Southern Utah 'round St. George is an interesting area to me, where I've been doing some work. Very conservative . . . in a sort of Cliven Bundy kinda way. (Btw, the Bundy Ranch is not too far away . . . and from what I can tell . . . I expect that "standoff" is not over. It looks like to me the Feds will be swooping in again but this time they will do it fast and with force to make a point. I wouldn't be surprised if they do the same in some other similar type "standoff" areas and perhaps JHelm will be of service in that regard....)
Anyway, the Mormons down here (St. George) are more like the original, independent and conservative minded Mormons who settled the area in the late 1800s (quite unlike the generally far more blase' and liberal Mormons in Salt Lake City.)
I've also happened to be working with (well, they are on the same job as me) a couple of polygamist men. I've met a couple of the "sister-wives" and more than a few of the many children who regularly stop by the jobsite (yes, in their pioneer dresses and Opie trousers.) Curious and always interested to learn more, I have had some good talks with them. They are ex-members of the infamous Warren Jeffs clan.
They are an interesting lot. They do talk amongst themselves a lot about the latest happenings with the remaining sect members--lots of intrigues there--and I do like how they often are discussing theological doctrine and controversies while they work. While they are shunned and outcast from the mainstream LDS church . . . it is ironic that they actually intend to and mostly DO follow the original teachings of Joseph Smith. They believe the LDS church out of Salt Lake has gone astray--which it has, though it pretends it hasn't--from the original Mormon doctrine (of plural wives, multiple gods etc.)
I've preached the Gospel to them and we've had a couple intense theological debates where I have emphasized to them the need for the absolute standard of the Word of God. Oddly, as it turns these fundamentalist Mormons, partial apostates (from the Jeffs polygamist clan) are post-moderns--they believe that everyone has their own truth and gets "personal revelation" from God. I told them that this is where their problems exactly stem from, for if there is no absolute standard (The Bible) then every wanna-be "prophet" (like Jeffs) can just say "God told me . . . it's essential to bugger little girls for celestial glory" and who can contravene that if everyone "has their own truth"?
Personal preference, opinion is all they've got to judge things by, and if fact, they are very much against "judging" what other people believe or do according to their own "personal revelation." They are, interestingly again, very non-judgmental toward others.
They also love beer and cuss a fair game. Which at first struck me as odd, but then I remembered that Joseph Smith and the early "apostles" and "prophets" also drank beer, smoked, chewed tobacco, cussed, etc., so again, they are actually believing and living closer to the original example set by Joseph Smith, John Taylor, Parley Pratt etc., than do the leadership and members today of the mainline LDS church.
They are hard workers and can do any task. They learn to work early in age. Their children (at least these particular fellows) are refreshingly old-fashioned and remind of how kids were when I was a kid and even more like something out of The Andy Griffeth Show.
Again though, when we go at it, I am reminded that one of the most devilish, treacherous, wicked and destructive things that Joe Smith ever did was to cast doubt upon the Bible and have his followers distrust it. It is so engrained in them and is a mental gatekeeper which powerfully keeps them from seeing and hearing the Truth. Every time I contradict some doctrine or belief they espouse by saying "That is not Biblical though" . . . they instinctually rejoin "well . . . but the Bible has so many contradictions . . . and we don't have a correct translation" etc.
But what I do like at least . . . is that they will talk about these things. It is rare that I can get some worker or person out and about . . . to talk about God, the Bible, truth, doctrine etc. These guys at least think its important and they themselves are often going back and forth on religious/theological issues that relate to their situation.
In fact, I am endlessly astounded that so few people ever think about God or truth or seeking truth . . . striving to learn the meaning and purpose of this life; but who are content to just bumble along in life never giving it more than a few moments thought, shrugging, rolling eyes, sloughing off . . . all the way to the grave. . . . It is really remarkable . . . the lack of curiosity, concern. . . .