Texas jury hears tape of polygamist Warren Jeffs discussing sex

Save Story
Leer en español

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Prosecutors played an audio recording Tuesday of a polygamist sect leader instructing his 14-year-old "spiritual wife" on how to please him sexually, and thus please God.

Warren Jeffs, 55, is head of the Fundamentalist LDS Church, which believes polygamy brings exaltation in heaven. He is accused of sexually assaulting two girls, ages 12 and 15, he took as brides in "spiritual marriages."

It's now clear Jeffs is trapped in a snare created by his own obsession with record-keeping. The prosecution has vast numbers of papers, audio recordings and photos that document FLDS activities and Jeffs teachings on a daily, almost hourly basis.

In court, the documents made it clear that Jeffs spiritually married a 14-year-old, that she conceived a child at 15, and that Jeffs functioned as the father. DNA evidence shows he almost certainly was.

On the tape, Jeffs voice drones on for well over two hours, using Biblical language and sometimes speaking in the voice of God, counseling a number of his plural wives to perform what he calls the "Ordinance of Heavenly Comfort."

Every few minutes Jeffs tried to stop the trial, calling it religious persecution. "I am but a mortal man seeking peace," he said. "I am not a threat. We are not a violent people. We are pleading for justice at this time."

The judge warned him, "Your continued interruption is jeopardizing your right to remain in this courtroom and to self-represent," she said.

Jeffs fought hardest to keep out an audio recording, a training session for his wives on "The Ordinance of Heavenly Comfort."

On the tape, Jeffs voice drones on for well over two hours, using Biblical language and sometimes speaking in the voice of God. He promises his wives they will feel the "all-consuming fire of heaven" and, by giving comfort to their husband, they will be touching God.

There are many long minutes in which it's hard to make out exactly what's happening, but it seems to include sounds of fumbling with clothing and zippers, sobbing, and flushing of toilets.

At one point Jeffs tells the girls or women, "You have to know how to be excited sexually. You have to be able to assist each other. You don't just stand around."

It all ends with prayers and supposed revelations from God, and Jeffs himself singing a hymn.

Still to be heard is an audio recording involving a 12-year-old girl allegedly taken as a wife by Jeffs. Her sexual assault is supposedly heard in the recording.

The case could go to the jury Wednesday, but there's still one more wild card: Warren Jeffs is entitled to put on a defense. So far, he hasn't directly challenged any of the evidence. What he'll do when the prosecution rests is anybody's guess.

Written by John Hollenhorst with contributions from The Associated Press.

Related links

Related stories

Most recent Utah stories

Related topics

John Hollenhorst


    Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the KSL.com Trending 5.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast