Cult Leader Makes the Top Ten

The be-spectacled scum sucker to the right is Warren Jeffs, leader of a breakaway fundamentalist Mormon sect that encourages (demands) polygamy, child molestation, and other fun.

Jeffs is running a cult (let’s call it what it is, thanks) that is already tragic and is only destined to get worse. His followers believe that God speaks directly through him. He uses his power to accumulate as many wives and as much money as he desires. He travels with a fleet of bodyguards in SUVs. He randomly reassigns wives, children, and homes to different husbands, and according to this story from NPR . . .

. . . obedience is highly valued, and it is rare for wives to resist reassignment . . .

. . . because really, one asshole is pretty much just like another. We’re talking about a guy with 10,000 supporters, many of whom are in very beneficial positions like judges and cops. He’s considered armed and dangerous, and now his picture hangs right next to Osama Bin Ladin and Whitey Bulger (go Boston!) on the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted list.

For more about these breakaway Mormon sects, Andrea Moore-Emmett gave a very interesting speech on the subject at the American Atheists annual convention this year. She has first-hand experience of what they do to women, and has written a book called God’s Brothel.

I don’t really have anything clever to say about him. He’s the leader of one of the sickest cults on the planet, built on abusing and dehumanizing women, not to mention the racial bigotry and other sewage they promote. Depressing.


I’m editing this post to end on a slightly related note that is really more of a non sequitur.

AÂ coworker who is soon to be changing jobs told me today in the middle of a meeting that he wanted to take a photo of me to put on his desk at his next place of employment to show them what his last job was like. I was wearing braided pigtails and fingerless mittens, drinking tea out of an American Atheist mug. “I’ll tell them, ‘She’s in jail now,'” he said wistfully.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

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  1. Wow. Creepy similarities between Warren and the character of Roman from HBO's "Big Love."

  2. When do we get to see the photo?

    And what's up with the mittens? It's the merry month of May!

    Ok… it has been colder than normal here in New England. Or do you work for a company that skimps on heat? I *do* have a heater under my desk, so I'm really not one to talk.

  3. I wouldn't generally have a problem with polygamy or polyhandry (sp) but certainly with pologamy it seems very common to be abuse of women. I don't have any evidence of this, but I belive that women are "wired" towards having one mate that they don't share. (monogamy) In all the pologomy cases that I have read about their seems to be a strong prevelance of isolation, control, "get'em while they are young", brainwashing, etc. If pologamy is so great for ALL concerned then why the strong coersion?

    Because the only way to "convince" women that pologamy is "good" is to run it as a cult. There's the rub, things consenting adults do with one another is fine, but these aren't consenting adults, these aren't informed people, they are people who have been abused, downtrodden, and raped as children. Disgusting.

    If I am going to be with a woman it has to be of her own free will and not through force or drugs, or abuse etc. That's a big part of the fun, the other person wants to be there and be an active and willing participant. I can't imagine getting any gratification out of someone who doesn't want to be there or isn't enjoying it also.

  4. I agree that polygamy in and of itself is not wrong, nor is polyamory or open relationships or just sleeping around, if that's what you want to do. The trouble comes when in order to achieve that status, you feel you have to lie or manipulate another person. And when you have to brainwash a child, well….that's wrong on a whole new level.

    The fingerless mittens, Skye, were for the bike ride to work this morning. Definitely didn't need them at lunchtime, it was gorgeous! What a great way to end two solid weeks of rain.

    And thanks for the bail, Di, I knew you'd have my back!

  5. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. I'd like to contribute to your 'immorality' as well, Rebecca. Maybe you could get a fine or something I could pay off?

  6. "Reassigning" wives and children?!

    Honey, as of today, little Sally isn't your daughter any more, she's our neighbour's. That way I can marry her in a few years …

  7. If anyone hasn't read "under the banner of heaven" yet, i recommend it highly.

    Really interesting trip through mormon history and current polygamy communities.

  8. Heh, I grew up in Utah and we used to drive past Warren Jeff's compound all the time. It was at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon, en route to the best ski resorts. It was so bizarre – a sprawling, gated community with grain silos (how many silos does YOUR family have?) and about 100 bicycles on a huge bike rack (for all those kids).

    Jeffs moved his outfit to southern Utah several years ago. Too bad – otherwise I'd take a shot at the $100,000 bounty on his head. Then I'd go skiing – on NICE snow, not blue ice we have in New England.

  9. I know I'm a little late to comment on this one, but I'm just now catching up with the last week's entries

    Mr. Jeffs has been all over the local news here in my home state of South Dakota lately. It turns out that ONE of his COMPOUNDS is in the southern Black Hills area in western SD. The FBI suspects that he may be hiding out there. The scary part is that none of the locals claimed to know anything about HIM or his COMPOUND. The good news is that they're all salivating over the reward money and anxious to turn him in. Who would have thought? This asshole cult leader in our own back yard?

    On another note, I've been reading Swift and for years and was linked to your magazine and blog from there. I absolutely love your work! Keep doing what you do!

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