Thursday, May 8, 2008

Warren Jeffs, my best friend

I wrote this post over a year ago, just after Warren Jeffs was arrested:

Warren Jeffs is the head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints. He wasn’t always the leader; in fact only 10 years ago he had no position in the Church other than that of one over his family, although he was head of the private school in Sandy, Utah. He was ordained by his father, Rulon T Jeffs, the head of the church, to the second highest office in the Church in December 1997, at the passing of then First Councilor Parley Harker. He held that position until his father’s death in September 2002, when he became the head of the church.

I first met Warren Jeffs when I began going to Alta Academy, where he was the principal. He had been teaching there since he graduated from high school in 1973. All of the teachers at Alta were volunteers, and only a few of them were actually certified. To make a living Warren Jeffs was a very good accountant, and also a computer programmer. He created quite a few computer accounting programs for businesses in Utah and Idaho. I remember very well the times in class when he would be interrupted by a phone call from one of his customers. Once in Geography class, I remember him speaking to a customer in Idaho over a speakerphone, and they offered him any amount to fly up there to fix their system. We, the students of the class started to cheer him on. “Go, go!” (We did this get out of getting home work) But he very carefully explained to the customer on the phone how to fix the problem. “Darn!”

If anyone is wondering if that school really taught anything, I can only tell you my story. I grew up in Salt Lake City and went to school in the public school system until I graduated from the sixth grade at Lincoln Elementary, its highest grade. I was on the honor roll, and I had the second highest score in our whole school on the Achievement Test at the end of the year. My first year at Alta, I averaged a C, and got my first F. That school was tough.

Some will tell you that Warren Jeffs beat the children, etc. but come on. My little brother got the paddle once when he attacked his teacher in second grade. I had a yardstick broken over my desk in seventh grade when I wouldn't be quiet. But neither of these were done by Warren Jeffs.

One thing that I remember most about Mr. Jeffs (as we called him) besides his sincere empathy; was his incredible ability to remember names. Many times after morning devotional class, one of the younger grades would go up with their teacher to show him some of their work. He would shake their hands and call each of them by name, almost every single one, even when there was a hundred. He was always pleasant and soft spoken, you could hear in his voice the anxiousness he had for all of us to succeed.

Warren Jeffs became a master teacher, unlike anyone I have ever met. He wasn’t mesmerizing, he wasn’t captivating, he was engaging, and he could teach any subject. I have an uncle who was in College who told me that in when he was in his 3rd level calculus class, he got stumped on a certain problem, and Mr. Jeffs explained it to him better than his college professor did. In teaching Math, History, and Geography classes he would always engage the whole class, and make us ask and aswer tough questions. In Geography, he would read the Salt Lake Tribune to us and make us take notes. My senior year he was my teacher in all but two classes. He taught most of the math classes, all of the History classes, Accounting, Geography, Computer Science, Chemistry, Chorus, among others. Some periods he would actually teach two subjects at once. There were only three of us in Algebra II, so he taught it with his Algebra I class.

Warren Jeffs was well known in the FLDS church during his father’s Presidency, he became the featured speaker on the subjects that his father wanted taught in Priesthood meetings, and in Church. At the very first Conference after the death of Leroy S Johnson, Warren sang the solo part of the Hymn “The Seer”. He had been teaching the Elders class in Salt Lake City from before I first started going to the meetings. I remember very well how precise he was in teaching the lessons, he would always make sure that he only taught what he was taught, and never taught anything that he could not verify, he never took credit for himself. He relied heavily on the words in the sermons of his father, Leroy S Johnson, John Y Barlow, John Taylor, Brigham Young, and Joseph Smith. He bore the strongest testimony of the words of the Prophets as being the inspired word of God to the people, from Adam to Rulon T Jeffs.

Each school day that Uncle Rulon was in Salt Lake, Mr. Jeffs would meet with and ask him what he wanted taught to the students that day.

Warren Jeffs helped to develop a computer program that could search every word in a text document, and he headed up a project to put all of the sermons in the Journal of Discourses, the sermons of Leroy S Johnson, and the sermons of Rulon T Jeffs; into a computer database that could be searched by keywords..

Using this searching ability, Warren Jeffs, at the request of his father, put several books together to teach the people about the religion that Joseph Smith brought forth. “In Light and Truth”, and “History of Priesthood Succession” are the central ones. These were meant to teach the FLDS people, but seeing that many ex members have them, I write this here. If you want to read these, or listen to any of his recorded history classes, contact Jay Beswick, (desciple of Flora Jessop) he seems very interested in flaunting the fact that he has them, maybe he will share.

I want to tell why there are so many recorded sermons by Warren Jeffs. All of them that Jay has are history classes, and young ladies classes from when he was the Principal at Alta Academy. When I was in 10th grade I was in “Ancient Priesthood History” Class and we were required to take notes and rewrite them and create a notebook of what we learned, this was the only “work” in the class. Sometimes students would be absent from the class and so they could not take notes, and before he started recording the classes, you would have to copy someone else’s notes into your own. He was very hesitant to record his voice, but when some of the students started bringing mini tape recorders into the class, he decided it would curb the unfair advantage of absenteeism, and began recording the classes. This spread from History, to Geography, and finally to Devotional; all of the classes that required note taking. At the request of the teachers and the direction of his father, he started a “Teachers History” Class that he taught once a week in the evenings, beginning in 1995 and ending in 1998 when the school closed. This was an effort to teach the teachers how to teach history, and to teach the Priesthood interpretation of history from Adam up to this day. That interpretation is that the Prophets did what God wanted them to do. ALL of them.

I didn’t want to address the fact that Warren Jeffs is considered by most people as a criminal. It is almost impossible for my brain to even comprehend that he was on the FBI top ten most wanted list. I still have to think about it over and over again. Are you kidding me? Warren Jeffs? The guy who couldn’t harm a flea? The skinny guy who got his ribs cracked by my brother while playing dare base? They guy who Mrs. Wall [Elissa's mother, our English teacher] beat in an arm wrestle? FBI TOP TEN? When am I going to wake up? I need somebody to slap me. Hello?

So what is the crime? Performing weddings? Family counseling? Top Ten? Being the Father to his children and the husband to his wives? FBI MOST WANTED? HELLOO?

It blows the mind. And proves to me the the FLDS church is God's church. And proves to me that Warren is the Prophet, for you can see how right something is by how hated and lied about it is.

I know for a fact that the lost boys, Shem Fischer, Jane Doe [Elissa Wall], and most especially his nephew Brent, are plain lying. I was there. Dan Fischer, (the rich dentist who helped the seniors buy Warren Jeffs a brand new van), is behind all four of these lawsuits. They are frivolous, bogus, and that nephew one is absolutely disgusting.

The reason Warren did not fight these lawsuits is obvious to me, knowing the man as I do. There are several obvious reasons. One is the fact that he has no desire to confront his nephew,and his memory induced by a psychiatrist. There are hundreds of witnesses to the times and events around Brent and his uncles who could refute the charges, including Brent’s own brothers and sisters. But who would want to? Uncle Warren had zero desire to ask anyone to go to court and listen to such filthy garbage. He even asked the people to not read the newspapers when the story came out. It is repugnant and appalling.

Another reason [which may have been a bad one in hindsight] was the sheer cost it would put on the FLDS people. Warren Jeffs has no money of his own, all of his substinance comes from the donations of the people. He knew that very well and would rather spend the donations building homes for the people than spending it and going into debt to pay lawyers.

The thought that anyone believes the lawsuits are legitimate is rather insulting to me personally. Not that my integrity is unimpugnable, but realize, just for one minute, that I willingly left my beautiful wife whom I would die for, I left my sweet angelic children who are worth more than all the world to me, and I left all of my wonderful friends and family in the FLDS; because I know that this is the only way for me to gain the integrity that I didn’t have. I would rather die than lie, because I know that God sees and hears everything I do and everything I think. To give up what I have proves how much I know he is innocent.

Warren Jeffs is an innocent man. If he is condemned to the death that his enemies desire, I would gladly take his place. And I have lost more than all of those who are suing him put together have lost. That is how innocent he is. I would bet my life on it.


Anonymous said...

Hello, I have started reading you blog recently, in hopes of finding "the other side of the story" which I know there always is.

I have to say that as much as I DO take everything the media says with a very huge grain of salt, I do the same with your posts, but I find them really very enlightening.

A couple things... since I am sure that there are many folks like me who are trying to figure out your perspective on this, can you tell us a little more about you? I have to admit I thought you were a woman until you just mentioned your wife. I understand if you want to stay a bit anonymous, but a description for us non-Mormons as to what your history is, how strict your community was, why you left, etc, would be really very enlightening.

Also, I was browsing the youtube videos for info about the FLDS church and I found this one (2 parts) in which Warren Jeffs denounces that he is or was ever the prophet. It appears that he is dictating a letter to someone (from jail). It says on there that many folks think the video is a forgery. You knew him. Does it appear real? Does it sound like his voice?

I would be really curious to hear your take on the video. Its here:

Anyway, thanks for trying to make the FLDS more understandable to those of us who don't have a lot of knowledge about it. Please keep in mind that some of your readers may not get all the lingo and are here to learn.

I will keep reading.


Pligchild said...

Thank you for commenting and asking these questions without being rude or vicious. Others have said the same but did not pass the decency test.

If you read the blog, I think you will get all you need to know about me. But I may put up my profile in the future.

To be honest, the video of Warren in prison tore me up. I watched it a few months ago. But what I saw was a man who has been through what I have, A great spiritual test, and possibly a nervous breakdown. The words he spoke were in pain, and that is the first time I ever saw or heard him talk that way. Some say they had put him on drugs etc. He has always been frail of health, and humble, but I never saw him like that.

I love him all the more. And long for the day to take his hand in friendship again.

Pligchild said...

As far as jargon just ask for a definition and I will do my best.

An FLDS Mother said...

Thank you for all the wonderful memories of days long ago with "Mr. Jeffs" Oh how I love that man! I yearn for him with all my heart. I know God is with him.

(As for the videos, I wont even look at them! They are a lie, a tool of the devil to weaken the faith of the people.)

I couldn't help but to laugh and cry as you brought back so many memories of Alta Academy. How I wish I could go back to the days and shake Uncle Warren's hand again. To hear him talk. To see him tease a little with that sparkle in him eye and a little grin on his lips. To feel so nervous just knowing he is going to call on you to talk in morning class. What about the skits he would do? What fun! I sometimes wonder, when did he sleep? He was always doing good for someone. Even me. He saved me from some bad mistakes I was going into as a teen. I couldn't see at the time, but he saw and helped me pull through. My own parents didn't see, but Uncle Warren did. He even called me to make sure I was okey. To make sure the choice I had made, I felt good with. He never made me do anything. He just showed me what was happening,and what I could do to get out of the mess I was in. I owe him my life. He is the greatest man on earth. The greatest example of purity and sweetness. The training has been there, and is now showing forth in the people in Texas. Uncle Warren and those dear families involved in the "kidnapping" are showing true sweetness in the mist of adversity. Who else on earth would smile when their very heart are breaking? They can because they have that burning peace, the knowledge they please God.
"So smile, and be loyal to God."

Anonymous said...

This is nice to see some truth out there for once. However, there is one error I noticed. Uncle Parley died in January of 1998, not Dec. of 1997 as you have there.

Keep up the good work. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your response to my questions.

What started me on my search for more truth about the FLDS was, of course, the sitution at the YFZ Ranch. I wonder if you have ever been there, or know some of the specifics about the life there, or can you only speak to the town where you grew up.

It sounds like you were raised in a town that had a lot of people practicing polygamy, and that you were likely exposed to the world around you. It seems (yes, from untrustworthy media accounts) that children at the ranch were not allowed off the compound except to see a doctor.

I believe in the right of ALL consenting adults to arrange their families in any way they please, whether that means polygamous families, or even families with two parents of the same sex. Where there is love, there is a healthy family.

But it concerns me that the kids at the ranch don't seem to be exposed to any other ways of life, and so choices are not offered.

My Questions: How can one make a real choice to do something if they don't get to see any other options?

As for Warren Jeffs, yours is not the only testimony I have seen as to his good charachter. It seems that he was a kind, intelligent man. But what he was accused of was arranging a marriage between a minor and a man she did not wish to marry. Granted, I don't know all the facts of the case, but it sure did sound like this PARTICULAR girl did not want to be married, and that she was not a consenting adult.

I know, I know that many women in the FLDS church marry consensually. Most of them. But I can't believe that there are not SOME who are socially pressured into it when they would rather live a different kind of life.

Second Question: CAN a couple at the YFZ ranch choose to have a monogamous marriage? Can this happen where you lived if the couples choose? Or are they considered not to be living up to the orders of the prophet if they ask for that?

Looking forward to hearing your views...


Pligchild said...

I was born in pligville USA, but I grew up in Salt Lake and went to a public school until 6th grade. Ours was the only family in the school that had more than one mother. I have never been to the ranch but I know almost everyone there.

I understand that you would want children exposed to other ways of life. But that means that you believe that the other ways of life are just as good as what they have at the ranch. The American citizens who are these childrens parents should have the right to protect their children from seeing the "normal" immodest clothing (or lack thereof) and people with lower standards.The children would likely have gone shopping and on school field trips besides, and as they got older some would get outside schooling and many would get outside jobs. But this community was a religious effort of Zion, the aim is making a place where the Savior and the angels would want to live.

Regardomg social pressure of Elissa, see my comments on the Case Against the Prophet

"Can a couple at the YFZ ranch have a monogomous marriage"

All families start out as monogomous, and many stay that way for years. But plural marriage is a higher law, one that is a great priveledge that will equal a greater reward in heaven.
It might be hard for you to understand, but most ladies in the FLDS look forward to plural marriage. That is what their mothers and grandmothers lived, loved, and taught. They feel it as great a blessing to them as it is to their husbands. There is no benifit to monogomy over plural marriage.