Religious divide stalls UEP reforms

Deseret Morning News/October 20, 2007

Hildale — The religious divide in this town on the Utah-Arizona border is starting to look like a canyon.

Plans to reform the United Effort Plan Trust, which controls most of the property here and across the border in Colorado City, Ariz., have faced a series of delays. Now, plans to subdivide the communal property are stalling.

Bruce Wisan, the court-appointed special fiduciary in charge of the UEP Trust, wondered if it is more resistance from the Fundamentalist LDS Church faithful.

"We would love to see some political pressure put on the city councils," he said at a Friday-night town meeting held to discuss subdividing UEP Trust property. "If they're getting instruction from religious leadership that says, 'Don't help, don't do anything positive,' they're probably not going to do anything."

"Since we're non-FLDS, they won't listen to us," one woman replied.

Only a few dozen people showed up at the town meeting to discuss changes to the United Effort Plan Trust, which was until recently the communal property arm of the FLDS Church. Wisan told the crowd he was a little disappointed in the turnout since dividing the trust property will affect nearly everyone in these communities.

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