Almost 50 years ago, Bob Foster saw God in a dream. He told Foster to go to the desert and find a specific, large rock, and build cave houses there, Foster recounts. At the time, Foster hoped to create a safe and remote space for his community that followed a fundamentalist set of religious principles, including the practice of plural marriage. The rock, he decided, would protect his community from the coming apocalypse, and any natural disasters that come before it.
Rockland Ranch, or the Rock, as it’s known by its inhabitants, is situated in the state of Utah, dominated by a massive red sandstone formation. Houses were built by blasting dynamite into the sandstone cliff, then covering the cave walls to create modern homes with running water, electricity and internet access. Underground living offers a comfortable even temperature of 73 degrees Fahrenheit, all year round. Seventeen families live in the Rock, composed of 150 people who belong to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and other faiths. Some practice polygamy, others do not. Fourteen families live at the Rock full time, while three more from the nearby city of Moab are building their own homes and hope to move in soon.
In terms of power, this community is fully self-sufficient, equipped with solar panels and a natural water well that supplies all the families in the community. There is also a pasture where they raise cows, chicken and goats, and outdoor and indoor gardens to grow fruits and vegetables. The community has its own P.O. Box and garbage containers. Daily tasks are divided among the residents; some families care for the cattle, while others work in the gardens or maintain the solar panel system. The rest work in nearby cities. Most of the children are homeschooled, while the rest—mostly the older children—are educated at public schools in Monticello or Moab.