How Warren Jeffs Is Still Leading His Followers From Prison

In 2011, as KUTV reported, a preacher and "prophet" of a breakaway Latter-Day Saints (Mormon) group named Warren Jeffs was sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years for crimes against underage girls, including aggravated sexual assault of a child under 14 and sexual assault of a child under 17. However, the sexual abuse of underage girls done by Jeffs or in his name extended well beyond just those two convictions: he was, and by some measures still is, the leader of the Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), a cult-like group in which, among other abuses, teenage girls are married off to older men to live in polygamous and abusive relationships in the name of the group's religion, (the actual Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints disavowed polygamy over a century ago, it bears noting).

Though he's behind bars, it appears as if Jeffs still has a hold on at least some of his followers. Authorities believe he is still controlling the FLDS from within the walls of the federal prison where he's doing his time.

Jeffs is resorting to trickery and chicanery to assert his power

Like almost all prison inmates, Jeffs is allowed visits from family members, and is permitted to send letters to approved recipients. According to A&ETV, Jeffs and his accomplices, it appears, have learned to take advantage of the freedoms they've been afforded to bend the rules. For example, since Jeffs is allowed to send and receive written letters, authorities believe he may be sending out coded messages, and his wives are deciphering them. What's more, authorities believe that Jeffs has been using his visits with his brothers to send directives on how to run what remains of his church. 

"We have evidence he continues to direct day-to-day operations of the church, including things like excommunicating individuals and directing what women should be placed with what caretakers," Sean Keveney, a Department of Justice attorney told the makers of "Warren Jeffs: Prophet of Evil," per A&ETV. Authorities believe that Jeffs' brothers may be using recording devices disguised as watches and pens and that Jeffs is even calling the shots at his brother Seth's FLDS compound in South Dakota's Black Hills.