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'If world knew what I was doing, they would hang me ...,' FLDS leader wrote

Published: Monday, Aug. 8 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Van Wert, OH

I just hope that Judge Walther is seasoned enough to not permit any appealable errors. I also hope that Mr. Jeffs' conviction will be the beginning of changes on the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (FLDS) religion, and stop child marriages, sexual abuse, and the kicking out of "Lost boys", to make more "wives" available for the church heirarchy. The "Sister wives" should be held accountable for holding the girl down, that Warren Jeffs was convicted of raping, but since they are indoctrinated from birth to accept child marriage, and the attendant sexual abuse, some mitigation is appropriate for them. We, as a nation must demand a halt to this type of behavior. Carolyn Jessop has written an excellent book, ESCAPE, detailing life in the FLDS. The FLDS is not an offshoot of Mormonism, but it is the original concept of plural marrige, which was changed in the 1880's to allow Utah to become a state.

Bountiful, Utah

I also think that the parents of these young girls should be held accountable, with perhaps some mitigation for the reasons given by oldirishman. We can't be a country of laws and then allow adults to not be accountable for putting their children at risk. There are thousands of children at risk here, considering the number of members of the FLDS church. The parents need to share in some of the consequences.

Mendocino, CA

Unfortunately the death penalty isn't an option.

Beth Karas just reported that something just played from a tape is so bad it can't even be heard on tv.

holladay, utah

It seems to me that Jeffs is following what he has been told since a child - that he is following the true word of the Book of Mormon and prophet Joseph Smith. The LDS sect in Utah today is a result of law not from any revelation. Yet polygamy continues unpunished in Utah and everybody knows it.

Ms Molli
Bountiful, Utah

LOL, yes it goes unpunished in Utah and it makes me sick. It is well known which businesses they own in certain communities, etc. Yet nothing is done about it. I guess Utah is hoping they will move (like that polygamist on TV who recently moved to Nevada) and let another State pay the expense of prosecuting them and keeping them in prison. Very unfair fiscal planning on Utah's part if that is the case.

Syracuse, UT


Get educated!

CHS 85
Sandy, UT

If you are a fundamentalist or religious fanatic in Utah, you'll essentially go unpunished until you cross into another state. BDM and WJ both prove that religious fanaticism is just normal behavior here.

Salt Lake City, UT

By their fruit ye shall know them...

holladay, utah

Perhaps it is again time for a re-release of the book - The God Makers.

Salt Lake City, UT

You know...

at least LGBT aren't the one's trying to 'spiritually' marry 12 year old girls.

Ogden, UT

Jeffs is NOT a product of his culture or environment. Its plainly stated that Jeffs "changed the rules" when he came into power and that it wasn't until then that all of this sexual abuse began. He knew what he was doing was wrong and nothing can prove otherwise since he states it himself in his journals.



Jeffs is a product of the original LDS practices. He's FLDS, he's just following the original teachings (and practices) of Joseph Smith. I'm not condoning it. Just saying the truth. He's following what he thinks is the truth. That being the original teachings of Joseph Smith.

CHS 85
Sandy, UT


"... it wasn't until then that all of this sexual abuse began."


My ancestors who were polygamists married girls as young as 14 back in the 1860s and 1870s. I can trace my lineage to mothers who were 15 and and 16. I guess sexual abuse in the 19th century was "less bad" in the 19th century because it was practiced by mainstream members and not offshoots.

Ms Molli
Bountiful, Utah

Jeffs is a pedofile and he doesn't want the world to see that. This has absolutely nothing to do with religion. Its too bad that he and Brian David Mitchell won't be roommates. And the fathers who willing exchanged their young daughters for a young bride for their own use -- put them in the general population in any prison.

Idaho Falls, ID

@ LValfre

No, what Jeffs has been up to is a huge distortion of the original teachings of Joseph Smith. Jeffs is an abusive child molestor. He knows it- admitted it on tape. There is nothing whatsoever of divine inspiration in his actions. Joseph Smith wouldn't be joining him in prison today because he wouldn't still be practicing polygamy today since the Lord put an end to it.

@ Pagan

This isn't a story about LGBT. But since you want to make this into another LGBT debate, read Crafting Gay Children. It documents abuse of young boys by gays. I'd be very careful sitting back comfortably thinking there is nothing amiss among the LGBT community.

Mesa, AZ

This abhorrent self-perpetuating cycle of abuse and terrorism must cease!

There is not much difference between these sexual perverts and those who felled the twin towers in the name of religion...so they could obtain virgins!

Idaho Falls, ID

@ CHS Girls got married a lot younger 150 years ago. It wasn't unique to LDS polygamists.

Just Thinking Outloud..
Merrimack, NH

To @dektol:

The anti-lds groups that are doing DNA checks looking for the children of Joseph Smiths plural wives have not found any. Only children by Emma have been found. I'm not LDS but I find the data gives a somewhat new perspective. They will continue to search and I will watch with interest.

However, regardless of where Jeffs learned the practice, he used in ways that should have been prosecuted many years ago. Shame on us for thinking it was just a polygamy thing amongst consenting adults and not taking it seriously. Was he prosecuted for the polygamy or for the child abuse?

Walt Nicholes
Orem, UT

Correction for OldIrishman:

The FLDS church might not rightly be called an offshoot of the early LDS faith, and here's why:

LDS polygamy was disavowed in the 1890, and its US practice was outlawed by the church in 1904. Practice in other countries was outlawed by 1909. After that those who practiced it, including leaders, were excommunicated.

The founding of "fundamentalism" didn't happen until a quarter of a century later in 1935 when Joseph Musser, Edwin Barlow and others decided to start a church that would "restore" the practice. The notion that the church "split" into another group is far-fetched, and overstating. Rather, several disaffected former LDS folks simply started a new church, claiming independent authority.

Whereas Henry the 8th broke away and took all of England with him, Musser and Barlow simply started a new church loosely based on their interpretation of the beliefs of another church's history.

Heber City, UT

Religion - all religion - is about control. This is a horrible and despicable example of that control gone awry. It's embarrassing for the Mormon church because of the ties to plural marriage, a belief in prophets and the fact that Jeff's group purports to be a "truer" version of the church.

That said, abuse of children is not, in and of itself, the same as a plural marriage. It seems to me that these cultures seem to gravitate toward abuse of underage girls - and for that matter, even the boys. Do we simply make plural marriages illegal? It's a slippery slope.

I have no problem protecting children but how do we protect people from themselves? 10k people believe that Jeffs is a Prophet. Most of us believe they are wrong - where do you draw the line without over-reaching?

I hope that people will eventually see religion for what it is - power centers claiming to do the work of a deity that attempt to tell people how to live their lives. The solution will come as more and more people realize that it is time for society to shed the shackles of the modern day mythology that we call religion.

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