Read the letter fugitive polygamist Lyle Jeffs sent his imprisoned brother

The Salt Lake Tribune/August 12, 2016

By Nate Carlisle

"I humbly thank the Lord for the blessing of being able to communicate with you dear father, for it is truly life to me to be able to connected to you, the Lord's Mouthpiece on the earth today."

That's the opening sentence in a letter Lyle Jeffs purportedly sent his imprisoned brother, Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints President Warren Jeffs.

The letter is dated July 16, by which point Lyle had been on the lam for a month. Lyle, the former bishop of Short Creek — the twin towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz. — is one of 11 defendants in what prosecutors have called a scheme to defraud a food-stamp program.

The letter was made public this week by the U.S. attorney's office for Utah as evidence of why two other defendants, Seth Jeffs and John Wayman, should not be released from jail before trial. Prosecutors say the defendants are loyal to Warren Jeffs and will flee or try to obstruct the case if he tells them to. Private detective Sam Brower, who wrote the book "Prophet's Prey" about Warren Jeffs and the FLDS, posted copies of the letter on his Facebook page Friday.

"This letter is solid evidence that Warren was implicated in Lyle's endeavor as a fugitive, as were many others," Brower wrote on Facebook.

Most of the letter is standard FLDS correspondence to Warren — praising him as the leader of both the church and their households and the vessel through which God speaks.

Then there is a list of names that stretches to 21/2 pages. The first section is a list of "recommended" people. Brower, on Facebook, said he assumes they are the people Lyle suggests be rebaptized into Warren's United Order — his elite group.

Then there's a list of "not recommended" people. Brower wrote that he assumes they are the people Lyle is suggesting be in a lesser subset, which Warren calls the Restoral Order, until they demonstrate their worthiness to join the United Order.

The list might also offer some clues for people who have left the FLDS. They all still have family members loyal to Jeffs and with whom they have lost contact. The list suggests who remains loyal and what their statuses are.

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