Religion

Warren Jeffs Convicted

UPDATE 8/9/11: Jeffs has been sentenced to life in prison.

Remember Warren Jeffs, leader of the polygamist Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints sect who was accused of raping underage girls and impregnating a 15-year old? Good news! He was finally convicted yesterday. Sentencing is now underway.

Even if Jeffs goes away for a good long time, his cult will continue under new leadership, according to Flora Jessop, who escaped the FLDS when she was 16. There’s a shock.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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15 Comments

  1. Creepy, creepy, creepy. My niece is turning 12 soon, if anyone ever laid a hand on her there would be hell to pay from me, never mind what her parents would do. I can’t conceive how a parent could give a child to a sicko like that. I do not understand this at all.

  2. I’m thrilled with the conviction but fear that it will be over-turned on appeal. He is obviously insane (or, atleast, he acted insane) and didn’t have competent legal counsel (ie. he represented himself). The prosecution used evidence that was seized questionably but was allowed to be presented because Jeffs doesn’t know his ass from his elbow. His case has ‘appeal’ written all over it.

    That said, I’m hoping that he dies in jail. They can overturn the conviction after the bastard is dead.

    1. I agree SamBarge. I’m glad they got a conviction but an appeal is inevitable.

      This is what happens when you stop questioning and follow blindly. Everyone should have a little skepticism. I’ve followed the news about the FLDS for several years and the continued supplication of women is disgusting. There can not be informed consent in an environment that doesn’t allow any information! Almost makes me wish there were a hell just so this guy could go.

  3. I think calling someone a sicko or insane gives them a defence of compulsive behaviour, when in fact I would intuitively guess given patriarchal cultures preoccupation with virgins and that girls have always been able to become pregnant at 13, I would think is quite a common preocupational desire among many men, especially if they only value their own desire and not a partners desire and experience, which is a common gynosexual rut. I don’t think the guilt is necessarily in the desire (most of us have at least a few uncool sexual desires) but the actions of people who act upon them in a way that’s non consensual and disregards someones inability to give informed consent. I think in the way that’s cynically exploitative it’s worse than a “sick” or “crazy” compulsion because it’s just plain mean.

  4. I’d like to ask every person who quits that cult to join the mainstream Mormon Church, “I you don’t beleive in Warren Jeffs, why do you beleive in Joseph Smith?”

    I would also like to ask every ex-Mormon who converts to a more conventional Christian denomination, “If you don’t believe in Joseph Smith, why do you believe in Jesus?”

    I’d also like to ask an ex-Christian who becomes Jewish, “If you no longer believe in Jesus, why do you follow the Torah?”

    Finally, I would ask every Jewish theist “If you don’t believe in Jesus, why do you believe in Moses and the Torah?”

    Keep asking those questions of these various people and you will either make new converts to non-theism or get yourself lynched. Either way, aren’t you just sick and tired of people being so inconsistent? Reject the dogmas of one prophet, you might as well question them all, because there is no empirical way to verify any of them!

  5. The thing to remember is that he is in 100% theological agreement with the mainstream Morg. with only a minor variation on the timing of plural wive/slaves. Growing up mainstream Morg. is only a minor improvement.

  6. DaleH – Just so you know…

    There’s actually quite a bit of confirmed history in the Tanakh. Much of what is unconfirmed is either in a time period before events were regularly recorded in a way that ended up being commonly preserved to the present or is clearly understood as Midrash, or both.

    The christian bible, on the other hand, asserts that not only did a specific person rise from the dead during passover, but that at the same time **HUNDREDS** of dead corpses came up from/out of their graves to walk the streets of the City-of-peace, capital of an important client state of Rome, and were recognized by their families. The zombies then attested that Jesus was smeared with oil/cream/fat by Hashem. The bible asserts that this happened in a major Roman metropolis and that no roman functionary wrote of it or noticed it. Josephus, who wrote an extensive history of the Roman state of Judea and its peoples, Jewish, Roman & otherwise, **never mentioned this**.

    I am not saying that it is consistent to believe that the Tanakh is literally true using reasons that one would not apply to the christian bible. I am saying that you don’t know much at all about Judaism if you expect this tactic to work. There are good reasons to consider the non-miraculous holy writings of Judaism largely true. The miraculous holy writings are considered by many if not most Jews to be Midrash, stories told to illustrate a point, mythological allegory. Although I don’t have numbers at my fingertips about the worldwide Jewish community, hardly anyone I know believes that the Tanakh or even the Torah should be taken literally. In fact, even the most hard-core Hasidim acknowledge many stories to be Midrash and not literal because there is a long history of religious thinkers clearly stating that these stories are non-literal midrash back to 2500 years ago. There is no Jew that I know of anywhere in the world that thinks that every word is literally true in the sense of being historical facts of the physical world in which we live.

    On the other hand, it’s quite common for Christians to believe that the bible is a perfect history even tho’ they get much of their bible from the Tanakh which was widely known to include Midrash 500 years before Christians claim that Jesus was born.

    Thus Christians will frequently find themselves having to explain/justify why no one remarked on hundreds of zombies in a city center within a highly literate society. Jews have a long history of understanding large parts of the Tanakh as a metaphor with spiritual meaning.

    Thus your – If not christianity, why Judaism? – regression makes little sense.

    Although it’s certainly true that folks raised in a Christian culture are rarely if ever told that Jews do not understand the Tanakh to be free of myth-telling, if you want to make comparative statements about religions, it’s not a good idea to assume that they function in the same way.

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