The prospect of prison is only now being faced by four members of the Singer-Swapp polygamist clan, whose hopes for divine intervention in their federal trial were shaken by a jury's guilty verdicts.
The convictions Monday of matriarch Vickie Singer; her son-in-law, Addam Swapp; son, John Timothy Singer; and Swapp's brother, Jonathan, on charges stemming from a church bombing and police standoff were somewhat expected by defendants and family members.None of them was prepared, however, for the consequences.
In a few months, said defense attorney Bruce Savage, "you'll find the reality of the situation will set in."
Reality includes the separation of parent from child, brother from sister - an inconceivable calamity for people whose reverence for the family is as unshakable as their trust in God.
U.S. Attorney Brent Ward also has raised new fears with the threat that Mrs. Singer's 21/2-acre farm in Marion, site of the 13-day siege, could be seized by the government to help pay her attorney's fees.
With Mrs. Singer and Addam Swapp incarcerated in the Salt Lake County Jail pending sentencing to a federal prison July 1, the clan's major sources of income are gone.
Family members maintain publicly that God will see them through the troubled times. In private, the difficulties have already begun.
Mrs. Singer's problem, said her co-counsel Steve Russell, "is that the trial and the facts of the trial have caused some divisiveness in the family and difficult times for the family, which are only going to get worse.
"Everybody is still looking to Vickie to provide guidance and she can't do it," he said.
Ironically, the defendants could have received considerably shorter prison terms than the 10 to 20 years now before them if they had accepted plea bargain offers from prosecutors before the trial began.
"They didn't want to do it," Russell said, "because, one, they felt they had to make their stand. Two, they felt like whatever path is the hardest is the path that the Lord wants them to take . . . and three, they said they believed they were not going to go to jail."
The Singers and Swapps clung to hopes there would be "a major celestial event" and revelations from God during the trial. The family would get to tell the story of their slain patriarch, polygamist John Singer, and a miracle would spare them all in the end, Russell said.
"You could sense some erosion in that conviction as the trial went on. There were no revelations and there were no signs that God was present in the courtroom," he said.
"They just got quieter and quieter and a little bit more sullen about it and realized there was going to be no deliverance - that the only thing they were going to be delivered to was jail," Russell said.
He said Addam Swapp resisted "a very, very strong lobby" by all six defense attorneys in order to take the witness stand to talk about John Singer, whose death family members believe was a state and church-backed murder.
Singer, father of Swapp's wives Heidi and Charlotte and husband of Mrs. Singer, was shot to death in 1979 by lawmen trying to arrest him over his refusal to send his children to public schools and defiance of a court order that he release the children of his second wife to their father.
As he was being led into the courthouse to hear the jury's verdict, the 27-year-old Swapp shouted at reporters, "We've already won the victory!"
However, Russell said he has been told that Swapp, a father of six, has since become morose over the thought of being locked up until his 40s.
"As for Vickie, I think she's probably the strongest internally of all the defendants," Russell said of his client, who prayed and wrote blessings for prosecutors during the 13-day trial and suppressed her own desire to air the family's grievances on the witness stand.
"Her position is if she has to spend time in jail, then God must want her to spend time in jail and her work is there," he said. "She's just tired of everybody thinking she's a nut and a wacko."
Still to come for one or more of the defendants are state murder charges in the death of Utah Corrections Lt. Fred House, who was gunned down in the Jan. 28 shootout that ended the standoff.
Prosecutors have named the wheelchair-bound John Timothy Singer as the triggerman, although defense attorneys say it is a fair bet that homicide charges will be filed against the three defendants convicted of attempted murder in the federal trial.
The Swapp brothers and John Timothy Singer were found guilty of second-degree attempted murder of FBI agents during the siege. Mrs. Singer was acquitted of that charge.
The prospect of a murder trial in addition to what he has already been through has made 21-year-old Jonathan Swapp more cooperative, attorney Savage said.
"He is addressing in his own way the circumstances surrounding this trial and what we perceive to be the next trial. And I'm finding my conversations with him to be more productive as a result," he said.
Having spent the months following the clan's arrest in jail, John Timothy Singer understands incarceration, said his attorney, Fred Metos.
"But I really don't think he understands all of the ramifications of going to prison and what he's looking at," the attorney said. "That just really hasn't set in. I think this is a kid who hasn't left the state of Utah in his life."
Back at the farm, the remaining family members also are trying to understand, but they may have found the idea of a long-term separation even more impossible than their convicted relatives.
"They think something is going to happen before that," said Suzanne Singer Bates, the only child of Mrs. Singer to ever leave the farm. "I don't know what."