Features an all-new chapter for this edition
New York Times bestselling author Stephen Singular provides an inside look at the Mormon polygamist sect that made headlines in 2008 for coercing young girls into marriage, and the story of their ruthless leader, Warren Jeffs.
As the self-proclaimed prophet of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, Warren Jeffs held sway over thousands of followers for nearly a decade. His rule was utterly tyrannical. In addition to coercing young girls into marriages with older men, Jeffs reputedly took scores of wives, many of whom were his father's widows. But in 2007, after landing on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List, Jeffs's reign was forcefully ended. He would be imprisoned for committing rape as an accomplice.
In When Men Become Gods, Edgar Award–nominee Stephen Singular traces Jeffs's rise to power and the concerted effort that led to his downfall. Newly updated, it describes the controversial 2008 raid on Jeffs's Texas compound and the fate of the 439 children taken from the sect. It offers readers a rare glimpse into a tradition that's almost a century old, but has only now been exposed.
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Stephen Singular is a New York Times bestselling author and Edgar Award nominee. His book Talked to Death was made into the Oliver Stone film Talk Radio. Singular has appeared on Larry King Live, Good Morning America, Court TV, and Anderson Cooper 360.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
When Men Become Gods
ISEX AND TERRORISM1THE BORDER CONNECTING UTAH AND ARIZONA, just below the canyons and mesas of Zion National Park and just above the northern rim of the Grand Canyon, is perfectly isolated and perfectly beautiful. Covered with red cliffs, wide-open vistas, endless fields of sage, and shafts of light shining down with an illuminating glow, this piece of the Southwest conjures up the desert landscape of the Old Testament or the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt. It lends itself to the notion of mystical breakthroughs and heartfelt revelations, to nakedly worshipping the grandeur of God or embracing nightmarish visions of the Apocalypse. Black and blue clouds ride atop the cliffs, shifting and splitting during late-afternoon thunderstorms, rain and wind raging across the hillsides and leaving everything washed and altered. It is exactly the sort of place Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon religion, might have imagined when first delving into the spiritual realm. From the start of his amazing journey toward faith, he lived in that space between what can be experienced and what can be proven to others. Ask three serious Mormon scholars about who Smith was or the nature of his mystical adventures, and you'll get three different answers. Nobody knows for sure where his ideas came from.A conservative religion never had more unconventional origins. Official Mormon history tells us this: as a fourteen-year-old boy living in upstate New York in 1820, Smith saw two angels appear before him, one representing the Lord, the other Jesus Christ. The teenager was confused about what branch of faith to accept as his own, so he asked "the Personages who stood above me in the light which of all the sects was right. I was answered that Imust join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage [representing Jesus] who addressed me said that all creeds were an abomination in his sight."It was an extreme statement, and when Smith came out of his vision and told people what had happened, he angered other Christian believers. While suffering a "most bitter persecution" from those around him, he refused to stop talking about his discoveries. Three years later another angel, named Moroni, came to him."His whole person was glorious beyond description," Smith recollected, "and his countenance truly like lightning."Moroni told him about some hidden golden plates, covered with hieroglyphic-like writing, and about two stones wrapped in silver bows, which would help the young man decipher the foreign text. Moroni eventually led him to the buried plates, Smith translated them into English, and these evolved into the Book of Mormon. They revealed an astounding tale that refuted the Judeo-Christian tradition and the Bible itself: 2,600 years ago, the lost tribes of Israel were not the Jews of the Old Testament, but a different group that had left the Middle East, sailed across the Atlantic Ocean on wooden boats, and resettled in what would become America. Centuries passed, and following the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, Jesus appeared before the transplants and spoke to them of their special destiny. They'd reached the Promised Land of Scripture, where they'd create a new religion and restore Christianity to its earlier, purer form. This brand of faith would be driven by men like the spiritual giants of old, and they'd be called not mere believers or worshippers, but "Latter-day Saints." After Smith had finished translating the golden plates, he returned them to Moroni and they were never seen again, deepening the mystery of the teachings' origins.Many have suggested that when founding Mormonism, Smith was exposed to several other world religions and even borrowed key elements from the Muslims. Both faiths embrace a belief in divine revelation, delivered straight from the mouth of God to one chosen man, known as the Prophet. For Mormons, these messages represented the only true view of Christianity, and anyone failing to embrace them was an "apostate" or "gentile." When it came to dealing with apostates, "blood atonement" might be necessary. Converting others to your beliefs was also important; every good Mormon should serve time as a missionary and grow the new religion. Both Islam andthe Latter-day Saints banned drinking alcohol and practiced polygamy. To be exalted in heaven, Mormon men needed at least three wives.Smith initially had one intelligent, strong-willed spouse named Emma, and she and Joseph were partners in getting their religion off the ground. One day he told her that he'd received a divine revelation to the effect that a man needed to wed a handful of women, if not more, to achieve salvation. When he started practicing this "spiritual principal," Emma became enraged--and she was hardly alone. As word of Smith's polygamy spread, he met resistance from other religious leaders and began moving his Mormon tribe west, all the way to Missouri, which he labeled "the new Zion." He chose Independence, Missouri, for the Promised Land and five thousand people followed him there. They were so unwelcome that the natives burned down their homes. Missouri issued an extermination order for the Mormons--the first in American history--and Smith himself was tarred, feathered, and driven out of the Show Me State. This established a pattern, as both persecution and the Biblical theme of exodus became central to the new faith. So did going to jail for one's beliefs.Smith then led his congregation into Illinois and resettled in the town of Nauvoo, where the locals were terrified of his efforts to baptize the dead and to marry more than one woman. Everything about polygamy ran counter to the nation's puritanical roots. The "perfect theocracy" Smith hoped to create in Nauvoo was seen by others as a perfect threat to the government and its belief in the separation of church and state. Smith ignored public opinion, and in the early 1840s the Mormon Prophet deepened the hostility toward him by deciding to run for President of the United States. When the town's newspaper, The Nauvoo Expositor, wrote about his practice of polygamy, he was charged with treason and faced with arrest. He had a chance to escape Nauvoo and keep running from his tormentors, but this time he decided to stay put. He was incarcerated, and prison would be his undoing.An enraged mob--two hundred men with faces painted black--stormed the jail and murdered the Mormon founder in 1844, only fourteen years after he'd started the new church. But it had already gained traction, and a sense of victimization may have united the believers. They were bound together against a common enemy and for a common cause: their own survival and blood atonement for those who opposed them.Another strong leader, Brigham Young, emerged as the next Prophet. He,too, lived out the "sacred principle" of polygamy, marrying as many as fifty women. Young felt that the Mormons should get farther away from the established order, so he pushed on, he and his followers marching across the Midwest in wintertime, on foot and in covered wagons, losing many along the way, until they reached the Great Salt Lake in the Utah Territory. It was a massive trek toward freedom, but no sooner had they resettled than the U.S. government began trying to end the Mormons' sexual and marital practices. In the 1850s, President James Buchanan ordered one-fifth of the American military to invade the region and wipe out plural marriage. Force did not accomplish this goal but only left the faithful more determined to resist authority, driving polygamy underground.At times, the struggle to survive and take control of their new land in the West overwhelmed the better instincts of the Mormons. In the summer of 1857, they learned of a group of emigrants--nearly 140 men, women, and children from Presbyterian and Methodist families--making its way from Arkansas to California. The Fancher-Baker wagon train was following the Old Spanish Trail, wending through the southern Utah territory and coming into a valley known as Mountain Meadows, thirty-five miles north of modern St. George. On the morning of September 11, 1857--what would much later be called "America's first September 11th" by Mormons--John D. Lee led an assembled Mormon militia. He'd recruited a few men from the Paiute Nation, a Native American tribe based in the Southwest, while the Mormon warriors had dressed themselves up to look like Indians, so they could be blamed for what happened next. The militia attacked the traveling party with knives, rocks, hatchets, and "black powder weapons," killing 120 of the emigrants. Only seventeen children escaped with their lives. John D. Lee was eventually tried and executed for his role in the September 11 slaughter."It was," says western historian Will Bagley, the author of Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows, "the saddest, darkest, ugliest day in Utah history."The strategy to blame the savagery on the Indians worked well for about a century, until a writer named Juanita Brooks began digging into the facts behind the Mormon propaganda, publishing The Mountain Meadows Massacre in 1950. The Paiutes' role in the tragedy wasn't entirely clear, but they were not the culprits in planning or carrying out the attack. Nor was John D. Lee the only Mormon villain, and in future decades some argued that Brigham Younghimself bore a share of the guilt. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was painfully slow to acknowledge all this, and 150 years would pass before it began to come to terms publicly with the butchery at Mountain Meadows.
By 1890, the Utah territory was eager to become an American state, but the federal government said no--not until the Mormons gave up plural marriage. The majority went along with this demand, but others saw it as a direct attack on their faith and their survival. In the 1800s, six out of ten babies born in the region did not see their first birthday, so there was a Biblical need for the pioneers to "be fruitful and multiply." Hadn't Joseph Smith himself married approximately thirty or forty women? Hadn't Brigham Young? These men would never have accepted this kind of compromise. The entry in Young's Journal of Discourses dated August 15, 1876, reads, "There are only two churches on the earth, only two parties. God leads the one, the devil the other ... Apostates are literally tools of the devil." For the true believers, the Mormon Church in Salt Lake City was about to join forces with the devil.When the church officially denounced plural marriage in 1890 and Utah achieved statehood six years later, the hard-core polygamists felt betrayed. How could their leaders have changed their views, denying the core tenet that most distinguished Mormonism from all other Christian denominations? Why had the one true faith caved in to a secular authority?In a sense, the LDS Church wanted to have it both ways. While publicly decrying plural marriage, it never removed its founder's divine revelation on polygamy or "Celestial Marriage" from the Book of Mormon. In 1831, according to the church's Doctrine and Covenants, God had addressed Joseph Smith on the issue of "having many wives and concubines":Celestial Marriage and a continuation of the family unit enable men to become gods ... For behold, I reveal unto you a new and everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then ye are damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory ... And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified.If Joseph's wife did not want to go along with this revelation, God had some words for her as well:And I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to no one else. But if she will not abide this commandment, she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her if she abide not in my law.If the Lord had told Joseph Smith that Celestial Marriage was the pathway to becoming a god, and if Brigham Young had lived out this principle, why should the faithful now behave any differently? Shouldn't Mormons be prepared to sacrifice for their religion, as their founder had done, even if that meant going to jail?A small but committed minority of believers, who would eventually be known as the Fundamentalist Latter-day Saints, refused to knuckle under to Utah, the American government, or the LDS power structure in Salt Lake City. They'd been sold out by the "corporate church," which had fallen under the control of "apostates" and "gentiles." They would side with Joseph Smith and Brigham Young no matter the cost. The time had come to break off from the LDS and begin looking for a new home--far away from both the official church and the long arm of the police. In the 1920s, they struck out for the southern part of the state and put down roots in the tiny village of Short Creek, called "Short Crick" by the natives or just "The Crick," which straddled the border between Arizona and Utah.Because Short Creek was located in two states, its legal jurisdiction was more complicated than in most towns and enforcing the law there was more difficult--exactly what the locals wanted. They soon established their own city government and police department, both run by polygamists.2THE CRICK WAS HUNDREDS OF MILES from the region's major urban centers, Salt Lake City and Phoenix, and set in a distant corner of massive Mohave County, Arizona. The high-desert plateau that spreads out above the Grand Canyon, known as the Arizona Strip, was virtually empty and in coming decades would attract tax resisters, survivalists, drug dealers, sexual cowboys of every stripe, and other outlaws. The wide-open, rolling landscape, covered with red dirt, jackrabbits, and stray dingo dogs, had a woolly feeling, as if modern civilization was unwelcome here. You moved to the Strip to get away from the cops and the conventional judgments of more tame Americans. The West would eventually be dotted with pockets of revolt--nudist hot springs, old-time bootleggers, wild-eyed men running meth labs, secret energy experimenters looking for the breakthrough that would replace fossil fuels, UFO enthusiasts, countless spiritual retreats--and the Strip was just one more. The Mormon Fundamentalists had found a home in the part of Utah called "Dixie," because Brigham Young had insisted the people of this region grow cotton for their clothing and as a cash crop.The folks of Short Creek got busy multiplying. The men took as many wives as they could and at least one of their brides was supposed to have a baby every year; it wasn't uncommon for families to have fifty children. Money wasn't a big issue because the settlers were largely self-sufficient. They lived off their orchards and gardens, their canned fruits and vegetables. They milked cows or butchered them for beef, raised chickens for meat and eggs. A general store provided them with flour, sugar, and a few other staples. They ran a dairy and a bakery--turning out cheese products, breads,cakes, and pies--while sewing their own clothes and trimming their own hair. Utah was called the "Beehive State" because Mormons were highly industrious and natural-born carpenters, building farms and houses everywhere.The original population of around four hundred began to spread, pushing outward and upward and sideways, moving onto hil...
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Descrizione libro St. Martin's Griffin 2009-07-07, 2009. Softcover. Condizione libro: New. Softcover. Publisher overstock, may contain remainder mark on edge. Codice libro della libreria 9780312564995B
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Descrizione libro Griffin Publishing, United States, 2009. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.As the leader of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, a group based in Utah and Texas, Warren Jeffs held sway over thousands of followers for nearly a decade. In addition to pressuring girls into polygamous marriages with older men, Jeffs reputedly took scores of wives, many of whom were his father s widows. Television, radio, and newspapers were shunned, creating a hidden community where polygamy was prized above all else. In 2007, after a two-year manhunt, Jeffs reign was forcefully ended. He was convicted of rape as an accomplice for his role in arranging the marriage of a 14-year-old girl and her 19-year-old first cousin. In When Men Become Gods , Singular traces Jeffs rise to power and the concerted effort that led to his downfall. The book offers new revelations into a nearly impenetrable enclave, granting a rare glimpse into a tradition that s almost a century old, but that has only now been exposed. Codice libro della libreria AAV9780312564995
Descrizione libro Griffin Publishing, United States, 2009. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. As the leader of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, a group based in Utah and Texas, Warren Jeffs held sway over thousands of followers for nearly a decade. In addition to pressuring girls into polygamous marriages with older men, Jeffs reputedly took scores of wives, many of whom were his father s widows. Television, radio, and newspapers were shunned, creating a hidden community where polygamy was prized above all else. In 2007, after a two-year manhunt, Jeffs reign was forcefully ended. He was convicted of rape as an accomplice for his role in arranging the marriage of a 14-year-old girl and her 19-year-old first cousin. In When Men Become Gods , Singular traces Jeffs rise to power and the concerted effort that led to his downfall. The book offers new revelations into a nearly impenetrable enclave, granting a rare glimpse into a tradition that s almost a century old, but that has only now been exposed. Codice libro della libreria AAV9780312564995
Descrizione libro Griffin 7/7/2009, 2009. Paperback or Softback. Condizione libro: New. When Men Become Gods: Mormon Polygamist Warren Jeffs, His Cult of Fear, and the Women Who Fought Back. Book. Codice libro della libreria BBS-9780312564995
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Descrizione libro Griffin Publishing, United States, 2009. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. As the leader of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, a group based in Utah and Texas, Warren Jeffs held sway over thousands of followers for nearly a decade. In addition to pressuring girls into polygamous marriages with older men, Jeffs reputedly took scores of wives, many of whom were his father s widows. Television, radio, and newspapers were shunned, creating a hidden community where polygamy was prized above all else. In 2007, after a two-year manhunt, Jeffs reign was forcefully ended. He was convicted of rape as an accomplice for his role in arranging the marriage of a 14-year-old girl and her 19-year-old first cousin. In When Men Become Gods , Singular traces Jeffs rise to power and the concerted effort that led to his downfall. The book offers new revelations into a nearly impenetrable enclave, granting a rare glimpse into a tradition that s almost a century old, but that has only now been exposed. Codice libro della libreria BZE9780312564995
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