August 30th, 2011
03:25 PM ET
Warren Jeffs hospitalization raises questions about successor
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.
Before his trial, Jeffs had spent thousands on phone calls in which he’d deliver sermons, conduct excommunications and conduct other church business with his followers, who are believed to number about 10,000, with most based in Arizona, Texas and Utah.
But as a Texas prisoner, he is able to telephone only 10 people a month, and those people must be pre-registered on a visitors’ list, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Jeffs was convicted in early August of the aggravated sexual assaults of a 12-year-old girl and a 15-year-old girl who he claimed were his "spiritual wives."
He fell ill Sunday while fasting, Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark said.
Jeffs remained in critical condition in a Texas hospital on Tuesday but was not in a coma – as was previously reported - and is expected to recover, state prison officials said.
Experts say the jockeying to replace Jeffs as FLDS head, or prophet, is already under way. The FLDS is a breakaway Mormon sect that practices polygamy, which the mainstream Mormon Church renounced more than a century ago.
In previous generations, the leadership of the LDS church had been determined by a priestly council. But that practice ended when Jeffs’ father took the reigns of the church in 1986 and instituted what FLDS church expert Ken Driggs calls a system of “one-man rule.”
A few months after Rulon T. Jeffs died in 2002, his son Warren announced that his dad had designated him successor before his death, a claim that one of Rulon’s wives – who Warren later married - corroborated.
Driggs, a lawyer and a mainstream Mormon who has written about the FLDS for decades, said the episode led many FLDS members to believe that future leaders had the power to designate successors before they died.
But he said the more likely scenario is that the FLDS community will collectively decide on who leads the church.
“It’s not like a formal election,” Driggs said. “It’s going to amount to what consensus in the community is. I don’t think it’s going be immediate. It’s going to take time.”
Many FLDS members have disavowed Jeffs over his criminal convictions, while others are defending him and casting his conviction on sexual assault charges as an act of persecution.
Jeffs younger brother, Lyle, is seen as a likely contender to be the church’s next prophet.
Another potential candidate is Willie E. Jessop, a former close aide to Jeffs, who said this year that Jeffs had lost legitimacy because of the sexual abuse charges against him.
“We wanted him so bad to be good that we were willing to condone his dereliction of people,” Jessop said in Texas after Jeffs’ convictions. “We built this golden calf. Now, we have to decide: Do we love God, or do we love the golden calf?”
Jessop recently said he’s not interested in assuming the job of leader, but some FLDS experts doubt he’d refuse the role.
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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.
would like to make new friends with you guys.
When I look at this man's picture, and see the look on his face, then when I read the article and posts of some here, it makes me sick in my spirit to think that people can stoop so low, and allow themselves to become so brainwashed and so deceived that really think, they are doing God's will by their twisted beliefs and lives they live as consequences of them.
There are many surprises coming to those who have perverted the Word of God and instead of looking to Jesus , who is the author and finisher of our faith, they look to man and follow him, exalting his words and teaching above those of Christ Jesus who is the Word of God incarnate....They go on in their evil ways, rejecting the Spirit of Truth who testifies of Him.
There are many voices out there..... and Jesus said there will be many false teachers, even those who will impersonate Him.
But those who truly love God, and long for truth, seeking it with their whole hearts, they WILL NOT listen nor follow the impostors. Jesus said, My sheep hears my voice, and they follow me. They do not know the voice of impostor and will not follow the false shepherd. By this it is known who is truly of God and who is not!
If there are any people in those hellish groups that truly seek God, they do not need to fear to leave them, inspite their threats and condemnations. They have no power over your soul. They are of satan, being used by him as his vessels, top accuse, and put condemnation God's precious lambs, holdingdem captive through fear.
But GOd wants those who are trapped in their grip to break loose from them.
God has given you life, do not allow satan to imprison you by their crafty lies. They have their end awaiting them, which will be just and fitting for them!!! IT is spoken of them in epistle fo Jude anf 2Peter in the Holy Bible, which is the only inspired Word of God. Book of Mormon is a Book of satan, clothed as an angel of light. Many true people of God have encountered this "angel" Moroni , and recongnized who he REALLY is! He is not the Angel of the Lord! He is EVIL, satanic angel, impersonating Andgel of the Lord . Let him who sincerely seeks God find out for him/herself!
What kind of sick perverse individual uses their “religion” as an excuse for rapping young girls??? Better yet what kind of a person sits by and condones that kind of criminal behavior – Elder Bruce R. Kimball Jr???? Your kind is nothing but a bunch of brain washed lemmings.
We do not allow our young woman to listen to worldly music so it would be impossible to rap to them. We spend our time lisininting to the teaching of the prophet and to recorded hyms of Zion.
Initially I thought your posts were satirical in nature however clicking on your name I find a list of fundamentalist mormon literature for sale. "How to" guides for catching yourself a youngin and for the more discriminating reader a working manual on how to restrict your state's gene pool is available.
You honestly support Jeffs ThePed0. Refer to him as a "prophet." Claim conspiracy by the mormon church for his conviction. Amazing. Maladjusted, delusional and paranoid, just the tip of the iceberg. You sincerely believe ThePed0 was correct and just in his treatment of young girls and would gladly let him have your little girl.
Why bother continuing.
You are a profoundly disturbed individual.
You must understand, we as FLDS are continuing what was set forth in the Restoration of the Gospel. The Prophet Joseph Smith was commanded by God to restore the true form of matrimony. Adam was the first to practice this. The LDS Church lost this power. We in the FLDS Church are the true gardens of the faith.
If you were to enter into our holly temple in Texas you would find our book of remembrance. Where we list every sealing that has ever been preformed by the FLDS Church. With full name and age. You will not find the name of one child bride.
This evidence was not allowed in the trial. What was presented were re writen spec scripts from the tv show "Big Love" that were written by a less faithful member of our church.
Please pray and as our Hevenly Father if such things could be true. I find it in my hart to forgive you for calling out prophet such a disgusting name. The Prophet Warren Jeffs love each and everyone of his 237 wives and his 845 children.
David Johnson = another proof atheists have no morality whatsoever.
Yes I agree l
Why is the Prophet's named mentioned? Just another example of the LDS Church machine smearing his name. He has done so much for the Kingdom. When will Mormons wake up and realize that the FLDS Church holds the keys, and not those empty suits in that giant office building across from a $3,000,000,000 mall? Repent Zion and return to your true ways.
Your libelous contention is inflammatory and slanderous. My distinguished colleague requires proof of age to become a member of his flock. Furthermore he makes use of the words "women" and "ladies" as opposed to "girls" thus negating your misguided allegation he is morally challenged.
Massaging your own piety with a desire to feel a more elevated stance is unchristian indeed.
I had an odd "vision" last night. An Angel told me god wants me to be the new leader of this fundamentalist sect.
After some haggling over my 401K and health plan, I agreed.
Beginning tomorrow, I will be taking applications for wives. You will need proof of age and citizenship. Fatties need not apply.
Think of the honor, servicing a prophet! You lucky women! I will require 5 every night except Sunday. Sunday will be my day of rest. Also, I will be delivering a sermon, about you can better please me...fetching beer, shutting up, and the like.
Oh, it will be a glorious time for you!
Ladies, whereas my distinguished colleague has only recently experienced his epiphany I experienced mine at a young and tender age.
The ladies of my commune are encouraged to be employed either in the home or private sector thereby fostering their natural instinct of nurturing and caring. As your exalted leader there is much involved in tending the needs of my flock. Your support and loving care is required to keep the mind and body nimble.
Together we'll enjoy the sacred libation generously bestowed upon us by the All Mighty. And together we'll delight in the human body in it's most natural state, after all we, none of us, were born clothed. You'll enjoy the favor of my company and your opinions will be considered but ladies please bear in mind to maintain order I have the final word in all matters.
Ladies, come one come all, you are welcome and your unfettered support is greatly desired.
LMAO ... awesome post
I have a rival? Hmm...
Ladies, I think I should mention my sole qualification for the job. When shopping for protection, I purchase items found in he Big Men's department. Yes, ladies. God has blessed me.
Your humble prophet
Esteemed colleague, you didn't expect to rise to the level of exalted leader unchallenged?
Ladies, the good book warns "beware the false prophet." Every struggle is fraught with promises and I invite my lovely, nurturing ladies to bask in my glory. Being progressive, and after appropriate testing, I encourage my ladies to practice prevention with as little inconvenience to me as possible, thus allowing us to experience heaven on earth. I alone can get you closer to god.
(Cue music "Closer")
We aren't to follow a "religion" we are to have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and serve and worship. There's not a lot to my theology it's just to follow what the Word says rather than people.
The testimony of Jesus Christ is the ONE TRUE GOSPEL...mormonism teaches things that God had not ordained...How about reading the Bible instead of the book of mormon...the TRUE word of God.
Hey Mikey, do you know how much information you believe in that is NOT in the bible? If you READ any of the major denominations of Christianity's works, you find MAN's interpretation of the bible and how they apply it to their own set of beliefs. Which, in fact, leads me to my thoughts that ALL religions are NOTHING more than man-made and useless.
Mikey, I used to think just like you. Then I did something wonderful called CRITICAL THINKING. You can find some pretty amazing revelations from a few Atheist web sites. You owe it to yourself to know some deep truths about your Bible illusions.
Check out TheThinkingAtheist site and then decide for yourself what is the truth.
EnergyBeing3 is a wise man. Listen to him, and don't be afraid. You won't turn into a pillar of salt, for looking at this site.
...professing themselves wise they became fools...
Mormons need to read the whole Bible to be normal and to get saved through the faith in Jesus' divine atonement alone. Why is America anxious for Jeffs' successor? Such evil must not have succession. Is America hungry for royalty because everyone is a common person with only short history? Being common is great – means real life and safety. Thanksgiving for everything gives a different life. In the strict sense, no human is a commoner.
Atheist.org .... TheThinkingAtheist.com ..... AtheistRev.com ......
I will have you know that the FLDS Church considers both books of the Bible as scripture. We are the defenders of the Restoration of the Gospel. we have the Bible, Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price , and the Doctrine of Covenants. Where we have collected all of the revelations given unto the prophet Joseph Smith.
I personally have read the Bible 57 times and the Book of Mormon 6 times every year since I was 8 years old.
If you've read the Bible 57 times you can answer the verses I posed to you over a day ago that seem to conclusively discredit the Mormon faith entirely. Please explan, especially the one about the millstone–I'd love to hear how you think Jeffs wasn't a ped0–and stop saying the LDS are spreading lies about you, nobody cares about the FLDS. The sooner you all fly to the moon, the better.
Has lost it
I so not recognize your authority. Are you a holder of the Melchizedek Priesthood? This I have no time to debate you in the holly scriptures.
When I was a boy of the age of 17 I like the Prophet Joseph Smith went to the woods and prayed to know if the FLDS Church was true. The ground shook and the sky became full of a bright light. I saw a personage appear before me. He said he was the Prophet Brigham Young. He instructed me to dedicate my life to the lords one true church. Since then I have served this faith everyday. Brought forth my beautiful daughters unto the feet of the Prophets. We as a family have brought many spirits into this world.
You sir, suffer from sever schizophrenia. Your language and mannerisms bleed evidence of this. Seek help, and please stay away from dangerous objects or situations where you may cause someone else harm....
The Prophet Warren Jeffs is the one mighty and strong. He will not pass this life before the great return of the son of God.
These are rumors set forth by the powerful LDS Church and their army of lawyers and or men.
jeffs is a convicted felon...period.
And you are a liar. Most likely an agent from LDS Security.
Mormons are not Christians,and I have no connection with the lds.You appear to be next in line for legal proceedings.
Hey Elder, GREAT SATIRE.... thanks.
Hey Herb... Mormons believe in JC, therefore, by definition they are Christians.. just because you don't want them to be defined as such, does NOT make it so....
Facts make it so. Mormons are not Christians,it takes little effort to find the truth in the matter.Approach the topic from intellectual study instead of prejudice and ignorance and you'll be surprised at how wrong you are.
Elder, "He [Jeffs] will not pass this life before the great return of the son of God.
Yeah, yeah, yeah... and when he croaks and nothing happens, they will say "OOOh, but his 'spirit' is still with us"... or he will become a body sn.atcher and begin to reside in some other kook's 'earthly temple'. Get outta here...
You have got to be the cra.ziest person I have ever met on this site. I pray to God that you are simply joking and making a moc.kery of a movement of faith that deserves the upmost co.ntem.pt.
You're a Mormon? Then please explain these pas.sages to me, please:
"Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection." Proverbs 30:5
"I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book." Revelations 22:18
Wait, why am I even debating logic with you? All you will do is smugly remind yourself how bad you feel for the rest of us, and how you clearly have everything right, and how Native Americans were really Israelites and all your other, crazy, UNSUBSTANTIATED nonsense is what will save you. No matter what anyone says, you have already convinced yourself that you've found the way, and there's no going around it. Do you ever even question God or what it is you believe and why you believe it? You make me upset that you consider yourself a follower of God, but more than that, I am deeply saddened by your ignorance and hunger for something so deep and Divine, yet you look in the wrong places.
And while you're concerning yourself over how blessed you are (sounds a lot like the Pharisees to me) consider this pas.sage:
"But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea." Matthew 18:6
Jeffs is a sick human being, and will not see the face of mercy in this life or the next by the way he's behaving.
Your "dear prophet" is a child moletor! He will be rottong in hell....
That comment was directed to you, Elder, in case you were too illiterate to figure it out.
There is not one true member of the FLDS Church that has ever come forth with proof of these allegations.
Every witness has been traced back as to having a connection to the LDS Security . they have a vast network of safe houses all over the USA and Mexico. These boys spy on us and at times even dress as members of the FLDS. Be aware of thier lies
@Elder I guess you are illiterate, because you didn't answer my prompt of Bible passages and instead prattled on about how the LDS (looks a lot like LSD, doesn't it? 😉 ) gives a cr@p about your ped0 movement. Please Elder, address the Bible passages that clearly disown the Book of Mormon that I have posted above.
The prophet Warren Jeffs is innocent. When the Lord Jesus Christ and the ghost of Joseph Smith return unto this world all will know the truth.
As long as the church agrees not to marry women younger than 18, then there should no longer be any issues. The last thing the government needs to do is waste their money on a bunch of idiot inbred people. It's a bad deal, but these people are going to do what they're going to do as long as they follow the laws, I see no reason to punish them.
I will have you know that the FLDS Church has always respected the laws of the land. Please google the 12 th Articsl of Fairh. We believe in obeying the laws of the land.
I assure that no one in the FLDS Church has ever married anyone under the legal age of the state they live in. These are all false rumors and lies created by the LDS Church.
Hey Elder, you are a HOOT.....
you have completely missed on your assessment of the elder,is it possible you are in the wrong line of work?
He is in shock that his religious freedoms = zero, while the US Government sanctions the murder of 50,000,000 babies and anal dirty intercourse as marriage. Everything is messed up.
Over 70% of abortions in the USA are had by beleivers. If religous cult members would simply live according to their own rules, the number of abortions in the USA would be significantly reduced, without any change in any civil. Why are believer's faith and adherence so weak? How do believers get into a situation where abortion is the preferred solution? How is religion contributing to the number of abortions?
CSX – you have your priorities ALL messed up....
Why are they talking about a successor? They should shut down the organization and freeze their assets.
You sir are an ignorant fool. You can not freeze the kingdom of God.
Nothing having to do with jeffs is in the kingdom of God.jeffs is not a Christian, jeffs is not a recognized Mormon, and even IF jeffs was a Mormon he still would not be in the kingdom of God.
Sir it is my calling as an elder of the Lords one true church to teach you that we are the true Mormons. We do not clams to be "Christians" that would be the LDS Church. They are the great church of the Devil. Read the Book of Mormon.
I testify that it shows who the real Mormons are. Beware of the imposters
Mormons are not Christians, read the book of Mormon.Sounds like you should be waiting in line for criminal charges as well.
Herbert? I know you are actualy one Boyd Mc Conkie. A known agent of LDS Church Security. When will you boys realize that you are on the Loosing side?
We in the FLDS hold the keys to the priesthood. You are an agent of evil that does the bidding of empty suits. Men that are consumed by greed and lust. What would our Hevenly Father do with a $3,000,000,000 shopping mall?
You and all who fallow the conterfit branches of Mormonism in the end will find yourselves in Outer Darkness. How can you claim the Celestial Kingdom when you have abandoned the principal of celestial marriage?
not so, i remain your border fence hoppin herbie.All Mormons are looking at outer darkness.
they get food stamps.... read the book by the woman who was married off to one of the jessops.... she got away!
Our children do not rely on the great beast of Satan to feed them. These stories of food stamps were started by the LDS Church when they built there first tv station.
We are a self reliant people. When I was a boy and there was the great flood in Utah our congregation actually donated food and blankets to the local LDS Church. Latter that year their members repaid us by burning our crops and killing all our cows.
We know who our enemies our. We have few friends outside of our Church. Maybe you should study the teachings of our prophets and find it in your heart to pray for our dear leader.
"A few months after Rulon T. Jeffs died in 2002, his son Warren announced that his dad had designated him successor before his death, a claim that one of Rulon’s wives – who Warren later married – corroborated."
Incesty hotness. ..... 🙁
Even if they weren't blood related, that's just gross.
You Gentiles do not understand our ways.
Gentiles understand well enough to see jeffs and his kind jailed as a violent felon!
Violent felon? LIAR LIAR YOUR SOUL WILL BE ON FIRE! this man is using a false name. He is just one of the thousands of agent the LDS Church Security have on the Internet and on the streets of the Western US.
They atack us for practicing our religion. We continue to fallow the teachings of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. They put forth to the world fake smiles and clean cut boys. When their false prophet was on Larry King. He lied. "I don't know" and "no it's not doctrine" lies lies and lies.
If you think boob jobs and sports cars will get you into the Celestial Kingdom your going to be very disappointed. You fools don't even wear the right garments. Do you think the Prophet Joseph would ever be caught wearing shorts? And another thing watching a movie in your temples? What hog wash. One day all will be reviled unto you and yours and what a bitter day it will be.
It's like listening to the Grand Wizard talk down to all the Lesser Wizards in some looney fairy tale. Get a grip, Bruce, we live in reality. For the most part I'm a tolerant person, but when you forego your inquisitive mind and logical thinking for a faith that accepts things that clearly defy archaeology, history, science, logic, and reasonability, I draw the line. Jeffs is a pedophile, Joseph Smith would be wearing tennis shoes and cargo pants (or maybe socks and sandals), and I personally believe that what you say about the Mormon faith is true–you hold to the more accurate depiction, and the rest believe but do not follow in the same manner. That's why it's an illogical, useless faith. The rest of the civilized world that believe in more realistic Gods will be praying for you. The Atheists will be trying to reboot your brain. Maybe someone will get you thinking on the right track.
joseph smith was not a prophet...repeat joseph smith was, a fraud and known con man
brigham young was a fraud and a murdering con man... mountain meadows
"joseph smith was not a prophet."
...neither was Moses, Jesus, Paul of Tarsus, Mohammad, or any others.
Don't go overboard,you are wrong on three of the four cited, if the two are who i suspect they are.Interesting you mention Mohammed.Joseph smith and Mohammed are eerily similar in their stories.Mohammed was and is not a prophet.But judging from your post you probably don't know what a prophet is anyway.
Herb you can believe in ancient prophet but not modern day ones? Belive me if you were at the feet of the prophet Warren Jeffs you would understand the glory of God and his plan of salvation.
Based on your post you don't have a clue as to what a prophet is either.
I'd honestly feel compelled to punch him in the face, as wrong as it would be. He looks like he's crying in this picture, did your glorious prophet not know pedophilia is wrong? The guy is an inbred (married his dad's wife) pedophile. And like all inbred pedophiles, he will experience the best parts of prison, and then the best parts of God's justice.
ALL prophets are hacks and quacks. Ambiguous foretellings and educated guesses is all they have or ever had.
The farther you go the more obvious it becomes that you know absolutely nothing about that which you speak.
I hope he doesn't die so he can fully suffer.
The suffering that our dear prophet has endured is on the same level if not more that Jesus Christ did while in the garden of Gethsemene. To wish pain on a servant of our Hevenly Father? You must be a Papist.
If it wasnt for the sacrifice of the Prophet Joseph Smith and Warren Jeffs you would not have an opportunity to gain eternal life. Maybe you should read the Book of Mormon?
Elder, That ped0 would never sweat blood from stress of holy conviction, unless we made him bleed that is. Joseph Smith was a scam artist and his followers are the quintessential definition of blind followers. I see you've read the bible, have you also read some of the comments on this blog in reply to you? We all feel sorry for you, and wish to keep you and you kind far away from our children and family.
We represent no harm to you and your families. We our Gods one true church. The LDS Church has spent billions is spreading false lies about us and what we teach.
The prophet Warren Jeffs has been put forth as a lamb unto the slaughter. He will not pass this world without us all suffering.
Please know that their is not one child bride in our faith. These are lies. How would one of gods servants do such a thing?
One of Gods servants didn't do the crime...jeffs did...the jury will tell you the how.
A fourteen-year-old is a child. Jeffs did an unholy thing with a fourteen-year-old. How exactly has this idiot even established himself as a prophet? Has he performed any miracles? Created a new book of the Bible? Seen the future? Nothing, because he worships a Joseph Smith from the 1800s who was disenchanted with Christianity and instead decided to start his own movement and faith.
When I have kids there is no way I'd let them anywhere near the FLDS movement. You guys make the Amish look well-adjusted.
You still haven't answered my question either. What do you have to say about the verses that challenge your faith? "Kimball has lost it" has posted a few, and I have some more for you if can find a way to worm through those.