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bides, not bun them. He still lies as apolgamist and still is, as he wote in a courtdocument, “a staunch beliee in the funda-mental ihts of ou eliious communit.” Wife Joan sas, “Part of him hasn’t let oof the ood old das.” It’s as if he wants toshow his estraned childen—alon with therank-and-file FLDS membes he empathizes with—that he caes fo them and is tryin to help them. Bottom line: Jetho wantsHildale-Colorado Cit to tun into a ealtown. “Until I see a ibrant, local econom and happ childen and oun people ow-in up with a ision of fittin into this com-munit, onl then will I be content,” he sas.
rd Sd I you vis
Jetho Balow is a cautious, eudite man with a dry wit and a fiece pide in hisMomon fundamentalism and polgamousheitae. Een thouh he feels his is “a oicehowlin in the wildeness,” he has lael aoided the public limeliht.But afte FLDS spokesman Willie Jessopcharacteized anone associated with theUEP as, Jetho sas, “enemies of the com-munit,” a deepl offended Jetho decided tospeak up. “The idea I would compomise thestabilit of m own childen thee is totall foein,” he sas.Neithe Willie Jessop no an epesenta-tie fom the FLDS Chuch etuned callsfo comment made to FLDS Chuch attone,Rod Pake.Thee is a pofound disconnect, Jethosas, between loall contibutin FLDSChuch membes and those eapin the ben-efits. The FLDS Chuch leadeship ilifies Wisan “and keeps eerybod well-distractedfom the fact that thei oganization cannotbalance its books.”That lack of balance comes fom the FLDSChuch’s cuent administration bein what Jetho calls “a Ponzi scheme whee pomisesae made of housin, wies and salationthat outun thei abilit to delie.” Thedistractions it uses include filin “dozens of exatious, shallow, fiolous lawsuits, thenoin to the media to complain about the[UEP] lawes.”Utah Assistant Attone General TimBodil estimates the tust and the chuchhae spent moe than $1 million on atto-nes since Ma 2008—an “absolutel obscene” numbe. All of this could haebeen aoided fom the et-o, he sas, if the FLDS had shown up in court fom Da 1instead of waitin until the Ma 2008 raidon Yeanin fo Zion—the FLDS compoundin Eldorado, Texas—to decide it wanted itstownships back.The niht afte the raid, man fome Hildale-Colorado Cit esidents alleed-l chosen b Waen Jeffs to populate hisself-poclaimed hol land etuned to the Aizona-Utah stip. “The next da we beganseein Texas plates,” Isaac Wle ecalls.“The doe all niht.”But when the etuned, the found thehouses and land wee now occupied b someof the 300 fome FLDS membes who hadpetitioned the tust fo homes. The UEPhad placed between 50 and 100 nonbelie-es—all with pesonal history, financial andsweat equit inested in the buildin of thetownships—in tust poperties.Moin to the townships can be anattractie poposition. The UEP onl chaesa $100 monthl occupanc fee and enfocesa popert tax pament. Despite the UEP-FLDS tension, man of those who haeetuned also cite the peaceful, small-townatmosphee as anothe eason.If ou hae “ed sands in ou eins,” Jetho sas, thee will alwas be a “welcomehome” fom the UEP. Part of that welcomeincludes the UEP’s anticipation that occu-pants will eentuall bu thei discountedhomes fom the tust—which, if successful, would mean that Jetho Balow is helpin bin about the dissolution of the tust, which he woked so had to build befoe Jeffs thew him out.That lon-tem plan puts the tust inthe cosshais of a eliious institution that,Bodil sas, onl wants tue beliees asneihbos.Bodil descibes the situation as “a ery awkwad conflict.” Choose the FLDS, and ou’e endosin thei eliion. If ou sup-port the tust, then ou’e endosin theseculaization of a communit—not, heacknowledes, that Jetho and Wle wouldsee it that wa. “The would sa the’e sim-pl tryin to empowe indiiduals to makethei choices.” Indeed, Jetho sas the UEPis “attemptin to bin fainess into the pic-tue, so people who contibuted to [the tust]can diect whee thei popert oes.”But if indiidual choice must defe tothe communal ood—as is the case withthe FLDS Chuch—then such empowementequates as a challene to chuch authoit.Bodil sas the Attone General’s Officehas to ie equal weiht to the inteests of theFLDS and nonmembe esidents. Howee,he adds, whatee Jetho and Wle aedoin, “It’s fai to sa it’s not wokin.”Non-FLDS esidents question Utah Attone General Mak Shurtleff’s neutral-it, citin his office’s settlement poposalto ceate a subdiision of 50-ace lots onthe outskirts of Hildale-Colorado Cit fo non-FLDS UEP occupants. Jetho, fo one,sas the poposal, which was ejected b 3dDistict Court Jude Denise Lindbe, was“eall disappointin.” He feas that suchlegal oertues onl stengthen the will of the FLDS to esist the UEP.Resident Geneie Hainline knows how esolute the FLDS can be. He mothe, CoraLee Witt, alleedl was thown out of he UEP home in 1981 b the FLDS Chuch, alon with Hainline, then ae 1. Now a mothe of thee small childen heself, Hainlinefouht fo eiht months to et electicit toa undown UEP house she’s emodelin. Fo seeral months, local FLDS cops often ques-tioned he when she woked in he back- ad. She’s also endued harassment fom aneihbo who claims a garae on he lot.“This fiht has been oin on sincebefoe I was bon,” she sas. “The’e nee oin to quit.”
Jetho Balow was bon in 1952 into theequialent of polgamous oal blood. Hisfathe, Joseph, was an odained patiach of the communit, a town council membe andleadin businessman, with fou wies and60 childen. Jetho was his fathe’s iht-hand man, wokin with him on dozens of famil busi-nesses. He was also deepl inoled with theUnited Effort Plan Tust, an oganizationset up in 1942 to bank land donated b FLDSmembes, on which followes could buildhouses with communit help and withouesortin to debt.In 1990, then-Pophet Rulon Jeffs gae Jetho his second wife, 20-ea-old ShileeCooke. The met on a Monda and wee ma-ied b Thusda. To he supise, she sas,“I fell head oe heels in loe.” An FLDS inside, Jetho was inceasinl hoified b the authoitaian administra-tion of the Jeffs, Rulon and Waen. Rulon,he sas, intoduced elitism and began con-demnin entie families fo hain immoralbloodlines. Afte Rulon had a stoke, contol issuesunde his son Waen wosened. Shileefound she couldn’t talk to he mothe ohe sistes feel anmoe. “It uined m elationship with them.” Joan’s bothesstopped talkin to he, as did most of thefamil’s fiends. Jetho beliees Waen Jeffs wanted tomake an example of a senio communit fiue in the communit. What Jetho thinksfinall maked him fo expulsion was tellina tax client in the summe of 2002 that te-minall ill Rulon Jeffs would die soon, flatl contradictin Waen Jeffs’ peachin thahis fathe would lie foee. The client toldthe pophet of Jetho’s pediction, and Jeffsscolded Jetho. Afte Rulon Jeffs died in Septembe2002, Jetho could not et an audience with Waen, the new pophet. In January 2003,the list of questioned membes went aoundthe communit, and a month late, as Isaac Wle puts it, Jetho, alon with CanadianFLDS leade Winston Blackmoe, wee “pub-licl executed.”
Free at LaSt
Jetho sas his banishment foced himto walk awa fom $1 million in equit.He handed oe the kes to his home, ada-cae cente with 120 students and25 emploees, the Mak Twain estau-rant, industial and office buildins andhis accountin business. Jetho cuentl is wokin unde a poisional account-in license, hain been cauht up in aSecuit Exchane Commission inesti-gation of a compan he sold to Salt LakeCit-based inestos.Befoe Jetho closed up shop, cli-ents picked up thei tax etuns. “Peoplecouldn’t et oe it,” Joan ecalls. “It waslike hain a funeral befoe ou died.” Jetho’s biest loss was his fathe. He went fom bein Dad to someone tryin ashad as he could to confom to Jeffs’ newl appoed ospel, which meant fosakinhis son. “I nee had a conesation withhim that wasn’t scipted fom that da on,” Jetho sas. “I nee felt ou souls touchinin communication, as we had fo so man eas befoe.” Jetho’s expulsion, Joan sas, “sent himinto a slump so deep and dak it scaed me.” Jetho admits, “I still haen’t ot oe it. was the most steeped and had-boiled [inthe FLDS cultue]. I was bon into it.”
Jo Blow: wo d ousidis o i hildl (blow).