The Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints is a sect which has acquired a substantial amount of media interest within the last few years, mainly at the hands of their current prophet Warren Jeffs. The FLDS prophet gained control after his father and previous FLDS prophet passed away, Rulon Jeffs. Both prophets have/had many wives, far beyond the legal limit of one wife. Polygamy is illegal, therefore many of the ‘wives’ attributed to the male members of the FLDS are not legal wives, but spiritual companions termed wives. These spiritual companions must carry out all the duties attributed to the ideal of wife, including sex, children, cleaning, cooking, and most importantly obeying. Though many women openly support polygamy, it remains to this day a controversial issue.
Warren Jeffs is the notorious leader of the FLDS based on media coverage of the compound’s raid, which took away 440 children of the sect into social care, believing that child abuse ran rampant. However, only a minimal of cases held actual accounts of abuse. Jeffs is accused of being an accomplice of rape of a 14 year old girl. His role as prophet allows him to assign marriages and also take wives and children from men being punished. The wives would be assigned to another sect member without choice. A woman’s role in the FLDS is to continue to line through children and to provide unending support to her husband. This is how she is allowed to enter heaven, based on her merits during her life, whereas men automatically gain entrance into heaven.
The video attached to this post is of an ex-FLDS support recounting her experiences with Warren Jeffs. Like many sect leaders, Jeffs is clever. He knows how to control people through their fears and his inferred connection to god. Jeffs knows who to target and how to manipulate their weaknesses, thus creating followers who are convinced of his connection to god and worship him and his beliefs.
Wade Goodwyn, Howard Berkes, and Amy Walters, Warren Jeffs and the FLDS, NPR post, May 3, 2005.
ABC NEWS, More Bigamy Charges Filed in Texas Sect Case, ABC News Internet Ventures, 2008.