The FLDS has an estimated 10,000 members, most of whom live in Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah. The group also has followers near Eldorado, Texas, and in South Dakota, Colorado, Nevada, British Columbia, and Mexico.
The spiritual leader of the FLDS church is considered a prophet of God. He is the only person able to perform marriage and can punish followers by "reassigning" their wives and children to other men.
They believe in practicing polygamy.
Critics of the FLDS maintain that underage females are often forced into marriages with older men.
Eleven of 12 suspects from the 2008 raid on the Yearning for Zion (YFZ) Ranch have been tried and convicted on charges of child sexual assault, bigamy, or performing an unlawful marriage. The charges against Lloyd H. Barlow, the doctor indicted on three charges of failure to report child abuse, were dismissed.
1890 - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon church, suspends the practice of polygamy in order to gain statehood for Utah. Members who continue to practice polygamy are excommunicated.
1930s - Fundamentalists who practiced polygamy are excommunicated by the Mormon church and settle in Arizona.
July 26, 1953 - Thirty-six men, 86 women, and 263 children are either arrested or taken into custody during a pre-dawn raid in Arizona.
- The men are placed on probation after promising to discontinue practicing polygamy.
- Most of the women and children return to the ranch after two years of being wards of the state of Arizona.
November 1986 - FLDS prophet and leader LeRoy Johnson dies at age 98, after leading the FLDS since 1954.
1986-2002 - Rulon T. Jeffs rules as prophet of FLDS until his death at age 92.
September 8, 2002 - Rulon T. Jeffs' son, Warren Jeffs, becomes prophet.
May 2005 - A Utah court freezes the assets of the United Effort Plan trust, which encompasses all of the FLDS sect's land, houses and other assets. The trust, established in the 1940s, is worth more than $100 million. While the trust was established for the benefit of all FLDS members, critics charge that Warren Jeffs has used it to punish dissenters by kicking them out of their homes.
June 9-10, 2005 - Warren Jeffs is indicted in Mohave County, Arizona, on felony charges of arranging a marriage between a 16-year-old girl and a 28-year-old man, who was already married. A state warrant is issued for Jeffs' arrest, although he hasn't been seen in public for months.
2006 - In the ongoing dispute over the United Effort Plan trust, a judge strips the trust of its religious tenets and allows former church members to join as beneficiaries.
April 6, 2006 - Jeffs is charged in Utah as an accomplice to rape for performing a marriage between a 14-year-old girl and an adult man.
May 6, 2006 - The FBI places Jeffs on its top 10 most-wanted list of fugitives.
August 28, 2006 - Jeffs is arrested after being pulled over for a routine traffic stop near Las Vegas.
January 28, 2007 - Attempts to hang himself in his cell while awaiting trial.
September 25, 2007 - Jeffs is found guilty of two counts of rape by an accomplice in Utah. He is sentenced to ten years to life in prison.
April 4-7, 2008 - In response to phone calls to a family violence hotline alleging abuse and rape, police raid the FLDS Yearning for Zion (YFZ) Ranch in Eldorado, Texas.
- 416 children are initially removed from the YFZ Ranch (The number of children removed rises to 468 after some of the mothers are determined to be younger than 18). About 130 women voluntarily leave the compound.
May 22, 2008 - The Texas Third Court of Appeals in Austin rules that the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) illegally removed the children from their families.