John Hatch, my guide to the Mormon colonies, arrived the next morning to pick me up. It was Hatch who had returned my phone call to the Mormon Temple in Colonia Juárez: He volunteers at the temple and also runs an outfit called Gavilán Tours. We were to drive three hours from Ciudad Juárez to Colonia Juárez, where Hatch and his wife, Sandra, run an informal bed-and-breakfast in their home, catering to a dwindling stream of tourists drawn to Chihuahua for its history and natural enchantments.

“I’m fourth generation in the colonies,” Hatch informed me. He can trace his roots to Mormon pioneers who traveled from Utah and Arizona to Mexico in 1890. He and Sandra have six children, all raised in the Mexican colonies and all now U.S. citizens, including one deployed with the Utah National Guard in Afghanistan. Hatch himself, however, has only Mexican citizenship.

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Hector Escobar

May 2012, Smithsonian Magazine