Sprinkle yourself in fairy dust and say the magic words “I sincerely believe,” and that’s really all you need for the right-minded judge to sympathize with your oh-so-burdensome burden of having to obey the law and then wave his magic gavel and say, “Okay, you are exempt from the laws you don’t like.” David Sam, senior judge of the United States District Court in Utah, is one such judge.
In Perez v. Paragon, he waved his magic gavel for Vergel [or as the judge calls him in the opinion, “Vernon”] Steed, a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If that name sounds vaguely familiar, perhaps polygamist “Prophet” Warren Jeffs rings a bell? He’s the leader of the FLDS cult who thinks god wants him to bang kids. Or at least he was, before he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life — plus 20 years! — in prison for sexually assaulting his 12- and 15-year-old “spiritual wives.”
As ThinkProgress reports, in addition to screwing children literally, the cult is under investigation for violating child labor laws. For Jeebus. Allegedly, but who are we kidding? If these scumbags were okey-dokey with raping children, they probably were even more okey-dokey with using children to pick their pecan trees, and no, that’s not a euphemism. Now the feds are looking into that too, and they’ve issued a subpoena to get some answers, but ol’ Vergel/Vernon, well, he just doesn’t want to cooperate because — surprise! — religious beliefs:
A little debate never hurt nobody:
Two groups came together Wednesday night to create understanding between groups commonly seen at odds.
Two professors of history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sat on a panel with two atheist experts for a discussion to dispel misconceptions and seek understanding.
A debate seeks a winner, where discussions seek understanding, explained panel moderator Paul Reeve, a University of Utah history professor.
“We are seeking understanding tonight, and that is the purpose for our panel here,” Reeve told a crowd of roughly 300 at Salt Lake City Main Library’s Nancy Tessman Auditorium.
American Atheists hosted the panel as a lead-in to its national convention that begins Thursday in Salt Lake City.
“We’re hoping that we can use this as a stepping stone to reach a healthier Salt Lake City,” American Atheists President David Silverman said.
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.
US presidential candidate Mitt Romney is a Mormon, which is a problem for some voters. But, says Andrew Preston, so was the Catholicism of John F. Kennedy and it did not stop him winning the 1960 election.
The Republican Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has been beset by problems, but few are as intractable as his religion. Romney is a Mormon, more properly a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and that makes many Americans uncomfortable. With a stricken economy, high unemployment, and an unpopular health-care reform plan bedevilling President Obama, Romney should be coasting to victory. But questions about him persist, even among Republicans, and the election will likely be a close one. In such a tight contest, doubts about Romney’s religion could even cost him the White House.
Conventional wisdom about US politics holds that religion is a conservative issue, while liberals are more secular. Of course, many liberal Democrats are religious. Historically, moreover, Democrats, including Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, have been among the more religious presidents, while many of the most liberal reformers, such as the civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., grounded their politics in faith. But the party has changed and few Democrats today espouse faith.
Ever since Ronald Reagan officiated over the marriage of the Republican Party to the Religious Right during the 1980 election, faith-based politics has been the Republicans’ strong suit and the Democrats’ Achilles heel. Democrats hold views on abortion, stem-cell research and the teaching of evolution that Christian conservatives find anathema. Pollsters have found that the most accurate predictor of voting patterns is not income, profession or gender, but religion: the more religiously observant the voter, the more likely he or she is to vote Republican.
This trend shows no sign of slowing down; if anything, it is accelerating. According to a recent Pew poll ‘partisan gaps in religious values have arisen over the past 25 years’. For example, in 2012 92 per cent of Republicans and 77 per cent of Democrats said they believed in God; in 1987, the figures were 91 and 88 per cent respectively. While conservatives have kept alive that old-time religion, liberals have begun to lose the faith.
In an interview with cnn.com, a North Carolina Democrat predicted trouble for Mitt Romney because of polygamy — a practice the candidate’s church hasn’t practiced in more than a century.
Rep. Alma Adams, who serves as chairwoman of the Legislative Black Caucus in the North Carolina General Assembly, said Romney will struggle for support among social conservatives in the state who voted to support a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage last week.
“If they look at that awful ballot amendment, and they compare that with his faith, I don’t think people will be OK with it,” Adams said. “From what I understand about the Mormon faith you can have multiple wives. That’s sort of a contradiction. There are questions about who Romney is and what he believes in terms of that particular issue.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stopped practicing polygamy in 1890, and the practice is considered sinful in modern Mormonism. Polygamists are excommunicated from the Mormon Church.
County officials in west central Minnesota are scratching their heads trying to figure out why they’ve been receiving large packets of priority and certified mailings from Warren Jeffs, the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Jeffs is serving a life-sentence in Palestine, Texas, for raping two young girls that he claimed were his “spiritual” wives.
The bundles of letters and booklets began arriving a couple months ago to many county commissioners in the region.
Some of the envelopes contained a two-page document; others had 43-page booklets; one held large bound books that were 149 pages long.
The materials contain proclamations and”revelations that appear to warn government entities around the world of “whirlwind judgments” and certain doom if Jeffs’ message isn’t heeded.
Jeffs, who is president of a group that has been called the “radical” polygamous sect of the Mormon Church, also sends the strong message in the long rambling literature that he should be released from jail.
It’s a message that’s apparently being mailed to elected county officials as well as national and international leaders, according to one of the booklets that warn of a “judgment on all nations.”
So far the Kandiyohi County Commissioners have received approximately seven separate mailings. One of the last mailings weighed almost three pounds.
“Yeah, we’re getting them too,” said Jake Sieg, Lac qui Parle County auditor.
Texas prison officials have found polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs guilty of “a major disciplinary infraction” following an investigation into whether he violated policy by — among other things — preaching a Christmas day sermon from prison, a state spokeswoman said Monday.
Jeffs’ phone privileges have been suspended for 90 days, added Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokeswoman Michelle Lyons.
While refusing to elaborate on the content of the conversations, Lyons said that Jeffs was found guilty of making conference calls on several occasions. “It was obvious to us he was talking to a group of people,” she said.
The leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Jeffs is serving a life-plus-20-year term in Texas for sexual assault. He was convicted last August of the aggravated sexual assaults of a 12-year-old girl and a 15-year-old girl that Jeffs claimed were his “spiritual wives.”
The state criminal justice department announced in late December that it had initiated an investigation into allegations that Jeffs used a prison phone to preach to his congregation on Christmas.
Records show that Jeffs made two phone calls on December 25, said Jason Clark, a Criminal Justice Department spokesman.
Cult Leader Warren Jeffs Tells Followers To Throw Away Children’s Toys And Stop Having Sex With Wives
Even though he is serving a life sentence for child rape, cult leader Warren Jeffs is still controlling his followers from behind bars.
The leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has reportedly directed his cult member to continue following his directives in bizarre ways, ordering cult members that men cannot have sex with their wives, that parents must throw away their children’s toys and that teenage girls are not allowed to have cellphones.
Now that he has a whole lot of time on his hands, self-described prophet Warren Jeffs is claiming to be the “mouthpiece” of an angry God. And judging from the sound of things, there’s going to hell to pay for daring to lock up the racist cult leader for raping a 12-year-old “celestial” child bride and other crimes.
In a series of eight biblically themed “revelations,” written between Aug. 18 and Nov. 12, Jeffs predicts widespread catastrophe and divine vengeance for a nation “fully ripening in iniquity.” Earthquakes will rock Arizona, tidal waves will smack Seattle, “melting fire” will roll across Idaho, and devastating storms will wreak havoc everywhere else, the convicted sex criminal predicts.
“I have named many places that shall be cleansed entire, and as you witness this, a memory of my word shall hearken in your souls that thy God reigneth,” Jeffs wrote in one overweening prediction on Sept. 25 from Tennessee Colony, Texas, where he was being held at the time.
And why would all of this damnation suddenly befall the world—especially considering Jeffs is a little late to the party predicting an end of times? From Jeff’s perspective, it’s because of the legal system locked up the Lord’s “mouthpiece.”
“My warning voice has sounded,” Jeffs wrote, speaking in the alleged voice of God and referring to himself in the third person. “My servant is in bondage.”
Jeffs, the leader of a sizeable Mormon breakaway sect called the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), initially 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. Jeffs was finally arrested more than a year later, and ultimately convicted of two rape conspiracy charges, drawing two terms of five years to life in prison.
Earlier this year, in a separate trial, he also was convicted of raping his own 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, part of the evidence put before the jury, 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.
But one element of the Mormon problem that’s yet to be vetted will come into stark relief should this match-up take place: the Mormon Church’s troubling history of racial exclusion.
This history is a long one, stretching back to the inception of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in the 1830s. Joseph Smith Jr., the founder of Mormonism, ran for president in 1844 as a moderate abolitionist; ordained a black man, Elijah Abel; and offered to adopt one young black convert, Jane Manning James, as his spiritual daughter. Yet earlier in his life, Smith wrote anti-abolitionist screeds replete with racist sentiment typical of Christian pro-slavery apologists of antebellum America. In one 1836 letter to missionaries in the South, Smith excoriated northern abolitionists as the instigators of discord among southern slaves who, he argued, were generally happy.
Other figures early in the Church’s history illustrated such prejudices as well. The Mormon Prophet Brigham Young stated in 1852, “Any man having one drop of the seed of [Cain] … in him cannot hold the priesthood.” Up until the mid-twentieth-century, some prophets perpetuated the idea that blacks were spiritually inferior, the permanently cursed descendants of Ham and Cain (a myth once popular in many American churches). In 1931, Church President Joseph Fielding Smith, the great-nephew of Joseph Smith Jr., wrote a widely distributed treatise—still available on Kindle—asserting that blacks were “fence-sitters” during a pre-mortal battle between God and Lucifer. When they were sent to Earth, according to Fielding Smith, blacks were marked with darkened skin as a permanent reminder of their perfidy. Until 1978, black men were forbidden from holding the Mormon priesthood, a sacred status that almost every Mormon male attains, and black couples could not marry in Mormon temples, a revered ceremony that Mormons believe unites the family for eternity.