Women from Colorado City are seeking college degrees

A major shift Colorado City is seeing is education. Many residents—including women—are seeking college degrees.

"I did not graduate high school. I left when I was 15, I got pregnant when I was 16, I had my baby when I was 17,” said Marylou Barlow.

Barlow left Colorado City and the FLDS faith, not sure she'd ever go back, knowing how she'd be treated. 

"Before, they would spit at you and call you names, and they would run from people.
but that's not the way it is anymore. It's starting to feel like a more homey community,” said Barlow.

She's since moved back to the town she loves to raise her four children.

“Those mountains are home.And the people. It’s really nice to be connected back with them, because they are my family."

Shirlee Draper, an FLDS advocate, says many in Colorado City are leaving the FLDS faith since Prophet Warren Jeffs was convicted of rape. 

"I would estimate that the largest portion of the population are not FLDS. People are falling away, not following Warren, but they are choosing to stay there which changes the dynamic,” said Draper.

Before Jeffs was arrested for his crimes, he set a mandate: No education. 

"He shut down the public schools,” said Draper.

"When I was growing up it was not important to go to school,we were pretty much raised to have kids,” said Barlow.

Although Jeffs continues to lead his followers from behind prison walls, public schools are popping up and women are finding education - including Barlow who's starting the nursing program at Mohave Community College in Colorado City.

"It's an amazing feeling to be educated and to be learning and expanding my mind like I have,” said Barlow.

"I am astonished at the huge number of increase  of women and girls who are going back to school. and a large number of women with children going back to school, ” said Draper. 

"I stand taller,”  said Barlow.

Water Canyon High School - a public High school in the  FLDS community of Hilldale is also seeing exponential growth. Last year there were four graduating seniors. This year, at Monday’s graduation, there will be 25. 


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