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Former FLDS leader to go on trial in Texas for bigamy

Published March 21, 2012 2:03 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

MIDLAND, Texas • Jurors have been selected in the bigamy trial of a former lieutenant to polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs.

Wendell Loy Nielsen's trial in West Texas will begin with opening arguments Thursday. Nielsen and 11 other members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints were indicted after a 2008 raid on the church's remote compound in West Texas.

Nielsen could get up to 10 years in prison. He reportedly refused to plead no contest and be sentenced to probation because he thought the proposed conditions were too restrictive.

Nielsen once served as FLDS president and counselor to Jeffs, now serving a life sentence.

FLDS teachings hold that polygamy brings exaltation in heaven. The mainstream Mormon church abandoned polygamy more than a century ago.