Fifth District Judge J. Philip Eves has granted a motion allowing attorneys to take depositions from the leader of a polygamous sect in connection with a contested adoption case.
Eves granted permission for attorney Tim Anderson to depose Rulon Jeffs, head of a group that maintains twin communities straddling the Utah-Arizona state line.Anderson is representing Oregon relatives of six children who a Hildale, Washington County, polygamous couple are attempting to adopt.
The children, ranging in age from from 4 to 18, are currently in the custody of Vaughn and Charane Fischer. But relatives are opposing the Fischers' attempt to permanently adopt the minor children.
They are the children of Brenda Johansen Thornton, formerly of Salem, Ore., who died of cancer nearly a year ago, shortly after she became the plural wife of Fischer. Her family is seeking custody of the children.
Jeffs, according to public records, is head of the "Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
The LDS Church, which is officially called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, banned its members from practicing polygamy in 1890.
Anderson said he wants to obtain testimony from Jeffs because "that is a closely knit religious cult" and the leader "could have information that could lead to evidence that would be relevant to this case."
Legal proceedings in the contested adoption has been scheduled for Dec. 5.