As you have no doubt read, the country’s leading bigamist – distinguished title, eh? – was arrested in Las Vegas during a routine traffic stop. He had made it to the number one spot on the FBI’s list of top ten hits for marrying underage women to devout gentleman significantly older than themselves.
The much marrying minister, Warren Steed Jeffs, is the proud leader of a throwback known as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It’s 10,000 or so members are convinced God speaks through Jeffs and refer to him as the "The Prophet."
The judge denied him bail, convinced he would go on the lam. The adjudicator noted, "These followers are committed to him because they view him as their religious leader, a 'prophet of God,' and are willing to do anything for him."
The devout Jeffs is hardly a thoroughly modern Mormon – if the foregoing is not too uncomfortable a juncture to stick together. While the followers of the prophet Mormon rejected polygamy over a hundred years ago, the dedicated disciple of Brigham Young – or bring ‘em old but bring ‘em any way you can – is said to have some 40 wives and 60 children.
So it is no wonder that at his arraignment, he did not contest extradition to Utah, where there is apparently ample evidence of his misdoings; the charge he will face is “rape by accomplice.”
In fact, he fell on his knees in court and pleaded, “Please, judge, lock me up. Save me! You have no idea what it’s like to have 40 wives and 60 children! Please, I beg you, put me in solitary confinement! And throw away the key! Not to keep me in there, but to keep my wives and children out.”
The judge, who apparently knows how demanding even just the usual one wife and two kids can be, listened with a watery eye, slammed his gavel, and said, “It’s Utah for you!”
So Jeffs will wend his newly solitary way, leaving behind thousands of followers who have, in duped devotion, been willing to hide and support him; the affidavit says he has, in fact, access to safe houses in Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Colorado, South Dakota, and Canada.
But apparently he feels safer in the hoosegow.
Immediately after his surprise arrest, laments by prematurely married women began to show up on his group’s Website, detailing the lives he condemned them to lead or risk “losing their own salvation.”
"He's not the sole supporter of polygamy," said Lori Chatwin, a Colorado City woman who was married off at age 17. "It's a religious belief."
Well, Lori, how can we say this kindly? Sad to say, if you believe stupid things, you're far more likely to end up with a stupid life.
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