Sep 18, 2015

Son of FLDS leader fears disaster will create more fear in Hildale


Thomas Jeffs fled the FLDS community in Hildale/Colorado City nearly two years ago. He fears the recent, deadly flood that killed at least 12 people, will create more fear in the community also known as Short Creek.

"The people there are going to be scared out of their minds," he said.

Thomas Jeffs is son of Lyle Jeffs, who is Presiding Bishop over the FLDS Church. Lyle is the brother of the group's former leader Warren Jeffs, who is in jail serving time for child sex assault.

Thomas feels certain his father will blame his followers for the disaster.

"He is going to put it to the people as this is a judgement from the Lord because the people were not ready," he said .

The younger Jeffs said he left the FLDS after he was "sent away" several times by his father to repent for his sins which involved watching movies. Watching any movies, using cell phones or internet is against FLDS rules he said. This led to a deep depression and his decision to leave the community so he could have a family and live the life he longed for.

Now out, living with his wife and their young daughter, he feels his eyes have been opened and no longer sees the world outside of Short Creek as evil.

Jeffs said the FLDS people have already suffered after many men have been kicked out for committing alleged sins, their wives and children re-assigned to other men. In the process of reassignment, people have lost their homes. Recently, the state has allowed people who lost their homes to recover their properties but that has led to evictions of families who were living in the houses.

Thomas Jeffs said after all the recent turmoil, the natural disaster is only going to increase fear among the FLDS members if his father exploits the situation.

"It's definitely going to give him more leverage. It's played right into his handbook. He's going to have more power on the people. It's going to prove him a prophet basically," he said.

But he said it hopes it will show the residents there that outsiders do care about the people inside the FLDS culture.

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