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Stores re-open in FLDS community day after closures

Published: Saturday, Nov. 17 2012 9:05 p.m. MST

Traffic moves along State road 59 on the Utah Arizona border near Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Ariz., May 18, 2006.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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COLORADO CITY, Ariz. — The businesses that appeared to close for good in Colorado City, Ariz. Friday morning re-opened just as suddenly on Saturday.

"There's one hardware store, one grocery store, one dry goods store, one radio shack, and others," said Jethro Barlow.

Barlow is a consultant to Bruce Wisan, the court-appointed fiduciary managing the assets of the Fundamentalist LDS Church trust's land and property in the area.

Barlow wanted to make it clear the fiduciary was not behind all the stores closing.

"The fiduciary didn't take any action that would have precipitated this,” Barlow said. “In fact, if he could have prevented it, I'm sure he would."

The question remains, what happened? the stores had signs on their doors Friday indicating they would no longer be in business.

Isaac Wyler, a former member of the polygamous sect, says the stores closing may have been in anticipation of the end of the world, a prophecy apparently given by imprisoned leader Warren Jeffs.

"Apparently, from what I’ve heard, there was just a prophecy that told the "Lifting Up" would occur before the end of the year," said Wyler in a phone interview Friday afternoon.

In FLDS theology, the "lifting up" is a literal, physical event. "All the righteous FLDS people would be lifted up, and everybody else would be destroyed," Wyler said.

It's not clear if the end-of-the-world prophecy is what prompted the FLDS faithful to shut down the businesses. It was one of a series of edicts coming in the past few days, according to Wyler. Among them was a ban on consumption of oatmeal, corn, turnips and dairy products. 

However, the stores re-opened Saturday morning.

Brower said FLDS leaders read a statement to followers last Sunday that was purported to be Jeffs' own words from a Texas prison where he's serving a life sentence for rape of a child.

Jeffs and his followers have done things like this before. This past July, they spent two months constructing a 10-story tower at their ranch in Eldorado, Texas. A few days after it was finished, they demolished it.

Wyler believes Jeffs is somehow responsible for the tower and for the closed stores.

"Warren would have told them to do that. They wouldn't do that on their own. They wouldn't dare," said Wyler.

E-mail: acabrero@ksl.com, Twitter: ksl_alexcabrero

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