Five years after its leader was incarcerated for sexually abusing his very young "brides," the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints may finally be in serious trouble. As I wrote here, a federal case was brought against sect leaders for defrauding the food stamp program, while letting the genuinely needy sect membership starve. The case appears to have thrown the FLDS into disarray.
Lyle Jeffs, who was the church's acting leader, used olive oil (presumably paid for with illegal food stamps) to slip out of his ankle monitor and escape. He remains at large – or on a "repentance mission" if communiques from Warren Jeffs are to believed. The fugitive Jeffs was stripped of his authority by the incarcerated Jeffs, and replaced with another Jeffs, Nephi.
Prosecutors would like to see the key defendants behind bars awaiting trial, as they have all been caught meeting against court order, and illegally carrying out Warren Jeffs's mandates.
Warren Jeffs ordered John Wayman and Seth Jeffs to meet with others in Hildale, Utah, several times in late July, the U.S. Attorney's Office says in a court filing Monday. They were told to make a plan to interview all members of an elite group within the sect known as the "United Order" to determine if they should be re-baptized and re-confirmed as members, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors filed the new evidence in an attempt to persuade a judge to keep Wayman and Seth Jeffs behind bars. They were re-arrested last week for violations of their release provisions.
"The evidence, including the defendants' past conduct, well establishes that when the dictates of their prophet conflict with an order of the court, the defendants will follow their religious leader in contravention of the court's order," prosecutors wrote.