Jeffs Will Lead Church From Behind Bars

FLDS members probably aren't aware of case details
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 10, 2011 11:26 AM CDT
Warren Jeffs Retains Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints Members: Will Likely Lead Church From Prison
In this Aug. 5, 2011 file photo, Warren Jeffs, right, is escorted out of the Tom Green County Courthouse by a law enforcement officer, left, in San Angelo, Texas.   (Tony Gutierrez)

Warren Jeffs will spend the rest of his life in prison, but that's not likely to affect his ability to lead his Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, say former church members and expert. Followers of Jeffs' polygamist cult are likely to still revere him as a prophet, despite evidence presented in the Texas case that he had sex with girls from the sect as young as 12. Jeffs, 55, was sentenced by a Texas jury yesterday and will not be eligible for parole until he is at least 100 years old.

"The vast majority are just not going to leave," a polygamy historian said. There was no mass exodus in 2007 after Jeffs' conviction on Utah sex assault charges. As he spent almost five years in various jails, Jeffs continued to spiritually direct the faith, counsel followers, and lead Sunday services by phone. It is unlikely church members even know much about the Texas case and the evidence against Jeffs, a former FLDS member and victim from the 2007 Utah case said. He has banned television and all books except scripture, and has counseled members against reading newspapers or using the Internet. (Click to read more on Jeffs' case and trial.)

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