Jay Evensen: Warren Jeffs a monster, but popular culture not much better


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  • Transaction7 Commerce, Texas
    Aug. 15, 2011 3:16 p.m.

    I agree with the author on both points but am not sure the connection he draws between them is valid or rational.

    Very unexpectedly, I found myself dealing with an awful lot of mostly incestuous child sexual abuse and its lasting consequences in children and adults in my law practice in Texas. I met most of these after they had attempted suicide as young children, teens, and adults, as a result of such abuse.

    I discovered one other client was a polygamist but he never identified himself as any branch of Mormon, nor is he known to and identified by any of the Mormons I know here, so I dont know. I was in an auto accident in which the driver did not know she was a later plural wife and the liability insurance didnt cover my three weeks in traction.

    The mostly commercial equalization of children is a terrible thing and causes real, lasting, psychological problems. The U. S. Supreme Court went completely off the wall when it held in 1980 that commercial nude lap dancing, or any other form of sexual conduct for that matter, was covered by the First Amendment.

  • Jason Wharton MALTA, ID
    Aug. 14, 2011 1:35 p.m.

    This article does a good job to take something most everyone can yet agree upon as an abuse of young women by the monster Warren Jeffs and to show that our mainstream culture is also in a collective sense being a monster towards our young women. While it may not be a girl isolated in a cloistered and secretive group with pressure from parents and friends to please the cult's leader in the guise of fulfilling some higher purpose God has ordained for them regardless of their personal feelings on the matter, that "spirit" or "attitude" that looks upon our young women as sex objects will find some way to get at them. Likely it will show up by the kid next door or the really charismatic guy a few years older than them that is skilled at pushing all the right buttons. Because there is so much focus and attention on women as sex objects, all of our young women are being isolated and our culture is becoming a cult just as eager to exploit them collectively as Warren was to do his exploits. I applaud the author of this article for his points.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 13, 2011 6:59 p.m.

    Wow, there is a big difference between an kids show and a church leader ordering them to have sex with him.

  • John C. C. Payson, UT
    Aug. 13, 2011 9:02 a.m.

    I don't think my 2g-grandfather, John Woolley, and his son, Calvin, had child abuse in mind when they decided to reject the direction of their prophet and go off on their own to continue the practice of plural marriage in a secret society. Their ultimate successor, Warren Jeffs, is the eventual, tragic product of human selfishness in a closed community that promoted secrecy and strict obedience to arbitrary leaders.

    Let's keep that dangerous pattern in mind as we observe both religious and political groups who prefer to keep all their operations in secret and attempt to wield arbitrary domination over their "subjects" as they promote their selfish, private interests.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Aug. 12, 2011 6:00 p.m.

    Jeffs operated for years on the border of Utah and Arizona before he finnaly saw any trouble from the law.

    It took Texans not blinded by a poligamist history to prosecute and stop him. So if you want to blame someone for letting it get this far we may want to look inward. Texans didn't shy away from investigating him and may have even stepped over a few lines to find out the truth. Az and UT didn't do that right away.

    Jeffs was nefarious because he used religion and 1800's young marriage customs to facilitate his "exploits". In no time in history would his behavior in taking 75 very young brides by arrainged marriage be considered proper or good. He will pay and pay again.

  • goitalone w bountiful, ut
    Aug. 12, 2011 12:04 p.m.

    Perhaps a little clarification of my comments is in order.

    Warren Jeffs didn't get half of what he deserved. I am no apologist for polygamists who prey on the weak and unferaged.

    I simply think our society is hypocritical in their approach to lifestyles they will accept. I don't care what it cost Charlie Sheen to support his "habits". I really care what Hugh Hefner does behind his closed doors.

    I just find it rediculous that we praise and promote promiscuous behavipor on one hand and condemn it on another. I find it unbelievable that we promote posturing children as sensual adults and prostitute them for one kind of gain and then seem surprised when society in general begins to turn a blind eye the the results of that posturing.

    Smoe of you missed my point and Evenson's as well.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 12, 2011 10:25 a.m.

    Mr. Jeffs cultural imprint doesn't spring from modern pop culture. But from 19th century America, [in that he felt it was okay to have relations with young girls], and more particulary from 19th century Mormonism, and the Bible in that he felt it was okay to to have more than one wife.

  • BigD Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 12, 2011 10:20 a.m.

    Thank you jill17. I think everyone else missed the point of the article. He was not blamimg Jeff's behavior on society at all. Re-read the article if you took that out of it the first time.

  • jill17 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 12, 2011 9:50 a.m.

    The author wasn't making the arguement, blaming the sexulized culture for warren jeffs actions. He was rather making a comparison, knowing all or most people agree with jeffs monstrous acts, can't we see the subte, yet also monstrous acts we are doing as a society by sexualizing young girls? It was a comparison, not an arguement about one causing another. And he emphasized that jeffs acts are beyond horrible and that he got what he deserved. He was just making a valid point--that as a society we are also guilty of over sexualizing children; specifically girls, and, even if its not rape, its not okay. And rather than the majority of these comments seeing this valid point, they're instead arguing about hugh hefner. When are we going to join together and realize we need to put a stop to this?! And although pop culture may have not have created the monster jeffs, does that mean it isn't creating other monsters? That other pedophiles are not being inticed? And are we not all being affected, even in the least bit, to think of women (and girs) as only sex objects, as soon as they're potty trained?

  • Mark B Eureka, CA
    Aug. 12, 2011 9:38 a.m.

    Isn't the purpose of "Toddlers and Tiaras" to hold up this ugly little corner of society and give those looking in a chance to declare to themselves "Well, I'm not perfect, but at least I haven't put my four year old in a beauty contest"? It's hard to see how these crazy (mostly Texas) moms could serve as a role model for anyone. People watch it, but it's like buying a ticket to the races, hoping to see a crash or two. I guess creepiness sells.

  • desert dweller SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Aug. 12, 2011 9:24 a.m.

    hes locked up and will NEVER see the light of day again and thats all I care about. ok now throw the key away just as far as you can throw it .. oh yeah love the Bubba comment

  • Carrie Is Buzy Sandy, UT
    Aug. 12, 2011 5:18 a.m.

    Thank you Mr. Evansen for writing this article. It is good to see a counterbalance to the flood of sexualized images of children we all are forced to see if we choose to consume media in virtually any form.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Aug. 11, 2011 10:31 p.m.

    Of course the key issue with Mr. Jeffs is not the number of his "wives" but their age.

    Had they all been adults and had this not taken place in an insular culture (where true choice even for adults might be debatable) I think most of society would have responded with a collective yawn.

    As to Jay's larger point. I think most folks (LDS or not) recognize that there is a societal sickness in the sexualization of girls. But while many of us recognize this in one area, we miss (and accept it) in another. Thus, sexualization is creeping in (pun intended) at an ever younger age.

    We need to be extra-vigilant here and forcefully reject anything that moves us toward sexualization of our girls and boys. We need to carefully examine if something truly is harmless or whether it simply further inures us to early sexualization.

    Being extra careful here is a must for ourselves, our families, and our culture. If we slide even a bit toward sexualizing our young, we inexorably also slide toward the idea that these children can consent to sex.

    That is a door we must not allow to open even a crack.

  • Bebyebe UUU, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 8:28 p.m.

    Modern culture has nothing to do with this. They lived in the 1800's. The little girls didn't dress provocatively.

    You are letting Jeffs of the hook by blaming our 'modern' culture. Our culture didn't turn him into a pedophile. His sick narcissistic 'I'm special 'cause I talk to God' personality did that.

  • JohnDrummer SANDY, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 8:24 p.m.

    @ Jas Binns
    Goitalone wasn't referring to Jeffs or the FLDS people. He was referring to a different family that has been featured on some cable TV show. I forgot the name of it. This family is now being charged for bigamy, because they will now openly admit that they are polygamists.
    The point that his is making is that this family are just polygamists. They don't marry young or abuse anyone. They are just like any normal family except that they are polygamists. Where as Charlie Sheen is basically doing the same thing, only without the marriage part.
    One is going to court, the other is receiving millions. That's the point made.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 8:23 p.m.

    Warren Jeffs is a monster. Pop culture, much of which features an 'off' switch, had nothing to do with it. A more reasonable argument would have been that warren jeffs is a monster, and religion isn't much better.

  • PGVikingDad Pleasant Grove, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 6:50 p.m.

    ClarkKent, what do you mean? There aren't any "LDS polygamists". The LDS Church banned polygamy over 100 years ago.

  • 22ozn44ozglass Southern Utah, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 6:35 p.m.

    Jas Binns & Spot Light:

    The orignal post compared Hugh and Charlie to the polygamist family that except for bigamy have violated no laws is being prosecuted for polygamy. The comparision of prosecuting consenting adults who enter into polygamy and how society treats and regards Mr Heffner and Charlie is a very valid one and does infact point out real duplicity.

    It is very clear to anyone who reads the post thoroughly that the comparision was NOT between Jeffs and Hefner/Charlie

  • Charlemagne Salt Lake City, Utah
    Aug. 11, 2011 6:30 p.m.

    Go it alone,

    You need to remember that there are problems with polygamy even if the women are all of age. When some greedy ego maniac like Warren Jeffs has 78 wives that means that 77 men have none! It also wreaks havoc on the gene pool to have one guy father hundreds of children! Contrary to what both polygamists and advocates of same sex marriage think the traditional marriage of one man and one woman is the type of union most conducive to the health and happiness of both individuals and society; that ts why we have the laws we do!

  • KJB1 Eugene, OR
    Aug. 11, 2011 6:26 p.m.

    As much as the DN may want to deny it, polygamy is part of the Church's history. It can atone for it all it likes, but it opened Pandora' box. Blaming "popular culture" is a cop-out and a sad attempt at a distraction.

    Whatever happened to "personal responsibility"? Or does that only count for poor people who are easy to demonize?

    Aug. 11, 2011 6:14 p.m.

    There is sick, Sick and then SICK! Jeffs falls in the latter. I think life in prison doesn't even begin to pay his debt to society but it's the best we can do.

    If there's any justice in the world Jeffs will run into a few Bubbas.

  • BobP Port Alice, B.C.
    Aug. 11, 2011 6:07 p.m.

    Jeffs is a monster.

  • ClarkKent Bountiful, Utah
    Aug. 11, 2011 6:03 p.m.

    Should all polygamists who took child brides be deserving of the same treatment? Or are we going to make excuses for LDS polygamists. Are you willing to use the same adjectives to describe them as you use with Jeffs. If not, why not?

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Aug. 11, 2011 5:33 p.m.

    Jeffs stated long ago while commiting the crimes that if the world knew what he was doing they would hang him from the highest tree.

    He didn't quite get the highest tree but he'll be up there for the rest of his life.

  • John Charity Spring Alloway, NJ
    Aug. 11, 2011 5:28 p.m.

    Modern Hollywood has an open and stated agenda of promoting substance abuse and every form of immorality. Indeed, Modern Hollywood has done everything it can to glorify indiscriminate and wanton sexuality.

    Popular culture has degenerated into a moral abyss that is dragging the Country into complete moral decay. As a result, rates of crime, addiction, divorce, and broken families have increased phenomenally.

    If popular culture is not reformed, diabolical criminals like Warren Jeff's will multiply like cockroaches. If any of you parents truly care about your children, you will banish the evil influences of the entertainment industry from your home immediately.

  • Spot Light Beverly Hills, CA
    Aug. 11, 2011 5:20 p.m.

    go it alone

    "Charlie Sheen lives with two porn stars and his children, and his lifestyle brings him fame and fortune."

    Umm, Chuckles was shoveling out about 150,000 MONTHLY to pay for his ex'es and porn hookers. OOPS he lost the hookers but still has the exes.

    Charlie Sheen is no excuse for Warren or any other Polygamist to misbehave. People in their right mind know this.

    And as much as I despise Chuckles, and he did go after younger women, I dont think he went after children.

  • Spot Light Beverly Hills, CA
    Aug. 11, 2011 5:16 p.m.

    I have to say, this sounds like a press release from shortcreek, "evil world of gentiles" and all that.

    Nahh, Warren was extra evil, and he cant blame it on the world. Not buying it.


  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 4:47 p.m.

    I doubt Jeffs nor his followers watch cable TV to participate in the sick popular culture in which Evensen speaks. Instead, Jeffs led a very closed off, closed-minded society where he expected complete obedience. I'm not seeing the pop culture connection.too much with Jeffs. In Jeff's case (and that of the FDLS church), this might be a case where the people are better off being of the world...

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    Aug. 11, 2011 4:29 p.m.

    It's almost amusing to see the great lengths to which the writer went to distinguish Jeffs from popular culture be completely ignored by posters.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 11, 2011 4:24 p.m.

    Lehi's comments to his son, Jacob in 2 Nephi 2 says it all.

    There are many "monsters" out there. Warren Jeffs is just one of them. Those who look the other way when children are hurt share fully in the crime.

  • joy Logan, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 4:19 p.m.

    Pedophiles are a plenty. They don't even hide in the dark back rooms anymore but are gathering followerss at every turn.
    They thrive on the porn sites and wet their appetites but slowly they begin to need moreand soon they are acting upon their sick perversion. Warren Jeffs acted upon his desires through the disguise of religion. His addiction became so large that he began to convince his followers that it is was acceptable to God. Very sad and morally and legally wrong.
    But I agree with the fact that Hugh Hefner as acquired his following and projects the image of one nice happy guy. But his justice falls under the same category. Perversion, addiction and degregation of another person. Hugh may have girls that of age but they are totally under the influence of a very deprived individual.
    Evil is Evil and whatever face it appears on it is criminal, it is sin.

    Warren Jeffs may serve his time on earth which that time will end but all those who are using women/little girls as objects and use them to fulfill and satisfy their own gratification will face the eternities which has no end.

  • sushirocks8 SLC, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 3:31 p.m.

    Since when have women been thought of as equal human beings? I'd like to know when this small blip in history occurred so that I can learn more about it. I am not even 30 and yet I've been told that I'm past my expiration date, ugly if I don't weigh a certain amount etc... However I don't think you can compare Warren Jeffs to this, he is still way out on the fringe of society, for awhile anyway. The way our society is headed polygamy will be acceptable just as gay marriage will be soon, you know, "as long as it isn't hurting anybody."

  • Jas Binns SAN PEDRO, CA
    Aug. 11, 2011 2:34 p.m.

    Goitalone you think hypocrisy by comparing Warren S. Jeffs to Charlie Sheen or Hugh Hefner? Warren was convicted of both aggravated sexual assault of a 12 and 15 year old girls. Jeffs is married to 78 wives, 24 of whom were under the age of 17 years. Plus, Jeffs "Bad Acts" included raping a 7 year old female cousin Shuria Jeffs and sodomizing a 7 year old male cousin Brent Jeffs. Your comparison and equating of comparable moral corruption is laughable. How come such monsterous sex crimes are dismissed as just like the real world? I do see decided hypocrisy in your evaluation. Today, the Royal Mounty Police have openned an investigation into victims sex trafficked as minors across the border to be celestial sealed to Warren Jeffs then they were sequestered upon FLDS Church enclaves. The two girls that he was convicted of raping have vanished. Don't recall anything approaching this occurring at the Playboy Mansion or Charlie's Pad.

  • Jim Mesa, Az
    Aug. 11, 2011 1:59 p.m.

    Lepers used to have to warn people that they were coming, i.e. ring bells or shout unclean, unclean. However, spiritual lepers get away scott free, with no warnings attached.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Aug. 11, 2011 1:38 p.m.

    Most of the world, or developing and educated parts of the world, are becoming more and more secular. Little sins here and there are becoming less and less important compared to what your overall life brings to the table. Be happy, don't hurt nobody, and you're fine. Besides, if God exists ... he forgives! So live your life and enjoy yourself without hurting anybody else. Not a fan of little girls being exploited (or exploiting themselves), but this isn't a Christian owned country. Let people do as they wish and leave them alone, and they'll do the same for you.

  • goitalone w bountiful, ut
    Aug. 11, 2011 1:06 p.m.

    Parable of the sower seems applicable here. Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.

    Jeffs is a pedophile masquerading as a theological leader. Popes, priests and pastors need not get sanctimonious here, but I do find it interesting that a polygamist family was recently shown on a national TV show. They were not on public assistance. The children attended public schools. In all other respects, they seemed inclined to practice their creed without interferring with anyone else being harmed, but they are being prosecuted for bigamy.

    At the same time. Hugh Hefner lives with multiple women in his mansion, is lauded with a "reality" TV show. Charlie Sheen lives with two porn stars and his children, and his lifestyle brings him fame and fortune.

    Can anyone besides me see hypocracy here? Evenson will get blasted by some on these threads, but he raises some very valid dichotomies and incongruities.

  • John C. C. Payson, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 12:03 p.m.

    Those at the back of the train like to point a finger at those at the front and sneer, "Look where he's going!"

  • utahprincipal801 Sandy, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 11:36 a.m.

    The "dance" companies and academies that teach erotic moves to girls as young as 5 and 6 year olds with accompanying costumes are just as guilty. The culture and mothers that encourage this are on every corner in Utah Suburbia.

  • EJM Herriman, UT
    Aug. 11, 2011 11:20 a.m.

    I'm just grateful that the Utah Public Education system isn't getting the blame on this one. I'm just saying.