Concern is rising over a new burst of activity by followers Warren Jeffs — the imprisoned leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS)
According to outside observers, there has been a flurry of church meetings almost daily, a set of mysterious construction projects and widespread re-baptism as thousands of followers react to apparent prophesies of doom from their imprisoned leader.
“Right now, Warren is prophesying that the end is nigh, that the world’s coming to an end at any moment,” said Sam Brower, a Cedar City private investigator who has spent years probing the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “They’re trying to live up to Warren’s predictions and prophesies and trying to prove to him that they’re obedient and that they’re going to follow his instructions, do whatever he tells them.”
Some believe the renewed fervor and emphasis on loyalty is a prelude to an exodus of the faithful to an FLDS outpost in another state.
There have also been concerns that large numbers of people will be kicked out or will leave the group voluntarily, putting stress on social service capabilities in southern Utah.
Former FLDS member Isaac Wyler said “the word is all over town” that Jeffs spoke to his congregation from prison during a church meeting on Christmas Day.
“The special part of the meeting was that Warren called in,” Wyler said. “And then he told everybody, if they weren’t ‘chosen’ by the end of the year, they would be destroyed.” [...]
Several sources said Lyle Jeffs, the imprisoned leader’s brother, has been conducting intensive interviews of members to test their loyalty. Brower believes those who pass the loyalty test are being re-baptized. He predicts that the most faithful members, perhaps thousands of them, will soon be ordered to move to “places of refuge.”
Brower said there has been a recent upsurge in construction activity at other FLDS properties. The group is known to have outposts in Texas, Colorado, New Mexico and South Dakota. [...]
This week, Brower obtained copies of purported revelations and prophesies attributed to Jeffs in November. They say, among other things, “I am soon to cleanse all nations. … Let this be as a final warning.”
Brower said the message seems to focus on Jeffs’ imprisonment.
“The end is coming,” Brower paraphrased the documents, “and unless they let God’s servant, Warren, free, everybody will be punished. The people of the Earth will be punished.”
Wyler said many members of his former church take such statements literally.
Warren Jeffs’ jailhouse prophecies have essentially turned the FLDS into a doomsday cult.
Sam Brower recently authored the book Prophet’s Prey: My Seven-Year Investigation into Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints