Tuesday, November 30, 2010

More on the Mormon Story

Local history books from DuPage and Will Counties and even Chicago are great resources to learn more about Pierce and Aaron Hawley, but much of Pierce Hawley's story is also recounted in the book Polygamy on the Pedernales; Lyman Wight's Mormon Villages in Antebellum Texas, 1845 to 1858 by Melvin C. Johnson.

Written around the time that the YFZ (Yearning for Zion) Ranch was in the news, the parallels are obvious. Lyman Wight was a charismatic yet not-mainstream-Mormon leader, much like Warren Jeffs. Wight's religious compound was in Texas, just like Jeffs'. Both men also advocated plural wives and marrying very young girls.

Wight's group collapsed from within due to unrest and disillusionment. About two thirds of Jeffs' group have returned to their Texas compound, although Jeffs himself is serving time in a Utah prison for arranging the marriage of a fourteen-year-old girl. He still faces trial in Texas and the announcement that the Utah Supreme Court will not block extradition hit the newspapers, strangely enough, last week on November 26, which is where this research started!

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