Now that he has a whole lot of time on his hands, self-described prophet Warren Jeffs is claiming to be the “mouthpiece” of an angry God. And judging from the sound of things, there’s going to hell to pay for daring to lock up the racist cult leader for raping a 12-year-old “celestial” child bride and other crimes.
In a series of eight biblically themed “revelations,” written between Aug. 18 and Nov. 12, Jeffs predicts widespread catastrophe and divine vengeance for a nation “fully ripening in iniquity.” Earthquakes will rock Arizona, tidal waves will smack Seattle, “melting fire” will roll across Idaho, and devastating storms will wreak havoc everywhere else, the convicted sex criminal predicts.
“I have named many places that shall be cleansed entire, and as you witness this, a memory of my word shall hearken in your souls that thy God reigneth,” Jeffs wrote in one overweening prediction on Sept. 25 from Tennessee Colony, Texas, where he was being held at the time.
And why would all of this damnation suddenly befall the world––especially considering Jeffs is a little late to the party predicting an end of times? From Jeff’s perspective, it’s because of the legal system locked up the Lord’s “mouthpiece.”
“My warning voice has sounded,” Jeffs wrote, speaking in the alleged voice of God and referring to himself in the third person. “My servant is in bondage.”
Jeffs, the leader of a sizeable Mormon breakaway sect called the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), initially became a fugitive in 2005, after he was charged with conspiracy to commit rape for arranging a marriage between an unwilling 14-year-old girl and her 17-year-old cousin, and then pressuring the girl to have sex with the young man. Jeffs was finally arrested more than a year later, and ultimately convicted of two rape conspiracy charges, drawing two terms of five years to life in prison.
Earlier this year, in a separate trial, he also was convicted of raping his own 12-year-old “spiritual bride,” as well as sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl. Evidence of those attacks turned up in 2008, when Texas authorities raided an FLDS compound in the town of El Dorado, and included a document, part of the evidence put before the jury, in which the supposed prophet of God wrote, “If the world knew what I was doing, they would hang me from the highest tree.” He was sentenced to two life terms in that case.
Despite the evidence against him, Jeffs vigorously denied the charges throughout the 2011 trial––even after prosecutors played horrifying tapes of him sexually assaulting the 12-year-old and produced DNA evidence proving he had fathered a child with the 15-year-old.
Of course, Jeffs makes no mention of that in his recent prophecies, which were signed by church representatives Vaughan E. Taylor, the current FLDS patriarch, and John M. Barlow, the so-called “counselor in the Bishopric.” Instead, he limits himself to using his 8-by-10 soapbox to chastise a nation for turning away from “plural marriage,” a Mormon concept officially abandoned more than 100 years ago.
The Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or Mormons, disavowed “plural marriage,” another term for polygamy, in 1890 to gain statehood for Utah. As the Intelligence Report reported in 2005, the change in doctrine created a rift among its more traditionalist members and led to the creation of several splinter groups, including the FLDS. Under Jeffs, the FLDS not only continued to practice polygamy but also adopted a fiercely anti-black doctrine.
The rift over polygamy, for Jeffs and his remaining followers, is alive and well.
As Jeffs wrote: “Let the nation of professed freedom look well to their own conditions; having prosecuted my Church over a century of time ... seeking to criminalize my whole eternal Celestial Law of Plural Marriage; yet having the greatest criminals of immoral ways and murderous ways among themselves.”
The prophecies were given to the Utah Attorney General’s office earlier this week. A spokesman for the attorney general, Pat Murphy, said last month that the prophecies appear to be consistent with what Jeffs has said in the past. In 2002, for example, Jeffs predicted that a tragedy would follow the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. “When they don’t happen, he comes up with the reasons for why,” Murphy told KCSG-TV in St. George, Utah.
All the same, the blustering Jeffs seems convinced this time. The end is coming to rescue him from prison. “My coming is soon, and there cannot be these sins and corruptions on my land where I appear,” Jeffs wrote. “My law is pure, and you have attacked my Law of Celestial Plural Marriage and other laws of my Priesthood as though it was of a corrupt way. It is not so.”
Actually, Mr. Jeffs, it is.