Arrival of splinter Mormon group concerns West Texans

KGBT4/March 18, 2005

ElDorado, Texas -- A polygamous Mormon splinter group is hurriedly building a new community in sparsely populated West Texas.

The complex for the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is going up near Eldorado (ehl-dur-RAY'-duh). The construction comes as the sect's leader faces growing legal heat in Arizona and Utah.

The group's pending West Texas arrival has been about as welcome among locals as a new breed of rattlesnake.

Schleicher (SHLYE'-kur) County Judge Johnny Griffin sees reason to be apprehensive, even though they've done nothing to warrant public panic. He says it's the group's secrecy that bothers people.

Larry Donaldson has a ranch just up the road from the F-L-D-S site about 40 miles south of San Angelo. He says its move stirs memories of the fiery demise a decade ago of David Koresh and his followers at the Branch Davidian complex outside Waco.

The new complex includes about a dozen concrete and log apartment buildings -- plus other structures around the fortress-like, 80-foot-tall temple that's nearing completion.

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