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Former FLDS teen moves to Idaho Falls to find mom

At the age of 19, Orval Barlow decided to leave Warren Jeff’s Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Hildale, Utah community and move to Idaho Falls to try to find his mother. After being here for six months, he is still looking.

“I can’t describe how much I miss her, and how much I love her and stuff,” Barlow said.

FLDS leaders had sent Barlow’s mother away from Hildale on what they called a repentance mission. They didn’t tell Barlow where, or for how long, but he heard she may have been sent to Idaho Falls.

Barlow decided to leave his FLDS religion because he was so disturbed by what happened to his mother.

She was one of nine wives of Barlow’s father. He said he has about 75 siblings. Barlow talked about being in a polygamist family.

“We thought it was the right thing to do, so we made the best of it. I believed WarrenJeffs was Heavenly Father’s mouthpiece,” Barlow said.

Barlow said he had some happy childhood memories growing up in a big family.

“We had a big yard to run around in,” Barlow said. “Sometimes it was actually quite enjoyable when older family members came around and got all the kids and did something with them.”

But as he grew older, and Warren Jeffs started leading the church from prison, there were strange directives from Jeff’s, like ordering to build him a mansion by the end of the year, and then he’d be released from prison.

“People were working day and night, day and night,” Barlow said. “It was like a swarm of ants at that place.”

There seemed to be less for regular church members and more for the higher up leaders.

“And people started asking questions – just trying to find out the truth,” Barlow said. “If they got too far into it, they would send them on a repentance mission or just get them out of the way.”

Barlow was shocked when his father was sent away on a repentance mission, and later his mother.

Even though he was just a teenager, Orval determined he had enough and left.

” I got sick of people demanding stuff out of me,” Barlow said. “When I moved away from there, I felt like I was a free man.”

Some of the friends Barlow made in Idaho Falls were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A couple months ago he joined the LDS church.

“That’s just how life took me and how I felt I should go with my life, but it was step by step,” Barlow said.

Barlow still thinks about his FLDS family and friends back in southern Utah.

“There is a lot of good people, but they’re all under the same hypnotism,” Barlow said. ” They are just trying to make the best of what they understand and what they know.”

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