Excommunicated member of prominent polygamist family dies

Associated Press/May 25, 2004

St. George, Utah -- Louis Barlow, a central figure in the recent purported power struggles in the polygamist-church-run communities of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, has died at the St. George home where he has lived since being excommunicated four months ago.

Barlow, 80 or 81, died Sunday night. The cause was not disclosed and a manager at St. George's Spilsbury Mortuary, which will conduct the funeral services, said the family requested that no information, including the location of the services, be released.

Before the excommunications of Barlow and 20 other men, he reportedly had seven or eight wives, more than 60 children and at least 400 grandchildren.

"He was kind of the patriarch of the family," said town historian and former church member Benjamin Bistline.

Since the excommunications, at least six of Barlow's wives reportedly have been reassigned to other men by Warren Jeffs, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Barlow, the oldest son of the twin communities' founder, John Y. Barlow, had been thought by many to be in line to head the church when its former leader, Rulon Jeffs, died in 2002.

Instead, Rulon Jeff's son, Warren Jeffs, took the reins and on Jan. 10 excommunicated the 21 men, among them Louis Barlow's brothers Joe, Dan and Nephi and his son Thomas.

The men quietly moved to St. George, giving no signs of pursuing the rumored power struggle between their clan and Jeffs.

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