Salt Lake television reporter John Hollenhorst took to the skies above the YFZ Ranch outside Eldorado to report on new, strange construction underway at the polygamist ranch.
Eldorado Justice of the Peace Jimmy Doyle flew Hollenhorst up in his plane to survey the new building, a semi-circle made of poured concrete. The building, which appears to be some kind of amphitheater, has thirty-foot walls and is as long as a football field.
While the precise purpose of the new building is unclear to outsiders, rumors are flying. Many believe that FLDS members plan to use the building to put up a thirty-foot statue of Warren Jeffs holding the hand of a little girl. (Jeffs is serving a life plus twenty years sentence for the sexual assault of two underage girls he had taken as his “spiritual wives.”) Others believe that the building will replace the old temple, which has not been used since the Texas Rangers raided it in 2008. Also puzzling is that an elaborate drainage system was constructed underneath the building, despite the arid climate. (View a slideshow of detailed photos of the amphitheater.)
Lindsay Whitehurst, the Salt Lake Tribune‘s polygamy reporter was awed by the building’s size: “It looks huge — seemingly larger than what would be necessary to fit the several hundred people likely living on the ranch.”
Matthew Waller of the San Angelo Standard-Times has monitored the construction at the ranch over time, and reported in December that Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is a frequent visitor to the ranch, drawn there by complaints about violations.
Watch Hollenhorst’s report: