Saturday, May 12, 2012

Day 10 - Escalante, Ut 5/22

Poor Caliente Nevada really does not have much going for it. It's just a sad little one-casino, one-gas station, three-motel town. I was happy to pull out of there this morning.

Today was my day to tour Mormon polygamy country - I'd planned my route to take me through Hildale, Utah, and its sister city just across the border: Colorado City, Arizona.  Colorado City was home to Warren Jeffs, who was the former leader of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Church Mormon sect/cult. Jeffs is now serving time in federal prison for multiple child rape episodes that he committed while following the practices of his FLDS church.

Before I got there though, I passed by another Mormon historical site near St. George: The Mountain Meadows Massacre monument.

This site commemorates an episode that occurred in 1857 in which a Mormon militia got dressed up as indiginous Paiute Indians and killed 140 newcomer Mormon immigrants who were planning to settle in the area.  The local Mormons wanted to keep the area for themselves, apparently, and by dressing as Paiutes they tried to shift the blame on to the heathens.  (Yes, I said "heathens".  Mormon doctrine claims that American Indians are "heathens". Go figure.)

There have been several attempts over the years by the Mormon church to publish revisionist versions of the MMM in which the Indians were the bad guys, but these versions haven't gained any traction outside of Utah.

On to Colorado City -- what a creepy little place it turned out to be. Most of the town consists of these large two-story homes that look like 20 or 30 people could live in them.  And they are all surrounded by walls, real unfriendly-like.  The houses all look like they were built from materials scavanged from the dump.

Even more bizarre are the dozens of huge monstrosities that never got finished.

All in all, Colorado City is a creepy little place, with a very unhealthy vibe. And judging by the sour, glowering expressions passers-by gave me, it is clearly not Mayberry, RFD.

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