Random Ephemera

5 Infamous Cults That Spent Time in Texas

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5. The Yearning for Zion Ranch About a decade ago, a rogue, weasel-faced "prophet" named Warren Jeffs led followers of his Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to establish a closed town of sorts, just outside of San Angelo. Jeffs's congregation was a strict throwback to early Mormon beliefs, including polygamy and arranged marriages between young girls and older male church members.

Most of the group's approximately 500 residents had relocated from communities in Utah and Arizona, quickly erecting several large structures in their new settlement and neglecting to follow various building regulations. The YFZ Ranch eventually attracted attention for allegedly allowing systematic child sexual abuse to take place. While those allegations, and the eventual raids on the YFZ Ranch, are controversial with some people, many of the group's leaders, including Jeffs, were eventually found guilty of various sexual abuse charges and issued lengthy prison terms.

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Chris Lane is a contributing writer who enjoys covering art, music, pop culture, and social issues.