With their polygamous prophet in jail, his followers wrote these questions to ask Samuel Bateman

Members of the new offshoot of the polygamous FLDS faith allowed a Tribune photographer to document notes they wrote for their leader after his September arrest.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) After his arrest, followers of Samuel Bateman wrote out questions to ask their leader in a phone call from jail, in Colorado City, Ariz., on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022.

Colorado City, Ariz. • With Samuel Bateman behind bars, his closest followers wrote down their questions they hoped he would answer on-camera when he was free again.

Bateman is the religious leader of a new offshoot of the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), a group of about 50 who have referred to themselves as Fundamentalist FLDS or “Samuelites.”

His homes were raided by the FBI in September, as federal agents served a search warrant detailing that they were looking for evidence of underage marriages or sexual contact between adults and children.

Bateman hasn’t been charged with sexual abuse, though he remains in jail on child abuse charges after prosecutors say authorities discovered three young girls inside a locked cargo trailer he was pulling near Flagstaff in late August. He also faces federal charges for allegedly instructing his followers to delete the messaging app Signal from his phone after he was arrested that day in Flagstaff.

A day after the Sept. 13 FBI raid, a group of women who follow Bateman gathered together these handwritten notes they hoped to someday ask their leader. They allowed a Salt Lake Tribune photographer to document what they wanted to know from Bateman.