Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The False Prophet: Warren Jeffs

Revelations

Warren Jeffs
Warren Jeffs

Even though some FLDS community members began to fear and cast doubt on Warren's extreme fundamentalist views and actions, most refused to confront him out of a literal dread of going to Hell. He was, after all, the manifestation of God on earth, according to his followers and they believed he knew best. Thus, members of the sect continued to do what their "prophet" ordered, without overt objection. In essence, most adhered to the polygamist motto to "Keep Sweet," which means to be obedient and to keep quiet, Hana Gartner reported for Canada's CBC-TV. Yet, not all could keep secret or remain in a world that demanded complete and utter submission.

One of a handful of women who courageously broke out of the sect and who was one of the first to expose the secretive world of the FDLS church to the media in February, 2002, was Ruth Stubbs, 23, of Colorado City, Arizona. Ruth, at age 16, was forced by Warren to marry Colorado City police officer and polygamist Rodney Holm, who already had two wives and at least 20 children. Ruth had four children by Holm but was desperately unhappy in the marriage because she was in love with another area boy. Unable to cope with her marriage, she fled to her sister's home in Phoenix with two of her children and a third on the way.

Ruth Stubbs
Ruth Stubbs

Ruth's story, which sent shockwaves across the country, caught the attention of Arizona's Attorney General Janet Napolitano and Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, who immediately launched a wide-scale investigation into the FLDS church's practices. Holm's offenses fell under Utah jurisdiction because he allegedly had sexual relations with Ruth while in the state.

Holm was eventually arrested for bigamy and having sexual relations with an under-aged girl. However, the latter charges were dropped when prosecutors learned that Ruth tried to sell her testimony to FLDS church members, Ben Winslow reported in the Desert Morning News.

Rodney Holm
Rodney Holm

Ruth Stubbs' story also had a significant impact on Warren, who became the primary focus of the investigation after Holm was imprisoned. To avoid inevitable prosecution for bigamy, marrying off under-aged girls, as well as marrying them himself, Warren went underground. In the meantime, several more audacious former FLDS members revealed to the world their devastating experiences of life within the sect.

Categories
Advertisement