VII for National Geographic and The New York Times Magazine
"Polygamy in America"
Wilford Black, 60, is cared for by his brother at his Short Creek home. Family members claim Wilford had a more functional version of autism before being separated from his mother, Vera Black, after the 1953 raid. More than 50 years ago, Vera Black refused to renounce her religious belief in polygamy - giving in only after Utah prepared to place seven of her children with adoptive families. Utah authorities had zeroed in on Vera a month after the 1953 raid, in which Arizona removed 263 children and their mothers - among them Vera's two sister wives and their children - from Short Creek. The state charged the Blacks with negligence based on their polygamous marriage. Vera was the second of Leonard's three wives. She was 36 and had eight children, ages 1 to 17. The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is one of the largest Mormon fundamentalist denominations and one of United States' largest practitioners of plural marriage. The FLDS Church emerged in the early 1900s when its founding members left The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The split occurred largely because of the LDS Church's renunciation of polygamy and its decision to excommunicate practitioners of plural marriage. The FLDS Church headquarters were originally located in what was then known as Short Creek, Arizona, on the southern border of Utah. The settlement eventually expanded into Utah and became incorporated as the twin municipalities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona. They gained international notoriety with the arrest of their leader Warren S. Jeffs, who in May 2006 was placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution on Utah state charges related to his alleged arrangement of unlawful marriages between his adult male followers and underage girls. In April 2008 investigators from Child Protective Services and the Texas Rangers raided the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' Yearning for Zion ranch.