All the votes are not yet counted, but it appears Donia Jessop might be elected mayor of tiny Hilldale, Utah. Hilldale and Arizona’s Colorado City, collectively known as Short Creek, are the home of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a warped, polygamous off-shoot of the Mormon religion.
The fact that Jessop is even running for mayor is astonishing. Five years ago, she was one of the myriad women in the population of nearly 8,000 that was straight-jacketed into the neck-to-ankle prairie dress prescribed by the “prophet” Warren Jeffs, who is now in a Texas prison doing life plus twenty years for sexually abusing underage girls.
Jessop left the church and is hoping to lead the community to a better future. Those of us who grieve for the people who suffer at the hands of the FLDS can only be delighted at the prospect of this rural community moving forward.
For more on the story see:
Anne Montgomery’s novel, The Scent of Rain, tells the story of two Arizona teenagers whose fates become intertwined. Rose flees into the mountains to escape from her abusive polygamous community where her only future is marriage to a man older than her father. Adan, whose only wish is to be reunited with his mother, is on the run from the cruelties of the foster care system. Are there any adults they can trust? Can they even trust each other? The Scent of Rain is available at https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780996390149 and wherever books are sold.