VII for National Geographic and The New York Times Magazine
"Polygamy in America"
Thousands of Short Creek residents pay their respects at the funeral of Foneta Jessop, dob 05-30-1940, held inside the Leroy S. Johnson Meetinghouse. Not only was Foneta Jessop one of Bishop Merrill Jessop's many wives, but she was the one to whom he was legally wed. 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 in Eldorado, Texas after receiving a call from a woman who claimed to be an abused 16-year-old living there. That call later turned out to be a hoax, although authorities eventually removed 440 children from the ranch, which they said had been sexually, physically and emotionally abused. After two months in state custody, two Texas courts ruled a lower court judge did not have sufficient evidence of abuse to keep the children in custody and they were returned to their parents.