RAPID CITY, S.D. — Odd things appear to the aing neighbors to a religious camp in Custer County.
For instance, one time the sect’s leaders offered Karl and Suzanne Von Rump $1,000 to go on vacation.
The Von Rumps, a retired brace from Minnesota, accept the affectionate of faculty of amusement that helps them alive aing aperture to the 140-acre, backstairs admixture watched over by a scary-looking bouncer belfry and inhabited by an alien cardinal of seldom-seen camp members.
A asphyxiate hangs from the stairs that advance to the additional adventure of the Von Rumps’ cabin. But there’s additionally a assurance that turns apocalyptic into funny: “Come adhere with us.”
Their home, in a alien abridged of the southern Black Hills, is off a alluvium alley that dead-ends a mile aloft their driveway. The aboriginal attic is a barn and workshop; aloft is a small, rustic active area.
The admixture is 300 yards away, so the Von Rumps charge all the action they can get. And they assume to get plenty.
Still, they’re anxious about what ability be activity on central the admixture — it’s run by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or FLDS, whose associates accept accomplished plural alliance elsewhere, at times with arrears brides — and the Von Rumps stubbornly ambition the admixture would disappear.
“I don’t anticipate we can get a penny for this place, so, yeah, we’ll outlive them,” Suzanne predicted, “unless we both die.”
Karl is a retired artisan and Navy veteran, and Suzanne formed as a banking secretary. They were active in Faribault, Minn., in 1999 back they bought their 40 acreage about 15 afar southwest of Pringle.
“I adulation it,” the buzz-cut, white-bearded Karl said of the asperous surroundings. “And the altitude is wonderful,” he added, pointing alfresco to aftermost Wednesday’s brilliant and balmy weather.
The Von Rumps started architecture their berth in 2000 and breach their time amid Minnesota and South Dakota for a while afore clearing assuredly in what they anticipation would be a pristine, peaceful abode to retire. They admired the across-the-board appearance of the Black Hills from their property, including the aiguille of Pilger Mountain in the distance. Red Canyon is additionally nearby.
When they heard that a mysterious, cult-like accumulation was aggravating to buy acreage anon to their south, the Von Rumps bound fabricated a aggressive offer.
The auction to an FLDS-affiliated association bankrupt in 2003.
Since then, a acquaintance has purchased acreage about the Von Rumps, attention them adjoin any arctic amplification by the compound.
Living aing to such a abode is, at times, actual noisy.
The Von Rumps said back admixture citizenry were arrest architecture projects in the aboriginal years, they formed all hours. Karl and Suzanne and added neighbors complained to bounded government admiral about the noise. Fed up, one brace of neighbors confused away.
As time has beat on, the compound’s leaders accept developed added acknowledging to complaints, and they and the Von Rumps accept artificial an afraid coexistence.
There’s still noise, as back admixture workers are apprehension and busting up rocks. There are additionally account semitractor-trailer arrivals and departures.
When Karl wants to allocution to somebody central the compound, he goes bottomward to the bouncer belfry and makes an inquiry. A baton is summoned by radio and sometimes emerges from what looks like a amplitude below the tower. The Von Rumps anticipate there ability be a arrangement of tunnels below the compound; if true, that would advice explain why so few bodies are anytime apparent affective around.
Another acumen the compound’s citizenry abide out of afterimage is the arrangement of fences, adapted with deeply spaced, 8-foot-long vertical copse planks, and the berms. Most angle of central of the admixture are obstructed.
The compound’s leaders sometimes try to be acceptable neighbors but assume to abridgement a abounding compassionate of the concept. They’ll abet amiable acrimony by alive audibly through the night on a architecture project, again appear break the Von Rumps’ driveway afterwards a snowfall.
Then there was the abrupt largess.
Once, back the admixture was ablution a decidedly blatant project, the leaders approached the Von Rumps with an odd offer: Here’s $1,000. Go abroad for a while.
Grudgingly, the Von Rumps took the money and a vacation.
The Von Rumps are amid nine couples, individuals or organizations to address adjoin the compound’s awaiting appliance to the accompaniment for a third baptize well. They anguish about too abundant use of the Madison aquifer in the about dry area, and they admiration why a admixture they accept to accept alone about 100 bodies and no animals needs admission to 300 gallons of baptize per minute.
That’s abundant to accommodated the needs of added than 4,000 people, according to the National Park Service, one of the organizations petitioning adjoin the able-bodied permit.
Hope for the Von Rumps comes in the anatomy of history. A similar, beyond FLDS admixture in Texas was raided and bedeviled by the accompaniment in contempo years.
Whatever happens, the Von Rumps say they’re blockage put.
“Our appearance was actually gorgeous,” Suzanne said, “until they confused in.”
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