He could be the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), a polygamist sect located in Utah and Arizona. In 2006, he was detained, as well as in 2007, he was convicted, but the sentence was later overturned. A 2008 raid on the FLDS compound in Texas resulted in signs of the assault of underage girls, which afterwards led to Jeffs’ conviction in 2011. This religious sect is an offshoot from Mormonism, but it’s not acknowledged by or affiliated with the mainstream Mormon church. The FLDS carries on a single custom the Mormons left in the 1890s: polygamy, or plural marriage.
His father, Rulon, had at least 50 wives and tons of kids during his life. Warren was his 14th kid. Right from the start, he had a unique relationship together with his dad. He was known for being a stickler for the rules as well as for discipline. Outside of his job duties, Jeffs was also active in the church. When his father, Rulon, became the new FLDS prophet in 1986, he altered the arrangement of the FLDS church, removing its council and setting himself as its only leader. In the late 1990s, Rulon’s health began to decrease, and Warren placed himself as his successor. He even took over as his dad’s representative after Rulon suffered a serious stroke.
In 2002, Jeffs took the reins of the FLDS after the passing of his dad. He became the group’s new prophet, which gave him control over its property holdings along with its followers. Early on in his tenure, Jeffs chose to wed a number of his dad’s wives. He also sought out a spot to get a new FLDS community in West Texas. There, Jeffs confirmed the Yearning for Zion, or YFZ, Ranch. He revealed himself to be callous and commanding, excommunicating 21 guys in 2004 for disobedience. Even for the faithful, Jeffs ruled over almost all facets of the lives, in the clothing they wore to whom they could wed to what playthings kids could play with. He insisted on no television and no Internet. Jeffs shortly found himself in legal hot water, yet. Brent Jeffs asserted that his uncle had sexually attacked him as a youngster. As criminal charges began to build against Jeffs, he dropped out of sight.
In 2005, Arizona authorities indicted Jeffs on conspiracy to commit sexual conduct using a minor, and sexual conduct using a minor. Then he faced two counts of rape as an accomplice in 2006 in Utah for his part in organizing a union between a 14-yearold daughter and her19-year old cousin. Law enforcement did not understand just where Jeffs was during this time, but many presumed he was hiding out at various FLDS compounds to prevent prosecution.
The raid given a treasure trove of evidence against Jeffs and other members of the FLDS in link with their unions to underage girls. Jeffs went on trial in 2011 for two of his “celestial unions”—one with a 12-year old girl and another with a 15-year old girl who afterwards had his kid. Both of these so called marriages violated Texas law.
A few of the very damning evidence came from Jeffs’ own records. He had the custom of getting his wives write down all of his actions. He maintained diaries and made audiotapes, at the same time. A tape of the assault on the 12-year old girl was played throughout the trial, and excerpts from his records were read aloud. “In case the world understood what I had been doing, they’d hang me from the maximal tree,” read one journal entry. Serving as his own lawyer, Jeffs mounted a poor defense. It had been disclosed throughout the proceeding that he’d more than 70 prohibited unions, as many as a third of which were with underage girls. Finally, Jeffs was not competent to sway the jury to his side. He was found guilty on both counts and immediately sentenced to life in prison. Jeffs is now serving his term at Powledge prison near Palestine, Texas. Far in the model prisoner, he’s gone on hunger strikes and attempted suicide. Despite these self destructive actions, Jeffs still commands the FLDS and its particular members from behind bars.