After more than a century of isolation and more than a decade of darkness and tyranny, the winds of change are now blowing along the Arizona/Utah border.
Call it a sea change in Short Creek.
Today in the twin border towns of Colorado City and Hildale, it is very much a tale of two cities -- a community divided not by a state line, but instead by the cultural Grand Canyon that now separates the many people who continue to follow Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints prophet Warren Jeffs and the growing number of non-FLDS residents who are now actively taking the community in a new direction.
It is a fluid and dynamic moment in the history of this unique community.
SPECIAL SECTION: The Polygamy Diaries
Jeffs and his powerful brother, Lyle, are behind bars. A federal judge in Phoenix is poised to slam the FLDS-controlled municipal governments of Hildale and Colorado City, including the FLDS-controlled police force, with penalties and sanctions after a jury earlier this year found widespread discriminatory practices at just about every layer of government.
So, what lies ahead?
During a recent three-day trip to "the Creek," photojournalist James Apalategui and I tried to get a sense for which way the winds of change are blowing.
What we found were some very positive changes like the opening of several new business and a brand new public high school in Hildale. There was also a new and more welcoming attitude among many of the residents.
Not once were we followed, chased or hassled.
But not all is well in Short Creek, where those still faithful to Jeffs are now doing what FLDS people have done throughout their history. They are drawing more tightly together and withdrawing behind higher and higher walls.
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