Thursday, May 28, 2009

FLDS Beliefs 101 - Is Warren Jeffs the "marred servant?"

It appears that Warren Jeffs believes he is the “marred servant” referred to by the ancient Old Testament prophet, Isaiah. During his years in hiding, Warren gave secret training to select wives to assist him in “heavenly sessions” during the night. During these sessions he would experience intense suffering and received supposed dreams and revelations. What is this all about? What explanations are possible for this experience or behavior?

The prophet Isaiah prophesied that in the last days when Zion would return and Israel would be redeemed that a marred servant would come forward. “As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men.” (Isaiah 52:14) The Book of Mormon explains some more about this servant: “But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.” (3 Nephi 21:10).

Most Christian scholars believe the marred servant is Jesus Christ. Mormon scholars believe there is a dual meaning, referring first to Jesus Christ, but with the Book of Mormon passages included, there is also a symbolic reference to Mormon founder Joseph Smith who was martyred in 1844. However, this subject is debated, and the servant could yet be another person. Some believe it could be John the Revelator returning, who was marred toward the end of his mortal life. Warren Jeffs appears to believe that he is this servant, but he was careful to keep this teaching secret.

During Warren’s travels around the country, while in hiding, at night he would experience “heavenly sessions.” He explained that sometimes he was conscience during these sessions, other times unconscious. During these sessions he would feel the “all consuming fire from heaven.” He would at times experience severe trembling and suffering. Sometimes he would come out of it paralyzed for awhile. At times he would vocally say things during these sessions that would be recorded by one of his wives who was trained. Other times he would remember intense dreams that he believed were from the Lord.

Evidently he needed to have someone assist him during these sessions. He was very careful to only allow a most trusted wife, full of faith and loyalty to him, assist him. This assistance involved "the ordinance of comfort and renewal." Usually it was his young wife Naomi, but Ida also was trained.

He recorded, “I went into session, conscious at times and unconscious at times, with Ida sitting against the wall watching. She was so determined to do this right, she was writing down the times certain things happened, and I would have her report to me every hour or two, and I marveled what the Lord was allowing her to see. The physical twisting and turning and suffering was more than she had seen before and brought her to tears many times, yet in her reports she rejoiced in the Lord and prayed for me to be strengthened and knew I was in the Lord’s hands.” (Priesthood Record, July 2004)

Warren gave some more clues as to what he believed these sessions were when he trained Ida to assist. “I took her into immediate training. I read her about the marred servant out of the Book of 3rd Nephi chapters 20 and 21. I read to her from four revelations, some of them the private revelations about my suffering and blood atonement. I explained with a lot of detail what I went through and how Naomie had learned to conduct herself. . . . I then had her lean toward me and I laid my hands on her head and set her apart on the mission to be a witness and helpmate and strength during the heavenly sessions and in every way and also to be able to endure the presence of God through her faith, calling on her to be more fervent.” (Priesthood Record, July, 2004) It seems clear that Warren believed he received private revelations from the Lord revealing that he would be the marred servant. He therefore believed that he would be go through intense suffering and would be physically marred by his enemies, but he would be healed.

But Warren took this even further. During these heavenly sessions, he believed he was atoning for sins of his followers, similar to the way Jesus atoned for the sins of mankind. He actually believed that if he went through suffering during these “heavenly sessions” that he could make an atonement, allowing his followers to be forgiven for particular short-comings. He referred to this as the "marred servant principle of atoning for the people."

“I retired, and Ida lay to the side of the bed, very determined to do this mission right. And I went through the heavenly sessions through Saturday night into Sunday morning, and in Ida’s reports she said she witnessed greater suffering physically than she had ever witnessed in her life. She has been with me through some heavenly sessions, but they have generally been mild or after the severity is complete. I can see at times, though our experience with her Sunday, that she was in tears watching me go through what I was going through.” (Priesthood Record)

Eventually, Warren told his counselors, Fred Jessop and Wendell Nielson about these sessions and invited them to witness and feel the “all consuming fire from heaven.” “[The Lord] is taking me through a change through these heavenly sessions. . . . The most severe physical shaking I have experienced in a conscious state was Tuesday afternoon when the First Presidency came into my bedroom. Just before they entered the room, I went through the most severe suffering and shaking, asking the Lord to not hold back, but to give these brethren a witness as they desired, that I was in the Lord’s hands.” (Priesthood Record)

Once, Ida fell asleep during the session which angered Warren. “And all through that early Monday morning through the night, Ida just slept. I would go through, I could awake from a heavenly session, with that severity upon me, to wake her up to pray more fervently for me, but she did not do it. And by 5:00 a.m. in the morning I saw it was enough. Even she had failed me and offended the heavenly powers.” Notice the parallel between this experience and the experience of Jesus Christ in the garden when experienced great agony. His disciples also fell asleep when they should have been on watch (see Luke 22). It makes you wonder if Warren believed he was having similar experiences as Jesus Christ. Perhaps to be the marred servant, he needed to have these similar experiences.

Coming out of this session was intense. “When I came conscious I was nearly completely paralyzed, unable to move, and I cried unto the Lord to deliver me and strengthen me and then He took me through the most severe shaking until I was thrown out of the chair onto the floor, and stood up and I was able to move around. He answered my prayers immediately.”
Apparently these sessions at times involved some sort of physical touching by those assisting. Warren describes going into these sessions, having wives rub his feet, hands, head and back, sometimes four at once. In his writings he never implied anything of a sexual nature was part of these sessions.

“The Lord allowed Millie and Ida to come and feel the all-consuming fire of heaven again at the end of the heavenly session as I had them touch my hands and head. I was in an atoning session. And they went through a training and felt the difference of the spirits of the world, compared to the heavenly powers.”

Naomie once left a recorded testimony of one of Warren's heavenly sessions. "The Lord took you into session last night at 12:30. Your boddy started to tremble. I could feel it coming on you for about an hour before that. . . . You body tembled and jolted and jerked. You turned on your right side in your chair. You were in that position for most of the night until about 4:00 this morning." Naomie recorded detailed sleep-talking. For example: "At 4:00 you said, 'Yes, Sir. Yes, Sir . . . The Lord wants them to make sure the footings on the temple are exact before they are poured that they can make sure that their wall are straight.'" Warren also mentioned during this session who should called on temple missions and who should move into different houses. (Priesthood Record, September 8, 2004)

When he trained another wife for these sessions, he would always ask them if they felt the “all-consuming fire of heaven.” If they waivered in their answer, he concluded they lacked faith and were not ready for the training.

With the notes taken down by and his memories of dreams, he would react and make decisions. Frequently they involved decisions to “handle” men who he believed were unfaithful and needed to be removed from their family. Other times he had violent dreams. Evil people in his dreams were usually of the black race, and they were trying to kill him. He also had vivid dreams of people like the Barlows who he believed were traitors seeking his downfall. His dreams were always about wickedness and destruction in the last days. One has to wonder why his dreams seemed to never be centered around love, kindness, and forgiveness. Warren apparently believed the time was past for that. Even doubters who were half-hearted could no longer be tolerated. The time was short. The end was soon.

What can explain these sessions? Several alternatives seem to be possible:
1. They were indeed heavenly sessions from God.
2. They were sessions when he was possessed by evil spirits.
3. They were faked.
4. They were self-induced, perhaps related to a physical ailment.

After reading through many of these sessions, I’ve concluded the answer is likely #4. I appears that Warren sincerely believed that he was going through a heavenly experience. What can explain the trembling, twisting, paralysis, in a conscious or unconscious state?

Self-induced seizures seem to be the answer. This condition is experienced by many people. “Self-induction is a mode of seizure precipitation employed by entirely normal or mentally impaired patients to produce seizures for themselves.” It involves jerking and twisting. “The objective of self-induced seizures is relief of tension and anxiety, and escape from a disturbing situation.” The attacks may be pleasurable.

People who are able to do this, usually bring on this condition through visual stimulation of lights, blinking eyes, flickering, etc. However, others are able to trigger these seizures through somatosensory stimuli (touching). “Typically this it triggered by tapping, rubbing, or prickling part of the body. A localized or regional hypersensitive trigger zone can often be defined.” This could explain why Warren needed assistance and often mentioned rubbing. “Consciousness is preserved at least on the onset.” Self-induced seizures can also be triggered by thinking, usually “by a task requiring a spoken answer to an orally presented arithmetic or spatial problem.”

Does Warren have a physical condition causing this? Consider his aversion toward the color red. (He banned the color red from Short Creek, explaining it was the color of Satan). For those who experience photosensitive epilepsy, “the color red is particularly dangerous due to its longer wavelength that stimulates cones in the retina.” Red flickering is far more likely to cause seizures than other colors.

Also interesting to consider are common characteristics for those with an aversion to red: “A person who has an aversion to red may be over-active, too impulsive, hot-tempered, aggressive and egocentric, or have difficulties with people with such characteristics. It can also symbolize deeply hidden fears and rejection of his own assertiveness.” For those who know Warren, this seems to fit his personality.

Is Warren the “marred servant?” It seems certain that he believes he is. To make this a reality he has had to self-inflict suffering, but also no doubt believes the suffering he is experiencing in prison is all part of this mission.

“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 with the faithful saints of all generations.” (Warren Jeffs journal in prison, January 19, 2007)

“[The Lord] showed me that I would be taken and scourged and tortured by the officials of the government, and that I would be unsexed and be beaten and starved to stand as a witness against this generation of their wickedness and abominations; and that I would be taken by my enemies and made to watch my own family ravished and killed before my eyes. They would then put me in prison and hold me there to die. The Lord showed me that I would be healed and renewed by His miraculous power.” (Warren Jeffs journal in prison, January 20, 2007).

One final theory. The bed found in the temple could have been used by Warren for these heavenly sessions, attended by kneeling wives.


Anonymous said...

It was said in meetings when I was still in the group, that Roy Johnson was the "marred servant". It was spken frequently over the pulpit many times

Anonymous said...

I went and looked up self-induced epilepsy on the internet....To me your theory makes a better explanation of Jeffs frequent reference to heavenly sessions than the alternative theory that has been proposed in which those sessions are for sex.

Also it would seem to be very consistent with the other information about his behavior.


Anonymous said...

Thanks FLDS101,

This is very concise and informative.

Maybe Warren has "Restless Leg Syndrome" which is causing his twisting and thrashing while he is asleep.

Anonymous said...

The explanation of the bed in the temple, makes better sense than most I have heard. Another "stage" on which to display his "I-am-god, worship me" play for his faithful followers.
Interesting reading!


Anonymous said...

I think the self induced seizures is a definite possibility.

The part that I think refers to sex is to "get close to your husband". He gives lessons to girls on getting close to their husbands.

FLDS101 could you do an analysis of the "Get close" lessons please.

Proud Texan

Boots said...

Or maybe he's just a freakin' sociopath who likes to roll around and scream a lot for attention- in between raping little children.

He's already a false prophet. He is in prison but no one has "unsexed" him, unless you count keeping him away from any more children as "unsexing" him.

He hasn't been beaten, unless you count beating his own head on the wall.

He hasn't been starved, unless you count self starvation...and he's actually been force fed by the authorities.

Looks to me like Warren is a big fake who can't get anything much right at all.

Berry Knoll said...

Yes, I was also thinking the Restless Leg Syndrome could be part of this. He talked in his sleep like crazy...or faked it. What really amazes me his how he made Naomie stay up night after night taking notes. I assume she would sleep in the car as they traveled during the day.

chemist said...

Thanks for these articles. Whether his seizures are caused by restless leg syndrome, self induced epilepsy, etc; a big factor is his own delusions. His thinking that he is atoning for other people is almost abhorrent and blaspemous to me. Warren's words use the term chair rather than bed or couch, hard to know if he was reclining or seated during these sessions.

Anonymous said...

The Epilipsy explaination is a good one. People with Epilipsy can have seizure by seeing the color red, or neon colors.
However, if your Epiliptic, you have no thoughts during an attack. This is just my personal opinion, but I do believe because warren was prophet, and supposedly a great honor to "record" on paper his attacks, those chosen to do the transcribing, made up what happened during those attacks, to endear them to warren.
Also during an attack, there is a chance of harming yourself, because you don't know anything, the women were used to keep warren from hurting himself, like falling off a bed, or chair, or swallowing his tongue.
Is he the marred severant, NO!!

Anonymous said...

Seems if they were epilipsy it would be discovered in prison. although his medical record could be private.

Anonymous said...

I've read several articles about Warren's 'heavenly sessions' which state:

"Jeffs recorded that at least two of his children were conceived during his so-called "heavenly sessions," times when he said God gave him revelations. (In other heavenly sessions, he had as many as five wives massaging his arms, legs and head.)"

I can't see how this could be possible unless all of it (including the twisting and revelating) was part of Warren's act.

Stamp said...

The only one who unsexed Warren is himself.

He's done with it now, lots of prayer time though.

How's that workin for ya, Warren?

Anonymous said...

Wow. Give the guy an Oscar for yet another dramatic performance! Maybe it was even better than the one he gave when he was struggling and going through all his contortions while he was trying to tell the people in church how Winston had been removed. I almost bought his performance...except that I knew how much he hated Winston.

I think the "sessions" are 3 things. 1. He is loony as hell (it is in the Steed genetics to go off the deep end and act like a freak.) 2. He is a Master Manipulator so it is in his best interest to have as many people as possible "witness" his "suffering". (Why "suffer" if no one sees it? What would be the point? Besides, look at all the other Steed blood "breakdowns". ALWAYS in the middle of the most amount of witnesses possible.) BRAVO!! BRAVO!!! 3. He is on a psychedelic or other mind-altering substance. Consider the behavior of otherwise normal people when they are on DMT or LSD. It is well documented, and would explain the shakes and the visions and all that good drama. And he wouldn't TOTALLY have to fake it. PLEEEEEASE tell me that you don't buy his cinematic act as authentic, Berry Knoll. I know you are MUCH too intelligent for that.
BTW, you have done a fabulous job of telling the facts without a lot of personal opinions or bitterness to slant the account.

Anonymous said...

A couple weeks ago, someone pointed out on another blog that Warren probably has marfan syndrome.(most common characteristic is unusual height/bone length with low weight for height involved.) Nearsightedness is also common with such people. (His "wide-eyed," "deep" gaze.) After reading through wikipedia's article listing the many symptoms related to marfan syndrome, I think these heavenly sessions are being "helped along" by one or more conditions he has, some symptoms of which manifest perhaps more at night than at any other time. With the strict diet he's been on for decades he probably has some neurological disorders from that-too little fat in the food he eats--although the feeding tube situation maybe has corrected that to a degree. I also recall that Carolyn Jessop relates in Escape how ("heavenly session secretary") Naomi came to see Carolyn one day. Naomi mentioned how "Warren said lots of (Rulon's "widows") had endometriosis.."(which Carolyn surmised was Warren's way of keeping the ones he was sleeping with thinking they needed to take birth control pills until the baby conception coast was clear with Rulon still occasionally conscious.) Warren has used supposed medical conditions-- or lack thereof-- to snow people before. We have also heard many times that in flds teachings medical conditions in children are laid at the door of the mothers as "not being perfect enough" instead of getting proper diagnosis and treatment. We also know that Dr. Tarby informed flds about the fumerase deficiency problem. Some flds told the doctor that the prophet's orders had to be followed, and that if flds started taking medical advice and marriage partner directions not given by Warren, it would be seen as Warren not getting his "revelations" about such things directly from God. So it's easy to imagine Warren using some condition he either knows he has or doesn't know he has, and mixing it all up with his twisted theological ideas and other things from his bag of tricks. It's also easy to see him at least trying to refuse proper medical help in prison in order to continue to use something to deceive others in the cult. I have read that he also studied control techniques of various historical people, and applied what he learned with the Sons of Helaman patrols he ordered in Colorado City.

Karl Mellor said...

The trial of Warren Jeffs in Texas this week has been incredibly revealing. From actual tapes of these so called "Heavenly Sessions", it turns out that what they really involved was just some nasty, wild, S & M sex.

The truth is, Jeffs is nothing but a lousy pervert who manipulated his followers, especially the women, into doing things they would never have done under normal circumstances.

Now that his followers can actually have access to the trial evidence themselves, maybe they will actually have the courage to stand up against this nonsense.

I have no problem at all with Polygamy, as long as it's done between consenting adults who have the means to take care of their family without relying on welfare. But as a society, we can never, ever tolerate the kinds of misdeeds and outright criminal acts committed by Warren Jeffs and select members of his inner circle.

Apparently the jury agrees with me because they are really gonna stick it to old Uncle Warren, and he deserves it. Perhaps in prison he will find the kind of animal lovin' he's been searching for all this time.

Anonymous said...

Here's what Joseph Smith Jr. has to say about Warrens heavenly sessions. Keep in mind, this is Warrens Priesthood Head according to the FLDS's religion.

TPJS page 215
The "French Prophets" were possessed of a spirit that deceived; they existed in Vivaris and Dauphany, in great numbers in the year 1688; there were many boys and girls from seven to twenty-five; they had strange fits, as in tremblngs and faintings, which made them stretch out their legs and arms, as in a swoon; they remained awhile in trances, and coming out of them, uttered all that came in their mouths (see Buck's Theological Dictionary).
Now God never had any prophets that acted in this way; there was nothing indecorous in the proceeding of the Lord's prophets in any age; neither had the apostles nor prophets in the Apostles' day do anything of this kind. Paul says, "Ye may all prophecy, one by one; and if anything be revealed to another let the first hold his peace, for the spirit of the prophets is subject to the prophets;" but here we find that the prophets are subject to the spirit, and falling down, have twitchings, tumblings, and faintings through the influence of that spirit, being entirely under its control. Paul says, "Let everything be done decently and in order," but here we find the greatest disorder and indecency in the conduct of both men and women, as above described. The same rule would apply to the fallings, twitchings, swoonings, shaking, and trances of many of our modern revivalists.

Anonymous said...

It's SAD to read the earlier posts - "yes, it could be self-induced seizures! restless leg syndrome! that's much more plausible." Ridiculous, really. The red flags were there. They knew it. They just didn't want to believe that the prophet they once loved - was not the prophet they loved at all. He was a cruel, lying, deceiver who could have won an oscar for his acting. He intentionally hurt many, and he didn't care. At all. His actions of caring were an act. Pligs: He doesn't care about you. He never did. He doesn't know how to feel, and he never did. Look up "sociopath." It hurts to know the truth, but do not follow his directives. It will only hurt you and your family more.