- (Photo: Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi)
Former Fundamentalist Mormon leader Warren Jeffs is reportedly building a new church and may be holding young girls captive. Former Fundamentalist spokesman Willie Jessop has spoken with reporters about the new church.
Jessop said that Warren, who is currently serving a life plus 20 years sentence, is still a central figure in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS). Jeffs has dissolved several marriages and “regulates sex and money on behalf of God,” according to Jessop.
Reports have surfaced that Jeffs is building a new, conservative church called the Holy United Order. Members must apply and be interviewed on subjects such as prayer, personal thoughts, and whether they are practicing good or evil. As Jessop stated, “There are eight questions, but before they get there, they ask, ‘Do you accept Warren Jeffs as God’s mouthpiece and your prophet’ and if you believe he can rule in all the affairs of your life.”
If applicants are not deemed holy enough, they are not allowed to join the Holy United Order. So far over 1,000 people have been told they are not religious enough to attend meetings of the church.
Allegations are also surfacing that members of the FLDS church may be holding teen girls captive. Utah’s Attorney General, Mark Shurtleff, told the press, “I believe there’s still a half-dozen to a dozen places around the country where girls are still being held, and I’m very concerned about that. The worry is that there are still children being trafficked in potential sexual crimes or being held for the prophet for that purpose.”
Kidnapping and sexual assault charges are not new to those familiar with the FLDS church. Jeffs was charged with sexual assault of two young girls and is serving his time in a Texas prison. Authorities raided a FLDS compound in 2010, and charges were brought against Jeff soon after.
Jessop told reporters, “What he [Jeffs] teaches is so opposite of what he did. You never got to see the man behind the curtain, and there were so many curtains and so much secrecy.”