Bus Tours Promote 'Polygamy Experience'
The four-hour "Polygamy Experience" bus tour is the brainchild of Richard Holm, who once had three wives himself but tells Reuters he has since stopped the practice and quit the religious group that promoted it.
Tourists from as far away as Europe and Scandinavia and from throughout the U.S., are paying $70 for a look at isolated life in the polygamist community at the Utah-Arizona border, the wire service reports.
Colorado City is headquarters of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), a breakaway from the Mormon faith. It's also where their prophet and leader Warren Jeffs ruled – before starting his current incarceration in jail in Utah for arranging child bride marriages.
Plural marriage is still practiced in the town, with men typically taking one "legal" wife and additional "spiritual" wives.
As a Reuters writer describes the tour, "Against a backdrop of stunning mountains and pink rocks children play in yards, families picnic in parks and teenage boys gallop their horses away from the guests."
As the tourists come near, women in pioneer dresses hustle their kids out of sight. Still, the idea of visitors is starting to grow on locals, Holm says.
The tour, he adds, does not promote plural marriage.
"It's a look at the inside of the community and people there," says the former resident. "We hope in the process it shows how religious extremism leads to entrapment and bondage."
Photo, Ken Lund, flickr