Warren Jeffs looks unamused in new mug shot just weeks after Netflix dropped doc about his crimes
Polygamous cult leader Warren Jeffs doesn’t look amused in his new mugshot as he serves his life sentence for aggravated assault
Polygamous cult leader Warren Jeffs doesn’t look amused in his new police photo as he serves his life sentence for aggravated assault.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice released a new mugshot of Jeffs, 66, on Thursday, just two weeks after the Netflix documentary about his crimes came out. The documentary is currently in the top 10 in the world for its second week and attracts almost 30 million viewing hours.
Jeffs was sentenced to life in prison in 2011 after being convicted of sexually assaulting two children, ages 12 and 15. The leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS) has also been accused of sexually abusing his own children. as well as his niece and nephew, who have put forward accusations.
The FLDS, a radical Mormon denomination, was founded in 1929 after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gave up polygamy in 1890 and excommunicated members who refused to give up the practice of plural marriage.
Jeffs grew up outside Salt Lake City, Utah, in a polygamous family. His father, Rulon Jeffs, had about 75 wives and 65 children. Jeffs has an estimated 85 wives.
The FLDS considers polygamy a fundamental belief, and the men take multiple wives in what are called “celestial marriages,” each performed in a ceremony called a “sealing.”
The church, which has an estimated 6,000 to 10,000 members, believes that polygamy elevates heaven in heaven and that some of the community marriages involve underage girls.
He looked fresher and less tired in his older mugshot (left) and photos (right)
Jeffs’ wives pictured next to a picture of him on the wall
A photo from Netflix’s new popular doc showing Jeffs with his wives
Rulon became the spiritual leader of the religious sect in 1986 and was considered a prophet of God. Jeffs positioned himself as his successor before officially taking over as prophet after his father’s death in 2002.
The new documentary exposes the horrific sexual and physical abuse that took place within an extremist Mormon cult. Jeffs is reportedly still leading the cult from behind bars.
FLDS was founded in the early 20th century by a group of Mormons who were banned from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for refusing to give up polygamy—marrying multiple women.
Polygamy was renounced from the Mormon religion in 1904, when the then president of the church said it would no longer be allowed in a statement known as the Second Manifesto.
However, some members of the community did not want to stop the practice, believing that “the more wives and children you have, the higher you will be in heaven,” according to the documentary.
The documentary sheds some light on the horrific abuse suffered by Jeffs’ victims, with a survivor in the clip recalling how she was forced to marry an adult man when she was just 14 years old.
Another ex-member revealed they had been told that the abuse they were subjected to was all done “for their salvation,” recalling, “We did what was necessary, even when it was wrong.”
“Young girls were like a commodity owned by the Church,” added another.
During the years he ran FLDS—with bases in Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona, collectively known as Short Creek, as well as one in Eldorado, Texas, called the Yearning for Zion Ranch—Jeffs was brainwashed, jailed, and abused multiple women and children, earning him a spot on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted List.
The documentary Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey was released on Netflix on June 8 and is currently in the top 10 shows worldwide
In 2005, he was charged with assault of a minor and conspiracy to commit sexual misconduct with a minor after allegedly forcing a then 14-year-old girl to marry her 19-year-old cousin.
At the trial, the young girl alleged that her husband had raped and impregnated her several times, but the charges were ultimately dismissed.
According to CNNThe case was dropped by the district attorney in 2010 after Jeffs was arrested on “much more serious charges.”
In 2006, he was also charged with complicity in the rape of a teenage girl. He was found guilty, but the conviction was later overturned by the Utah Supreme Court, which alleged an error had crept into the jury’s instructions.
Police stormed the Zion Ranch in 2008 and arrested Jeffs for the third time after finding more than 400 children and finding evidence of “sexual, physical and psychological abuse.” rolling stone reported.
Jeffs grew up outside Salt Lake City, Utah, in a polygamous family. His father, Rulon Jeffs (pictured together), had about 75 wives and 65 children
Jeff’s son, Wendel Jefferson – who changed his last name – and his mother and sister have since left the church
In 2011, he was jailed for life after being convicted of two offenses for sexually assaulting children for having sex with two girls, ages 12 and 14.
He is currently serving a life sentence plus 20 years on the charges, but it is reported that Jeffs has continued to preach to the surviving members of FLDS from his prison cell.
He will be eligible for parole on July 22, 2038.
As of 2018, the Guardian reported that there were still about 10,000 active members of the Church.
Many of Jeffs’ former victims — most of whom have since left the cult but still live in Short Creek — have spoken out and shared their stories for the upcoming four-part documentary series, which was directed by Rachel Dretzin.
“The first time I traveled to Short Creek, Utah, I had the same first impression as most,” Dretzin said in a statement to Rolling Stone.
“With their pleated hair, prairie dresses and shy, skittish demeanor, it was easy to see the young girls and women of the FLDS as strange, even alien, creatures.
It was almost impossible to believe that a society so repressive, isolated and extreme could exist in plain sight in 21st-century America.
“And then I started interviewing survivors. The stories they told—about the process of systematic coercion and mind control exercised by the man they believed to be a religious prophet, Warren Jeffs—were far from alienating.
“After many months of reporting this story, it was clear to me that these women could have been my daughter, my mother, or I.
“And it was also obvious that they showed incredible courage and strength in leaving this religion that has become a criminal cult.”
Dretzin described the women as “bada**” and “fierce”, adding that she was “proud” to tell their story.
“The women in our film managed to leave the FLDS with no real education or skills, no money, no support whatsoever,” she explained.
All their lives they had been valued only as multiple wives and as breeders of children.
‘Leaving meant saying goodbye to everything and everyone they loved and starting over in a society they didn’t understand. Bada** doesn’t begin to describe how fierce they are.’
According to the Daily Beast, Dretzin tells Jeffs’ story “with virtually no dramatic recreations, relying instead on a haunting collection of archive photos, home videos, courtroom footage, and recorded evidence to convey the unnerving strangeness of FLDS life.”
Jeffs with one of his 85 wives. Many women were in their early teens
Jeffs (pictured in 2006) will be released on parole in July 2038 and is currently serving life in prison in Texas
Like father, like son: Rulon became the spiritual leader of the religious sect in 1986 and was considered a prophet of God and had dozens of wives, just as Jeffs would
The outlet added: “That material culminates in clandestine photos and tapes taken by Jeffs of his sexual encounters with his victims, which are so predictably disgusting that it’s no surprise they’ve landed him behind bars, where he continues to create of ‘disclosures’ disseminated to his followers.’
A woman, whose identity is unknown, was heard in the trailer saying, “In our minds, the police, even the President of the United States, had no authority over us.
“Warren Jeffs was our president. He was the Prophet. And how could you place a man above God?’
Another person said, ‘To stand up to a multi-million dollar church, you have to face a life of conditioning and fear. Warren Jeffs took this religion and turned it into money, power and sex.”