Last year at this time, self-described prophet Warren Jeffs was predicting the end of the world. According to eight revelations he issued from a jail cell at the beginning of December 2012, divine vengeance was slated to fall upon a nation “fully ripening in iniquity.” Earthquakes were to rock Arizona, and “melting fire” was supposed to roll out across Idaho.
This year? Jeffs is predicting the same demise, only this time compliments of the geysers at Yellowstone National Park. Once they blow their tops, it’s the end for all humankind.
“By December 23rd, [the world is] going to have ended,” former FLDS member Isaac Wyler, who has seen the revelation, told KUTV in Salt Lake City. Jeffs told his followers to prepare grey or blue backpacks, of a certain size, and pack them with essentials to be ready to go when God calls them, Wyler said.
Jeffs, 56, is the imprisoned head of a sizeable Mormon breakaway polygamous sect called the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS). He became a fugitive in 2005, after he was charged with conspiracy to commit rape for arranging a marriage between an unwilling 14-year-old girl and her 17-year-old cousin, and then pressuring the girl to have sex with the young man. He was arrested more than a year later, and convicted of two rape conspiracy charges, drawing two terms of five years to life in prison.
Then, in a separate trial last year, he was convicted of raping his 12-year-old “spiritual bride,” as well as sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl. Evidence of those attacks turned up in 2008, when Texas authorities raided an FLDS compound in the town of El Dorado, and included a document in which the supposed prophet of God wrote, “If the world knew what I was doing, they would hang me from the highest tree.” He was sentenced to two life terms in that case.
TWO DECADES AGO,RCMP officers drove up a winding road through the Creston Valley of southeastern British Columbia, past fields of timothy hay and cottonwood stands, to an unmarked settlement known as Bountiful. It looked a typical rural town — homesteads bordered by well-kept yards full of children running and swinging and cycling — but, in fact, the officers had come to investigate a complaint that two local patriarchs, young gun Winston Blackmore and his fifty-seven-year old father-in-law Dalmon Oler, were polygamists — an offence under Section 293 of the Criminal Code.
All 1,000 or so residents of Bountiful are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS), a Mormon sect that believes God’s chosen leaders should each marry several virgins and “multiply and replenish the Earth… that they may bear the souls of men.” Unashamed, Oler invited the officers into the fifteen-bedroom home he shared with his five wives and forty-eight children. Blackmore, who in addition to leading Canada’s FLDSoperated a multimillion-dollar logging, trucking, and manufacturing business, was cagier about numbers, only admitting to having more than one wife. He was rumoured, however, to have at least twenty-five (many underage at the time he married them), and more than eighty children.
After a year-long investigation, the case seemed completely straightforward, but lawyers knew otherwise. While the Criminal Code defines polygamy as a crime, the Charter of Rights guarantees religious freedom, and in the summer of 1992, after consulting various constitutional experts, the BC attorney general’s office officially rejected the RCMPrecommendations, on the grounds that Section 293 was invalid. Blackmore, puffed up with victory, is said to have mounted a framed copy of the Charter on his office wall.
A letter sent by email and snail mail urges the followers of polygamist leader and convicted pedophile Warren Jeffs to “come clean … or you are going down with the wicked and the damned.”
Warren Jeffs, center, leaving a courthouse in San Angelo, Texas, on Aug. 4, 2011.
Warren Jeffs, center, leaving a courthouse in San Angelo, Texas, on Aug. 4, 2011.
It’s signed by two former leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or FLDS, including former Jeffs spokesman Willie Jessop and William E. Jessop (no relation to Willie), who some consider the rightful successor to Jeffs. The message is the first visible sign of a possible schism in the polygamist faith in the wake of Jeffs’ conviction in Texas for sexual assault of “wives” 12 and 15.
Check out Jeffs’ photo in the news story; what a creep! He’s now where he and all child molesters belong. The niece’s heart-wrenching story:
Jerusha, who grew up in the FLDS church, revealed in court for the first time that Jeffs raped her when she was a 7-year-old, second-grade student in the Utah elementary school where he served as principal.
“Warren told me to come sit on his lap and I didn’t know why,” she tearfully recalled to ABC News. “He said, ‘You’re a special girl’ and that he would help me to go heaven. And he had a certain way of making me feel like I was special and he told me I’ll go to heaven if I, for sure, just don’t tell anybody.”
The pattern of abuse she suffered, manipulation and praise along with the rape, is what she told the jury about during the sentencing phase of Jeffs’ trial.
“I just wish everybody could feel the feeling that I felt you know, all the people that he’s hurt,” she said. “I wish they could feel that same feeling.”
Jerusha, now in her 20s and living in the Salt Lake City area, kept her story a secret for nearly two decades while her uncle went free and continued to lead his nearly 10,000 FLDS followers who consider him a prophet who serves as God’s spokesman on Earth.
“All of his rules were to be obeyed,” Jerusha said. “Nothing that he did was wrong, ever.”
It was only when Jerusha watched the documentary “Sons of Perdition” about boys trying to escape the FLDS church, a radical offshoot of the mainstream Mormon Church, that her memories began to flood back.
After he fired his team of high-profile attorneys, Warren Jeffs sat silent Thursday as Texas prosecutors began to lay out evidence that he sexually assaulted two underage girls — including an audiotape of one alleged assault on a 12-year-old.
The state also has DNA evidence that he fathered a child with a 15-year-old girl, said prosecutor Eric Nichols.
Jeffs, the 55-year-old leader of a polygamous sect, is accused of taking both girls as plural wives.
As court opened Thursday morning, Jeffs insisted upon representing himself in a rambling 30-minute speech.
With his hands clasped in front of him, chin down, Jeffs looked straight ahead and paused frequently as he spoke in a lilting, sermon-like voice. He told the judge he wanted more time to prepare his own “pure defense,” saying he wanted the “truth to be presented in a way that entails the knowledge thereof.”
Texas District Judge Barbara Walther reluctantly granted the request.
Ten women and two men were selected to sit on the jury in the sexual assault trial of polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs late Tuesday, after more than 100 potential jurors were excused for admitting they’d previously heard enough about his background to no longer presume him innocent.
An initial pool of 207 was on-hand for the second day of jury selection in the case of the ecclesiastical head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, an offshoot of mainstream Mormonism that believes polygamy brings exaltation in heaven.
The 55-year-old Jeffs faces two counts of sexual assault of a child. If convicted, the maximum sentence for both is 119 years to life in prison. He will have a separate trial for bigamy in October.
A half-brother of FLDS leader Warren Jeffs has filed a lawsuit claiming that the sect has his daughters and is readying to marry them to older men.
Wallace Jeffs is seeking custody of seven of his daughters and two of his sons; he fathered the children, ranging in age from 8 to 16, with two women.
In the lawsuit filed Tuesday in state court in St. George, Wallace Jeffs says he has not been allowed to see his children. He fears his daughters, three of whom are teenagers, are in imminent risk of being married.
“Our intelligence is that Warren Jeffs is attempting to pass his priesthood keys to Lyle Jeffs so he can continue celestial marriages, and once that is done marriages will happen fast and furious,” said Wallace Jeffs’ attorney, Roger Hoole.
Lyle Jeffs is another half-brother to Wallace Jeffs.
Attorneys for polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs want to replace the West Texas judge set to preside over his sexual assault and bigamy trial, according to the San Angelo Standard-Times and wire reports.
In a Monday hearing, defense attorneys said 51st District Judge Barbara Walther’s body language has appeared biased against other members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and she is dealing with a potential safety risk, according to the Standard Times.
Defense attorney Jeff Kearney assembled more than a dozen witnesses who testified that Walther has rolled her eyes and used gestures that made her appear frustrated with the defense. In one instance, attorneys said, she leaned back in her chair and looked up at the ceiling — though she later apologized, saying she had a sinus headache.
“Many of the jurors would punch each other, nod their heads and smile to indicate they had seen” Walther’s gestures, said FLDS defense attorney Dan Hurley, the Standard-Times reported.
In addition, defense attorneys claimed that there’s been more security surrounding Walther after a possible threat. During the first trial of an FLDS man, a truck pulled out dangerously close as she traveled to Eldorado, Texas, the Standard-Times reported. Police suspected it may have been someone connected to the sect. Other judges have recused themselves due to security risks, according to the paper.
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said in a recent interview with Fox 13 he has had no evidence presented to him of child bride marriages in Utah since 2004, when Utah made child bigamy a second-degree felony.
Meanwhile, from his jail cell in Big Lake, Texas, Jeffs has purportedly issued another proclamation. The document given to Fox 13, which was reportedly sent to followers in Hildale and Colorado City, is described as a “word of warning” from God through Jeffs.
The “revelation” calls for an end to wars across the world, before warning of more earthquakes, violence, “pestilence and famine and disease” before Jesus Christ’s return
“And when you reject my word, and my spirit of peace withdraws, darkness rules,” Jeffs wrote. “And there shall be violence in many lands and I shall send my judgments to cleanse the more wicked out of every nation and preserve the more righteous in preparing for my glorious appearing on earth.”
The document is dated April 6, which is significant in Mormon history — the founding of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Joseph Smith. The FLDS Church is a breakaway sect.
The document is signed by “members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known among men as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”