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Warren Jeffs: A Wanted Man Essay

1875 words - 8 pages

As an infamous religious leader, Warren Jeffs had the ability to gain people’s trust and loyalty. He influenced many by exerting his power and authority in brainwashing individuals with religion. His home base is located in the Utah–Arizona area, where he is known to have about 40 wives and 56 children in his compound. Jeffs goes beyond what any human being has by taking advantage of religion to obtain supporters through his ideals and practices of Mormonism into the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) where he considers himself a prophet. Even after being imprisoned, he had influence to control his church even from behind bars. His sect is secluded from society protected by walls and cameras to prevent government interference, in the hopes that others would not be able to detect what occurs within the walls of the cult. He gained recognition in 2006 by being included in the top Ten Most Wanted List for arranged marriages. By 2011, he was convicted after a FBI raid on his compound in Texas due to assault on underage girls from ages 12 and 15 years old. Through his beliefs on polygamy, Jeffs has created stringent rules, religion, and manipulation.
While polygamy is illegal in America, there are roughly 30,000 to 50,000 people who live in polygamous families. According to an article in the International Business Times, about “forty thousand people in America are self-described Mormon fundamentalist who practice plural marriage and the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Chris of Latter Day Saints remains the largest organized fundamentalist group in the world.” Jeffs grew up in a religious community known as FLDS, a radical branch from Mormonism, but it is not recognized within the mainstream Mormon Church. FLDS allows polygamy in their sect, which was abandoned in the mainstream Mormon churches in the 1890s. Jeffs’s view of polygamy is to teach men that to go to heaven, they must have multiple wives. Polygamy was commonly practiced through Jeffs’s family generations. During his childhood, his polygamous father, who had about 50 wives, raise Warren Jeffs. He had a strong relationship with his father. Jeffs took over his father’s role after his death, gaining control of the property establishment. Taking the role of a leader, he proved himself to be controlling and cruel to others. For example, he excommunicated twenty-one men due to disobedience. Many are excommunicated due to being found disloyal to the community. Even though the FLDS is a tight knit community, it is slowly breaking away from the rules and regulations imposed by Jeffs.
After his father’s death, Jeffs rose to power in 2002 where he led FLDS for about 20 years. He shaped the community for many years as an educator, then a spokesperson for his ill father, and eventually rose up to become a leader. Jeffs’ stringent rules included banning children’s toys, bicycles, TV, Internet, men not allowed to have sex with their wives, and girls under the age of 18...

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