Looking At Crime Motives: Keep Sweet, Pray And Obey.

Warren Jeffs

A while back we did a piece on the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh commune and how things went bad. In this latest Netflix documentary we once again see the power of cult like thinking allow crime to flourish. Here is the story of a church that allowed a paedophile to operate.

The documentary ‘ Keep Sweet, Pray & Obey’ goes into deep detail about the history of this. For us the interest is in looking at motives for other crimes. Warren Jeffs ( born 1955) inherited the position of Prophet from his father. They held power over devotees of a church off shoot called the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS). We recognise the main organisation they come from as The Mormons.

Warren Jeffs

A long time ago The Mormon Church promoted polygamy ( taking more than one spouse). They outlawed the practise in 1890. The FLDS offshoot actively encouraged it in defiance of that ruling and also in defiance of Utah law. The law had a view that not only is it a hard offence to prove but it is not great in practise. If all are living peacefully and there are no child protection issues then it was seldom prosecuted. So that part of FLDS culture was not really a problem.

The issue was that it was a very closed group. Actually it still is as it has survived the scandal that was brought to it by the ‘Prophet’ Warren Jeffs.  Being a closed group, especially, one that regularly flouted state law, meant that there was fertile ground for other secrets to grow. Grow they did. Using the tried and tested methods of the like of Koresh and even Charles Manson ‘The Prophet’ talked of divine intervention. He was the conduit of the Lord’s power. One telling quote was that even if something appeared wrong if ‘The Prophet’ said it was good, it’s good.

Click the image to go to the trailer for this documentary.

For Warren Jeffs this involved forcing underage girls to marry. It also involved him raping children. Originally he was arrested for his part in allowing others to do it. He was sentenced to 10 years, however, that was overturned due to a legal technicality.

Meanwhile the law had been busy. They had asked for victims to come forward and some brave souls did. The FLDS had split its areas of operation. They had set up a commune in Texas. There Jeffs had also committed similar offences. Tapes and records were found. There was no messing about in Texas. He is now serving life plus 20 years. That said last I heard he was still involved with the church and many do not accept he was a child rapist.

There lies the point when we are looking at murder or such crimes as Jeffs committed. Manipulators who work as individuals in relationships of a few people. Those that work within gangs and those that work with cults. Most are only minor league successful. They can get family or close friend’s to do evil. Others are like Jeffs and grow a massive following. The more there are, the more it takes to bring them down.

Often we look at why people people kill. Why people vanish. When the truth comes out we cannot fathom it. Behind the worst cases is a central figure. Get to them and all can become grisly clear.

I have left a link to the Netflix documentary. I wonder how many of us would be taken in and follow the bidding of Jeffs and how many of us would have the courage of those that came forward?