Book Makes Allegations Against Polygamist Leader

KUTV, Salt Lake City/April 13, 2006

Manti-- A new book about polygamy in Utah accuses a man of forcing a young woman to become his 17th wife. The book isn’t about FLDS leader and fugitive Warren Jeffs – it's about Jim Harmston. The author is a former cop, and the allegations are incredible.

Years ago he led TLC members in dedicating their new temple in Manti. Jim Harmston, who reportedly claims to be Joseph Smith reincarnated, a man said by followers to be a prophet of their god.

"This is probably the best bigamy case that's ever been built in the state of Utah," says author John Llewellyn.

Llewellyn, a former sheriff's lieutenant, says Harmston brainwashed a woman named Rachael Strong to become wife number 17 from the time she was a child in his group.

Harmston, says Llewellyn, told her she had been the wife of the devil in a previous life.

"He had led her to believe she would spend a thousand years in hell, if she couldn't do it. He was the only man on earth who had the power and the authority to save her,” says Llewellyn.

Llewellyn, the former sex crimes investigator for the state, took the case to the Utah Attorney General's Office.

"From the Attorney General's Office's perspective, the case is closed,” says the Attorney General’s chief deputy, Kirk Torgensen.

Torgensen says investigators have empathy for the woman, who in a matter of months left harmston, but prosecutors say they could not find evidence that it was a case of rape.

"We don't see any way getting around the fact that was a consensual decision on her part," says Torgensen.

"She left. She said hell couldn't be worse than what she was going through,” says Llewellyn.

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