Area near Humansville home to fundamentalists

Group living near Humansville called a "melting pot."

News-Leader, Missouri/May 1, 2011

Down a long stretch of red gravel, a patchwork of privately maintained roads leads to small and large houses clustered together on the outskirts of Humansville.

The area has been described as home to a fundamentalist Mormon community. Some put the number at as many as 500 people.

A pair of Humansville twins say they lived in that community for nearly 10 years before leaving the man they both married.

The 27-year-old women told Cedar County authorities in February they were victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault at the hands of the husband they shared.

Attempts by the News-Leader to speak with those living in the community failed, but others outside the community are aware of it and offered some descriptions of its makeup.

Anne Wilde, co-founder of the Salt Lake City-based polygamy advocacy group, Principle Voices, said she knows of a fundamentalist Mormon group of people who adhere to mixed beliefs living together in Cedar County.

"They are kind of a melting pot," she said.

Wilde said parts of the community identify with established fundamentalist Mormon groups while others are more independent.

These different groups have decided to live together, Wilde said.

"They get along well," Wilde said.

It's difficult to describe specific boundaries of the community.

Surrounded by several plots of private land in northeast Cedar County, sit 480 acres owned by "A Church of Christ of the Kingdom of God."

Cedar County Assessor Eddie Johnson said mailing addresses do not necessarily correspond to physical addresses in that area.

Carolyn Jessop is an author and former member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Jessop, who was in the Ozarks recently to speak at Missouri State University, said she met with the 27-year-old twins after the allegations surfaced.

Jessop said she knew members of the Centennial Park group were living in the area. That group broke away from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the mid-1980s.

Ken Driggs, a Mormon historian based in Atlanta, said the Humansville community is well known among fundamentalists in the Rocky Mountain West.

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