The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has been no stranger to controversy, with many comparing the “church” to a Cult of Degeneracy and despair over the years.
Warren Jeffs, the polygamist who the sect considers its leader has been involved in countless controversies as well as criminal proceedings over the past several decades.
He's currently serving a life sentence behind bars for two counts of child sexual abuse against minors, plus an additional twenty years.
Back in May of 2006, he was placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, where he evaded justice on several Utah charges related to his arrangement of illegal marriages between his adult male followers and underage girls.
He was arrested in August of 2006 in Nevada, and at that time Warren Jeffs agreed to be taken to Utah for his pending trial. In May and July of 2007, Arizona charged him with eight additional counts in two separate cases, including incest and sexual conduct with minors.
As if that wasn't disgusting enough, in September of 2007 in St. George, Jeffs was also convicted of two counts of rape as an accomplice.
To make matters even worse, in November of 2007 Jeffs was again sentenced to imprisonment for 10 years to life and began serving his sentence at the Utah State Prison.
Upon appeal to the Supreme Court of Utah however, Jeffs was able to have that conviction overturned in July of 2010, due to incorrect jury instructions.
Jeffs was then extradited by Utah to Texas, where he faced similar charges and was found guilty of sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault of children in connection with a raid of the FLDS Church's YFZ Ranch in 2008.
It only took deliberations of less than 30 minutes and Jeffs was sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years, to be served consecutively, and a $10,000 fine for sexual assault of both 12 and 15-year-old girls respectively.
The church itself has long since been viewed as a sex and pedophilia cult under the guise of a church. Warren Jeffs himself had an official title as "President and Prophet, Seer and Revelator" as well as "President of the Priesthood".
As the sole individual in the church with the authority to perform marriages, Jeffs was responsible for assigning wives to husbands. He also had the authority to discipline male church members by "reassigning their wives, children, and homes to another man."
Jeffs was filthy rich, owning the entirety of two separate cities at one time in both Colorado City, Arizona and also all of Hildale, Utah.
It was once estimated that the land would be worth the excess of $100 million, and he even controlled the city governments as if the property was a sovereign nation.
The YFZ Ranch in Texas, which held a fortress like a temple first came into the public eye when Texas authorities alongside the FBI raided the property and took legal custody of 416 children which Warren Jeffs and other men as per their “religion” were engaging in marriages and sexual relations with.
There are countless victims of pedophilia as a result of the FLDS Church and several hundred who Warren Jeffs himself had sex with.
The pedophilia cult also had strange beliefs, not that there was a heaven after life but that instead there was a “Telestial Kingdom”.
The telestial kingdom, to FLDS members, was considered to be the lowest of the three degrees of glory. It is believed by Latter-day Saints to correspond to the "glory of the stars" mentioned by the Apostle Paul in the King James Version Translation of 1 Corinthians 15:41.
Now, Warren Jeffs is once again in the news, after a court has ordered him to pay sixteen million dollars to a child bride that he ordered to marry his cousin when she was only 14 years old.
Third District Judge Keith Kell ordered Jeffs, who is currently serving a life sentence in Texas for sexually abusing two girls, to pay $4 million in damages and $12 million in punitive damages to Elissa Wall.
"The judgment handed down by the Court is a big step forward in the fight for a strong and unmovable statement to the world that no one, especially children, can be sexually exploited and abused in the name of religion," Wall said.
"The message sent by this judgment of justice and accountability will hopefully be heard as a loud and clear warning to anyone who would choose to act in the same manner as that of Warren Jeffs and the FLDS Church."
Although Jeffs is in prison, Wall's attorney, Alan Mortensen, said they will pursue Jeffs' assets from his church in other states and in Mexico, reported the Salt Lake Tribune.
"It's so the church feels the pain of what their doctrine has been as to the rape of young girls," Mortensen said.
Wall was only 14 when Jeffs forced her to marry his cousin, Alan Steed and demanded that she get pregnant. Wall was unable to do so at the time and experienced several miscarriages and a stillbirth.
Even whilst in prison, Warren Jeffs and the polygamist cult of the FLDS is still allowed to operate in Utah, where they have hundreds of millions of dollars and engage in sexual relations with children.
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