such as milk and chocolate, as well as sex between spouses — but was himself arrested on welfare fraud charges in February In early , the US supreme court declined to hear a case that sought to decriminalize polygamy in Utah.
When the members declined to follow rules or pay property taxes, believing the buildings were consecrated to their church, they were evicted. The response to the escalating poverty crisis has come from women inside the sect. Richter drove the Guardian around the dusty back streets on a tour of recently erected homeless camps.
Harsh winters and summer desert heat saw them shift gears.
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