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Polygamists in 'The Rock'

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A small community of fundamentalist Mormons, about 15 polygamist and monogamist families, have established a unique home for themselves, living in modern homes literally carved into the side of a massive sandstone rock in the desert south of Moab, Utah. Rockland Ranch, informally called "The Rock," was founded about 35 years ago by Robert Dean Foster, who set out to create a safe, remote space for a Christian community that embraced plural marriage. Large houses were built by using dynamite to blast caves into the sandstone cliff, then finished into relatively modern homes complete with running water, electricity, internet access, and more. Reuters photographer Jimmy Urquhart was recently invited to visit and photograph The Rock, and returned with these images, a rare glimpse into a unique Utah community. [19 photos]

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Enoch Foster, a fundamentalist Mormon practicing polygamy, along with his first wife Catrina Foster and several of his 13 children from his two wives, enter the Charity House at the Rockland Ranch community outside Moab, Utah, on November 2, 2012. The "Rock" as it is referred to by the approximately 100 people living there in about 15 families, was founded about 35 years ago on a sandstone formation near Canyonlands National Park. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart)
Enoch Foster, a fundamentalist Mormon practicing polygamy, along with his first wife Catrina Foster and several of his 13 children from his two wives, enter the Charity House at the Rockland Ranch community outside Moab, Utah, on November 2, 2012. The "Rock" as it is referred to by the approximately 100 people living there in about 15 families, was founded about 35 years ago on a sandstone formation near Canyonlands National Park. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart)
An aerial view of Hatch Rock, home to Rockland Ranch in Utah, courtesy of Google Earth. A half-mile wide, the sandstone formation rises nearly 500 feet above the surrounding landscape. (© Google, Inc.) #
Enoch Foster walks with his first wife Catrina Foster and several of his 13 children from his two wives in Rockland Ranch, on November 2, 2012. Polygamy was a part of the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was brought to Utah by faithful Mormons in the late 1840s. The mainstream Mormon church abandoned the practice in 1890, but an estimated 37,000 Mormon fundamentalists continue the practice today and believe plural marriage brings exaltation in heaven. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart) #
Girls play on a trampoline near a home blasted into a rock wall in Rockland Ranch, on November 2, 2012. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart) #
Homes emerge from cliffside in the Rockland Ranch community, on November 2, 2012. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart) #
Abel Morrison, a fundamentalist Mormon practicing polygamy, tends to a community garden with several of his children in Rockland Ranch, on November 2, 2012. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart) #
Fundamentalist Mormons, some of whom are monogamous and others who practe polygamy, harvest the community garden along with their children in Rockland Ranch, on November 3, 2012. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart) #
Suzanne Morrison, a fundamentalist Mormon practicing polygamy, (2nd left) harvests beets with her daughter Sophia Morrison, 8, (left), and Melinda Gilbert, a fundamentalist Mormon who is monogamous, at the Rockland Ranch community farm, on November 3, 2012. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart) #
Suzanne Morrison sorts potatoes from the community garden with her daughter Eve, 2, on November 3, 2012. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart) #
Anna Knecht, a monogamous fundamentalist Mormon, tends to her newborn daughter Evahny Knecht, in Rockland Ranch, on November 3, 2012. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart) #
Fundamentalist Mormons harvest a community garden along with their children, on November 3, 2012. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart) #
Moroni Foster, 13, whose family are fundamentalist Mormons practicing polygamy, holds a beet he collected, on November 2, 2012. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart) #
Catrina Foster, a fundamentalist Mormon practicing polygamy, brushes her daughter Christa Foster's hair, 9, in their home blasted into a sandstone cliff, south of Moab, Utah, on November 3, 2012. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart) #
Enoch Foster visits with several of his 13 children from two wives in their cave-home in Rockland Ranch, on November 2, 2012. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart) #
Bradee Barlow, a fundamentalist Mormon practicing polygamy, holds her newborn daughter Lucy while she shops in the storeroom at the Rockland Ranch community, on November 2, 2012. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart) #
Enoch Foster prays before a meal with his first wife Catrina Foster, second from left, and several of his 13 children, on November 2, 2012. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart) #
Young Evangelina Foster eats dinner in her subterranean home in the Rockland Ranch community, on November 2, 2012. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart) #
A bible scripture hangs on the wall behind Enoch Foster, as he eats dinner in his home blasted from a rock wall, on November 2, 2012. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart) #
Enoch Foster works in his kitchen with his first wife Catrina Foster and their daughter Evangelina, 1, the youngest of his 13 children from two wives, in their home carved into the stone of Rockland Ranch, on November 2, 2012. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart) #

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