Followers of polygamist Warren Jeffs give up bikes, trampolines
Though polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs is serving a life sentence in Texas for sexually assaulting two girls, he continues issuing directives to his followers. The new rules are considered particularly strict – even by sect members who’ve acquiesced to giving up reading the news and wearing the color red.
Jeffs recently instructed members to hand over all personal possessions to leaders in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who will then determine whether followers are worthy of getting them back, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. Girls younger than 18 must give up their jobs and cellphones, and all children must surrender their toys, which explains the for-sale bikes and trampolines lining roads in the church's hamlets of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah.
Followers are facing a Dec. 31 deadline to prove their devotion to the faith –- and pay $5,000 –- or face excommunication, the Tribune said. Nonprofit groups that work with former church members fear that a large number of people may be kicked out of the sect. That could create a flood of newly homeless followers as desperate as the "Lost Boys,” the hundreds of teenagers that Jeffs expelled to reduce competition for the sect’s women.
Since Jeffs was sentenced in August for sexually assaulting two girls, ages 12 and 15, whom he said were his spiritual wives, he has also shared a dozen revelations with his followers, the Tribune said. He predicts that earthquakes and fires will terrorize humanity if he and nine other church men remain incarcerated.
--Ashley Powers in Las Vegas
Photo: Members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints pick vegetables in a Colorado City, Ariz., field in 2000. Credit: Dan Krauss/Associated Press