Former FLDS members testify young children are fleeing So. Utah towns

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SALT LAKE CITY — At a hearing in Colorado City Thursday, a former member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said there's a social crisis going on in the area, with children as young as 5 years old fleeing the new order being imposed.

"What is going on is so wrong and (is) ripping families apart," said Dan Wayman, a former member of the FLDS Church.

They cannot even talk to other members of their family that have not qualified for this new order.

–Dan Wayman, former FLDS member

Wayman has seen plenty of heartache in the FLDS community. He grew up in it and lived it, married to FLDS Church leader Warren Jeffs' sister, until Jeffs kicked him out in 2004.

But lately, Wayman says, it's worse.

"Families are being separated right in their own homes," he said.

Since Jeffs went to prison for life last summer, his followers have been under tremendous pressure to show allegiance. Strict new rules have banned everything from toys and bicycles to sex.

Intense loyalty tests recently resulted in more than 1,000 members being declared unworthy for Jeffs' new United Order.


"They cannot even talk to other members of their family that have not qualified for this new ‘Order,'" Wayman said.

He spoke in Colorado City Thursday, at a hearing by the Safety Net Committee. He said numerous kids have fled to his house looking for an escape.

"I've had kids (at) 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning coming knocking on my window, knocking on my door — 5-year-old kids, 9-year-old kids," Wayman said. "And we said, ‘Do your parents know where you are?' And there is quite a social crisis going on in the community right now."

Saftey Net is doing what it can to help. The group plans to put up billboards near Colorado City and Hildale that display information on how a fleeing FLDS member can find help.

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John Hollenhorst


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