Bus tours journey into U.S. polygamist heartland

Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:43pm EDT
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By James Nelson

COLORADO CITY, Arizona (Reuters Life!) - A peek inside a polygamist community and their isolated way of life is now just a bus ride away for sightseers from around the world.

"I was born into polygamy," said guide Richard Holm as a tour bus lumbered into Colorado City, Arizona.

Billed as the "Polygamy Experience," the four-hour, $70 tour takes visitors through the middle of the polygamist enclave on the Utah-Arizona border.

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.

Women with old-fashioned braided hair and pioneer dresses usher the little ones out of eyesight.

Holm says tourists have come from France, Germany, Holland, Sweden, Norway and throughout the United States. He added that the tour idea is growing slowly as local people start opening up.

"The opening-up of the attitude of the people. To be friendly and realize we're not here, you're not here, nobody on this whole tour is here to hurt anybody else," he said.

Colorado City is the headquarters of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS). It is where their prophet and leader Warren Jeffs once ruled.   Continued...