On the EDge: Jeffs’ latest edict requires immediate response by law enforcement

OPINION – So you still think polygamy is a personal choice among consenting adults, that the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints take on plural marriage is a religious decision that should be protected under the First Amendment, that the government has no business interfering with what goes on out at Short Creek – the twin cities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz.?

Think again.

Reporter Ladd Egan, who covers the polygamy beat for KUTV News, filed a piece Monday night about FLDS leader Warren Jeffs issuing a new edict from his Texas prison cell ordering three men from his church to impregnate all women and girls 12 and older.

This, my friends, is the context of polygamy.

This is the basis for the 16 years of research that led to my writing ‘plygs.’

This, dear reader, is why I am, at this moment, physically and emotionally distraught.

This is not religion, this is perversion. This is not faith, it is sickness. This is not spiritual uplifting, this is rape.

Warren Jeffs is sitting in a Texas prison, serving a life sentence for sexually abusing two girls — one 12, one 14 — who he took as spiritual wives in his sick, twisted vision of the path to religious salvation.

There is no salvation in the rape of a little girl.

There is only pain, suffering, and lifelong scars that will not heal. There are tears, horrors unbelievable, at this perverted stealing of a child’s innocence.

And, dear reader, the state of Utah continues to look the other way.

Utah Attorney General John Swallow’s spokesman Paul Murphy issued a statement to Egan, saying activist groups need to be “extra vigilant in watching for any signs of child abuse.”

In his bio published on the Utah Attorney General’s official website, Swallow states: “John E. Swallow was elected as Utah Attorney General in November 2012 with 65 per cent of the statewide vote.  He plans to focus on protecting children from abuse and sex trafficking, stopping financial fraud and preserving state’s rights.”

What has he done to fulfill his promise?

Instead, in light of this threat against helpless little girls, he shirks his responsibility and calls upon activist groups to “be extra vigilant in watching for signs of child abuse.”

No, Mssrs. Swallow and Murphy, the onus is on the Attorney General’s Office and an order should have been issued immediately to remove all of the girls 12 and older from that community for their own protection.

It is not up to activist groups, who have no legal authority, to do the work our law enforcement officials should be doing.


Not when it comes to something as vile, vulgar, and perverted as this.

Or are we, as a society, so broken at this point that we will allow something as awful as child rape to exist because, well, it doesn’t affect us or because of some long-ago misguided religious belief that, perhaps, carries more weight than decency and morality.

The State of Texas is also not guiltless in this travesty.

As a prisoner, Warren Jeffs loses certain rights. One of them, especially when he is encouraging his followers to break the laws of God and man, should be his access to the outside world. Somehow, Jeffs has been allowed to remain in control of his cult following while sitting behind bars. While he should be allowed to have visitation rights, they should be heavily monitored and anybody who carries his messages — particularly those that encourage violations of the law — should be punished as an accomplice in conspiracy to commit a crime, in this case, child rape.

Warren Jeffs is a vile, disgusting creature who has ruined many lives.

I know women who escaped his tyranny, “lost boys” who suffered abuse and were kicked out of the community, one of whom, upon hearing of the latest decree, said Jeffs should have been given the death penalty.

This young man is so disturbed from his time in Short Creek that when the terrorist bombing took place in Boston, he was fearful that one of Jeffs’ prophecies about “blood in the streets” was under way and that, indeed, the prison walls that contained him in Texas would melt and this treacherous human being would go free.

That, my friends, is what we are dealing with here, not some free-spirited libertines who ascribe to untraditional sexual partnerships. This is something hammered into the heads of children younger than the age of reason.

No, this is not a matter of consenting adults, and, no, this is not a matter of religious freedom. This is, instead, a matter of encouraging and conspiring to commit the rape of children and even though he is serving a life sentence in Texas, it would behoove our state Attorney General to file charges against Jeffs if for no other reason than to step up and show that we do not tolerate that sort of behavior, whether religiously or culturally inspired. He should also file charges against whoever delivered the message to Jeffs’ followers.

And, we need to remove those little girls from harm’s way.

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Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.


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  • My Evil Twin July 16, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Ed I hate to have to tell you this, but there are many crime bosses, (which is exactly what this dip wad Jeffs is,) that continue to run their organizations from prison. Personally, I’d like to see them put a big old red ribbon and bow on Jeffs, throw him into general population and say “Merry Christmas” boys to the rest of the inmates. Unfortunately, that will never happen. Next best thing, would be a shiv in the ribs for him.
    As to the misguided or just plain perverted folks that follow him, they need to see the same fate.
    There is no “freedom” no “religion” in screwing little kids.

  • judge not July 16, 2013 at 11:22 am

    I completely agree with the fact that Jeffs and his followers are disgusting excuses for human beings but I do disagree with the idea that all that live in Colorado City and Hildale all follow Jeffs and think that he is a prophet. That simply isnt true. There are many people that live there that do not agree with Jeffs and anything his followers say or do.I do wish people would get thier facts straight before they form an opinion. That is plain ignorance. Dont let the bad apples spoil the whole bunch. Utahns dont like being associated with Jeffs anymore than a lot the people that live there . If you dont understand these things then please dont have such hatred for something that is not even true. People always fear what they dont know.

    • My Evil Twin July 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm

      I don’t see anything in Ed’s article, (or my post,) saying anything about everyone in Hildale/Colorado City follow Jeffs. In fact, if a person follows the news at all, it is easy to see this is not the case. And of course the folks over in Centennial Park broke off with this particular branch of FLDS long ago.

  • Donna Brown July 16, 2013 at 11:41 am

    This latest proclamation should qualify as a terroristic threat among many other things. Here’s John Swallow’s contact information (the squeaky wheel gets the oil):
    Utah State Capitol Office
    Office of the Attorney General
    Utah State Capitol Complex
    350 North State Street Suite 230
    SLC UT 84114-2320
    FAX: (801) 538-1121

  • Almost... July 16, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    …got it. In watching the report done by KUTV, Egan clearly states that this is a RUMOR and is very hard to confirm OR deny it’s validity. The guy he talked to was kicked out 9 years ago and shouldn’t be considered to be true and accurate. …, Egan even went on to say that there’s 2 possibilities to this: 1. FLDS trying to find leaks within and 2. Made up to see who will actually blindly follow it. Unfortunately, most of the stories that come out of those … towns are, boiled down, fodder for the gossip whores around the water cooler. Have you noticed that ALL the interviews are EX-FLDS people? Of course none of the current members will talk for numerous reasons. But that’s what’s so frustrating to the media and to law enforcement. If they’re only getting rumors passed to them from EX-members, then they can only take that tidbit with a grain of salt.

    Something, ANYTHING, needs and should be done to better that community. But if it’s all shrouded in secrecy, then what can be done without violating their rights?!

    But I do agree with you. I agree that that whole community needs a purging of the sickos that still have those poor women and children under their thumb. I agree that Jeffs needs to be wiped from the face of this Earth. Utter helplessness.

    Ed. ellipses

  • DoubleTap July 16, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    I hereby order the following edict to the many prisoners in the Texas Penal Institutions: I order all interested and willing inmates to immediately commence … inmate Warren Jeffs at your earliest convenience. Please demonstrate to him the same he has ordered his three chosen followers to do. You will have gained eternal salvation for doing so. Granted, you will still continue to be incarcerated; but you will have eternal salvation. I hereby order for this edict to last for as long as there are interested and willing inmates. So be it!!

    Ed. ellipsis

    • Bender July 16, 2013 at 5:09 pm

      Speaking of creepy DoubleTap… what’s up with your name? Do you double tap everyone you shoot, just to make sure they don’t suffer?

      • DoubleTap July 17, 2013 at 9:15 am

        Only when I have to…

        • Bender July 17, 2013 at 11:39 am

          So creepiness confirmed?

      • DoubleTap July 17, 2013 at 9:25 am

        By the way, what’s up with your name? Are you always on a “bender” just to cope with reality?

  • Tyler July 16, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    Thanks for the refresher article, Ed! Seems local residents easily forget just how wrong and disgusting these people are. I feel like since we’ve almost been conditioned, or used to seeing them around the area shopping etc., that we overlook them. This ‘religious’ cult is no different than a man who happens to be a rapist creating his own circle of rapists, and going under the radar via labeling it a religion therefore justifying that it’s okay to rape others. In this increasingly unfree, politically correct society America has become, I can’t believe for one second this is still going on today!

  • Craig July 16, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    John Swallow won’t do a thing because he is way too busy covering his own a** from his many problems.
    The former AG hid behind “there is no proof…” I call BS on BOTH of them.
    If Texas could find proof, what the h*ll is wrong with Utah?
    Texas did what Utah was unwilling to do.

  • NaShea July 16, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    I agree that Jeffs is a horrible human being and that as a continuing threat to “his” people, he should not be allowed unmonitored communication with the outside world. I agree that the AGs of both Arizona and Utah have not done all that they can, even a bit of what they can, to help the people and the children in Short Creek. I’ve read Lost Boys, and Escape, and Sam Browers book and a couple others. I can assure you that I hate all the FLDS stands for.
    That being said, you cannot go into a town and take away children without evidence that abuse HAS HAPPENED. Not is likely to happen. Not that someone outside the household has ordered it. You can charge Jeffs with conspiracy, but let’s remember that there has been no proof yet that the order ever actually happened. For all we know, YOU started the rumor. I’m not accusing you, I’m just saying that there is no intercepted communication from Jeffs; only rumors, and we don’t know who started them.
    You want to talk about rights? What about the rights of innocent parents and children who live in the area and don’t belong to the FLDS anymore? Are you going to take their kids too? We have no more right to strip children from their homes than Jeffs has to order them raped. And both are damaging acts to a child.
    I appreciate your resolve to stand against the FLDS, but curb your enthusiasm. You sound about as fanatical as some of his followers.

  • ???? July 16, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    Is there not a way to know for sure that Jeff’s ordered this insane act?? Do they not record visits or read the letters that go out or come into this creepy man?? If they don’t they should. there should be a cop in with him anytime he is with a visitor.. his rights of privacy should be striped because he can manipulate so many people.they worked hard to put him away only to do what?? He is still calling the shots from behind bars. Where is the protection for those women and children even the men? If they choose to live their lives in poligomy then so be it they have their free agency but let it be free agency.. not controlled by a rapist and terrorist who is sitting g behind bars.. I wonder if he has protection inside and if he does that’s not fair…he went to jail was convicted and his rights should be striped. He should be allowed to walk the walk in the yard and have those men take care of him so to speak just like they do other rapist or when they find out they are in there for killing a child or their mother.. let Jeff get a taste of his own medicine..allow him to become someones.b.i.t.c.h on the inside. Allow him to have to answer to someone who has more power on this earth than him..the bottom line is he will have to face the lord one day and it won’t be pretty even as forgiving as the lord is…before the lord cast him out unto santan..that is the only thing that gives me a peace of mind..warren Jeff’s should have to spend the rest if his little life in solitude without any visitors or phone calls or mail..maybe then he can face what he has done and ask for forgiveness before he meets his maker both of his makers for he truly is a son of Satan… please help those women and children and young boys/ men that need someone to step up and save them please…..

  • Pligkid20 July 17, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Where exactly are you getting your information? because I’m pretty sure it’s not accurate. In fact with my transition from being active member to being an apostate; the one constant that I’ve seen is that the information put out by the news is incorrect. I completely understand why you don’t like Warren Jeffs, and I agree he’s been very destructive in that community. But I have sisters there and they’re not pregnant. I’m also aware that this is your opinion but these are my people and I want to take this chance to stand up for them. I have four of the most amazing parents in the world and a lot of amazing siblings and yes, what they are doing is very strange; But they are adults and they get to make that choice for themselves. They know they can leave if they want to.

  • Not Dr. Cooper July 18, 2013 at 10:42 am

    It amazes me. I grew up there yet my dad left that religion in the 70s. An outside perspective living among them can give one a wake up call. It is unfortunate that Jeffs still has control. My biggest fear, however, is that he will issue an order for killing of the apostates and dissidents. My parents still live there after a lawsuit to keep the house. He may not issue an order like that, but whenever I visit my parents and drive around that town, it makes one think that the zombie apocalypse will start there. They all just stand there or sit there in yards, in the garden, on the fence… Just staring at either nothing or at you. No toys to play with and fenced into the convents, it really is sad that it feels like you just as well be in east Germany before the Berlin wall came down. Brainwashing is not a thing of the past.

    I don’t have anything against consensual polygamy. But this? It seems more like the children are not given a choice. Women traded like cattle. Men driven out like a bull that has seen his use. And the children. It seems like it is: “obey or be gone” by the time they can start to think for themselves. They go to the college and say that they cannot use computers for the online courses, yet they use cell phones. Many aren’t even given the choice for an education. Sure, there is a school on the outskirts, but is it full of the “first ward”? Doubtful.

    I don’t know what they are taught, but each time we sit outside to enjoy a beer and bbq we sit next to a large fence. It was built by, you can only guess, not my parents. It is wooden and has knotholes. We see them peeking through so we holler to offer them some of the food. They scatter like scared rabbits, but then come back like hungry coyotes. Perhaps they are taught to avoid free thinking and doing things for themselves. It is very rare to see an adult male out doing work. It is mostly young women and some boys out working in the yards, out working in the fields, doing everything. Oh, and the occasional adult or older woman that has seen her use as one to bear more children. Slave labor too?

    So, do we attack the man that is leading it all? Or do we attack those that are keeping the slaves and cows in line? Who do you attack? Why attack anyone at all? Just go show them that the world is full of people that live, learn, laugh, have fun, and think freely. I don’t believe in it, but don’t attack polygamy. There are many polygamists that I know that are great people. Yeah, in other areas of the country, not just there.

    Giving Jeffs the death sentence is just too easy. He can probably suffer the fate of any other pedophile in any other prison. Get his black blanket welcome and be done. Instead, he is probably treated better than the homeless guy that lost his job and is on the corner hoping to eat for the day. Nice pillows, blankets, a warm meal and a cold drink. Free room and board and access to his “apostles” to spread the word of their “prophet” that is “unjustly imprisoned”.

    And before I step off of the soap box, here is one more. I find it amusing to visit my parents. When going around town, any of the “first ward” that speak mostly say things like “you are the devil”, “you are going to hell”, “you are evil”, etc. Why are they not taught that their prophet is a pedophile? Perhaps the rest of the men that control that town are the same way? Perhaps Jeffs is just the face that is the scapegoat. People attack the president for what congress does. Hell with it, we should just shoot the messenger, right?

    <— steps off of the soap box

  • Terrisa July 18, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    You talk a lot about Colorado City and what is Utah doing about it…. this is confusing to me because Colorado City is in Arizona! What is Arizona doing about it????

    • My Evil Twin July 18, 2013 at 1:06 pm

      Yes Terrisa, Colorado City is in Arizona. Hildale, however is in Utah. BOTH states need to coordinate with each other, on any type of enforcement activity.

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