Inside the Cult: Jay in Utah

Inside the Cult: Jay in Utah
Dr. Phil and Jay investigate a bizarre religious town where polygamy is permitted.
Jay visits the two bordering towns of Colorado City, AZ and Hildale, UT, where there are many unanswered questions about polygamy, forced marriages and alleged abuse. It is said that unmarked security trucks patrol the streets and unwanted visitors are escorted out of town at gunpoint. Knowing that the State Attorney General won't even set foot in Hildale without a body guard, Jay was prepared with a convoy of his own armed security.

The mayor of Hildale, David Zitting, reluctantly agreed to meet with Jay.

Jay: Is this a polygamous community?

David: Well, that's pretty well factual, it's been that way for years ... I haven't seen anything wrong with it. The families I've seen are the best organized, most loving, most functional families anywhere in America.

Jay: How about arranged marriages?

David: We're into personal things that I'm not knowledgeable about.

Jay: How about child brides, 14-year-old brides? Does that exist?

David: I'm not out watching people's personal lives.
Jay: Do you know Warren Jeffs?

David: I've met him. He is highly respected, highly loved.

Jay: They say he is responsible for arranging marriages in a polygamous way with child brides.

David: Again, we're getting into personal areas I'm just not going to get into.

Jay: Have you heard the old saying that people who have nothing to hide, hide nothing?

David: I'm not hiding anything. I'm just not going to get into people's personal lives. We start going into that area and we're getting into deep water I don't want to start treading in ... I think the media in general, they exploit things.

Jay: A lot of viewers of our show would say that the things we're talking about deserve to be discussed.

David: But not to the extent and to the exploitation that is often done.

Jay: We consider it more exploitive to have multiple young brides than it is to talk about it.
David: The history of the world is a long history of people that are committed to their religion, and give their life for their religion. And if their history shows a long history of certain principles that they live by, and the law comes along and says you can't do that anymore, they're going to ...

Jay: Ignore it?

David: They're going to abide by their principles regardless of what anybody else says.

Jay: You took an oath to uphold and abide by the laws of this community, correct?

David: And I try to do it.

Jay: But you aren't doing it. You just told me you're violating your oath of this office. You know of polygamy and you turn the other way. So that's not abiding by or upholding the laws, right?

David: I think it is.

Jay: You're just not able to uphold the law of monogamy?

David: I didn't say that. I've always said I will abide by the laws of this state to the best of my ability ...
David: I have a lot of friends that are monogamous and I give them all that right and uphold that right for them.

Jay: But you've got a lot of friends that are not monogamous, that are polygamous.

David: And I uphold their right there.

Jay: And in doing so, violate the oath of this office.

David: I don't think so.
Mohave County Investigator Gary Engles has the lonely job of
uncovering criminal activity. He shows Jay around town.

Jay: Is it hard to investigate crimes in this community?

Gary: Very hard. The types of retribution that they will receive if they do talk are horrendous.

Jay: What happens to them?

Gary: Number one, their families are taken away from them. Two, their houses are taken away from them. Three, their jobs are taken away from them. And four, and to a lot of people, most important, their salvation is taken away from them.

Jay: Who takes it away?

Gary: Warren Jeffs does.
Although Warren Jeffs is believed to have moved to a new compound in Texas, his presence is still clearly felt.

Gary: There are vehicles that travel around here that are totally unmarked that have something to do with church security. This is Warren Jeff's compound right in front of us. We're picked up on already.

An unmarked white pickup truck makes a U-turn and passes by their vehicle. As they stop on the side of the road, the pickup makes another U-turn and passes them again. The pickup drives past, spinning its tires.
Jay: You've been in polygamous homes?

Gary: Yes, I have.

Jay: Then why don't you arrest them or prosecute them for polygamy?

Gary: Well, in the state of Arizona, polygamy is against the law as far as the constitution goes, but we have no penalties for it.

Jay: You drive around this town and it's a desolate little town, but you forget that in these houses, there are 14-year-old girls being forced to marry arranged husbands and have 10 of their children.

Gary: Sometimes it's forced and sometimes these girls want to do it because of their upbringing.

Jay: So they really are brainwashed.

Gary: Yes.

Jay: What's your goal in this community?

Gary: My goal is to try to bring this place back into the United States.
How are state agencies protecting these children? Jay meets with Carol Sisco, a spokesperson from Utah Family Services.

Jay: How does Utah law define child abuse?

Carol: Do you have neglect or abuse? It's non-accidental harm to a child essentially.

Jay: And it can be psychological or emotional.

Carol: Yes, it can.

Jay: And would it be considered psychological or emotional harm to a child for them to live in a criminal environment?

Carol: It can be, but not all polygamous families abuse their children.

Jay: No. But they all abuse the law.

Carol: They do. But we are not a law enforcement agency.
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff sheds light on his troubled town.

Jay: What do you consider the crimes that are being committed?

Mark: Child sexual assault. Domestic violence. Forcing young girls to marry. Those girls who are being pulled out of school in the sixth grade, denied the chance to work, treated as nothing but property, and their purpose in life is to make babies and to please their man. And that's in America!

Jay: What is your goal here, when it comes to an action-oriented plan to do something about the illegal actions in this community?

Mark: You have to understand that it's not just this community. There are somewhere between 30-40,000 polygamists in this state. There's no way we have the resources or the [manpower] in the state of Utah to arrest every parent and put them in jail and then have 20,000 kids. What do you do with them? ... I have a responsibility to these people, to protect and to serve them. And my feeling is for 50 years, they haven't had the protection of the laws.
Joni, one of the guardians of two girls who escaped from the polygamous community, feels the attorney general is not doing everything he can. "I think you need to give us a way to be able to protect the kids more," she says.

"Mark, the common sense is if it's against the law, go arrest somebody. What is it you need that you're not getting?" asks Dr. Phil.

"I need a young woman to come forward, who's been forced to marry underage, and be willing to testify against her husband and the person who performed that marriage," says Mark.