Last May, the local weekly reacted predictably when the editor learned that the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had established compounds in Fremont and Custer County. (That is a Fremont County example above.)
The Custer County sheriff searched one FLDS compound for zoning violations, and of course he found some. Secretive religious groups always violate zoning regulations: obedient to to a higher power, they don't have to show you any stinkin' permits.
Anti-polygamists arrived to make their case by screening Banking on Heaven: Inside Warren Jeffs' Polygamous Cult. A former colleague of mine watched and was impressed.
There is not much sympathy for the FLDS here, but a journalist friend tells me that the sheriff's move was not well-received by everyone either.
It's the legacy of Waco and Eldorado. At Waco, the Branch Davidians were shot and burned for the crime of ... what was it exactly?
The FLDS "ranch" at Eldorado, Texas, was raided and women and kids hauled away, based on one telephone call that was probably bogus. I predict that the legal dust will take a long time to settle there.
So right now the local FLDS enjoy some sympathy for having been the victims of governmental jack-booted thuggery. But that could change.
Some complain that the FLDS spend no money locally. A bigger problem would be if they were seen to be block-voting in local elections.
Don't forget that that is what made Joe Smith unpopular in 1840s Illinois. He was offering the block Mormon vote to state politicians in return for granting him favors, such as being able to charter his own bank. He ended up murdered by a mob, after being arrested for destroying the office of a critical newspaper.
I have a funny feeling that the FLDS are more his spiritual heirs in some respects than are the mainstream Mormons.
UPDATE It was amusing to note that it took less than two hours after posting this item to get a hit from the FLDS stronghold of Colorado City, Ariz.