No One Wants Excommunicated FLDS Member's Council Seat

Associated Press/February 18, 2004

Hildale, Utah -- No one wants a city council seat that became vacant when a town leader was excommunicated and ordered out of the church-controlled town.

Mayor David K. Zitting said although the city posted a public vacancy notice several weeks ago, not one of the town's 680 registered voters responded.

The seat became available after Joseph I. Barlow Sr. resigned Jan. 13. Barlow had served on the council since the town was incorporated in 1963.

Barlow was one of 20 men who were removed from their positions within the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints by the church's prophet, Warren Jeffs.

The men were told to leave town without their wives or property. More members have been excommunicated since that early January mass excommunication as Jeffs reportedly is trying to solidify his position as church leader.

Since Barlow's open seat wasn't filled at Tuesday's council meeting, Zitting told the remaining council members that they could not miss any meetings so they would have a quorum while they search for a replacement.

"In the meantime, everyone here is important and every vote counts," Zitting said.

The FLDS church has about 10,000 members in Hildale and neighboring Colorado City, Ariz., which together comprise the nation's largest polygamy enclave. The towns are about 300 miles south of Salt Lake City.

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