More details emerge of FLDS cult purge

More details have emerged about the most recent purge that took place within the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints — the polygamous sect of the Mormon Church that is under the iron-fisted rule of jailed cult leader Warren Jeffs.

Lindsay Whitehurts reports in the Salt Lake Tribune

Observers say an unprecedented number — up to 1,500 members — of the polygamous sect led by Warren Jeffs were barred from the group’s church after being told over the weekend they were “unworthy” to attend.

Most don’t appear to have been instructed to leave their families and their homes, as is common when people are excommunicated from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but instead forbidden to enter the LSJ Meetinghouse in Colorado City, Ariz., said former FLDS spokesman Willie Jessop, now opposed to Jeffs.

“They were offered the opportunity to continue their repentance at another location, not at the main church with everyone else,” he said. The people were reportedly estranged for expressing doubt of Jeffs, breaking one of his new, extreme rules or failing to pay increasingly high tithing totaling thousands of dollars.

“They may have kissed their wives, or forgot to sell their ATVs,” Jessop said.

Former member Isaac Wyler said the outcasts included men, women and children, and in several cases families were divided, with one wife being declared worthy and another told to repent.

“There was a lot of families that got destroyed on Jan. 1,” he said, but added he had heard no reports of violence. A smaller group is thought to have been excommunicated outright, but it’s not clear how big that group might be.

Former FLDS member Ezra Draper said that people were asked to “renew their covenants.”

“It wasn’t any kind of doom and gloom apocalyptic, it’s more: ‘If we’re going to earn the favor of the Lord in this upcoming year and ask that the prophet be released from the prison, signify that you’re willing to obey by coming forward and renewing your covenants with the Lord,’” he said.

Members were asked a series of questions by bishop Lyle Jeffs — brother of Warren Jeffs — to determine which FLDS members are “worthy.”

Former FLDS spokesman Willie Jessop, who has turned against Jeffs, provided Whitehurt with the list of questions.

He says this list of questions was asked after the member had signed over everything they had to bishop Lyle Jeffs and agreed to new “covenants” including staying out of restaurants. (This along with no sex and getting rid of children’s toys).

He says the questions were asked as Lyle Jeffs (or one of a handful of other interviewers) held the member’s hand to determine if they were speaking the truth. […]

To Qualify for the Holy United Order Covenant

1. Do you think only pure thoughts?
2. Are your desires in pleasures of unrighteousness?
3. Do you dwell in wickedness of evil dross of this generation?
4. Is there in your heart the seeking for Babylon?
5. Are you saying your prayers in all that you do?
6. Are you dwelling in the spirit of your calling as an emissary of
God?
7. Have you received the gift of the witness of My approval in your
marriage conduct?
8. Are you abiding the law of purity and righteous obedience in My
Holy Law?

“Let all My people now be judged.”

A photo of the paper listing theses questions is shown at Whitehurst’s Polygamy Blog, where she quotes Willie Jessop as saying that in light of Warren Jeffs conviction on sexual assault of a child charges, “he privately betrayed every one of these questions on a gross moral level.”

Research resources on the FLDS

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