Saturday, May 30, 2009

FLDS History 101 - Becoming a prophet again

After a short two-plus months of stepping away from being the FLDS prophet, Warren Jeffs was back in charge and communicating with his loyal flock again in May, 2007. In prison in Southern Utah, awaiting his trial, Warren still believed that he would be freed. He quoted from the Bible in Isaiah, “Even the captives of the mighty will be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered.” He was convinced that “none can stay the Lord’s hand.” He asked his leaders to pray night and day that a “desolating sickness and other whirlwind judgments will be sent forth by the Lord” on everyone except the faithful FLDS.

He started to set his sights on the upcoming rape trail and planned to just sit silently through the trial, “whatever the Lord allows to be said or done, His will be done.” He was firm his determination to defend the “Celestial laws” (plural marriage). He believed he was being attacked by the “powers of evil” through this court trial, but “I am exerting faith and hope that I will be delivered.”

One thing that really concerned him is that his private Priesthood Record for 2004-2006 had been seized when he was arrested. These had many of his secret thoughts and actions. Most of all he worried about having his followers read those things without being prepared. It would be devastating if they learned those things from the news media or apostates. He was also very worried that the prosecutors in Utah were going to make public the “Redemption of Zion trainings” recorded on February 21, 2005. These are the trainings that are given to those invited to move to the XFZ Ranch.

In early 2007, Warren gave strict instructions to his followers that they should only get “truth” from “authority” (Warren) and not from their enemies (anyone else). One FLDS member observed, "When all the documents and dictations were released to the public, they got up in meeting and pretty much said you’ll lose your salvation if you read some of the things in those “sacred documents.” It appeared that after this directive that there were fewer FLDS defenders making comments on Internet blogs. The FLDS must have been ordered to stay off the Internet.

Back in the saddle again, Warren started again to micro-manage his followers from his prison cell. He determined who should move to YFZ in Texas and the compound in South Dakota, what houses they should stay in, and what their duties should be: kitchen, storehouse, sewing, garden, canning, upholstery, etc. There appeared to be no input on this, Warren’s edicts far away in prison must be followed.

On April 30, 2007, Warren ordered that FLDS member, Vivian Barlow Musser, get a legal divorce from Wendell Musser who he branded as an apostate. Wendell had just filed a lawsuit against Warren to force him to reveal where Wendell’s wife and son were. He hadn’t been allowed to see them for months. Warren had previously taken Vivian and his son away from Wendell against his wishes and married her off to another man. It took months of legal action for Wendell to finally see his wife and son at Short Creek for just a short time. Warren sat in prison condemning the evil people who were keeping him from his family, yet he saw no parallel towards his own actions of ripping other men away from their families. He showed no compassion towards those who still loved their families and wanted to see them. Wendell was “like the other apostates . . . demanding to find his former family.” He referred to these men as enemies. Warren had a dream where he was being chased by wolves, but was given power to strike them down. He wrote, “I was shown this first attacker was Wendell Musser, a traitor. . . He has knowledge of the houses of hiding.” That was Warren’s great worry about Musser.

Warren sent orders to hold conferences in May at the lands of refuge (YFZ, Mancos, Colorado, and Pringle, South Dakota) and the “houses of hiding” scattered in Colorado and Nevada. Families of the First Presidency (Jeffs, Nielson, and Jessop) were in the houses of hiding. Many of those families would be invited to come to the lands of refuge. Preferential treatment was still being given to these chosen families as others were being ignored back at Short Creek. Those back in Short Creek were still financially supporting all these people in hiding or on the lands of refuge.

His important objective now was to undo any damage made because of his declarations and letters in January that he wasn’t the prophet and was one of the most wicked men ever to have lived. How could he regain the confidence of his followers? He needed to give them revelations as proof.

On May 1st, Warren, now a prophet again, issued a new revelation that he put into Kings James scripture language. The revelation confirmed that Warren had been “tested and tried beyond measure by the powers of darkness” during his two-month torment when he thought he wasn’t the prophet. The revelation promised that Warren would be delivered from his enemies and that those who fight against him would be wiped off land. He was coming to grips why he was in prison “among my enemies.” He was going through this to put a curse on them all, to bind them up to be destroyed because they were fighting against the “work and people of God.”

Warren worried about all the things he said or wrote during his two months of torment when he said he wasn’t the prophet. He realized that those words may have “tested or tried” his most loyal followers. He instructed to have those letters and transcripts gathered, and sealed away “until I can write the true history of those experiences.” Apparently Warren again wanted to alter FLDS history as he had done before. He told Naomie to not include any of those items in the official Priesthood Record.

One strange difference in his writings during early May, 2007 is a more humble tone. He admits his imperfections and even recognizes the faithfulness of his loyal followers. Prior to his two-month torment, his words were only full of condemnation for the weakness and sins he saw in others. Now he was inviting more people to go to YFZ and had a much more humble and kind tone in his letters. He expresses much more thanks for support and prayers in his behalf. He even signs his letter to his counselors, “your unworthy brother.”

Since Warren had been put in prison, all general meetings and ordinances were again taken away from his people. But in May he instructed that meetings be held on the three lands of refuge and five houses of hiding. His followers were told that “this is the day of final preparation” for the end of the world. “We must be full of the Holy Ghost to survive.” Ordinances in the temple had not been performed because the Key Holder (Warren) was locked up. He asked his followers to exert faith “for the doors of deliverance to open” so that the work could continue. The rest of the meeting instruction involved quotes from past leaders describing the terrible destruction that they believed would soon come to pass.

On May 4, 2007, Warren received yet another revelation. In it, he claimed the Lord told him, “I have allowed you, my servant, to be taken by mine enemies that you may be a witness against them” because they are “seeking to destroy my Church and Kingdom from off the face of the earth.” All this was a conspiracy against the FLDS to stop the progress being made in the “redemption of Zion” effort at the YFZ Ranch, and to hinder performing the temple ordinances there.

Warren’s revelation told him that the Lord had forgiven him. Warren had passed the test of torment during these past three months and didn’t deny the Lord. He was promised that he would be delivered “out of the hands of thine enemies in a manner you know not, through your faith.” He was told to stay in his holy calling as prophet. His revelation then turned dark, condemning his people, instructing him to send forth judgments down on the “ungodly” among his people. But then there was good news. Ordinances could again be performed. Warren’s most chosen leaders should hold sacrament meetings with their families with a few others invited. Baptisms could again be performed. Young men could receive the Aaronic Priesthood. However, no ordinances or meetings could be held back at Short Creek.

This revelation was read twice at a special priesthood meeting held at YFZ on May 11, 2007 attended by 24 selected men. All present voted unanimously to accept the revelation. In this way Warren had them accept a revelation that he was their chosen leader, despite his claims to the contrary three months earlier.

Warren wrote a letter to his mother explaining that his two-month behavior was only a test and training from the Lord. He knew that many accusations would come against him because of his experience. He also knew that his Priesthood Records that would be made public would be used to attack the FLDS. He knew the “half-hearted” would fall away, but the faithful would be loyal to him. “My declarations of January and later were declarations of feeling unworthy and an anxiousness to not hold the work of God or individuals back from qualifying for eternal blessings. The Lord has given me a great deliverance in encouraging me to carry on in this mission of the redemption of Zion.”
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