Orthodox Latter-day Saints: A Unique Group Rooted in Mormon History
Orthodox Latter-day Saints, commonly known as Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), are a unique group of individuals who have maintained their roots in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church. Unlike the mainstream Mormon Church that disavowed the practice of polygamy, FLDS believes in the practice of plural marriage, where a man has multiple wives. Due to this belief, the group has faced significant opposition, leading them to create their own communities that are highly concentrated in specific areas such as southern Utah and northern Arizona.
The History of Orthodox Latter-day Saints
The history of Orthodox Latter-day Saints can be traced back to the late 19th century, when the mainstream Mormon Church disavowed polygamy due to pressure from the United States government. Despite this, some members of the church refused to abandon polygamy and continued to practice it secretly. As a result, they were forced out of the church and formed their own fundamentalist sect known today as the Orthodox Latter-day Saints or FLDS.
Concentration of FLDS Communities
The first significant concentration of FLDS communities occurred in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Members of the group established their communities in areas such as southern Utah and northern Arizona, where they could live freely and practice their religion without fear of persecution. Generations later, these areas have remained a stronghold of the Orthodox Latter-day Saints to this day. Today, there are Orthodox Latter-day Saint communities throughout the United States and Canada.
Challenges faced by Orthodox Latter-day Saints
Despite being able to create their own communities, the Orthodox Latter-day Saints have faced significant opposition from mainstream society. In the early 1950s, the United States government began to crackdown on the group, raiding their communities and separating families. This persecution has continued in various forms to this day, with members of the group facing legal and social discrimination.
Spread beyond North America
Despite the challenges faced by members of the Orthodox Latter-day Saints, the group continues to grow and spread beyond North America. They have established communities in places such as Mexico, Belize, and British Columbia, where they enjoy greater freedom. These communities are often located in remote areas, where they can practice their religion without interference from outside forces.
The geographical concentration of the Orthodox Latter-day Saints has resulted in the creation of a unique subculture. The group’s isolation has allowed them to maintain their own language, customs, and traditions, which is distinct from mainstream American culture. They have their own schools, churches, and social institutions, which are designed to support their way of life. This insulated culture has allowed them to preserve their beliefs and values deeply rooted in their faith.
Autonomy within their own communities
Despite being concentrated in specific areas, the Orthodox Latter-day Saints have managed to maintain a degree of autonomy within their own communities. The group elects its own leaders, who govern according to the group’s divine revelations. The leaders are chosen based on their devotion to the group’s principles, rather than on any external criteria such as wealth, education, or political power.
FLDS’ Contribution to Local Economy
While FLDS may be viewed as a fringe group by many, their presence and influence cannot be ignored. The group has established its own communities, which are largely self-sufficient and contribute significantly to the local economies. In areas such as Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona, the Orthodox Latter-day Saints are a dominant force, and their businesses and industries are major employers in the region.
Orthodox Latter-day Saints has maintained its roots in the Mormon Church while simultaneously creating a unique subculture. Their communities are self-contained and self-sufficient, allowing them to preserve their culture and way of life. Despite significant opposition and persecution, they continue to grow and expand, establishing new communities around the world. Their story is one of resilience, faith, and determination, serving as a testament to the enduring power of religious belief.