US church group offering travellers 'polygamy tours'

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Melbourne, Sep 21 (ANI): Members of a US church group are now offering travellers "polygamy tours", which will enable them to have a look at life in a polygamous community.

"The Polygamy experience: A guided tour of Colorado City" offers visitors the chance to "learn the story of the US's largest and most secluded polygamist colony" with a four-hour guided tour of the US towns of Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah.

The locals are not very comfortable with outsiders, with the towns' practice of plural marriages and history of sexual assault charges, of which the group's leader Warren Jeffs was convicted two years ago, landing them under the scrutiny of police.

However, tour operators hope to show the public that polygamists are actually peaceful people, with Richard Holm and his brother Heber being among those launching the tour.

Holm was exiled from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), which controls both Colorado City and Utah, in 2003, while Heber left the community 35 years ago.

Holm says that the four-hour tours will give travellers the chance to ask any questions they may have about polygamy.

"Why the prairie dresses and long braids? No makeup? More than one wife? All questions to be answered during 'The Polygamy Experience'," quoted the tour's advertisements as stating.

A passenger bus seating 29 people will ferry tourists into Arizona, where guides will discuss the origins of fundamentalist Mormonism and give travellers the opportunity to take in the town's famous sites, and even includes a picnic.

The tours cost 69.95 dollars for adults and 59.95 dollars for children.

Holm has promised the tours will be respectful, but FLDA spokesman Willie Jessop told the US's Salt Lake Tribune the tours are a scam.

"They want to come into the community like it's a spectacle, when for us, it's like the circus is coming to town," he said.

"We hope people have more of a life than to be suckered into that sort of scam," he stated.

However, Holm is confident the tours will be successful, and says that the public reaction has been very positive.

"I have had dozens say that it is a good idea and they would love to go into the community and see what is going on and haven't dared go off the highway with all the reports and rumours and things of that nature," he added. (ANI)

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