Home » , » Warren Jeffs' Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints 2 of 4

Warren Jeffs' Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints 2 of 4

Written By David D'Angelo on Tuesday, April 22, 2008 | 4/22/2008

Religion is said to be fundamental in man's existence. It is said that it gives him a sense of purpose. But what if that religion and sense of purpose is distorted by someone. In the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints which is one of the largest Mormon fundamentalist denominations and one of America's largest practitioners of plural marriages this had been the case.


The FLDS Church teaches the doctrine of plural marriage, which states that a man having multiple wives is ordained by God and is a requirement for a man to receive the highest form of salvation. It is generally believed in the church that a man should have a minimum of three wives to fulfill this requirement. Connected with this doctrine is the concept that wives are required to be subordinate to their husbands.

The church currently practices the law of placing, whereby a young woman of marriageable age is assigned a husband by revelation from God to the leader of the church, who is regarded as a prophet. The prophet elects to take and give wives to and from men according to their worthiness. Wives may be taken from one man and reassigned to men that are more worthy.

Here is another video on YouTube talking about what's happening in Texas...


Now we continue with the story behind this religious sect sourced from GMA News...

On a chilly evening in January 2004, J.D. Doyle, a pilot, and his father, James, the local justice of the peace, climbed into their Piper twin-engine plane and took to the skies over Schleicher County to see if recent rains had greened the grazing fields owned by friends who were cattle ranchers.

But as they flew over the YFZ property four miles north of Eldorado, they noticed something different: Down below, jutting up between scatterings of cedar bushes and outcroppings of limestone, were three enormous, cabin-style barracks with enough room to accommodate two football teams.

What were those doing on a hunting retreat?

Later, they asked a friend, Joe Christian, a computer tech who lived adjacent to the YFZ ranch, what he made of it. Christian hadn't a clue, actually. His new neighbors had been reclusive, leaving him to puzzle over all that nonstop building. We should take some aerial photographs, he suggested; the Doyles agreed.

The photos intrigued Randy and Kathy Mankin, who published the town's weekly paper, The Eldorado Success, so they did a background check on the buyer, Allred. Initially, they saw no red flags: He was, as he'd claimed, a builder from Washington County, Utah. Still, why build such large residences on so remote a ranch?

Then, in late March, the paper got a call from Flora Jessop, an anti-polygamy activist from Utah who'd been raised in the FLDS and who, as a teenager, had run away from the sect. A polygamist group, she'd been told, was rumored to be establishing another enclave in west Texas.

In Randy Mankin's mind, polygamy had already taken its place on history's ash heap. But the caller wouldn't stop asking questions. When Mankin finally relinquished the name of the buyer, he heard a silence on the line, then:

"Oh, my God ... it's them ... "

"Them," Jessop went on to explain, was the FLDS, a renegade, splinter group of Mormons that by the 1930s were practicing polygamy (the ticket to heaven, followers believed) in secret ceremonies for "spiritual brides" that circumvented bigamy laws in the United States.

In recent years, sect members and their prophet, Warren Jeffs, were being investigated by authorities in the sister cities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., for allegedly marrying off girls as young as 13 to much older men with multiple wives. Women and girls who fled the sect — and boys who'd been forced out or abandoned — told stories of forced marriages, incest and abuse; some who left called the FLDS a destructive cult.

The March, 25, 2004, story atop the Success' front page — "Corporate retreat or prophet's refuge?" — sent shockwaves up and down Eldorado's dusty streets. Everyone wanted to know: Were these outsiders like the Branch Davidians, whose compound near Waco was stormed in 1993, resulting in the deaths of 80 people?

Would they kidnap their sons and daughters? Brainwash them? Would they try to conquer Eldorado by ballot, voting as a bloc for judges, commissioners and school and hospital board members sympathetic to their ways?

At the local library, paperback, cassette and hardcover copies of "Under the Banner of Heaven," an unsparing look at similar sects, suddenly were in demand. The local paper featured articles almost every week on the FLDS, and posted online audio clips of Jeffs ranting in a steely monotone about the Beatles being covert agents of a "Negro race."

Locals, buzzing regularly over the property in their planes, snapped photos of FLDS women in long, pioneer dresses tending gardens, men digging small graveyards, erecting thick walls around their temple, and building enough dwellings to establish a mini-city.

"They never shut down," says Gloria Swift, who runs the Hitch'n Post Coffeeshop with her husband, Jerry, in town. "Even when you drive by that ranch at night, you see this glow of lights from the highway. They're out there with heavy machinery, building, 24 hours a day."

The sect's members, meanwhile, shunned nearly all contact with outsiders, including the media, insisting they wanted to be left alone to practice their religious beliefs in peace. The women didn't shop in local stores; the children were home schooled on the ranch.

As a group, sect members bought most of their merchandise in the much larger city of San Angelo, 45 miles up the road past sun-baked fields of cotton and mesquite trees. There, they shopped in bulk for warehouse staples, and were often seen at the Lowe's home-improvement store hauling away dozens of appliances at a clip.

When drivers waved to the men, who occasionally came to town in their trucks to buy propane, housewares or tools, they didn't wave back. They did maintain a cordial, if not friendly, relationship with Curtis Griffen, who ran Eldorado's only fuel depot with his father.

"They were always nice, polite," Griffen says. They bought thousands of dollars in fuel each month, always paying their monthly bills on time, in cash. "From what I could gather, they had no intention of creating problems here in town. In all my dealings with them, them seemed like any other regular customer."

Most other Eldorado residents, however, remained wary. Owners of neighboring ranches were warned to keep an eye out for young girls fleeing the compound. Some days the sheriff, David Doran, stood at the gates, in view of the sect's sentries, peering at the group through binoculars. (As time passed, Doran established a rapport with the sect's leaders; he was one of a handful of outsiders ever allowed inside before the raid.)

State Rep. Harvey Hilderbran became alarmed by reports from Eldorado, former sect members and the Utah attorney general. In 2005 he pushed into law a bill that raised the legal age of consent to marry in Texas from 14 to 16.

"Every now and then you'd hear something about alleged child abuse, but there was never any hard evidence of it," says Randy Mankin, publisher of Eldorado's local paper.

0 comments: