In November 2008, large numbers of FLDS members attended a pair of hearings on the UEP land trust. Here are my notes and photos from the first hearing in downtown Salt Lake City:
I’m the first camera to show up at the courthouse. I’m early. Walking to court I spot various FLDS members walking around downtown. I see a man I had spent time with in Colorado City last month. He had been friendly and talkative then, but today says nothing, only acknowledging me with a nod.
I follow a large group to the courthouse and cross the street to put a little distance between me and the FLDS. Another group walks up to the court. It’s an older man accompanied by several women, maybe his wives. He looks across the street and sees me with my cameras and immediately turns the group around. He walks away looking at me over his shoulder, and boy does he look angry. His hair is gray and from this distance his eyes look black. I never see them come back.
I wonder how many people made a long drive to Salt Lake City for this hearing and now won’t go in when they see me and my cameras in front of the court. So far I’m the only media out here but soon there will be more cameras. But for being early I’m not really getting anything. Time to step it up.
2:10 and still no other media. Just me.
There’s a wedding photographer across the street. As opposed to my situation, his subjects are very agreeable to being photographed.
One group of FLDS crosses the street. After seeing them only in rural settings, seeing their familiar figures in the urban environment is striking. What a sight, them in the downtown setting.
Bigger groups are now arriving, but the best photo will likely be at the end, after the hearing when everyone leaves at the same time.
2:38 A big crowd just went in. I’m glad I came early. There are still seven minutes to go until the time I was told to show up.
Other media have finally arrived, a camera crew from KSL TV. They missed the big group going in. Now it’s just two or three FLDS members arriving here and there. Up until they came it was just me and a homeless guy standing here on the sidewalk.
The wedding photographer is still at work.