Warren Jeffs has told his followers to prepare for the end of the world, and authorities are taking his warning seriously. They are monitoring those communities that are still loyal to Jeffs in case something has been planned for a specific date.
"The consensus seems to be that [Jeffs] is indicating that by the end of the year, the end of the world will be here," Sam Brower, a private investigator, told CNN.
Jeffs has told the community exactly what they need to do in order to prepare for the end of the world, which includes making "grey or blue backpacks, 2x2x1, pack them with essentials, (and) be ready to go at a moment's notice," former FLDS member Isaac Wyler told KUTV.
He is doubtful that anything will happen on New Year's Eve and claims that Jeffs is "just whipping them up into another frenzy to gather money." Jeffs is still behind bars for sexually assaulting two underage girls but is a powerful figure in the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints and certain communities in Colorado City, Arizona and Hilldale, Utah.
"You've got a war raging within the community. They've dismissed all of the doctors. They've dismissed the nurses. They've dismissed people that had public education," former member Willie Jessop told KUTV.
It could be a sign that Jeffs has encouraged his members to prepare for action or a scenario that could be devastating to the communities. Authorities are keeping a close eye on the followers and are fearful that Jeffs could be sending a signal for a Jonestown type of situation.
In that case, leader Jim Jones led members of the Peoples' Temple to their deaths. He convinced over 900 inhabitants of Jonestown, Guyana to drink cyanide before killing himself. It was the largest mass suicide at the time and set an example for other leaders, who did or attempted similar radical things with their members.
Now authorities are concerned about Jeffs' followers, given their intense loyalty to the man.
"There's always that fear that Warren would see how far he could take them," Wyler explained. "I've got a brother-in-law who once told my sister, 'If the prophet (Jeffs) told me to, I'd slit your throat without even thinking about it.'"