New details on secretive FLDS funerals following flash floods

Community members from Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., attend a memorial service in Hildale on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015 for 12 women and children swept away in a deadly flash flood nearly two weeks earlier on the Utah-Arizona border. One six-year-old boy is still missing. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

<p style=”line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 11pt;” dir=”ltr”><span style=”font-size: 12px; font-family: Verdana; color: #000000; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;”>A</span> <a style=”text-decoration: none;” href=”http://www.sltrib.com/home/2962556-155/polygamous-sect-funerals-have-become-middle-of-the-night”><span style=”font-size: 12px; font-family: Verdana; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;”>devastating flash flood</span></a> <span style=”font-size: 12px; font-family: Verdana; color: #000000; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;”>tore through Colorado City and parts of Hildale, Utah, this September, taking 20 lives. By Friday, September 25, rescuers and police had recovered the bodies of 19 victims. But sadly, officials were still combing the area looking for one more — six-year-old Tyson Black.</span></p><p style=”line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 11pt;” dir=”ltr”><span style=”font-size: 12px; font-family: Verdana; color: #000000; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;”>For the families of the other 19 victims, the past week has been a time for funerals, grief, and memorial services. One California couple, who</span> <a style=”text-decoration: none;” href=”http://www.good4utah.com/news/local-news/funeral-procession-from-st-george-to-california-for-couple-killed-in-zion-flash-flood”><span style=”font-size: 12px; font-family: Verdana; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;”>lost their lives in Zion National Park</span></a><span style=”font-size: 12px; font-family: Verdana; color: #000000; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;”>, were transported with an honor guard all the way home to Camarillo, CA. The funeral procession of Ventura Sheriff Sgt. Steve Arthur and his wife Linda Arthur departed Utah with an honor guard made up of representatives from the Utah Patriot Guard, Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Arizona Department of Public Safety, Utah Highway Patrol, and Mohave Sheriff’s Department.</span></p><p style=”line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 11pt;” dir=”ltr”><span style=”font-size: 12px; font-family: Verdana; color: #000000; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;”>That moving display of grief and love offers a sharp contrast to the</span> <a style=”text-decoration: none;” href=”http://kutv.com/news/local/former-flds-member-speaks-on-secrecy-of-flood-victims-funeral”><span style=”font-size: 12px; font-family: Verdana; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;”>secretive funeral services</span></a> <span style=”font-size: 12px; font-family: Verdana; color: #000000; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;”>organized by members of the isolated Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FDLS), which lost seven members in the flash floods. Funeral customs vary widely across cultures, and even within cultures. The National Funeral Directors Association says that Americans burial customs are fast changing, and by 2017 at least</span> <a style=”text-decoration: none;” href=”http://www.oneworldmemorials.com/blogs/news/48454275-the-wisest-advice-for-grieving-loved-ones-may-not-be-the-best-afterall”><span style=”font-size: 12px; font-family: Verdana; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;”>56% of deaths will result in cremation.</span></a></p><p style=”line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 11pt;” dir=”ltr”><span style=”font-size: 12px; font-family: Verdana; color: #000000; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;”>In Hildale, where thousands of FLDS church members live, only people who are officially a part of the FLDS are allowed to attend funerals. In some cases, former church members say they were kept away from loved ones’ funerals, which were held late at night to avoid attention. FLDS members believe it’s disrespectful for a nonmember to see a body before burial.</span></p><p style=”line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 11pt;” dir=”ltr”><span style=”font-size: 12px; font-family: Verdana; color: #000000; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;”>Therefore, the nine new headstones at a Colorado City cemetery were erected in an appropriately private ceremony. For the past week, friends and family who once belonged to the church have visited the cemetery to pay their final respects to the seven children and two women who were laid to rest there.</span></p><p style=”line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 11pt;” dir=”ltr”><span style=”font-size: 12px; font-family: Verdana; color: #000000; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;”>”You see these little markers, one..by one..by one..by one. It doesn’t hit ya until you see it,” said Dee Barlow, a former member.</span></p><p style=”line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 11pt;” dir=”ltr”><span style=”font-size: 12px; font-family: Verdana; color: #000000; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;”>The youngest victim, Sweet Caress Jessop, was born in 2010.</span></p>

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