WARNING: If any reader is easily offended or nauseated by religion and/or my views regarding freakish hyper-religious sects, please stop reading and I’ll see you back at the next post. If you’re curious, go right ahead. You have been warned and, therefore, it’s your own fault. I’m not responsible for your reaction, only mine.

Even before we turned the key on the Yukon to begin our two week journey, I knew of one place I just HAD to visit – Colorado City. Like a bad car accident, I had to slow down and look. If you’ve been watching the news these past couple of years or been in a bookstore as of late, the polygamist society has been at the forefront of discussion in every facet of the media. I alone have been extremely fascinated with the why’s, what’s and practices of this icky, bizarre religion for many, many years. Hey, for some it’s the Amish; for me it’s the polygamists. And many of my friends have the same strange fascination (yes, Ixchelle, I mean you). Having educated Terry on the history of the FLDS, he, too, was more than willing to take the journey into the unknown. But first, we had some very cool country to ride through to get there…and a 6 year old who would rather have been in the hotel pool all day. Sorry, Jack, but we feel we must expose you to strange America. And no, you can’t bring a couple o’ bitches back to the room with you in the name of religion. Leave that up to the creepy white dudes for which you are not one of.

You could imagine how we looked riding around Colorado City in brightly colored motorcycle gear with, God forbid, only one child strapped on the back! Having read several books relating to the FLDS, I knew the area was teeming with wrong-doing’s and a general sense of ickiness, like a cold shiver that runs down your back. As we rode in, I spotted various compounds of mobile home communities against the hillside. We turned left into a neighborhood of sprawling mansions. Yes, MANSIONS! There were wings built for the growing number of wives and children. Dozens of childrens’ bicycles littered the yards and various wives were outside watering or tending to the garden. I’m sure the husbands were out conquering the world. Yet oddly enough, all these mansions looked unfinished and still under construction. More on that later, I promise. I swear, when I spotted the first wife, I couldn’t help but scream, “Oh my fucking god! Oh my fucking god!” inside my helmet. It’s kind of like seeing a platypus for the first time. You know it exists. You know that they’re out there, but you never really believe in its existence till you see it for the first time. Ya, kinda like that. I craved more.

We turned left back onto the highway and headed into the main area of town. We found the Mercantile in the center of town. Yes, the Mercantile. We parked the bikes in a slot and kind of sat back and watched. Vans and beat-up cars dotted the lot with a rare new car pulling in every so often. I assumed that the head wife was allowed the new ride. The women stared at us, half in fear, half with a desire for us to leave them alone. They wore the full dress, obviously hand-made, and were covered in long sleeves and jeans or pants under their dresses to cover their religious undies. Like “special underwear” are going to keep you from sinning and having sex! The hair was done in full frontal feather with a long braid trailing down the back. The shoes were large and quite clunky. The mother’s cuddled their young offspring while the older children were back at the compound tending to the other kids. One of the funniest fucking things I saw was a female midget polyg woman. (I already know I’m goin’ to hell, so I’m going to say what I want.) I swear, her braid was almost as long as she! One of the saddest, most vile things we saw was a pregnant teenage girl. Terry thought she was around 19 or 20. She was more like 15 or 16. And this probably wasn’t her first child. Terry was shocked. I was completely speechless. We were outsiders in their bizarre world. We pretended to be there for a break in the ride, but they knew as well as we did that we were there to stare. We sure as hell didn’t blend in! I did my best to capture a few digital memories without being noticed, but that was impossible. And we were noticed. And we were approached by one of the males.

While taking our helmets off for a breather (and a good stare), Terry found himself in the presence of one of the husbands who began commenting on our gear. He dared not speack to the woman in the group. He was more than friendly (and supremely odd) and asked where we were off to. Doing our best to be friendly and unassuming, we chatted with the suspicious male. We told him we were doing a loop around the area and were staying at Zion. He said that he, too, rode motorcycles (uh huh) and wore a bright jacket to be seen. It was a short and very unnerving “interview”. After a couple of minutes and some water, we geared back up and boarded our bikes for another tour around the hood. We passed yards filled with children, at least 14. The boys wore their long sleeved, button-up shirts and the girls the traditional dresses and braids. Even the young sprouts wore the get-up. Some children are allowed to go to school, others are not. It depends on who is leading that particular sect at the time. After Warren Jeffs was named the new son of the prophet, he stopped the flow of any outside influences including TV, newpapers, toys and books. Anything that went against their teachings was banned. Hey, you can’t lose any of the flock if they don’t know how good it is outside the religious walls, right? Many of the young teenage boys were forced to leave the city as they were seen as a threat to the higher powers. Why should these 14 year old girls be forced to marry someone their own age when there’s a perfectly good 80 year old man in the wings? Sick. Disgusting.

As we passed more houses and more families hanging around, I couldn’t help but think about all the brainwashing that is done in the name of religion. The women and children (and the weaker males) are told they are the chosen one’s and will be the only one’s to go to heaven, as long they obey and stay sweet. Like the Mormon religion, they are to have at least 6 months of rations at the ready for when the world as we know it ends (maybe be only a couple of months for the Mormon’s). This I have a very hard time believing. (Like I said in the beginning, turn your head if you don’t want to read what I have to say.) Like Scientology, the Mormon religion is one of the newest religions to be recognized. Why is one able to do some creative writing, make up some loony proclamations and ideas, and call it a religion? Are there really that many people in search of a direction who are willing to believe almost anything? How about going out and searching for answers yourself instead of being told what you should believe? I’m not a fan of any organized religion. Can you tell? Any sect who asks you to give, give, GIVE while sitting in a magnificently expensive house of worship listening to a Cadillac-driving preacher tell them how they should live so they can get into heaven ahead of the rest of us is complete bullshit. I’ve had friends who were barely able to put food on the table and instead of the church saying, “Hey, we understand your predicament and will gladly help you get back on your feet as you’ve been giving to us for years.” they were told, “You just need to learn how to budget better so you can still pay your tithing.” What the FUCK is THAT about? You can’t eat yet you’re STILL expected to make the preacher’s car payment?!? Call me a bitch. Call me a heartless asshole. But, I have a very hard time believing in any religion that still expects me to give till it hurts. And the idea of having food and water at the ready for when apocolypse happens is ludicrous. I don’t have time to prepare for the end of civilization. There are too many cool things I have yet to do. And if I’m wrong, you don’t have to share your rations with me.

So how do these people get their money? Well, Terry got the low-down from the locals in Springdale. First, their marriages aren’t “real”. The families get Medicare, food stamps and welfare from the state for each child. The wives are seen as single mothers. Second, many of the men own businesses that contract with the state. There are several polyg’s in the state government that see to it the polyg companies get the contracts. Third, in the state of Arizona, as long as your house is still under contruction, you don’t have to pay property taxes. Fourth, they are master grant writers. So, when the city needed new medical equipment, they studied the loopholes and began writing. They have the most state-of-the-art ambulance and medical services in the nation. Most contruction in the state of Utah is polyg labor. They can pretty much underbid any other company. These people are not stupid. They are conniving and defrauding the government. The men are raping young girls in the name of “religion” and the “prophet”. They are being forced into a lifestyle they do not want all because they are told some pasty, skinny, foul white guy had a “vision” from the prophet. It’s all bad. It’s all vile. When you see it for yourself, you want to scream and grab every last child to try and save them from their future. But it’s not a future. It’s a sentence, one they did not choose. Some are fortunate enough to escape their sentence, others are too scared of the unknown. Remember, they are taught that the outside world is bad and they are the only good one’s on earth. Hard to fathom, isn’t it?