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Tonya Papanikolas reporting Transcripts of Warren Jeffs' phone conversations in jail have recently become public, and tonight we can actually show you one of those conversations.
Jeffs spoke very slowly and quietly as he talked to his brother, who transcribed his messages. Documents show that around the same time, Jeffs had a series of phone conversations with family members. This one is from January 25.
In it, Jeffs says, "I am not the prophet. I never was the prophet, and I have been deceived by the powers of evil."
As Jeffs spoke with his brother, Nephi, in a jail visiting room in January, he denounced his role as prophet, but it's clear he was still giving messages to his followers.
"The messages that I gave yesterday are true, except for the part about being the most wicked, the wickedest man on the face of the earth since Adam's time. That part is from the powers of the evil one, who were trying to influence me," he said.
But later in the conversation, Jeffs does say he was the most wicked man on the face of the earth and apologizes for it. "I yearn for everyone's forgiveness for my aspiring and selfish way of life in deceiving the elect."
In the jailhouse tape, Jeffs does not comment on being immoral with a sister and daughter at the age of 20, comments he reportedly made this same month. He does, however, talk about a visit from God.
Jeffs said, "The Lord God of Heaven came to my prison cell two days ago to test and detect, and detect me. And he saw I would rather defy him than obey him because of the weaknesses of my flesh."
Around this same time, Jeffs suffered what has been described as a mental and physical breakdown and tried to hang himself in his jail cell. The next month, Jeffs retracted what he'd said about not being a prophet, explaining he'd undergone a "great spiritual test."