FLDS stands for Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The FLDS is a religious sect that was once a part of the Mormon Church or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The FLDS broke away from the Mormon Church over disagreements on the practice of polygamy.
There is an estimated 10,000 members of the FLDS. The majority of its members reside in Hildale, Utah and Colorado City in Arizona.
The FLDS believes that its spiritual leader is a prophet of God, who is the only person allowed to perform marriage. The FLDS leader has the power to punish members of the faith through â€œreassignmentâ€ of their children and wives to other men.
The FLDS believes that being polygamous brings adulation in heaven. The women and girls are covered from ankle to neck because of their belief that their body is sacred. Their hair is worn very long since they will have to wash the feet of men in heaven.
The Mormon Church in the 1890 suspended the practice of polygamy to help Utah achieve its statehood. It punished members who remained polygamous by excommunication. Members who were excommunicated later settled in Arizona in the 1930s.
This religious sect made headlines due to arrests made by police authorities on some of its members.
In 1953, 36 men, 86 women and 263 children were arrested and taken into custody by authorities after a raid in Arizona. The women and children were placed as wards of the state of Arizona but came back to the FLDS ranch two years after.
The FLDS leader, Warren Jeffs was also charged in Utah for being an accomplice to rape since he performed a marriage between an adult man and a girl aged 14. He remained a fugitive for a couple of months and was later arrested near Las Vegas.
Jeffs was convicted in 2007 and was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment. He continues to lead the FLDS from prison.