The Fundamentalist Latter-day Saints Church (FLDS) has made an outrageous prediction as several of its leaders go to trial. The notorious sect, founded by the infamous pastor Warren Jeffs, predicts the apocalypse will arrive this Wednesday as their current leader, Jeffs’ brother Lyle, is due to appear in court. “Believers” say that is the day an earthquake will cause the walls of Lyle’s prison to collapse and set him free, while simultaneously doing the same for Warren Jeffs.
The polygamous sect faces a long list of legal battles that could be the beginning of the end of it. While Warren Jeffs is in jail for having underage sex with girls he forced to marry him, his brother Lyle is being charged with a completely different crime: welfare fraud. The FLDS is accused of running a massive welfare fraud scheme, taking in millions of dollars from fraudulent welfare claims. Lyle Jeffs and ten other FLDS leaders are being charged and could face heavy fines and lengthy jail sentences.
So contrary to what many Republicans are inclined to believe, the worst welfare cheats are not lazy minorities and undocumented immigrants who don’t want to work and live off the government’s dime. They are religious cult leaders who don’t want to work and live off the government’s dime.
In a separate case in Arizona, the sect is on the verge of being kicked out of its current location on the Utah-Arizona border where it has long controlled two twin municipalities. Last month, a jury in Phoenix ruled the FLDS and municipal authorities violated residents’ constitutional rights and discriminated against non-believers. The case has been prosecuted by the U.S. Justice Department for several years in an effort to break the cult’s theocratic stranglehold on the two towns.
The FLDS is also being sued for $40 million in damages by a woman who was sexually abused and forced to marry her cousin as a teenager. It is also facing a large exodus as more and more people leave the cult with the help of family members who have already left or non-profits set up to help people escape. The chaos the polygamous sect is currently facing is likely to increase this exodus. So while they may be way off the mark about their leaders being freed, in a way they are correct. For the cult, the apocalypse may not be too far off.
Feature Image via The Guardian