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Out on the Street
The Chatwin family

Before the UEP Trust was put into the hands of a court-appointed fiduciary in 2005, if you were deemed "out of harmony" with how things were done in the community, you risked being kicked out of your home ... and WORSE.

One scare tactic used by the FLDS was to "excommunicate" members, force them out of their UEP-owned homes, and "reassign" their wives and children to other men.   In 2004, these evictions escalated rapidly.

Below are some news articles about victims who were evicted out of revenge.  These articles are listed in chronological order.
 
 
Church Must Pay Dissidents Before Dislodging Them
The Associated Press
Originally published January 25, 1996

ST. GEORGE -- A judge has ruled dissident residents of a town on the Utah-Arizona border cannot be evicted from land controlled by a polygamous church without first being compensated for the homes they built.   The ruling ends, at least temporarily, the eight-year legal battle between the United Effort Plan (UEP) Trust and 21 families.   The plan is a religious, charitable trust designed to help believers of the Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints follow the United Order of Heaven, which includes the practice of plural marriage.  The trust also owns much of the real estate in the community of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, 45 miles east of St. George.   The trust was established in 1946 to hold property based on fundamentalist views - including plural marriage - found in early doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormon Church.  The Mormon Church outlawed polygamy in 1890 under pressure from the federal government.   The families had sued claiming plan officials were trying to evict them from their homes on plan property because of ecclesiastical differences.     Read more
 
 
Jeffs v Stubbs Supreme Court of Utah Lawsuit
September 1, 1998, Filed
Court Transcript
Read the decision of the Utah Supreme Court regarding the attempt the UEP made to evict 20 dissedent families.     Jeffs v Stubbs
 
 
Trouble in the Kingdom of God
Rebel polygamists in Colorado City win a crucial court victory
By Terry Greene Sterling
Phoenix New Times
Originally published October 8, 1998

In 1986, residents of the Kingdom of God -- better known as Colorado City, Arizona, the headquarters of a fundamentalist Mormon religious cult that practices polygamy -- received disturbing news in the mail.   In a nutshell, a massive mailing from Rulan Jeffs, a cult leader, said that dissident cult members could get evicted -- without compensation -- from their homes.   The letters struck terror in the hearts of some residents of Colorado City, who had personally paid for the construction of dwellings large enough to house a guy and several wives and a dozen or so kids.  They had built the homes on property owned by the cult because revered elders had promised them they could live in their homes for the rest of their lives.   Since the Kingdom of God also stretches into the neighboring village of Hildale, Utah, similar letters were sent to cult members in Utah.   The 1986 pre-eviction letters launched a hostile 12-year legal mano a mano over who, exactly, gets to live in the Kingdom of God.     Read more
 
 
POLYGAMOUS ARIZONA COMMUNITY:
Church eviction effort detailed in courtroom
Defense says refusal to consent to planned marriage at center of case
By Dave Hawkins
Special to the Review-Journal
Originally published Saturday, May 17, 2003

KINGMAN, Ariz. -- A church request to evict a man from property in the predominantly polygamous northern Arizona community of Colorado City has shined light on the remote community and the controversial lifestyle of many of its residents.   During a five-hour hearing Thursday in Mohave County Superior Court, attorney Rodney Parker argued that Milton Holm was an at-will tenant of the United Effort Plan Trust, described as a tool used by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to command the loyalty of its members.   Parker argued that Holm fell out of favor with the church, that the church removed him and his wife, Lenore, as members, and that the church enjoyed the right to remove nonmembers from property owned by the church-controlled trust.   "There's no dispute that they are not members of the church, so their right to the property has expired," Parker said.   Defense attorney George McKay protested that the eviction effort was based on Lenore Holm's refusal to consent to the planned Jan. 15, 2000, marriage of her then 16-year-old daughter, Nicole, to Wynn Jessop, 39.  When testifying, Lenore Holm conceded she initially consented, but later withdrew her support for the marriage.  Holm admitted she opposes church-arranged marriages of underage girls to older men.   "I have actively wanted to see these rapes of underage girls stopped," Holm testified.  "In the name of God they're doing it, and it's awful and they think it's religion."     Read more
 
 
House Rules
A surprising settlement in a Morman case
By John Dougherty
Phoenix New Times
Originally published June 5, 2003

In a blow to the powerful fundamentalist Mormon church that controls most of the land in Colorado City, a Mohave County judge has ruled that religious dissidents Milton and Lenore Holm cannot be forced from their home without just compensation.   "I feel like Colorado City really is part of America," Lenore Holm says.   "I was beginning to wonder."   The Holm family has fought the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for more than three years for the right to keep the home they built and paid for on land owned by a church-controlled trust called the United Effort Plan.   The bitter struggle in which the Holm family endured harassment and shunning in the isolated community on the Arizona-Utah border was triggered after Lenore Holm refused to give her consent for her then-16-year-old daughter to become the second "wife" of a 37-year-old man with 10 children.   Immediately after her refusal on January 15, 2000, to have her daughter enter into an illegal marriage, the Holms were told by church leader Warren Jeffs to vacate the home they had spent years building.  They refused and were served formal eviction papers in June 2000.     Read more
 
 
'Hitler' comparison drawn by man ousted from polygamist community
By Linda Stelp
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published January 23, 2004

A church leader compared Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints prophet Warren Jeffs to Adolph Hitler during a recent press conference.   Ross Chatwin held up a copy of a book "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" as he spoke to reporters and state officials at his Colorado City home Friday, said an activist working against abuses within the polygamist community.   "(Chatwin) compared Warren Jeffs to Hitler. He said there are wives telling on husbands and children telling on parents," the activist, Jay Beswick, said.   "He said Jeffs keeps them all in line with fear and intimidation."   Beswick, who set up the press conference, said Chatwin read six-pages of a prepared speech as dozens of reporters from state and nationwide news organizations listened for about a half hour.   Utah Attorney General's Office investigator Ron Barton, who heads up a task force that investigates closed societies, was also in attendance.     Read more
 
 
Ex-member assails sect
Excommunicated father compares 'prophet' to Hitler
By Mark Thiessen
The Associated Press
Originally published January 24, 2004

COLORADO CITY - A man kicked out of the polygamist Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in a split in the sect's hierarchy told reporters Friday that leader Warren Jeffs "has to be stopped before he ruins all of us."   Ross Chatwin, 35, held a news conference at his home in Colorado City.  He said he was excommunicated from the FLDS church Jan. 14, capping a nine-month struggle with Jeffs, who recently kicked out 20 men in an apparent move to solidify his control.  The men were ordered to leave the area but without their wives, children and personal property.   Before he was booted, Chatwin, who advocates polygamy but has just one wife along with six children, was ordered by Jeffs to write down a list of his sins.   That list would be matched with a list of Chatwin's sins compiled by Jeffs and based on what Jeffs called a vision from God, Chatwin said.   Chatwin said he tried to comply with the order but was eventually told he would have to leave.  On Friday, he said he wasn't budging.   Jeffs, considered by the faith's followers to be its "prophet," could have assigned Chatwin's wife, Lori, 32, and their children to another man in town, but she stood by her husband.   Ross Chatwin compared Jeffs to Adolf Hitler and said under Jeffs' rule the towns could be compared to concentration camps "with comforts."     Read more
 
 
Chatwin not first to be asked to leave
Association has owned land in twin towns for 60 years
By Patrice St. Germain
The Spectrum
Originally published Saturday, January 24, 2004

COLORADO CITY -- When followers of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints settled the area called Short Creek, now Colorado City, they believed so much in the church that they helped it gain financial security by giving property, money and time to develop the area.   An association was formed called The United Effort Plan and a trust fund was set up to facilitate living toward the United Order.  These trustees and officers signed a document on Nov. 9, 1942.   It was filed and recorded in the Mohave County Courthouse in Kingman, Ariz., on Aug. 8, 1944.  A portion of the declaration of the trust empowered trustees to execute all contracts, deeds, transfers and assignments and more, as deemed essential to the interest of the trust.   The UEP now owns thousands of acres in Hildale and Colorado City.  Although those who gave property to the plan thought that the trust agreement would protect them, it hasn't always worked out that way for those evicted from homes they built and paid for on UEP property.   Jim Blackmore of LaVerkin was the first to lose a house built on UEP property.     Read more
 
 
Chatwin served eviction notice
By Jane Zhang
The Spectrum
Originally published Thursday, January 29, 2004

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. -- Lori Chatwin thought she was following the prophet Warren Jeffs' teaching to "reach out, love each other," when she invited a 17-year-old girl she was corresponding with to be her husband's second wife.   "We've been told we need to live the laws of Sarah, Abraham's wife," said Lori, 32, who has six children with her husband of 12 years, Ross, 35.  "I look at it as a friendship, a closeness of working together for a common cause, common goal."   The girl, after asking Ross Chatwin if she could keep her hairdo and listen to the music she liked, accepted the invitation, Lori Chatwin said.   But when Ross Chatwin went to see Jeffs, he was told "don't reach out that way."  No letters, the prophet said, should be allowed between Lori and the girl.   On March 30, Chatwin was ousted from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which controls most the Colorado City area's land and property through a trust, United Effort Plan.  And on Tuesday, FLDS church attorney Rod Parker ordered Chatwin to leave his house on church land within five days.  If he defies the order, Parker said, a lawsuit will be filed "at any time" this week.     Read more
 
 
Polygamist says leader ordered him from home
The Associated Press
Originally published Thursday, January 29, 2004

The excommunicated member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who spoke out against the polygamist sect's leader has been told to leave his home, he said Wednesday.   Ross Chatwin, 35, was given notice Tuesday to vacate his residence in Colorado City, Ariz., by a trustee of the FLDS' United Effort Plan, which owns most of the homes in town, he said.  Chatwin, who is married with six children, has five days to give up the home before eviction proceedings begin, according to the notice.   "I'm not going to leave," Chatwin said.  "Otherwise I'll undo all the good I did in the first place."   Another ousted church member, Richard Holm, is trying to restore his legal right to the home he says he built in the community.  Holm, the brother of Rodney Holm, who was convicted last year for bigamy and unlawful sex with a minor, was told to leave last November.  His two wives and seven children were then reassigned to his younger brother, Edson.     Read more
 
 
Trial Thursday in FLDS case
By Nancy Perkins
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Tuesday, February 3, 2004

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. A Mohave County judge is scheduled to hear testimony in the eviction trial of Ross Chatwin, a former member of the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.   According to an eviction notice served on Chatwin at his Colorado City home early Monday, Chatwin must appear in Mohave County Superior Court in Kingman, Ariz., on Thursday. Judge James E. Chavez is slated to preside over the 9 a.m. bench trial.   "I'm hoping the judge will give me more time to prepare for this," said Chatwin, who was served with an initial eviction notice on Jan. 26 and has since received two more notices.   Chatwin and his 32-year-old wife, Lori, live in the basement of a frame house with their six children, ages 9 months to 11 years.  Chatwin was excommunicated from the FLDS Church in November for pursuing two underage girls as potential wives.  He was told in January to leave the church-owned home that he and his family have lived in for about two years.     Read more
 
 
Judge wants briefs filed in Colorado City dispute
Arizona News Briefs
The Arizona Republic
Originally published March 19, 2004

KINGMAN - A Mohave County Superior Court judge ordered Thursday that briefs be filed to supplement testimony in an eviction dispute in the polygamous enclave of Colorado City.   Judge James Chavez ruled Thursday that the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Warren Jeffs, wouldn't have to testify in the case.   The FLDS controls most of the property in Colorado City and neighboring Hildale, Utah, through a trust.  The trust is seeking to have Ross Chatwin evicted from his home.   Chatwin held a news conference denouncing the dictates of the church in January from the home he has been asked to vacate.     Read more
 
 
Closing arguments made in Colorado City eviction case
By Caleb Soptelean
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published April 15, 2004

Attorneys on Wednesday made closing arguments in the case of the attempted eviction of a Colorado City man by a polygamous church.   Charles Ross Chatwin is involuntarily being removed from his home after substantially improving the property, said his attorney, Joan Dudley.   Chatwin is being evicted by United Effort Plan, an association that owns and manages all property within Colorado City, an enclave of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.   "The court should not participate in unjustly enriching the UEP," Dudley said.   Dudley is the managing attorney with Community Legal Services, based in Kingman.   The trial began March 2.  A decision by Mohave County Superior Court Judge James Chavez is expected next week.   Chatwin is married and has six children ranging in ages from 1 year to 11.  Dudley argued that Chatwin's family would be left homeless if the family were evicted without compensation.   "They will lose the only life, culture and home they have ever known," Dudley said.     Read more
 
 
Judge expected to rule in 30 days on Colorado City eviction case
The Associated Press
Originally published April 15, 2004

KINGMAN - The owner of property in the polygamist enclave of Colorado City should be allowed to evict tenants without cause or reason, an attorney for the church and its trust argued before a Mohave County Superior Court judge.   Judge James Chavez is deciding whether Ross Chatwin, a former member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, can be evicted from property owned by the church's trust.   Chavez said Wednesday he expected to rule within 30 days.   Rodney Parker, attorney for the church and the trust that owns much of the property in Colorado City, said the trust has the authority to evict Chatwin without cause.     Read more
 
 
Resident wins ruling in church-led eviction effort
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Originally published Saturday, May 22, 2004

KINGMAN, Ariz. -- For the second time, a Mohave County Superior Court Judge has rebuffed a church-led effort to evict a resident of the Northern Arizona polygamous community of Colorado City.   Judge James Chavez issued his ruling in favor of Ross Chatwin on Thursday after taking the matter under advisement upon conclusion of a March bench trial conducted in Kingman.   The United Effort Plan, a church-controlled trust, asked Chavez to order that Chatwin be evicted from the home on property owned by the trust.  Chavez, however, ruled that promises made by the church gave Chatwin at least a possessory right to the home.  Chavez said the church or the trust can't evict Chatwin without first compensating him for the value of improvements he made to the property.   Chavez issued a similar ruling early last year when the church tried to evict a couple that had spent 35 years building up their home on trust-owned land.
 
 
This letter was submitted to The Spectrum on Oct. 27:
The Spectrum
Originally published Friday October 29, 2004

For decades the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has taught its followers that church land is sacred.  To build up Zion, land placed in trust for the benefit of the faithful would, according to church teachings, never be sold. But times change.   Richard Holm, who lived, worked and worshiped in the FLDS community of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona for over 30 years, until he was expelled from the community in November of 2003 (allowing his family to be given to his younger brother), says that in the last few months, FLDS church leaders have been quietly removing property from a church trust known as the "United Effort Plan" and selling it.   Copies of warranty deeds show land transfers. Among the parcels sold are ground on which a machine shop, a home and a print shop are located.  Other property on the market includes property commonly referred to as the Hershey property.  Although some property is listed for sale on "http:/www.amillc.us," a Web site maintained by leaders of the FLDS church, according to Holm and others with contacts inside the FLDS community, the residents of Hildale and Colorado City know nothing about the land transfers.     Read more
 
 
UEP property stripped
Investigator documents alterations to property frozen under court order
By Patrice St. Germain
The Spectrum
Originally published July 26, 2005

COLORADO CITY - A Colorado City man was cited for trespassing Sunday evening after he attempted to move into a vacant house owned by the United Effort  Plan. Hours later, workers showed up and began stripping the home of carpets, windows and doors.   Andrew Chatwin said his father built the house with funds from his parents.   He said another family lived in the house - which is owned by the UEP, the financial arm of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - until early June.   Chatwin said he had moved in some dishes, clothing and furniture when police arrived and told him he was trespassing.   "My father built the house and it was taken from him," Chatwin said.   "Dozens of people have been moving around, yet when I do it, I am told I am trespassing."   Chatwin said he was asked to prove ownership of the house, but said no one else has been asked for proof of ownership of homes they have moved into during a recent reshuffling of families and homes in the community.  Attempts to reach Colorado City Police Chief Fred Barlow were unsuccessful.   After he was told he was trespassing, Chatwin said his possessions were removed from the house.   Hours later, he said, about a dozen people showed up and began stripping the home of carpet, windows and doors.  Some, he said, even removed walls.     Read more
 
 
A Family Seized as Church Property
By David Kelly and Gary Cohn
The Los Angeles Times
Originally published May 13, 2006

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. Family man and community leader Richard Holm was a loyal member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 50 years until the phone rang one night in 2003.   Holm had been critical of new church leader Warren Jeffs.  It was a very private discontent, but word apparently got back to the man regarded as the sect's prophet.   In this desert theocracy, even quiet dissent turned out to be costly.   The life-altering phone call came from Holm's father-in-law.  He said he "was told to repossess" his two daughters Holm's wives and their seven children.  The orders came from the prophet.   Holm recalled their telephone discussion: "I asked why he was doing this, and he said he didn't know why Warren was doing it but that he had to comply."   Holm, 53, lived in a church-owned house at the time and tithed 10% of his earnings to the FLDS.  He contacted Jeffs for an explanation.   By Holm's account, Jeffs said that "the Lord told me you don't hold the priesthood and you need to leave [FLDS] property."     Read more
 
 
FLDS "Apostates" beginning to return to polygamist community
By Brent Hunsaker
ABC 4 News
Originally published May 27, 2006

Warren Jeffs used his economic and ecclesiastical powers over the members of his FLDS church to tear apart families and kick men out of their communities.  Before going into hiding to avoid felony charges from both Arizona and Utah, Warren Jeffs was the sole trustee of the United Effort Plan which owns all land in the polygamist town of Hilldale and Colorado City.   Jeffs is also considered "an infallible prophet" by his followers.  The "purges" began soon after his father died in 2001 and he assumed dictatorial control.  Several men, some of whom were church and community leaders, were sent packing by Jeffs - evicted from their houses.  Their wives and children were immediately given to other men deemed more "worthy" by Jeffs.   Among them was Richard Holm.  "This community was darkened, black," he said.  "A curse was on it because of their 'cultish' practices."  But Holm is once again home.  The court-appointed special fiduciary restored him to the home he once shared with his family on Richard Street in Colorado City.     Read more
 
 
Hildale evictee gets '08 trial
By Ben Winslow
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Friday, November 10, 2006

A federal magistrate judge has set a 2008 trial date for a Hildale man who is suing police officers and the government in the polygamous border town.  Andrew Chatwin filed a civil rights lawsuit against the town of Hildale and police officers Fred Barlow, Jonathan Roundy and Helaman Barlow.  Chatwin accuses them of arresting him and evicting him from his own house under orders from Fundamentalist LDS Church leader Warren Jeffs.  Federal magistrate judge Brooke Wells cancelled a Wednesday hearing in the lawsuit, instead issuing a calendar that schedules a five-day jury trial beginning March 10, 2008.  Wells said any settlement talks must wrap up by Aug. 31, 2007.  According to the lawsuit filed in April in federal court in Salt Lake City, Chatwin left his home under the care of his father in October 1996.  Shortly after Chatwin left Hildale, he alleges Jeffs moved another man into the basement.  When Chatwin returned to Hildale in 2004, he claims he was blocked from moving into his own home.  "When Andrew Chatwin tried to do so, Warren Jeffs had some of his followers barricade Mr. Chatwin's house, preventing Mr. Chatwin from moving back into his house," lawyer David Holdsworth wrote.  "On information and belief, Mr. Chatwin alleges one or more of the defendants assisted Mr. Jeffs' followers in keeping Mr. Chatwin out of his house."  While Chatwin was kept from his own house, he claims Jeffs moved more people in and out.  When Chatwin was finally allowed in to visit his father, the police were called.  "Once on the scene, police officer Jonathan Roundy approached Andrew Chatwin and told him to get out of the house," the complaint said.  Chatwin claims he was handcuffed and arrested on suspicion of criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.     Read more
 
 
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See the TIME photo essay Excommunicated by the "Prophet" from September, 2006
 

 
Read the bad news given to some FLDS members who were told that they had to repent from afar (leave UEP property) and their families were "released" from them in the Short Creek Assignment from July 12, 2005
 

 
Read the 1985 Probe by the FBI on behalf of the evicted FLDS dissidents
 

 
Read part 1 of the Rulon Jeffs Deposition regarding the UEP Trust Jeffs vs Stubbs lawsuit dated May, 1998
 

 
Read part 2 of the Rulon Jeffs Deposition regarding the UEP Trust Jeffs vs Stubbs lawsuit dated May, 1998
 

 
Read the September 1, 1998 Court's opinion on the occupancy dispute between Jeffs et al. (Trustees for the United Effort Plan), Plaintiffs, vs Stubbs et al., Defendants - Utah Supreme Court Case No. 960454
 

 
Read the 2003 eviction trial transcript of the United Effort Trust, Plaintiff vs Milton Holm and Lenore Holm, et al., Defendant
- Mohave County Superior Court Case No. CV-00-0528
 

 
Read the 11-30-2004 Opinion on the Appeal from the Superior Court in Mohave County Cause No. CV-00-0528
for the Milton Holm and Lenore Holm eviction trial.
 

 


Watch this December 2000 video on Lenore Holm by Mike Watkiss
 
 
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