Look to the Stars
by Alice Isom Gubler Stratton
Chapter 42
A Fledgling on the Edge of the Nest
(1953)

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321 January 9. When I stopped to pick Lolene up tonight, Allie said, "I'm not going to sustain you in Stake MIA one more time. It's all nonsense for you to go out on stake work when you've been away from your family all day."

"What are you going to do next Sunday at Stake Conference? Hold up your hand when they say, 'opposed'?"

"You bet I am," he said.

"Good. I really need to be released."

Allie is a bishop, too.

Sunday, January 11. In conference today, the Stake Relief Society, Stake Sunday School, and Stake MIA, both young men, and young women, were released. Guess who they sustained in my place! Kate!

Chucking, I congratulated Allie. In a state of shock, he said, "Your kids have got you now, but I have lost my wife."

When he came to our house this afternoon, I piled my stack of MIA manuals in his lap. "Take these to Kate, please." He just tared at them.

January 12. No stake meeting for me tonight. I can't believe it. To stay home on Monday night!! I was in the laundry room merilly singing, "This is the night I iron my clothes, etc.", when the door burst open and Bessie Judd and Margarete Nuttal came laughing in.

"We're lonesome," Margaret said.

Bessie was trying to cushion the shock of our release by clowning. She remembered every funny little thing that had happened while we were together, and dramatized them for us. We planned a party to celebrate our new status, and Bessie outlined a skit. In it, she poked fun at the entire board. Margaret and I laughted until we ached.

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329 "No. It registers one-half full."

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Saturday, 1 August. Last Sunday the state of Arizona made a raid on the polygamists at Short Cree, Arizona. However, there was still some mopping up to do on the Utah side, so Washington County officials joined in. The following account is from the Washington County News, dated July 30, 1953:

Washington County News—July 30, 1953

"Utah officially joined Arizona Wednesday in the breakup of United Effort cultists.… Washington County Sheriff Antone B. Prince and Israel Wade, deputy of St. George, arrested six Short Creek women on Arizona warrants and held warrants on 15 others.… Warrants of six women and 3 men and 12 or 15 other women, all were given to Sheriff Prince by a deputy attorney general of the state of Arizona. Formal extradition 330 papers had earlier been flown to Utah's Governer, J. Bracken Lee.… Residents believing the raid to be a joint Utah-Arizona break claimed to have stayed in their Utah homes, awaiting state troopers.… Meanwhile $43,000 bail has been raised and posted in Kingman, Arizona for the release of the 34 men and 50 women taken custody there Sunday. Short Creek has been bottled up from all sides and is under surveillance of state patrolmen of Arizona and pilice officers. Only official visitors are allowed to enter."

For days, prior to this raid, the Washington County clerk's office has been haunted by government snoopers from Arizona. They have been searching through marriage license records to learn which of the polygamist wives were lega. The wily "pligs" it seems, have been bleeding Arizona of its welfare funds by filing false claims. When Arizona officials became suspicious, an investigation was made, which ended in Sunday's raid.

"It is illegal for men law officers to sieze women," Antone Prince explained, as he pinned deputy badges on Helen Bleak and me. Since we were the only two women who were elected officials, we were deputized to go on last Wednesday's roundup.

The dust from Antone's car gave the warning signal that we were coming. As we neared the shacks on the Utah side, we saw women, long skirts flapping, fleeing for the cedars. Dividing our ranks, Helen accompanied Isral, and I went with Antone.

Before entering any of their shacks, Antone knocked, then called, then went in. In one place, bread dough was raising over the sides of the mixing pan. In another, fruit boiled in a kettle, waiting to be bottled. In another, a tub of steaming suds held clothes waiting to be scrubbed on the washboard. Everything bore witness of the hurried flight. Much as I detest polygamy and the cowed-down looko on the faces of the women, I suddenly felt very sorry for them.

The only people we found at home were old man Jessop and some of his wives. Antone left me and his car in front of their gate. Handing me a pistol, he ordered me not to let anyone leave the premisis, and showed me how to call on the radio if I needed help, then he took off on foot.

After he lefet, the old man, his scraggly gray beard hanging down over his chest, ambled through the gate. The pistol trembled in my hand.

"Pardon me, Mr. Jessop," I said, "I have orders not to let anyone come out of this gate."

The old man's rheumy, soppy red eyes looked into mine. "I ain't goin' anywhere," he said. His voice quavered, and I wondered at the gallons of tears he must have shed. "I only want to feed the goats."

Looking at the barren goat pen near by, I said, "Ok, but don't go any further." I watched as he pitched a little flake of hay over the fence, then returned to the house.

Later in the afternoon, after they had rounded up all of the refugees possible, court was held in a large government tent set up for this purpose. Reporters from national magazines and newspapers were there, eagerly anticipating the proceedings. One women on the stand was asked, "Don't you even feel jealous, knowing that your husband is making love to another woman?"

331 "Of course I do," she replied, "but we recognize the fact that a woman loves only one man, and that a man loves all women. It is God's will that women understand this, and adjust to it."

How revolting! It's lecherous old men's will. Nothing more.

A reporter from the Los Angeles Examiner grinned and said, "Why didn't I know about this years ago? This is the life for me."

The whole affair was a long, hot, pitiful, dusty ordeal. One day as a deputy sheriff was enough for me.

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