Prophet or Pedophile?: The Story

A Secret World
Evidence seized during a raid on FLDS property in 2008 painted a sordid picture of Warren Jeffs. It is reported that Texas Rangers found a bed inside the FLDS temple.

Sam explains, "He had a revelation that this bed should be made very strong, that it needs to have a plastic sheet over it for what will take place on that bed, and that it has to be able to support his weight."

In a press conference, the Texas attorney general said Warren Jeffs was guilty of sexually assaulting two girls: one 15, the other 12.

During Jeffs' most recent trial, a disturbing audio tape was played for jurors. News reports say, "The latest audio tape played for the jury captures Jeffs instructing five girls under age 16 to please him sexually."

[AD]After a deliberation of less than 30 minutes, the jury convicted Jeffs of two felony counts of child sexual assault and gave him the maximum sentence: life in prison, plus 20 years.

Where the FLDS group goes from here is unclear. What will become of his estimated 10,000 followers?

Dr. Phil says, "These families have been torn from the man they believed was their savior, so many of them are very likely to have feelings of hopelessness and confusion. They have only known one way of life, and they've been taught that if they have to leave the church, they will be damned to hell."
It is reported in the documentary Banished: The Lost Boys of Polygamy, courtesy of Stacey Butler, that church members can't question their leaders, or else they're at risk of being kicked out of the church and the community. Many young men, coined the "lost boys," have allegedly been forced out, possibly because they represent competition for the older church members who want more wives.

In the documentary, young men recount what it's like to adjust to the world outside the FLDS church, after leaving or being kicked out:

"I mean, all your life, you get taught that if you do certain things, you're going to go to hell no matter what," Joe says. "And one of those things is leaving the church. That's the worst sin you can commit."

A young man named Gideon says, "When you leave, then I guess there's no hope for you. You just go to hell."

[AD]When someone is kicked out, Sam Brower explains, "Their family is told not to have any contact with them. If they're caught, their families run the risk of being kicked out of their community and being alienated the same way the boys are."

"They asked me to leave because I had a girlfriend. I was seeing her regularly," Gideon says. "It's still pretty awkward for me to talk to girls, that kind of stuff, because we weren't allowed to."

"I'm lost," Joe admits. "I've been gone for six months, and I haven't even dared talk to a girl. I don't even know where to start. I'm 24 years old, and no, I've never kissed a girl."
Shortly after Warren Jeffs' trial, Sam returned to Colorado City, also known as Short Creek.

As Sam drives through town, he explains, "The minute you come into this town, you have a tail on you, just like we do now. This is their town, and they don't like strangers here. They're not police officers, but they're people who have been given a calling to watch over and protect the town. They call them the God Squad here. They're church security. They're assigned to intimidate and harass people.

"A statue of Warren Jeffs is being built and put together in San Angelo, Texas, and they're transporting it here to Short Creek. It's a 38-feet tall statue. The statue is of Warren Jeffs with a set of scriptures in one hand and holding the hand of a little girl in the other hand. It just illustrates how messed up the people are here. They're not going to listen. They're not going to pay any attention to what happened in the trial, what happened to Warren Jeffs. They're not looking on the Internet, they're not reading papers, they're not looking at the news. They've been commanded not to, and the really sad thing is they do whatever they're told," Sam says.

"Coming up here on our right hand side is a mansion that cost around $10 million to put up and erect because Warren told his followers that the prison walls would crumble and that he would never go to trial. Now this big mansion is sitting here empty, and Warren is in prison. Another one of his failed prophecies," he says.

Sam drives toward another building, which is gated. "This is the Hilldale clinic coming up here. You'll notice that there's a guard standing out here. There are video cameras up all around the whole thing. They will not allow outsiders into that clinic."

Willie Jessop is the former bodyguard of Warren Jeffs and is rumored to be in contention for the new leadership of the FLDS.

[AD]"Right now, the church is starting to fracture a little bit," Sam says. "There's a power play going on. There's no real right of secession in the FLDS church. It's whoever is quickest on their feet. Now that Warren's in prison, Lyle Jeffs, Warren's brother, has been establishing himself as the prophet's mouthpiece here. Willie Jessop was a bodyguard. Not really a big player, as far as being in the church hierarchy. He was just kind of the guy who went around and intimidated people. Warren thought he was having a little too much authority, and Warren got rid of him. Willie doesn't have much credibility with me. Not too long ago, all this stuff was OK with him, all these marriages, and now that he's kicked out of the church, it's not OK. Now Warren is a bad guy. And the fact is, there wouldn't even be any victims if the mothers and fathers and people like Willie Jessop had they not done those things."