Crazy, dangerous cult leader gets his day in court.

Opening arguments begin today in the trial of everyone’s favorite polygamist child abuser, Warren Jeffs. You remember Jeffs — he’s the nutball who was on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted early last year, and who was apprehended just about a year ago. Jeffs has probably done a lot of really awful things in his life, but the real tragedy is that this particular case is going to have to center around a 14-year old girl, who Jeffs (allegedly!) forced to marry and have sex with another man.

Just take a moment to imagine the kind of inner strength you’d have to summon up — as a teenager no less — to fight a man who you were brought up to believe is nearly a god, going against the wishes of some of your closest family members. That’s gotta be one awesome chick.

In a previous entry I mention God’s Brothel as a great read on the FLDS cult. Since then, I’ve also read Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, the guy who wrote Into Thin Air. Under the Banner of Heaven deals with a history of fundamentalist Mormons from Joseph Smith up to the a young Mormon wife and her baby who were butchered by fundamentalist family members in 1984. As an in-depth examination of how easily people can move from faith to murder, it was impossible to put down and gave me actual nightmares.

This ABC News article has more info on the Jeffs trial.

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. Rebecca is not exaggerating about Under the Banner of Heaven. My wife read it and it gave her nightmares. I wanted to prove what a stone cold he-man I was, so I read it. I got nightmares. Now, Rebecca is reporting nightmares.

    The damned book is cursed!

  2. Very Very Creepy. — Is there any question that a man made up this religion / cult. Key Tenets: Men must have at least three wives, and women must submit unquestionably to their husbands to achive salvation.

    It's beliefs like this that make me think atheism (or Judaism or anything w/o a damnation / salvation concept) isn't just a cure, it's outright prevention.

    To misquote Mark Russell: Well if Mitt Romney is elected president, my sex life would take off, no question about it. :)

  3. It's surprising to see people falling for cults in the first place, but some people do, and then others are coerced or forced into them, alright I get that. Do none of the voluntary followers in a religious cult ever see that to preach a set of values that point towards the sanctity of life, and of humanity (assuming that this was the original draw), and to have to then degrade other humans (females, children, whoever doesn't follow your dumb ideas, etc.) to "please god", is being illogical and headed right into – if you believe this, then you're an asshole-dom? It seems so simple to all of the non-pudding eaters, but so hard for others out there…

    What's truly disgusting here is that he's getting charged in accomplice to rape on two counts, and that's all.

  4. durnett, I've already been having nightmares about being taken captive by religious fanatics, so I guess I'll pass on that. I used to have nicer dreams about getting into fights with ex-pastors and religious relatives, but lately the dreams are getting darker and full of strangers.

    I'm sure I'm stirring up demons by digging up old memories in my writing. Well, maybe they'll finally get exorcised. And I won't even have to use the Name of Jesus to cast them out!

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