Centennial Park Group
About 1,500 people are members of a group located in Centennial Park, Arizona, called The Work of Jesus Christ. In the early 1980s there was a conflict of leadership in the FLDS Church. Some of the members were very unhappy with the changes being made by various influential men in the community. When the FLDS Church abandoned leadership by council and instituted a "one-man rule" doctrine, those who wanted to maintain leadership by a priesthood council founded Centennial Park in 1986, approximately 3 miles (5 km) south of the twin communities of Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah. (Location of Centennial Park).
The name "Centennial Park" is a reference to the 1886 events surrounding Lorin C. Woolley, which serve as the basis for fundamentalist claims of priesthood authority. Members of this group (referred to by members as "The Work") denounce all violence and abuse, do not permit marriage of young girls, and disavow the extreme practices of the FLDS Church. However, like the FLDS Church, they practice a form of arranged marriage. They dress in modern, modest attire.
The Centennial Park group has built a meetinghouse for weekly services and a private high school. A charter school was built in 2003 for the town's growing elementary-age population. About 300 members of this group live in the Salt Lake Valley, where they hold meetings monthly. Members living in Salt Lake City often travel to Centennial Park every month to help in building the community. This group is led by a Priesthood council.
The group was profiled on the ABC television program Primetime in a story entitled, The Outsiders, and also on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
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