May 13, 2006

Where Few Dare to Disobey

Los Angeles Times

By David Kelly and Gary Cohn, Times Staff Writers
May 13, 2006

To his followers, Warren Jeffs is a teacher and spiritual leader who channels divine revelations the man they call their prophet.

To the FBI, Jeffs is an accused rapist and fugitive on its 10 Most Wanted list with a $100,000 bounty on his head a man it calls armed and dangerous.

Despite the conflicting images, one thing is clear: Jeffs' four-year reign as the patriarch of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or FLDS, has been the most tumultuous in at least 50 years.

His authoritarian rule has sparked internal conflict and lawsuits alleging sexual abuse and other criminal misconduct. And that, in turn, has attracted rare public scrutiny of this secretive sect of 10,000 polygamists and its remote enclave on the Utah-Arizona border.

Posted by kshaw at May 13, 2006 03:13 PM