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May 2006: Cult leader Warren Jeffs is named as one of America’s ten most wanted. His crime as leader of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, a polygamous cult – Warren Jeffs stands of the rape and imprisonment of children. But even with their leader on the run from the law, the members of Jeffs’ cult see themselves as faithful followers of God, not a band of criminals. One man’s cult is another man’s religion. Cults: Dangerous Devotion, 2007
Wanted Fugitive: Warren Steed Jeffs: Unlawful flight to avoid prosecution – sexual conduct with a minor, conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor; rape as an accomplice. FBI
In Spring 2008 US officials and armed guards removed over four hundred children from their homes and families. But what compelled the authorities to take such a course of action? The children in question are members of one of the most controversial religions in the United States. A religion that some have called a cult. Raid on Texas Cult
On 3rd April 2008 the state of Texas stormed the El Dorado compound of the FLDS – the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints – with armoured tanks and guns drawn, and began removing children. ibid.
The group split from Mormonism in the late nineteenth century over the issue of polygamy. Mormons renounced the practice; Fundamentalists believe the most wives a man takes the closer he gets to God. FLDS members tend to live in isolated compounds. ibid.
At age seventeen Simon joined the ranks of the so-called Lost Boys – the name given to the group of underage boys who left or were kicked out of the FLDS. ibid.
As a result of his conviction in Utah, FLDS leader Warren Jeffs must serve a minimum of ten years in prison. In 2008 a Texas grand jury indicted Jeffs on charges related to the raid at the Yearning for Zion ranch. ibid.
Utah has launched an organised crime investigation into a polygamous sect and its fugitive leader Warren Jeffs, now on the FBI Ten Most Wanted List. CBS news online article Sean Alfano 9th May 2006
Anti-polygamy activist Flora Jessup heading for a rendezvous with two teenage girls. Mike Watkiss, KTVK documentary
‘Keep sweet’ means keep your mouth shut and follow the program. Or we’ll crush you. That’s what ‘keep sweet’ means. Mike Watkiss, senior KTVK reporter
America’s Taliban. Mike Watkiss
This is about children who are at imminent risk of harm. Children that we believe have been abused or neglected. Marleigh Meisner, Texas Child Protective Services, re raid of FLDS Texas ranch
Growing up in the FLDS we were not to be noticed. We were not to make ourselves attractive. We were not to be anything but submissive subservients and to make babies. And raise ’em right so they would stay in the religion. Rena Mackert, former member
They control everything in everyone’s lives. They control what they eat, what they can or can’t drink, how they dress, how they do their hair, whether the men can have facial hair, what’s acceptable and what’s not. They are truly a cult. Rena Mackert, former FLDS
They put boys out because they want to reduce the male population to enable them to have more wives assigned to each man. Rick Ross, cult specialist
The women that leave the FLDS are labelled as apostates, traitors; they have turned against God. They will be condemned on Earth and in Heaven. They will be separated in eternal darkness alone. Rick Ross
The FLDS would be comparable to groups called cults in the way in which they manipulate and control members of the organisation. Rick Ross
The genetic pool that these people are operating within is so limited that they have diseases that reflect the inner marriage between these same families over generations. Rick Ross
Imagine taking a fourteen or fifteen-year-old kid and saying – here, you are on your own with nothing. You didn’t have an education. You didn’t have resources. And there are estimates of a thousand of these boys leaving the community, ending up on the streets of St George or Salt Lake or Las Vegas and having to fend for themselves. There are only so many women to go round. Stephen Singular, author When Men Become Gods
The women have to hand over their children in order for the men to abuse them in this organisation. What they would say is that this is how they have been raised, this is what they’ve been taught, and it’s true – there is a cycle of abuse that creates the organisation that they are. Marci Hamilton, legal scholar
Hildale – A new revelation reportedly handed down by imprisoned polygamist leader Warren Jeffs names 15 men in the community as ‘fathers’ to the children of the Fundamentalist LDS Church.
The revelation is believed to have been read in sermons to FLDS faithful within recent weeks, sources tell FOX 13.
Sam Brower, a private investigator for lawyers suing the polygamous church and the author of the book Prophet’s Prey, said Monday that his sources tell him the chosen 15 are the only ones allowed to procreate.
‘These 15 men are appointed to be the procreators for the priesthood, for the FLDS,’ he told FOX 13. ‘The other men in the community have been assigned the station of caretakers.’ Fox online article Ben Winslow 18th June 2012, ‘Jeff’s Revelation reportedly names 15 men as ‘fathers’ to FLDS children’
Salt Lake City, Utah – home base of the Mormon Church and of a breakaway cult, the FLDS. The FLDS split from the Mormon Church so it could continue to practice polygamy. I Escaped a Cult, National Geographic 2012
The prophet Rulon Jeffs exercises total control over his followers. He claims he speaks for God. ibid.
As Rulon Jeffs’ health fades, his son Warren takes control of the cult. ibid.
The leader of the FLDS, Warren Jeffs, has over 60 wives. ibid.
Colorado City was founded so that cult members can practice polygamy unbothered by the outside world. ibid.
Colorado City – Continuing his rule behind bars, Fundamentalist LDS Church leader Warren Jeffs has told his congregation to prepare for the end of the world before the end of the year.
According to CNN reporter Gary Tuchman, polygamist sect leader Jeffs has declared that the world will end before 2013.
Though church members continue to work, Colorado City’s only grocery store – a gathering place for the town as well – has closed its doors. Sam Brower, a private investigator who has represented more than 100 former FLDS Church members, told CNN that the closure of the store is a confirmation that Jeffs’ declaration is being taken seriously.
Believers do not talk to reporters and nobody was willing to comment on the declaration. CNN reported that some FLDS members even used intimidation techniques involving driving large trucks by their cameras. KSL online article Celeste Rosenlof 28th December 2012, ‘Warren Jeffs Tells FDLS Faithful World Will End Before 2012’
From the day she was born in 1969 Flora [Jessop] was destined for a life of total servitude ... at the bottom of an oppressive hierarchy. Escaping Evil II: My Life in a Cult CI 2013
This often pitted the wives against each other. ibid.
The Church community blamed her, and her father continued to abuse her. ibid.
Ladies, build up your husband by being submissive. Warren Jeffs
The idea of having more than one wife had become an integral part of the Mormon religion after Joseph Smith found it in 1830, but the Mormon Church officially abandoned the practice of polygamy in 1890, in part, so that Utah could gain statehood.