FLDS Members and Former Members Put Differences Aside to Search for Missing People in Disaster

By CMBJ (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
By CMBJ (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Religious divisions get overlooked in attempt to save victims of flood disaster.

On Monday night, Utah was hit by a deadly flash flood which wiped off two vehicles that were carrying entire families and causing the death of 16 people. Residents were quick to step in and help out in the situation. They swiftly shoveled through all the debris and muck to help find the survivors. This was perhaps the first time that nobody paid attention to the fact whether one belonged to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or not.

Hildale, a town in Utah, was submerged in heavy rains and then a canyon sent a burst of water roaring into the town. The families sitting in the two vehicles (an SUV and a van) were reportedly getting back from one of the city parks, confirmed Kevin Barlow, assistant fire chief of the town.

The victims were prominent families of the Hildale and Colorado City, Arizona Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints community.

One of the town residents, Chris Wyler, was reported saying that it was a good feeling to see the members of the F.L.D.S working alongside former church members, trying to rescue the flood survivors. It was in 2012 that Wyler left the church. Like many former members, he finds it hard to gain acceptance by people in the town.

In fact, he confesses that his mother and his wife’s mother don’t speak to them because of their decision to leave the church. But this disaster has managed to miraculously bring everyone together for a common cause.

The town of Hildale is grieving the loss of its residents to the flood and there are some who are hoping and praying that this would be the end of the destructive religious divisions and would give way to a renewed sense of community.

A former spokesman for the church, Willie Jessop, stated “Tragedy is an opportunity to connect.”


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