ST. GEORGE, UT -- Polygamous sect leader Warren S. Jeffs has been found guilty of two counts of being an accomplice to rape.
Jeffs, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, blinked when the verdicts were read, but showed no emotion. None of his followers in the courtroom reacted.
The 51-year-old was convicted of two counts of being an accomplice to rape related to a marriage he conducted in 2001 between Elissa Wall, who was 14, and Allen Steed, 19.
Before anybody says that what Warren Jeffs did--forcing two teenagers who were cousins (the girl was 14 years old) to get married and start having sex so they could provide bodies for all the "spirit children" waiting for them--goes against true Mormon teaching, let me say this: you are wrong. These people hold firm to the things that Joseph Smith said were "revealed" to him by God. And they believe that Wilford Woodruff should have never signed the 1890 Manifesto (now Doctrine and Covenants Official Declaration No. 1) In fact, these people are doing things exactly how Joseph Smith and Brigham Young did them; both of those early Mormon "prophets" married multiple wives, and Joseph himself was married to at least two teenagers. And the FLDS practice it to this day:
Washington County Attorney Brock Belnap had argued Jeffs, then-first counselor in the faith, was the "mouthpiece of God" and had ignored Wall's objections to the marriage.
Later, when she asked to be freed from the marriage and said her husband was "doing things to me I don't understand,'' Jeffs sent her back to him. He threatened loss of heavenly salvation as a consequence for disobedience, Belnap said.
"He placed Elissa Wall in a situation where she felt she had no choice," he said.
And yes, Mormons who hold to the teachings of Smith, Young, etc., do believe that polygamy is necessary in order for one to "progress" toward godhood. From Utah Lighthouse Ministries:
In addition, the Latter-Day Saints' Millennial Star carried the following comments:
And we, ... are believers in the principles of plural marriage or polygamy, ... as a principle revealed by God, underlying our every hope of eternal salvation and happiness in heaven ... we cannot view plural marriage in any other light than as a vital principle of our religion (Millennial Star, vol. 40, pp.226-27).
Upwards of forty years ago the Lord revealed to His Church the principle of celestial marriage.... the command of God was before them in language which no faithful soul dare disobey.
"For, behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant, and be permitted to enter into my glory...."
Damnation was the awful penalty affixed to a refusal to obey this law. It became an acknowledged doctrine of the Church; it was indissolubly interwoven in the minds of its members with their hopes of eternal salvation and exaltation in the presence of God.... Who could suppose that ... Congress would enact a law which would present the alternative to religious believers of being consigned to a penitentiary if they should attempt to obey a law of God which would deliver them from damnation! (Millennial Star, vol. 47, p.711).
William Clayton claimed that he learned from Joseph Smith that "the doctrine of plural and celestial marriage is the most holy and important doctrine ever revealed to man on the earth, and that without obedience to that principle no man can ever attain to the fulness of exaltation in the celestial glory" (Historical Record, vol. 6, p.226).
George Q. Cannon said that if he "had not obeyed that command of God, concerning plural marriage, I believe that I would have been damned" (Journal of Discourses, vol. 23, p.278).
Brigham Young declared on August 19, 1866: "The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy" (Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, p.269).
At one time Joseph Smith told Heber C. Kimball that if he didn't enter into polygamy "he would lose his apostleship and be damned" (Life of Heber C. Kimball, p.336).
Kimball Young stated: "One man recalled a Stake conference in Southern Utah where the brethren were bluntly told to marry in polygamy or 'resign their church offices' " (Isn't One Wife Enough? p.108).
The Mormon writer John J. Stewart, writing in 1961, still upheld the teaching that plural marriage leads to exaltation: "Plural marriage is a pattern of marriage designed by God as part of His plan of eternal progress to further His kingdom and exalt His children" (Brigham Young and His Wives, p.71).
Jeffs and his followers belong to a group called the Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints (FLDS). You may have gotten a peek inside their world recently. The FLDS group that lives in Centennial Park was featured on an episode of ABC's "PrimeTime Live." You got to see all the warm, fuzzy moments, and how wonderful and sweet they were...on camera. You did not, however, get to see fundamental Mormonism for what it really is: control, manipulation, harassment, brainwashing, etc. How at any time, the "prophet" could take someone's daughter and say that "God has given her to me." These FLDS Mormons have nothing to do with the Salt Lake Mormons (and, as was pointed out in the comments by Ann, the Centennial Park FLDS are not affiliated the Jeffs camp, but they do believe the same things) and actually think the SLC Mormons are the apostates for renouncing "plural marriage."
This, my friends, is Mormonism.