Sister testifies in Warren Jeffs trial

ST. GEORGE – The sister of the alleged victim in the Warren Jeffs trial said when she saw the girl about 18 months following her marriage to her 19-year-old cousin at age 14, she was very depressed, tired all the time and very sad.

“She was just a terrified little girl,” Doe’s sister testified Monday.

The sister, who lived in Canada at the time of her sister’s marriage, said the girl, identified in court as Jane Doe IV, talked to her about her husband touching her when she didn’t want to be touched.

Lead prosecuting attorney Ryan Shaum with the Washington County Attorney’s Office questioned the sister about what exactly Doe had told her.

“She (Doe) didn’t use (the word) sex,” the sister said. “In the FLDS religion, we don’t use those words and the girls don’t know what sex is before they are married.”

Doe was the first witness called in the state’s case against Jeffs, the prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who faces two counts of rape as an accomplice for allegedly arranging Doe’s marriage.

Earlier in the day, Doe was cross-examined by defense attorney Tara Isaacson.

Isaacson questioned Doe about other people in her life at the time of her marriage in April 2001 who had influence over and who she spoke with about the arranged marriage.

Doe said “Uncle Fred” (Fred Jessop), her stepfather, and her mother talked to her about the marriage and that her mother told her she had no other choice but to marry.

But Doe also said that both her mother and Jessop told her to talk to the prophet, who at that time was Rulon Jeffs – Warren Jeffs’ father.

Doe testified on Friday that she had spoken to Rulon Jeffs and he told her to “follow her heart.” Following the meeting, she said, Warren Jeffs told her “your heart is in the wrong place.”

Another of Doe’s sisters testified Monday afternoon, a sister who was married to Rulon Jeffs at the age of 19 when he was 86.

That sister testified that at the time of Doe’s marriage, Rulon Jeffs was in such poor health that he did not even know his wives’ names.

Throughout the day the defense brought up church teachings, including one that “there is no force in the marriage of Celestial marriage.”

Yet the three sisters maintained that the role of women in the FLDS church was that they obey their prophet, never question their priesthood head and raise good and noble children.

One passage read in court instructed women to remain meek and humble and if the sense something is not right in their husband to endure it and put their feelings aside.

Like Doe, her sister who married Rulon Jeffs said when she was married at the age of 19, she had no idea what sex was and said she learned from Rulon Jeffs during the first two months of her marriage.

Doe and her sisters talked about being raised in the FLDS faith where women are taught to be obedient, “keep sweet” and not ask questions.

Sexual relationships are not discussed in those terms but instead, are referred to as man and wife relationships.

Doe said the prophet arranged all marriages.

Doe’s sister who testified first said trips, even fun vacation trips, were only allowed after receiving permission from the prophet.

Isaacson questioned the alleged victim if she ever told anyone she was being raped, to which Doe replied “who likes to tell anyone they are being raped?”

During the questioning Isaacson showed love notes to Doe from her husband and photographs taken during the couple’s honeymoon trip – one with a smiling Jane Doe and another with her arm around her husband.

“Is the smile not real?” Isaacson asked Doe.

Doe replied that she was on her honeymoon after being married at 14 years of age to her first cousin and that she was scared and felt she was under a lot of pressure.

“Am I smiling? Yes. Is that how I felt inside? Absolutely not,” Doe responded.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday September 18, 2007.
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