Then, out of nowhere, buses pulled up carrying what appeared to be women from the compound, and I thought this could be our chance, our one chance to persuade them to let us inside this mysterious place that we all knew so little about.
The women started to file off the buses and started talking with us, telling their side of the story, and the impact on them and their children of the raid in which the state removed 416 children after allegations of physical and sexual abuse.
As the women finished talking with us, and started climbing into their SUV's to head up the long road to the compound, I knew that was my chance. I approached the men at the gate and asked if our cameras and satellite truck could go in for the first-ever look with television cameras.
I tried my best convincing, and they said yes. I almost didn't believe it. This group had usually dodged reporters, and refused to say anything at all to outsiders.
As soon as they unlocked that green gate every member of the media started driving up, and asking to be let in, too. And so the men decided if they let us in, they were going to have to let everyone else in.
I hopped in the car as fast as I could with my photographer, and we drove down a long gravel road that seemed to last forever. It led eventually to... another green gate. There, we waited. And waited. Until finally the group's members decided to let in our cars, in single file.
On that gravel compound, we saw houses. Brown houses, scattered all over, so many it looked as if they could hold more people than I imagine.
Church members led us to one house, where the women of the compound, wearing pioneer dresses and their never-cut hair gathered up in distinctive honey-combed buns, were waiting to talk with us.
Some spoke in fear, some were shy, most were more than willing to tell us what it's like to live there, and what they have experienced these past couple weeks.
It was a rare glimpse inside the lives of a closed society.
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Filed under: Polygamy
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