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Prepare for Lift-off

"Scotty, beam me up."
Ben Winslow (KSL NewsRadio)
Tomorrow has been cancelled
Church prepares for 'ascension'
The Associated Press
Originally published November 30, 1998

COLORADO CITY - Amazing prophecies are nothing new in the desert headquarters of America's largest polygamous church, but the story of 2,500 people about to be lifted up into heaven has created an urgency unlike any before.   Rulon Jeffs, the aging and reclusive prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, officially denies making predictions of mass ascension for the righteous - yet his followers' preparations are evident.   Jeffs, who for more than a decade has commuted by Learjet from Salt Lake County and his 4-acre estate in Little Cottonwood Canyon to church services and meetings in this desert sanctuary - reportedly declared that Salt Lake City is "the wickedest city on Earth" and will be destroyed.   The 89-year-old tax accountant and his sons are selling their enclaves in Little Cottonwood Canyon - palatial homes, a schoolhouse, a nursery and a 150-space parking lot, the Salt Lake Tribune reported Sunday.   A collection of grain silos at the estate have recently been dismantled and reassembled in Hildale, Utah, where the prophet and his 20 wives have taken up residence.
Polygamy City
Brent Hunsaker
KTVX - ABC 4 Early Edition
Originally broadcast May 26, 1999

Polygamy City
Brent Hunsaker
KTVX - ABC 4 10:00 PM Edition
Originally broadcast May 26, 1999

Rapture & Rupture
Heavenly deliverance, 'ethnic cleansing' and child-snatching in polygamous Colorado City
By Dave Wagner
Phoenix New Times
Originally published August 31, 2000

On September 15, certain citizens of Arizona expect to be lifted bodily into the air and swept into heaven. If it doesn't happen, there could be hell to pay.   To prepare for this "lifting up," leaders of the Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints in Colorado City, Arizona, have ordered parents to keep their children out of the public schools and sanctioned the last-minute snatching of child brides.   The secretive FLDS church, led by Warren Jeffs, is the largest remaining sect of an estimated 30,000 polygamists in North America.  It has about 5,000 members in the immediate community, which includes the town of Hildale on the Utah side of the state line.  Warren is the son of Rulon T. Jeffs, 92, the church's ailing prophet who is also the father of 60 children and the husband of 19 wives who keep his photo by their bedsides.   Neither Warren Jeffs nor anyone else in the church leadership, including their lawyers in Salt Lake City, will speak publicly about the lifting up, but former members and dissenters in Colorado City are worried, they say, because the younger Jeffs has recently begun to preach the doctrine of "blood atonement."     Read more
Polygamy church prepares for end of the world
Martin Kettle in Washington
London Guardian
Originally published September 16, 2000

There is speculation that a polygamous sect which split from the Mormons more than a century ago may be preparing for the end of the world - perhaps as soon as this month. Concern arose when hundreds of the sect's children failed to turn up at the beginning of the school year.   Last year there were 1,400 pupils at the four schools which serve the remote desert towns of Colorado City in Arizona and Hilldale, Utah.  This year only about 350 have enrolled, and dozens of teachers who belong to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have also quit.   The two small towns were settled at the end of the 19th century by polygamous Mormons.  When the main Mormon church officially disavowed polygamy in 1890, so that Utah could gain statehood, they went their own way.  Polygamy is widespread among the 6,000 local members of the sect.   The decision to withdraw children from school was taken on the orders of Warren Jeffs, who speaks on behalf of his father, Rulon Jeffs, the church's prophet.  Sect members say they are cutting contact with non-believers and preparing for the apocalypse Mr Jeffs says is at hand.   This is not the first time that Mr Jeffs has told his followers to prepare for the end of the world.     Read more
Colorado City: preparing for the Apocalypse
By Simon Davis in Colorado City, exclusively for Electronic Telegraph
Originally published October 23, 2000

The playground is eerily quiet at Colorado City's main school.   The few visitors who make it to the school's front gates are met on neat lawn by a group of middle-aged men demanding to know what they want.  Requests for an interview are tersely turned down and visitors are stalked.   But then Colorado City is a very strange place, somehow reminiscent of a scene from a classic Hitchcock film.   Walk into the town's cafe at breakfast time and the place falls silent.  The waitress casts a meaningful look at the sheriff drinking his coffee.  He nods at her and the woman announces that the restaurant is now closed.   The people of Colorado City, some 90 miles northeast of Las Vegas, are sensitive about the outside world and what it thinks of them.  They believe the world is about to end.  Their leader, Rulon Jeffs, delivered the news of impending disaster.  As leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints, the 6,000 people of Colorado City and the neighbouring town of Hildale regard him with reverence.   "President" Jeffs, as he is widely known, feels misunderstood by the outside world.  That may be linked to earlier misjudgments about the exact timing when everything earthly would come to an end.  Seven years ago, Mr Jeffs instructed school children not to bother attending college because the apocalypse would occur before they could graduate.     Read more
Could mass suicide be next for cult?
Erratic leader of Mormon sect poses a deadly risk to his Kootenay followers
By Daphne Bramham
Vancouver Sun
Originally published Friday, June 11, 2004

Mass suicide. It's another reason beyond polygamy, child brides, rape and forced marriages that B.C. Attorney-General Geoff Plant should be paying attention to what is happening in the Kootenay community of Bountiful.   Warren Jeffs, the prophet, revelator and leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is becoming increasingly paranoid, erratic and convinced that he is God's "one mighty and strong" who will lead his followers to heaven, according to experts.   And they're interpreting it as a signal that the charismatic leader may soon instruct the more than 30,000 Mormon Fundamentalists living in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico to take their own lives in order to be "lifted up" to God's kingdom.   If the experts are right, it could mean people in Bountiful joining thousands of American FLDS members who will obediently follow his order.     Read more
Sect took out loans in preparation for doomsday
The Associated Press
The Arizona Republic
Originally published December 6, 2004

EPHRAIM, Utah - For more than a decade, a 9,000-member polygamist sect that believed civilization was about to end was borrowing money like there was no tomorrow.   Members of the sect - a renegade Mormon splinter group called the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - took out one loan after another from the small-town Bank of Ephraim for business ventures that would prove highly speculative, even half-baked.   One loan went toward a watermelon farm, but not a single melon was ever planted and the bank had to foreclose on the farm.  Another loan was taken out by a business that planned to convert military barracks into motels and housing.   The venture, in which the church was a partner, collapsed when the barracks were found to have lead paint, asbestos and other hazards.  Still another loan was made to a construction company that so underbid municipal sewer and street contracts it was unable to pay for materials, let alone labor.   The bank had to write off that loan, too.     Read more
Mormons who banked on doomsday find the debt collector at the door
By David Usborne
The Independent (UK)
Originally published December 11, 2004

If the 9,000 members of a polygamous Mormon sect in south-west Utah felt comfortable borrowing from their local bank like there was no tomorrow, it was because, in their minds, that was precisely the case.  The world, they had been told, was coming to an end.   The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gladly used high-interest funds to finance suspect business ventures.   There was the water melon farm on which not a single water melon was planted, and plans to convert old military barracks into homes fell through when they found lead paint and asbestos inside.  Now, though, the tap has been turned off.  After years of obliging the sect, the local Bank of Ephraim has been forced to shut down after state regulators found it could no longer handle all the loans it had extended.   It was only after the crackdown in June that the bank's president, Keith Church, discovered the truth.  Several years ago, the sect, led by a recluse named Warren Jeffs, rumoured to have 70 wives, made members take an oath to drain the bank as fast as possible because doomsday, just around the corner, would see the world and its financial system collapse.     Read more
Surprise by polygamists feared
Anniversary is likely time
By Joseph A. Reaves
The Arizona Republic
Originally published March 6, 2005

One month from today, April 6, will be a joyous milestone for Mormons in the Valley and across the world.   That date will mark the 175th anniversary of the founding of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.   On April 6, 1830, the Prophet Joseph Smith proclaimed a revelation from God empowered him to restore the true covenants and gospel of Jesus Christ through a new church.   But as Mormons prepare to celebrate a sacred moment, authorities in three states are worried that a new prophet - this one a religious renegade denounced by the church and hiding from the law - could try to hijack the anniversary.   "It is clearly a seminal date and, frankly, yes we are worried about what might happen," says Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard.  Goddard, his counterpart in Utah, Mark Shurtleff, and law enforcement authorities in Texas are piecing together what evidence they can about Warren Jeffs, the self-proclaimed prophet of a reclusive sect known as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  The attorneys general were in St. George Thursday for a town hall meeting to discuss developments with the FLDS.     Read more
FLDS-doomsday rumors infest Web
By Nancy Perkins
Deseret Morning News
Originally published April 5, 2005

ST. GEORGE Doomsday scenarios and rumors of an impending mass suicide by faithful members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are spreading fast on the World Wide Web.   Several Web sites predict a short and grim future for the FLDS, saying that the church's leader, Warren Jeffs, is saying the world will end Wednesday, the 175th anniversary of the founding of the LDS Church.   Law enforcers aren't impressed.   "We have our own intelligence inside the FLDS community, and we believe there's a high probability that absolutely nothing will happen," said Washington County Sheriff Kirk Smith, whose jurisdiction includes Hildale, a small FLDS community adjacent to its virtual twin, Colorado City, Ariz.   The Web sites, however, warn the FLDS could be setting up another Waco, Texas, where on April 19, 1993, after a 51-day standoff, 76 people died in a fire that broke out during an assault by the FBI at a religious compound.   Other sites say Jeffs could be another version of Jim Jones, who led 914 followers in Guyana into mass suicide Nov. 18, 1978.  Or Jeffs is preparing a mass exodus of his most ardent followers to the new FLDS community in Texas, leaving thousands of members behind because they are not "pure in heart."     Read more
No mass exodus reported of FLDS members
Mayor Zitting: It's business as usual in Hildale
By Patrice St. Germain
The Spectrum
Originally published April 5, 2005

HILDALE - The rumors of a mass exodus of people from Hildale and Colorado City to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' compound in Eldorado, Texas, appear to be just that - rumors.   Hildale Mayor David Zitting said Monday that he hadn't noticed that anyone had left.   "I drove over here, and there are people around," Zitting said.   It was business as usual Monday.  The city offices were open, as were local businesses.  Some of the residents may have left for Texas, but apparently not in large numbers.   But some people have left the twin cities, and they left home without warning, as Colorado City resident Ross Chatwin found out.  Chatwin, who shared a house and was disputing the ownership of the home with his brother Steven, visited his father less than a mile away on March 27.  Two hours later, when Chatwin and his family returned home, they found that Steven and his family had packed up and left without leaving word as to where they had gone.   "We came back and everything was gone - the washer, dryer, stove and refrigerator - everything," Chatwin said.   "It was like he never lived here."   Although Chatwin has no proof his brother left for Eldorado, he believes that is where his brother went.     Read more
"Doomsday" is Here for Members of the FLDS Church
ABC 4 News
Originally broadcast April 5, 2005

Wednesday marks the 175th anniversary of the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.   But to some members of the polygamous 'FLDS church Wednesday is "doomsday".   Warren Jeffs the self proclaimed prophet of the reclusive FLDS church has gathered 2,500 of his most faithful followers and moved them to this 1,700 acre ranch in Eldarado Texas.   The move was in preparation for a prophesied apocalypse.  Warren Jeffs believes he and his chosen few now living in this Texas compound will be caught up into heaven.  Such a claim has the 7,500 followers left behind in Hilldale Utah furious.   3 times in the last decade, 3 different prophets, have told followers they would be lifted to heaven while the rest of the world was left to fight the Armageddon.  And each time when it doesn't happen there is an excuse, like the members were not faithful enough.     Read more
Polygamy draws attention to small Texas town
The Spectrum
Originally published April 5, 2005

Eldorado, Texas The tiny town of Eldorado, Texas, became the center of attention Tuesday, the day before the expected dedication of a temple for the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.   The FLDS church, led by self-proclaimed prophet Warren Jeffs, teaches polygamy as part of its doctrine and traces its roots to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  However, the LDS church excommunicates members who practice polygamy.   Some members of the FLDS church have left the twin border towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., in recent weeks in preparation for the dedication.  Rumors also have circulated throughout Southern Utah and, now, parts of Texas that Jeffs has said that Wednesday, April 6, will mark the end of the world.   For more details on this story, see the Wednesday print edition of The Spectrum & Daily News.
FLDS activities draw attention
Polygamists' temple, doomsday rumors attract media to Texas
By Rachel Olsen
The Spectrum
Originally published April 6, 2005

ELDORADO, Texas - A temple dedication.   A doomsday prophecy.  Good, old-fashioned curiosity.   Those are just some of the reasons why this tiny town in rural Texas will be the center of attention today for members of the national and international media.  The focus will be on the compound built by members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.   The church, which dominates the twin cities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., has moved some of its members to Eldorado.  Besides building dwellings, members have constructed the first FLDS temple, which is rumored to be scheduled for dedication today.   The date, April 6, is significant because it also is the 175th anniversary of the founding of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Joseph Smith.  The FLDS church, which still teaches polygamy as part of its doctrine, also traces its roots to Smith.  However, the LDS church denounced polygamy in 1890 and excommunicates members who practice the belief.   With the importance of the day and the first FLDS temple nearing completion, some outsiders, fueled by rumors, believe something will happen today in Schleicher County, which has the bulk of its population living in Eldorado.     Read more
FLDS Leaders Deny Apocolypse Rumors
ABC 4 News
Originally broadcast April 6, 2005

Leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Wednesday dismissed rumors that the sect was anticipating an apocalyptic event or mass exodus to the church's West Texas ranch.   Schleicher County (Texas) Sheriff David Doran said the site of the FLDS' "Yearn for Zion Ranch" was quiet Wednesday, other than dozens of reporters who showed up to investigate rumors that hundreds of members of the church were relocating to Texas and that the world could end.   "They denied any end-of-time prophecy or mass movement of people," Doran said.  "They said they're going to be praying, but there's not a church gathering or dedication there today because of the ongoing construction."   An 80-foot high white temple being built on the sprawling FLDS property has been under construction for months, but remains incomplete.   Doran said the exterior appears mostly finished, but the interior still needs work.   Doran said he did not meet or see the reclusive FLDS leader Warren Jeffs on Wednesday, although Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said Jeffs was believed to be at the ranch near Eldorado.     Read more
The World Didn't Come to an End
ABC 4 News
Originally broadcast April 6, 2005

As you know the world didn't come to end today.   Now for the third time, Warren Jeffs is wrong about his doomsday predictions.   2,500 of his most faithful followers gathered at a mysterious sprawling complex in Eldorado, Texas.   Wednesday, Jeffs prophesied he and his followers would be caught up and sent to heaven, while the rest of world would come to an end.  But you can see they are still there, and continue to work on their new temple.   We'll have more about the doomsday prediction out of Texas coming up tonight on ABC 4 News at 10.   Some people left behind by Jeffs in the twin towns of Hildale and Colorado City say that while there might not be violence Wednesday, they fear it will happen.   Many disaffected members of the FLDS church hope that with Jeffs gone they can get their homes back.  Jeffs is the only trustee of the UEP, the group that owns most of the homes and businesses in Hildale and Colorado City.   There is also fear that Warren Jeffs is stirring up racial hatred amongst his followers.  A recent sermon by Jeffs was secretly recorded by a dissident member of his church.  On the tape, Jeffs refers to the black race as "immoral, filthy people"     Read more
Capitalizing on the "End of the World"
Some people in Eldorado, Texas find the thought of polygamists and the end of the world more than a little funny. Others apparently find it to be a good way to make some money.
By Ben Winslow
KSL NewsRadio 1160
Originally broadcast April 6, 2005

ELDORADO, TEXAS-(KSL News) -- For some people, polygamists and the end of the world in Texas are something to laugh at.   Jim Runge dressed up like the grim reaper and waved to cars as they passed through Eldorado.  Inside his shop is a picture of Warren Jeffs that asks a question.   "It said, can you think of anything more scary than Warren Jeffs?  You need a diversion.  You need a little humor to add to your job so you all won't have to be so serious."   Runge even changed the Chamber of Commerce sign to read: "Tomorrow Has Been Cancelled."  Not to be outdone, the local newspaper is hawking its own ballcaps and T-shirts declaring Eldorado the "Polygamy Capitol of Texas."     See these humorous photos
Quiet Day in Eldorado
John Hollenhorst Reporting
KSL TV Channel 5
Originally broadcast April 6, 2005

It's a quiet day so far in the small town of Eldorado, Texas, in spite of widespread reports something big was expected to happen at the new headquarters of the FLDS Church.   As you may have noticed, the world did NOT end today.  Ordinarily that's not news, but investigators have said a polygamist leader prophesied the world might come to an end, and that drew a crowd in Texas today.  And of course it's a story with Utah roots.   Salt Lake City is still here and so is Eldorado, Texas.  Not much happened there, actually.   But concerns about an apparent prophecy did draw a crowd to the polygamist's remote compound.   Followers of Utah polygamist leader Warren Jeffs have been building a temple near Eldorado, Texas.  They've been working round the clock since January 1, with a reported target date for completion today, April 6th.  Investigators have said Jeffs predicted the world would end today and only the faithful would be saved.     Read more
End of the world uneventful for FLDS
By Chrissie Newman
BYU Daily Universe
Originally published April 6, 2005

For a 1,600-acre ranch in the small Texas town of Eldorado, the world isn't over but it should have been according to the congregation gathered there.   The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, led by their prophet Warren Jeffs, met for a conference at their new temple site amid rumors that they were preparing for the end of the world.   Jeffs previously forecast the end of the world for April 6, where the faithful gathered members would be lifted up to heaven, but now it seems a day of prayer and possibly a temple dedication are all that are in store.   Headquartered in the twin cities of Colorado City, Ariz. and Hildale, Utah, the move to Eldorado left the majority of members behind.  In anticipation of April 6, both Utah and Arizona authorities watched the polygamist community in fear of a mass exodus.   With today's anti-climactic dawning, however, the fear of a mass reaction is all but gone, said Andrea Esquer, spokeswoman for the Arizona Attorney General's office.   "Well, the world hasn't ended," she said.  "We understand some people have left Colorado City to go to Texas for the dedication of the temple, but we haven't seen anything that would suggest that there's been anything like a mass exodus."   Working together with Utah's Attorney General, concerns that a mass exodus would leave people stranded behind kept both states on their toes, Esquer said, as those people might require special services.     Read more
Colorado City avoids doomsday scenario feared by authorities
Staff and wire reports
The Arizona Republic
Originally published April 7, 2005

Doomsday fears about a Colorado City church group proved groundless Wednesday as a key religious date passed without incident.   Last month, state authorities expressed concerns about how the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints might mark the 175th anniversary of the founding of mainstream Mormonism, which is not affiliated with the sect.   There were rumors of apocalyptic cult activity coinciding with the April 6 date, but church members told Schleicher County (Texas) Sheriff David Doran that they didn't plan "any end-of-time prophecy or mass movement of people."   Andrea Esquer, a spokeswoman for Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, said there was no news late Wednesday from communities along the Utah line or from a Texas compound where church leader Warren Jeffs is building a new base.  "End of the world?  We're all still here," Esquer said.
'Doomsday' passes Town sees little impact from influx of polygamous sect
Day passes without incident at FLDS ranch
By Rachel Olsen
The Spectrum
Originally published April 7, 2005

ELDORADO, Texas - The only thing stirring up any sort of commotion outside the little Texas town of Eldorado on Wednesday came from huge gusts of wind whipping through Schleicher County.   In this community, where the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has built a compound of homes and a temple, members of the national and international media responded to rumors of an end-of-the-world prophecy, a mass suicide and an FLDS temple dedication.   Reporters and photographers swarmed along the county road just outside the gate guarding an easement.   From there, a guard tower marks the beginning of the secluded FLDS property.   The only visible activity came when a man riding a four-wheel-drive vehicle arrived at the gate to allow law enforcement officers access to the compound.   Schleicher Counter Sheriff David Doran and two Texas Rangers went into the religious sect's gated community and emerged almost 30 minutes later, reporting that no kind of Waco-style event was happening inside the compound, referencing the demise of the Branch Davidians who died in 1993 in Waco, Texas.   Doran, who said he had been escorted by four church elders, said everything was quiet and calm.  Members, who recognized Wednesday as a holy day, allowed the officers to get close to the temple.     Read more
End of the world prophecy fails to come true
By Leigh Dethman
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Thursday, April 7, 2005

Warren Jeffs' timing is a bit off.   The self-proclaimed prophet's prediction that the world would end Wednesday didn't pan out.   Of course, it could still happen just not on April 6, 2005.   "You might be used to these prophecies in Utah, but this is fairly new to Texas," Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran said Wednesday.   Jeffs' latest doomsday prophecy marked Wednesday as the end of the world.   The foretold day of destruction landed on the 175th anniversary of the founding of the LDS Church, said Sam Brower, a private investigator who has investigated the religious sect for two years.   Past prophecies by the leader of the FLDS church claimed the end of the world would happen Jan. 1.   These doomsday scenarios and rumors of an impending mass suicide by faithful members of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-day Saints have kept residents of tiny Eldorado, Texas, on edge since the church first purchased land in the area.   Residents poked fun at the rumors Wednesday one man dressed up as the Grim Reaper and patrolled the streets of Eldorado.  And on Monday, pranksters put up signs in front of the county building that said, "Tomorrow Has Been Canceled," and, "Just Kidding, Tomorrow Has Not Been Canceled."   "Another doomsday scenario came and went, kinda like the last five or six he's done," Brower said.     Read more
Saturday will be Judgment Day on an apocalyptic seer
McClatchy Newspapers
Kansas City Star
Originally published May 20, 2011

Really?  After billions of years, the end of the world has to land on a Saturday?  On a weekend in late spring, no less.  But math is what it is.  Harold Camping's math, anyway.  The 89-year-old, deep-voiced Christian radio broadcaster based in California has used the wealth of his network to frantically spread the word that an earthquake "so powerful it will throw open all graves" will hit at 6 p.m. PDT on Saturday.  Again with the timing - a week before Memorial Day?  Camping's prediction is based on calculations that Saturday marks exactly 7,000 years since Noah's flood and that means Judgment Day.  He has put up billboards all over the world to warn people.  His followers, traveling coast to coast in caravans of wild-painted vans, spout apocalyptic doom.  According to the Family Radio Christian network website, Jesus will return in the ensuing chaos and destruction to rescue the true believers, who will ascend to heaven in the Rapture.  Nonbelievers will remain to live in torture and torment, tsunamis and fire, for five more months until Oct. 21, when God will destroy whatever and whoever remains.  According to a 2004 Newsweek survey, 55 percent of Americans believe in a Rapture that will take Christian believers to heaven.  But that's a long way from believing in Harold Camping.  Some critics say setting dates - there have been many throughout history - actually harm Christianity because false predictions buttress the nonbelievers.  This week's frenzy, they say, is less about faith and more about pop culture and money.  When a recent caller to Camping's radio show asked if people sending money to spread the word would get their cash back if this thing didn't pan out, Camping thundered: "This is going to happen. Millions will die. It's going to be horrible."     Read more
Polygamist leader's end-of-world prophecy has citizens worried
By John Hollenhorst
Originally broadcast November 16, 2012

COLORADO CITY There are new indications of turmoil after an end-of-the-world prophecy from polygamist leader Warren Jeffs. Some say people are scared in the Utah-Arizona border town of Hildale/Colorado City.  Reportedly, Jeffs is predicting the end-of-the-world sometime before New Year's Day.  He's made similar predictions before.  But, this time it's in a worrisome climate as his followers have been repeatedly warned and threatened to prove their righteousness.  Many residents of Hildale & Colorado City were shocked to find three of the most prominent businesses suddenly closed - the only grocery store, the hardware store, and even a Radio Shack.  Imprisoned FLDS leader Warren Jeffs reportedly issued a Doomsday prophecy last Sunday, according to former member Isaac Wyler.  "From what I've heard, there was a prophecy that the lifting up would occur before the end of the year," Wyler said.  "All the righteous FLDS people would be lifted up and everybody else would be destroyed."  FLDS people believe in a literal, physical lifting up when the apocalypse comes.  Even insiders are scared, according to private investigator Sam Brower.  His sources say a warning from Jeffs was read aloud last Sunday to the so-called United Order.     Read more
Jeffs FLDS doomsday prophecy and business closures cause concern
By John Hollenhorst
Deseret News
Originally published Friday, Nov. 16 2012

There's mystery, worry, and new indications of turmoil among followers of imprisoned polygamist leader Warren Jeffs.  At least three of his followers' most prominent businesses were suddenly closed in the Fundamentalist LDS Church's twin towns of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah.  The closures involved the community's only grocery store, the hardware store and a Radio Shack.  "Warren would have told them to do that," said former FLDS follower Isaac Wyler.  "They wouldn't do that on their own. They wouldn't dare."  It's not known if the closures are related to a doomsday prophecy Jeffs reportedly issued last weekend.  "It's scaring the hell out of people in the United Order," said private investigator Sam Brower, referring to the most loyal members of Jeffs' church.  Brower said FLDS leaders read a statement to followers last Sunday that was purported to be Jeffs' own words from a Texas prison where he's serving a life sentence for rape of a child.  According to Brower, Jeffs' statement said, "If you don't all come clean and confess your sins and wrongs, the Lord will send a scourge of death among the people of the United Order."     Read more
Stores re-open in FLDS community day after closures
By Alex Cabrero
Deseret News
Originally published Saturday, Nov. 17 2012

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. The businesses that appeared to close for good in Colorado City, Ariz. Friday morning re-opened just as suddenly on Saturday.  "There's one hardware store, one grocery store, one dry goods store, one radio shack, and others," said Jethro Barlow.  Barlow is a consultant to Bruce Wisan, the court-appointed fiduciary managing the assets of the Fundamentalist LDS Church trust's land and property in the area.  Barlow wanted to make it clear the fiduciary was not behind all the stores closing.  "The fiduciary didn't take any action that would have precipitated this," Barlow said.  "In fact, if he could have prevented it, I'm sure he would."  The question remains, what happened?  the stores had signs on their doors Friday indicating they would no longer be in business.  Isaac Wyler, a former member of the polygamous sect, says the stores closing may have been in anticipation of the end of the world, a prophecy apparently given by imprisoned leader Warren Jeffs.  "Apparently, from what I've heard, there was just a prophecy that told the "Lifting Up" would occur before the end of the year," said Wyler in a phone interview Friday afternoon.  In FLDS theology, the "lifting up" is a literal, physical event.  "All the righteous FLDS people would be lifted up, and everybody else would be destroyed," Wyler said.     Read more
Only Grocery Store Closes Again In Polygamous Town
By Ladd Egan
KUTV 2News
Originally broadcast Tuesday, November 20, 2012

(KUTV)The only grocery store in twin polygamous towns on the Utah/Arizona border was closed again Monday, while new signage hinted of a possible name change.  Banners covering the CMC Food Town's signs in Colorado City, Arizona now read "Quality Wholesale Distributors."  The adjoining hardware store and RadioShack located across the street also have the new banners.  The stores are run by members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and also provide for residents who live on the Utah side of the border in the town of Hildale.  Two employees of the grocery store would not comment on the name change or if the stores will reopen.  "Everybody's wondering if they'll be able to shop there at the store," said Isaac Wyler, an ex-FLDS resident of Colorado City.  "That's the biggest question."  On Friday all three stores abruptly closed.  The grocery store displayed a sign reading: "CMC is now closed. Thanks for your patronage!"  However, residents were surprised when the stores reopened Saturday and many rushed to stock-up on goods.  As normal, the stores were closed on Sunday.  But they did not reopen Monday morning.  Instead, residents saw papered-over windows along with the new banners but no information about the stores' futures.     Read more
Thursday on AC360: Polygamist sect preparing for the end of the world?
By Gary Tuchman
Anderson Cooper 360
Originally published December 26th, 2012

A doomsday prophesy from jailed polygamist prophet Warren Jeffs has the attention of law enforcement officials.  "The consensus seems to be that (he's) indicating that by the end of the year, the end of the world will be here," said Sam Brower, a private investigator who has represented more than 100 former member of Jeffs' Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Church.  Law enforcement is on alert and monitoring the border towns of Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah, where Jeffs' followers live.  Investigators fear mass casualties.  Not far from their minds are the end of the world visions from Jim Jones, David Koresh and other religious sect leaders over the years, which ended with mass deaths.  360's Gary Tuchman traveled to the polygamist towns in question and tried to talk with residents to get their take on Jeffs' end of times declaration.  It wasn't an easy assignment.  Wait till you see what Gary encountered.  Plus, see why just one store in the community has really caught the eye of authorities.  Don't miss Gary's report tomorrow at 8 and 10 p.m. ET.     See photo
FLDS leader Warren Jeffs' end of world prediction record
Reported by: Noah Bond
ABC 4 News
Originally broadcast December 28, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - The planet survived two end of the world predictions this month.  The end of the Mayan Calendar was December 21 and Fundamentalist Latter-day Saint leader Warren Jeffs predicted the end of the world for December 23.  Now he says the real end of the world is before the start of 2013.  An ABC 4 investigation reveals Jeffs end of the world prophecies have been wrong 100 percent of the time.  "Warren Jeffs is saying the end of the world is coming before the beginning of 2013.  What do you think about that?" ABC 4's Noah Bond asked a group of City Creek shoppers in Salt Lake City.  "I don't think it's going to happen. I think it's crazy to think that,"said Staisha Memmott.  "I don't believe in all this end of the world stuff," said Ali Taylor.  According to Paul Murphy who is a spokesman for Utah's Attorney General, Warren Jeffs predicted Utah would experience major calamities during the 2002 Winter Olympics and Jesus Christ would appear to the world, but as we all now know the Olympics are credited as one of the best.  "It shows how great our country is that we can allow people to share their beliefs like that," said Ryan Spellins.  After Jeffs arrest for child rape, he came out with a series of writings about destruction and the sinful behavior of the world.  One of his predictions included the end of the world on December 23 beginning with the geysers in Yellowstone National Park blowing their tops.     Read more
Fears of mass suicides as followers of jailed cult leader Warren Jeffs prepare for end of the world TONIGHT
By Daily Mail Reporter
Daily Mail - London, England
Originally published 30 December 2012

Followers of cult leader, Warren Jeffs, who is behind bars for sexually assaulting young girls, are reportedly preparing for the end of the world tomorrow, after their former leader warned of Armageddon before midnight.  The only supermarket and major meeting point of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints community across the movement's key sites - Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah - has been closed, and an expert in the sect has warned CNN the preparations could be a dangerous signal.  Sam Brower, a private investigator who represents more than 100 former FLDS members, said law enforcement officers will monitor the situation in Jeffs' community closely - rather than just dismissing it as another false Armageddon warning from the radical preacher.  'The consensus seems to be that Warren is indicating that by the end of the year, the end of the world will be here', he told CNN.  Alluding to the proclamation's sinister implications, he added: 'Jim Jones, Koresh - history has showed us these things happen when religious zealots take charge of a group of people.'  The community, which has up to 10,000 members worldwide, appears to remain loyal to their 'prophet' even though he is serving life plus 20 years for sexually abusing children.  CNN reporters approached residents to ask them about Jeffs' alleged latest claim but they refused to comment.  The channel claims FLDS members tried to intimidate the crew - driving large trucks into camera shots to disrupt them.  This isn't the first time Jeffs has warned of the world's end.  In November, he predicted 'disastrous cleansing' would occur as the end of times arrived on December 23.     Read more
Members of Warren Jeffs' FLDS church preparing for end of the world: report
A jailhouse edict from the polygamist sect leader, who is serving life in prison in Texas, has FLDS members prepping for the apocalypse.
By Philip Caulfield
Originally published Monday, December 31, 2012

The Mayan doomsday deadline may have passed, but followers of jailed Colorado cult leader Warren Jeffs still believe the end of days is upon us.  CNN reports that Jeffs' minions in Colorado and Utah are making preparations for the end of the world based on his jailhouse declaration that the apocalypse will occur before the New Year.  The edict has some authorities fearing an outbreak of violence or suicide among Jeffs' followers, CNN reported.  "Jim Jones. Koresh. History has showed us that these things happen when religious zealots take charge of a group of people," Sam Brower, a private investigator who has worked on cases for dozens of ex-Jeffs followers, told the network.  Jeffs, 56, is serving a life sentence in Texas for sexually assaulting two of his child brides.  But he continues to lead his Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from behind bars, authorities say.  CNN cited the closing of Colorado City's only grocery store -- which was owned by the FLDS and served as a meeting place for members -- as evidence that Jeffs' followers believe the world is coming to an end.  FLDS members refused to talk to reporter Gary Tuchman.  This is not the first time the sect leader has predicted the end of days.  Former FLDS member Isaac Wyle told Utah station KUTV that the world would not end, and Jeffs would blame his followers for not being faithful enough.  "It's just Warren whipping them up into another frenzy to gather money," Wyle told the station.     See photo
The end of the world...again? Authorities on alert after New Year's Eve apocalypse warning
By John Hall
Independent News Service - Dublin, Ireland
Originally published Monday December 31 2012

FOLLOWERS of cult leader Warren Jeffs are preparing for the end of the world after the jailed paedophile warned of a New Year's Eve apocalypse.  Experts are monitoring the movements of the sect closely after investigators told CNN that Jeffs' warning could send a "dangerous signal" to its 10,000 members worldwide.  Private investigator Sam Brower, who represents over 100 former members of the cult, said law enforcement officers will monitor the situation in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints closely.  "The consensus seems to be that Warren is indicating that by the end of the year, the end of the world will be here", he said before adding: "Jim Jones, Koresh - history has showed us these things happen when religious zealots take charge of a group of people."  One former cult member Willie Jessops said he was concerned about the future of Jeffs' followers - particularly after the predictions of Armageddon.  "There's always that fear that Warren would see how far he could take them,' Wyler told Utah's KUTVer.  He added: "I've got a brother-in-law who once told my sister 'if the prophet told me to I'd slit your throat without even thinking about it'."     Read more
From prison, Warren Jeffs tells followers world is ending
By Andrew Hasbun
FOX 10 News - Phoenix, Arizona
Originally broadcast December 31, 2012

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. - Could violence erupt in Colorado City? Activity in Colorado City has authorities and those who monitor the religious sect concerned.  Even though he is in jail, convicted polygamist leader Warren Jeffs still communicates with his followers.  According to Warren Jeffs, the man who's been sentenced to life in prison, the world is coming to an end and apparently his followers are getting ready.  Warren Jeffs has been locked up since 2006 but that hasn't stopped him from reaching out to his followers.  "Warren Jeffs is continually sending out revelations since he has been locked up," says Flora Jessop.  According to Flora Jessop, a former member and now activist, Jeffs latest revelation is that the world is coming to an end soon.  He's predicted that before and obviously been wrong, but those who follow the group believe this time it's much more serious.  "There is a different sense than there ever has been before."  Jessop says the local grocery store in Colorado City, seen here in this hidden camera video, abruptly shut down, and followers are being bused to a Wal-Mart store in Utah.  "They are now ordered that they must cash in all of their government checks and all of their groceries and those groceries are being delivered to the bishop storehouse in Colorado City and then the bishop decides who gets what."     Read more
Doomsday prophecy by US church leader 'comes a cropper'
Yahoo! News India - Andheri (East), Mumbai, India
Originally published Tue 1 Jan, 2013

New York, Jan. 1 (ANI): The doomsday prophecy that Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints' (FLDS) Colorado cult leader Warren Jeffs' had made about the world coming to an end before the new year, has not come true.  Members of the church had been making preparations for the end of the world based on his jailhouse declaration that the apocalypse will occur before the New Year.  The edict had some authorities fearing an outbreak of violence or suicide among Jeffs' followers, the New York Daily News reported.  Jeffs, 56, is currently serving a life sentence in Texas for sexually assaulting two of his child brides.  But he continues to lead his FLDS from behind bars, authorities have said.  CNN cited the closing of Colorado City's only grocery store - which was owned by the FLDS and served as a meeting place for members - as evidence that Jeffs' followers had believed the world was coming to an end.  This is not the first time the sect leader has predicted the end of days.  (ANI)
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