Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Case Against the Prophet

If you could have planned for years to create a case trying to convict the leader of the FLDS church, you could not have had a case better than the one they had. The things that happened before the marriage, the ages of the “victims”, the timing of when Warren Jeffs became the leader, the split within the FLDS, who left the church and became witnesses in the case, besides what happened to him while in custody, could not have been scripted more precisely to make him look guilty.

He was guilty.

You may think I believe that he was guilty of the charges against him. I don’t. He wasn’t. In fact his conviction should put every priest or justice of the peace who performs a marriage in fear that they could be convicted of rape. And any family councilor who suggests a wife to stay with her husband is in danger of being convicted of rape as an accomplice.

Warren Jeffs is, was, and always will be guilty of believing his father was the prophet of God. And I am guilty of that too. If there was a death penalty for being guilty of that, please come and string me up.

Elissa Wall claims she was the victim of unwanted advances from her half cousin Allen Steed, the victim (as she refers to him) who she married. Warren performed the wedding even though he was not the one who arranged it. That fact, and the fact that he taught on tape that married people should have children if possible, was all the evidence they needed to convict him on the first count of “Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly solicited, requested, or commanded her to have sexual intercourse without her consent”. Five years to life.

The second count is much less legitimate than the first. Sometime between May 2001 and September of 2003 (28 months), she came and asked to be divorced from Allen, telling Warren that she didn’t like Allen touching her. According to her (in “plig” language) this meant “He’s going to rape me!” Add another five years to life for telling her that if he wasn’t mistreating her she should stay true to her vows.

I am not positive that Elissa knew that she did not have to marry Allen, or anyone else for that matter, but even if she did not know she had a choice does not mean that she did not have that choice. If she had gone to the classes they played the audio of during the trial she would have known. If she would have read the book they quoted during the trial she would have known. Every time the Prophet was approached for marriage and he gave a name it was by way of suggestion, not commandment. His only desire was to bless; to help, to make you smile. He often said he was in the “happiness business”. If you weren’t happy about it, of course he wouldn’t perform the wedding. I know several that did that very thing.

If Elissa didn’t agree at first, Warren may have thought she was wrong, and tried to convince her that it was best. He had no doubt that his father was right, but he would have given her the final say. I wasn’t there, but that sounds more like the Warren Jeffs I know. Her own mother and sister Rebecca, I am sure, put more pressure on her than he did. I knew them both and I know how excited women get when a marriage is about to happen.

I don’t deny some of what Elissa went through before the wedding. Her second thoughts when she found out it was that “mean” boy who squirt her with cow’s milk back on grandpa’s farm, or that she was crying (happy? excited? nervous?) when she was being fitted with her wedding dress etc. But I still don’t believe she thought she was too young or sincerely objected to being married to Allen, until much later. I have absolutely no doubt that Uncle Warren did not know she objected. Her two bitter sisters said she didn’t want to marry, but her own mother was a defense witness. Only ten of the forty defense witnesses were put on the stand. The jury completely ignored them because they were all “brainwashed” FLDS. Part of "them", not "us"

The case would have gone absolutely nowhere except for her age at the time of the "crime". But that fact was not supposed to be even a consideration in a rape charge, the judge’s instructions plainly stated to the jury that the law was: “With respect to the crime of rape, a 14 year old is capable of consenting to an act of sexual intercourse” The jury ignored that and centered on the non-marriage law: “A lawful marriage cannot occur between first cousins or when on of the parties is younger than age fifteen” Yes, according to the law they could not have been married, but that is not proof of what they convicted him of. There is no life sentence for performing a marriage that cannot be licensed by the state.

The jury was hung and very heated until one of the jurors admitted to lying on the questionnaire. She was replaced, and the alternate ended the deadlock.

Allen Steed is a really nice guy, even if he was a little backward and had a hard time expressing himself. I enjoyed being around him because he was always smiling and asking if he could help. I know that Elissa has no desire to see him go to prison, unless keeping him out might help the Prophet Warren Jeffs get out.


Rebekah said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pligchild said...

Rebekah said (edited)-

Thanks for the blog. I have some questions, perhaps you can shed some light.

My cousin -- married Rulon Jeffs. The "story" was that after Rulon died, all his wives were given to Warren.

I have two questions. Did girls marry the prophet because they thought it would send them to heaven faster?

Did Rulon's wives all get given to Warren?

Silly questions perhaps, but things I've always wondered about.

1- Not necessarily faster, but definately happier.

2- Some did, some didn't

Anonymous said...

"None" of Uncle Rulon's wives were "given" to anybody. Each one was asked what their wishes were, what they wanted to do. Some chose to remarry (they decided to who) and some didn't. Rebecca Wall Musser chose to leave the FLDS and marry her boyfriend.

Anonymous said...

Elissa Wall was a problem. She liked boys and parties. She was only sealed through the priesthood to Allen. They would legally marry when she turn 18. This was done to help her keep out of trouble. Well she got wilder. Had a trailer to herself, their future home.She had a truck which Allen had given her. She would go out to beer parties where she met Lamont Barlow, her husband now. She wouldn't calm down.Her clothes became terrible. She would speed through town with her music blaring and pounding. We had to keep a close watch on the children. She almost hit them several times. When she turned 18, she left, with Lamont, expecting his child.
It was all in hopes to keep a girl clean and pure. Now a pure, innocent man awaits in prison for his deliverance. Which we are all praying for.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post I found on "TheCommonRoom" Blog.

"R. said... "I am puzzled why you are happy that Warren is in jail.

He performed a monogamous marriage ceremony involving two teenagers. Both were of legal age to marry, as I understand it. It is possible that the law regarding the level of consanguinity might have technically been violated, but has anyone who has performed a wedding ever been put in jail for a violation such as that?

Elissa testified that she felt Warren made her remain in her unhappy marriage, which alleged force was apparently accomplished through the issuance of pastoral advice to stay true to her commitments and try to work out her differences.

Any preacher, priest, pastor, bishop, counselor, or friend who offers advice to remain married in spite of troubles could be accused of accomplice to rape by this standard.

Miss Wall's ex-husband testified that their sexual relations were consensual and that his wife, Elissa, had even initiated the sexual activity.

Warren might be technically guilty of something with respect to Elissa Wall's marriage, but I do not think he was guilt of being an accomplice to rape, especially since no one has been charged with the actual alleged rape.

I support anyone being in jail who has committed a crime worthy of jail. Evidence offered in court in the Wall case does not convince me that Warren belongs in jail."

5/08/2008 03:34:00 PM

Anonymous said...

Hi there. You had mentioned something in your blog post to the effect that Elissa may not have known she had a choice, but she did in fact have a choice to say no to the marriage. My question is this: in Warren Jeff's teachings, it sounds (at least to the ears of someone not in the FLDS community) like he teaches absolute obedience to the prophet. Put that together with his role as leader and as prophet appointed by God Himself and the obedience shown him by the adults--I guess I don't understand why it is so hard to believe that a 14-year old would feel that she dare not say no if Warren Jeffs told her she was to marry. I'd be interested in your comments/thoughts.


Pligchild said...

I very much appreciate your question. Thank you for asking.

The story that Elissa told WAS very compelling. And to have her sister back it up made it look really convincing. I was not there so I cannot dispute their story. And if their stories are correct, Elissa was mistreated.

But their stories are so diametrically opposite to what I and most other people around and in the FLDS church experienced, their stories become in-credible to us. In other words, I do not believe that she did not want to be married. In fact, her own words, and her own journal contradict her story that "I thought I was too young".

Her dislike for WHO she married is more credible. And if she did hear Warren say, "Your heart is in the wrong place" it was much more likely regarding who she married, not if she married at that age. I am not convinced that he did say that to her. At the time of Elissa's wedding Warren Jeffs was his father’s First Councilor. The marriage was arranged by her step-father, the Bishop and Second Councilor Fred Jessop, and the Prophet Rulon Jeffs. Warren Jeffs (and I) had tremendous respect for both of these great men. So he might have told her that based on his respect for the inspiration of his father and Uncle Fred. Yes we believe the prophet speaks for God, but we know that God is patient, kind, and only wants the best for us. He, nor the Prophet would force us to heaven.

If she did not "dare" say no it was likely because of pressure not especially from Warren, but from her own sisters and her own mother (who thought the world of Allen), and perhaps her step-sister who was getting married at the same time. They were all overjoyed and excited about the weddings and she may have felt their peer pressure. I have no doubt whatsoever that if she had just gone to her step-father, Uncle Fred and said she did not want to be married, it never would have taken place. She didn't, her mother didn't, and so the marriage occurred. I saw them a few weeks after the wedding, and she looked really happy. Maybe she was faking, or maybe she changed her mind for a while.

Warren Jeffs was convicted of rape for performing the ceremony that included the words "be fruitful and multiply", and having taught that a good wife is obedient to a good husband. That does not sound like rape to me, but of course I am one of "them" brainwashed people.

One of "them" FLDS defense witnesses explained how she was released from her husband who was forcing himself on her. There is a poster (bbgae) on (bitter ex-member central) who was released from her husband that mistreated her, and married another man in the FLDS. They have since left the church together. I say “them” because the jury who convicted Warren Jeffs felt they had to “consider the source”.

Here was Elissa and Rebecca who had become part of “us” normal people, contradicting testimony given by “them” brainwashed FLDS people. Who would you believe?

If Allen had forced himself on Elissa, it was not sanctioned by Warren Jeffs. If Allen is not guilty, as even Elissa contends, why in the world is Warren Jeffs?