Jeffs' sermon railed against outside thinking

The Salt Lake Tribune/July 1, 2006
By Brooke Adams

For a church lesson, it had the peculiar theme of how to not love your neighbor.

Given by Warren S. Jeffs six years ago, the address told faithful members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints how to shun those designated as apostates - even if it meant severing family ties, giving up a job or ending a business partnership.

It would be years yet before Jeffs would assume control of the polygamous sect and embark on a wholesale purge of men and boys that would expand the ranks of apostates by the hundreds. But the sermon obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune - titled "Leave Apostates Alone, Severely!" - gives insight into what was to come and why some members have given up their loved ones so freely.

"If a mother has apostate children, her emotions won't let her give them up and she invites them into the home, thus desecrating that dedicated home," Jeffs said. "We want to see them and socialize with them and every time we do, we weaken our faith and our ability to stand with the Prophet."

As he finished, Jeffs turned the pulpit back to his stroke-weakened father, Rulon T. Jeffs, then leader of the FLDS church, who hailed his remarks.

"Apostates have ingratiated themselves with their friendly relatives and it is poison," the elder Jeffs said. "So let us separate ourselves and stand with the true cause of God and the Priesthood. It is all the way or nothing at all."

Jeffs delivered his lesson on July 16, 2000, at the LSJ Meetinghouse in Hildale, which with the adjoining town of Colorado City, Ariz., is the home base of the FLDS.

A month later, Jeffs instructed the FLDS to pull their children from public schools, ending their association with teachers and classmates who came from a breakaway group that founded Centennial Park.

He named the leader of that group and said the "Lord has asked they be removed," telling his listeners their only real family were "members of this Priesthood who are faithful to our Prophet."

"He wants us to stop patronizing businesses of the apostates," Jeffs said in the lesson. "Stop doing business with them, strengthening their hand by your labors to fight our Prophet."

The edict also came into play in January 2004, when Jeffs culled dozens of men from the faith - many of whom had participated in erecting a monument commemorating the July 26, 1953, anti-polygamy raid staged by Arizona authorities.

That effort enraged Jeffs and stands as a turning point in his purges, now described as the raid that came from within.

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