Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The False Prophet: Warren Jeffs

A Life of Servitude

Aside from the sexual abuse of the girls within the community and the brutal disbanding of families under Warren's leadership, other members within the community suffered. In general, women and young children as a whole could not escape Warren's tyranny and were often suppressed, abused and exploited. Often young boys were expected to perform heavy labor for no pay. Moreover, young girls were expected to take on the responsibilities of a parent, which many times required, caring night and day for other siblings within their ever-increasing family unit. There were also circulating rumors of sexual abuse of children of both sexes within the FLDS community.

Women within the subculture were expected to yield, sometimes against their better judgment, to their husbands' and Warren's wishes. The birth rate within the communities grew exponentially because Warren expected FLDS wives to produce a child on a yearly basis, even though many could not cope with the demands of parenting so many children. Moreover, they were expected to be completely obedient to their husbands, some of who emotionally and/or physically abused them. Needless to say, life for women and children became increasingly unbearable and many yearned to escape a life of servitude.

Ever conscious of prying eyes, Warren was desperate to keep his dubious leadership and illegal practices from the increasingly inquisitive gaze of federal authorities and the media who were trying to peer into the secretive world of the FLDS sect. As a result, he tried to tighten his control of his followers by disallowing sect members from partaking in modern luxuries such as books, television, radio or newspapers, "unless he was the writer or performer," Jennifer Dobner reported for the Associated Press. He also imposed strict dress-codes on sect members, which included long white undergarments and the banning of the color red and other bright colors, it was reported. Moreover, during his fiery sermons, he also instructed them to restrict their movement outside the communities and prohibited them from talking with strangers. Warren, a master of manipulation, was intent on keeping the world at bay in order to avoid scrutiny that might result in relinquishing his grasp of the sect.

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