“This is Tonia?!” “Hi Tonia, this is Jeff and I live in Minnesota and Seth Jeff’s recently moved into our neighborhood, should we be worried?”
After many conversations with community members in Grand Marias, Minnesota, Sam Brower and I (Tonia Tewell, Founder of Holding Out HELP) flew into Duluth MN and drove 2 hours to Grand Marais. Our drive along Lake Superior was nothing short of breathtaking. Our goal was to bring awareness by showing Prophet’s Prey and holding a Town Hall meeting where people could openly ask questions and voice their concerns.
We were greeted by Mike who treated us like royalty! Mike was not sure how many people, if any, would show up. Sam & I knew that it would be a packed house as we have done these meetings many times before. We were right, it was packed! I quickly realized how many people were gravely concerned and some wanted to take matters into their own hands. Fears of whether they should be worried about their children? Are they starting another compound? The people were watching anything off the internet they could get their hands on to learn more. I was impressed by how this small community rallied together to protect the town they dearly loved and where family memories were made. My advice? Simple:
- Treat Seth like any other neighbor. Be kind and assume the best of intentions
- Be wise and aware! Know what to look for in case of human trafficking or women and children being exploited. There is usually a reason why they landed in a secluded area and right next to the Canada border.
- Do NOT take the law into your own hands. That is what law enforcement is for!
There are clearly so many other suggestions we gave, but too many to mention. You can read the story posted by the WTIP North Shore Community Radio: Concerned Citizens Attend Town Hall About Polygamist Leader.
From Tonia: To Jeremy, Joe, Mike, Joe Friedrichs with WTIP Radio and Steve Eckert with KARE 11 TV and all the towns people, Thank You! It was truly a pleasure to meet you all! I consider you friends and look forward to visiting under different circumstances!
As part of WTIP’s ongoing coverage, Joe Friedrichs spoke with Tonia and Sam Brower about their knowledge of the FLDS community, Seth Jeffs and the upcoming Town Hall Meeting in Grand Marais. You can hear both of these interviews in this special community conversation: Polygamist In Our Midst A WTIP Community Conversation
Image Credit: Joe Friedrichs, WTIP