FLDS temple appears complete

Polygamous sect remains silent about its edifice in Texas

Published: Wednesday, May 10 2006 2:06 p.m. MDT

Jeffs was charged in Mohave County, Ariz., with sexual conduct with a minor and conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor. He is accused of arranging child-bride marriages. Federal authorities charged him with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, and he has been added to the FBI's Most Wanted List.

Jeffs remains on the run and hasn't been seen recently in Utah, Arizona or Texas.

In Eldorado, residents are worried about the potential for a confrontation between law enforcement and Jeffs' followers.

"With Warren Jeffs being wanted, he can stay out there," said Doyle. "Eventually, somebody's going to play the FBI's hand. We're going to come in and find out he's there, and if that happens, all hell is going to break loose. As long as people are level-headed and don't do anything macho or try to show everybody who has God on their side."

If the temple is indeed finished, it remains unknown when — or if — it will be dedicated and if Jeffs would make an appearance to dedicate it.

Former FLDS church member Ross Chatwin believes the new temple may mark the end of the polygamous sect.

"They're going to lose the whole thing," he said. "It was built upon money that didn't belong to Warren. It was built on the backs of the UEP (United Effort Plan, the FLDS financial arm) itself, the people that built it."

Over the past year, a judge in Utah assigned a trustee to take control of the UEP. The UEP owns homes, property and business in the twin Utah and Arizona towns.

Smith said he has tried to inquire about the temple among FLDS members in Hildale.

"They're pretty close-mouthed about the whole thing," he said. "You certainly sense that it's special to them, but they won't talk about it."

E-mail: bwinslow@desnews.com

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