Opinion by Danielle Elizabeth Tumminio, Special to CNN
(CNN) – When I heard a federal judge struck down part of Utah’s polygamy law last week, I gave a little squeal of delight.
To be clear, I'm an Episcopal priest, not a polygamist. But I've met the family who brought the suit, and these people changed how I think about plural marriage.
Before I met the Browns – made famous by the reality television show “Sister Wives” – I had the kind of reaction most modern-day Christians would have to their lifestyle: Polygamy hurts women. It offers girls a skewed perspective of who they can be. It happens on cultish compounds. It’s abusive.
CNN's Gary Tuchman tells story of Ruby Jessop, who escaped with her children from Warren Jeffs polygamist Church.
By Terry Frieden, CNN Justice Producer
Washington (CNN) – Two communities dominated by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its jailed leader Warren Jeffs have been sued by the federal government for alleged religious discrimination against citizens who don't belong to the polygamous sect.
The Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department filed suit against Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah, and their local utility companies for taking actions including denying or delaying water to nonmembers of the FLDS faith.
The government says over time some actions have been taken by the communities under state pressure to end the discrimination but that federal authorities are seeking a court order to prevent future discrimination by the defendants. The government also is demanding monetary damages be repaid to those harmed by the discrimination.
The government stressed the fundamentalist offshoot has no relationship to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which ended polygamy more than a century ago.
By the CNN Wire Staff
Dallas (CNN) – Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs remained in critical condition in a Texas hospital on Tuesday, but was not in a coma and is expected to recover, state prison officials said.
Jeffs fell ill while fasting in a prison in Palestine, Texas, where he is serving a life-plus-20-year term for sexual assault, Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark said. But while a source familiar with Jeffs' condition told CNN Monday that the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was in a coma, Clark said Tuesday that Jeffs was conscious.
"He's somewhat sedated, but he is responsive," Clark wrote.
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
News that polygamist leader Warren Jeffs has landed in the hospital and is in critical condition raises the question of who will lead his breakaway Mormon sect when Jeffs dies or if he becomes incapacitated.
It turns out that Jeffs, 55 and serving a life-plus-20-year prison sentence, is likely to be replaced as head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) in the relative near term, even if he survives for decades to come.
Jeffs had succeeded in leading his church from jail in Texas in the leadup to his trial on sexual assault charges this summer, but prison is much more restrictive.
(CNN) - Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs was in critical condition in a Texas hospital Monday after falling ill during a fast, a state prison official and his attorney said.
The leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a breakaway Mormon sect, was sentenced early this month to life in prison plus 20 years for sexual assault. Jason Clark, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said Jeffs was sent to a hospital in Tyler on Sunday night and was in critical but stable condition Monday.
"He was not eating or drinking enough fluids and also has some other medical conditions," Clark told CNN. He would not elaborate, citing inmate privacy rules.
By David Fitzpatrick and Jessica Ravitz, CNN
(CNN) - As he begins serving a life sentence in the Texas State Prison system, Warren Jeffs still maintains titular control over his estimated 10,000 fundamentalist followers in Arizona, Utah and Texas. But how long that control will endure is anyone’s guess.
Jeffs was convicted by a jury in San Angelo, Texas last week on two counts of sexually assaulting children. On Tuesday, he was sentenced to life in prison on one count and 20 years in jail on the other.
He was shaved bald and will be processed into the prison system in the next 10 days, according to a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
A fundamentalist Mormon polygamy primer
Even while awaiting trial in two small county jails in Texas, authorities said Jeffs was able to effectively remain in charge of the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints by using jail telephones to communicate with followers. FULL POST
Tune in to HLN's "Nancy Grace" at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday for more on Warren Jeffs' sentencing.
San Angelo, Texas (CNN) – Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison plus 20 years for sexually assaulting two girls he claimed were his "spiritual wives."
Jeffs, 55, will have to spend at least 45 years in prison before being eligible for release, according to Jerry Strickland, spokesman for the Texas Attorney General's office.
The jury sentenced Jeffs to life in prison for aggravated sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl and 20 years in prison for the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl. He must serve at least 35 years of the life sentence and half of the other sentence, Strickland said. The judge in the case ordered that the sentences be served consecutively.
San Angelo, Texas (CNN) – A Texas jury found polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs guilty Thursday of two counts of sexual assault on a child.
Jeffs, who represented himself, remained stoic as the verdict was read. Jurors will deliberate again in the sentencing phase. The sect leader could face up to life in prison.
Jurors deliberated for less than four hours, beginning Thursday afternoon after Jeffs stood silently for most of his 30-minute closing argument.
It was the latest dramatic twist in a trial that has included sermon-like speeches about religious freedom and an audio recording that prosecutors allege documents Jeffs' sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl in the presence of three other "wives."
By Jim Kyle, In Session
San Angelo, Texas (CNN) - Court resumes Thursday in the sexual assault trial of Warren Jeffs, with the polygamous sect leader - who is representing himself - continuing his questioning of his first witness.
On Wednesday, Texas prosecutors rested their case after playing a key piece of evidence for jurors: an audiotape they allege documents Jeffs' sexual assault of a then-12-year-old girl in the presence of three other "wives."
One juror wiped her eyes as she listened to the recording. Another looked at Jeffs out of the corner of her eye. Still another had a hand covering her mouth.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.