United Effort Plan

The United Effort Plan (UEP) property trust was created by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 1942 on the concept of a “united order,” allowing followers to share in its assets.

FLDS members consider communal living — a principle known as the Law of Consecration and the United Order — an integral part of their religion.

Valued at more than $114 million, the trust holds most of the property and homes in the twin FLDS communities located in the border towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz.

The church also holds property in Bountiful, British Columbia, and Eldorado, Texas (the Yearning for Zion Ranch).

But while the UEP was meant to be a good thing, ex-members claim cult leader Warren Jeffs — who rules the sect with an iron fist — used the trust for his own purposes (see video).

Utah courts seized control of the trust in 2005 amid allegations by state attorneys that Jeffs and other faith leaders had mismanaged its assets.

In addition the state feared the property trust was put at risk when FLDS leader Warren Jeffs failed to respond to a lawsuit filed in 2004 by six boys who had been kicked out of the cult.

Ever since it was seized the UEP has remained the subject of ongoing legal battles.

FLDS followers maintain the court-ordered reorganization of their property trust violated their constitutional rights to religious freedom, and they have sued to reverse the changes or regain control of the trust.

This is a scene from the documentary film, Sons of Perdition. The documentary deals with the so-called ‘Lost Boys‘ — young men kicked out of the FLDS by cult leader Warren Jeffs. This segment talks about Warren Jeff’s control over the FLDS community via the United Effort Plan trust.

In August, 2010 the Utah Supreme Court on Friday said a polygamous sect waited too long to object to a state takeover of its historic property trust, rejecting its bid to undo changes made to the United Effort Plan Trust.

Note that while Warren Jeffs was sentenced to life in prison in August, 2011, FLDS-watchers believe his grip on the sect is likely to remain.

There is, however, a battle for control of the FLDS.

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This post was last updated: Nov. 11, 2015