Thursday, 22 November 2007

Warren Jeffs and Polygamy

On Nov. 20 Associated Press reported:

"A judge in Utah sentenced a sect leader to two consecutive terms of five years to life in prison for his role in the arranged marriage of teenage cousins. Warren Jeffs, 51, was convicted of two counts of rape as an accomplice for his role in the marriage of a 14-year-old follower and her 19-year-old cousin in 2001. It will be up to the Utah parole board to decide how long he serves. Jeffs is head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, whose members practise polygamy. The Utah parole board's first opportunity to review Jeffs' case comes in 2010, although it could decide to wait longer."


This has been the year of polygamy for Mormonism. Warren Jeffs, the charismatic leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS), was finally captured on Monday 28 August 2006 in Las Vegas with his brother and one of his many wives. Jeffs had been on the run since May 2004 after being charged with sexual misconduct for allegedly arranging marriages between minors and older men.

The 10,000 strong FLDS Church is more than a hundred years old and broke away from the Salt Lake Mormon Church when the latter gave up the practice of polygamy officially in 1890. Jeffs is said to have as many as 70 wives, although no one seems really sure of the number. He would claim that his church is being true to “the principle” of polygamy as taught and practised by early Mormon leaders from Joseph Smith, Mormonism’s founder, through to Heber J Grant, Mormonism’s seventh president.

This has spawned a lot of interest in this dark side of Mormonism’s history and teaching. Especially now that he has been declared guilty and sentenced. To read more about this story and its background go to "Truth Restored" in the Reachout Trust Quarterly Newsletter at http://www.reachouttrust.org/articles/quarterly/Quarterly89.pdf

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