Saturday, May 30, 2009
FLDS History 101 - Warren Jeffs' torment in prison
On August 28, 2006, Warren Jeffs’ long flight from justice ended. He turned in his Priesthood suit and gentile disguise for a prison jump suit. However, his days of leading the day-to-day activities of the FLDS Church were far from over. His dictates would continue to have far reaching effects from Short Creek to Eldorado, Texas. He would give specific instructions to the leaders on the lands of refuge including his counselors Wendell Nielson and Merril Jessop. He would also issue directives to Bishop William E. Jessop looking after the Church’s assets and money in Short Creek.
Warren only remained in a Nevada prison for a few days. On September 5, 2006 he was transferred to the Purgatory Correction Facility in Utah. He would be in lock-down for 23 hours each day, given just one hour for showers and phone calls. He would receive visitors for two hours each week. He was held without bail, awaiting his trial to face rape charges.
After four months in prison Warren believed things were starting to unravel. He began to have a series of intense and violent “visions” that eventually led up to his stunning declaration that he was “the most wicked man in this dispensation” (for the past 170 years).
On January 16, 2007, he saw a “vision” of his family falling away in unbelief and that the Lord would punish them with great trials. He saw great persecution coming on his followers who would even be murdered and defiled. Many who fell away from the FLDS would become bitter apostates and even resort to human sacrifice in satan worship.
He saw that his wife Naomie would die in two days “without blood being shed, and without a police investigation.” She would be honored as a faithful witness of the work and of Warren.
The next night, more strange “visions” came to Warren in his prison cell. The FLDS would be driven from their homes by violence, scattered, destitute, driven to starvation. They would have to hide among the wicked. Warren would come to the rescue to gather those who were really faithful. They would then travel to Jackson County, Missouri to start building a temple there. He offered more prayers and then received a revelation that Naomie was near death.
On the next night, he work up at 3:30 a.m. in his quiet, dark, cell and believed the Lord told him that Naomie Jeffs was dead. “He allowed me to hear her voice how happy she is and how beautiful father (Rulon Jeffs) is, and that the record she had with her was hidden in the lining of her luggage.” He was told by the Lord to hold Naomie’s funeral that Saturday and that she would be buried in the YFZ cemetery. The Lord told him Naomie was “enveloped in Celestial fire and will be a ministering spirit to her kind.” Well, things didn’t quite work out the way Warren saw in “vision.” Naomie was alive and fine.
On January 18, 2007, he compiled his strange visions into King James scripture form, making it read like a revelation from the Lord. The Lord looked upon all the nations of the earth and found “none that doeth good,” except, of course, the faithful FLDS. The world was now ready for destruction. His revelation revealed that wicked men, through conspiracy had taken Warren captive. But Warren had already accomplished a great work by visiting all the stake capitals and cursing the entire country to be destroyed. But Warren’s work wasn’t done. He would be delivered from bondage and continue to prepare Zion for the second coming of the Lord. Things wouldn’t go well for those who persecute the FLDS. They would see “a heavy hand of judgment.” The Mormon Church was in big trouble for giving up polygamy in 1890, “an agreement with hell.” They would experience “overflowing scourge and desolating sickness” with “devouring fire.” Wow, clearly Warren blamed the Mormon Church for all his miseries. They “imprisoned” innocent ones (including himself) and caused that laws be established “to persecute my people who seek to obey my laws.” The revelation goes on and on about how wicked the Mormon Church is. The revelation then railed on the government officials for persecuting the FLDS and taking away their lands (UEP). The Lord was very angry and would humble them all with his “Almighty power.”
On January 19, 2007, Warren received more strange “visions.” Some of his family members would be taken and offered as human sacrifice in satan worship. There would also be attempts on his own life. But, he would be delivered from prison in a “miraculous way” which would make his enemies become even more angry. All those things would happen before September, 2007. (None of it did). Nations would then send representatives to the USA to demand Warren’s destruction and the destruction of the FLDS. This would justify the Lord sending destruction to other nations. Warren would stand before the world at a news conference and deliver a message to the world, calling down the judgements of God. This would cause even greater persecution against the FLDS. They would be hunted and driven, but angels would be sent to provide them with necessaries of life. Warren would be given great power from God to lead those who survived the destructions that would come. “The Lord showed me that I would be that sacrifice of blood atonement to earn the glorious appearing of the Lord to the nations of the earth, and that I will be caught up in the cloud when He descends to earth in glory.”
During the next day, in his cell, Warren compiled this strange vision into King James style scripture. It reads of great violence and destruction for everyone except those who followed Warren. “Let there be a place prepared for my servant, Warren Jeffs, that shall be called holy . . . and provide for him and those appointed to assist him with every needful thing for their support; that I may have a place to visit and guide my servant, to reveal to him the revelations of my will.”
On January 20, 2007, Warren’s visions started to become even more personal toward himself. He was chastised for being too “earthly minded” and weak. He was shown that he would be taken by the government officials and be “unsexed and be beaten and starved.” He would be taken to watch his own family ravished and killed before his eyes. He would then be put in prison to die. But, he would be healed miraculously and would still father more children. He would then call down judgments from God upon his enemies who would be swept off the earth. Warren was shown that by September 2007, he would be back performing work in the YFZ temple. Those who had been slain would be raised from the grave to continue their mission at the YFZ Ranch. (None of this happened.)
Everything came crashing down upon Warren. He started a three day fast and on January 23, he claimed Lord appeared to him in his prison cell. He gave Warren a test and he failed it. He would rather defy the Lord than obey him in this test. “Tests” seem have a strange prominence among the FLDS beliefs. Just as Abraham was asked to sacrifice Isaac, the FLDS seem to believe they are given frequent unreasonable tests to see if they have enough faith to go ahead and obey. When one of Warren’s prophesies fail, it is proclaimed just a “test” to see how the people would respond.
Warren’s brother Nephi came to the prison two days later on January 25, 2007. The conversation was recorded.
Warren Jeffs: “Okay, just a minute. I am not the prophet. I never was the prophet, and I have been deceived by the powers of evil and Brother William E. Jessop has been the prophet since Father's passing, since the passing of my father.”
It was rumored that Warren’s father, Rulon had ordained William Timpson (later named William E. Jessop) an apostle. Rulon, while ill, was supposed to ordain William to be an assistant bishop to Fred Jessop, but he slipped and gave William the whole package, including apostleship. William was told by Warren to ignore the other things, he was just a bishop.
Warren continues: “And I have been the most wicked man in this dispensation, in the eyes of God. In taking charge of my father's family, when the Lord, his God, told him not to because he could not hear him, could not hear his voice, because I did not hold priesthood. And I direct my former family to look to Brother William E. Jessop and I will not be calling today or ever again. Get rid of the former message. Write this down also.”
Nephi Jeffs: “Okay.”
Warren had called William E. Jessop by phone the previous day and said, ““I have not held priesthood since I was 20 years old, having been immoral with a sister and a daughter. And father [Rulon Jeffs] pointing his finger to me was father's test on all of us. I know of your ordination, that you are the keyholder and I have sent a note with my signature verifying it so that there is no question. . . . All the ordinance work since father's passing has to be redone and there's many men that were sent away that do hold priesthood and their families will need to be put back. . . . I am one of the most wicked men on the face of the earth since the days of Father Adam.”
Warren continued his conversation with Nephi:
Warren Jeffs: “As far as I possibly can be, I am sorry from the bottom of my heart. And write this. The Lord, God of Heaven, came to my prison cell two days ago to test and detect me and he saw that I would rather defy him than obey him because of the weaknesses of my flesh. I am hesitating while I'm giving this message as the Lord dictates these words to my mind and heart. The Lord whispers to me to have you, Nephi, send this message everywhere you can among the priesthood people and get a copy of this video, letting anyone see it who desires to see it. They will see that I voice these words myself. I ask, write this down. The Lord told me to say, and I yearn for everyone's forgiveness for my aspiring and selfish way of life, in deceiving the elect, breaking the new and everlasting covenant and being the most wicked man on the face of the Earth in this last dispensation. Farewell all of you, for the Lord has promised that I would be, I would have a place in the Telestial Kingdom of God, if I had my brother Nephi write these words down. The Lord came yesterday, no, two days ago and bestowed upon me the gift to understand his words. Then he spoke to me, without the powers of evil interfering, so that I could have this opportunity to undo what I have done. And I ask for everyone's forgiveness and say farewell forever you who are worthy for Zion, for I will not be there.”
Nephi Jeffs: “Yes you will. This is just a test.”
Warren Jeffs: “Give this to all the priesthood people, this message to you, alright?”
Nephi Jeffs: “Okay.”
Warren Jeffs: “Let everyone see the video who wants to. The Lord wants me to . . . (crying) that he finally shed a tear for the Lord, his God, who has redeemed his son. He whispers that you, Nephi, need to get a copy of this video before you leave, if you can or order it. You can tell he's still dictating to me to tell you, Nephi, before he leaves me to my punishment. To Nephi, you can tell anybody who wants to read this message, or see the video, that they can see it, even apostates and gentiles. That they may know that I have been a liar and the truth is not in me. Tell the family I will not be calling anymore, not even today. Thank you.
Nephi Jeffs: “We love you. This is a test. You are the prophet.”
On that same day, the YFZ Ranch went completely dark. For two weeks they didn’t turn on a single light.
Three days later, on January 28, 2007, Warren tried to take his own life by hanging himself in his cell. He was interviewed the following day and his mood was described as “somber and dull.” He complained that he was feeling “anxious.” The prison put Warren on suicide watch and on January 30, and February 2, saw Warren throw himself against the wall and bang his head on the wall.
On March 27, 2007, Warren tried to present a note to the court proclaiming that he hasn’t been a prophet and wasn’t a prophet.
In April during an examination Warren said he wasn’t really trying to kill himself.
Somehow during April Warren figured out that this whole experience had only been a test. He claimed that for over 45 days that he was attacked continually by evil powers. He compared his experience to that of Jesus Christ when the devil tempted him for 40 days in the wilderness.
“Finally in the early morning hours of Monday, April 16th, (and even many times before) [The Lord] directly intervened, and directed me to call and give His message that I am to continue on and stand in my place and do His will.” Warren claimed he was over-anxious in proclaiming that he was unworthy and that others were more worthy. “Then the Lord intervened and showed me to rely on Him through these greater trials.” So it was all a huge test. “Whatever the Lord requires and allows us to go through, may I and we stand faithful and true.”
Warren was back in charge. He immediately started to write letters of specific instruction to families and leaders and then went back to issuing doomsday revelations.