The polygamous sect led by Warren Jeffs has taken out apocalyptic quarter-page newspaper ads all over the country.
Labeled as a "Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ Given to President Warren S. Jeffs," the ad reads in part: "Repent ye; now be of full humbling; all peoples shall be humbled in full way; as I send full judgements."
The ad appeared on page A7 of TheSalt Lake Tribune on Friday, and also in the Denver Post and Las Vegas Review-Journal, according to Associated Press reporters; in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, minnpost.com reported; and in the Nashville Tennessean, paper staff confirmed.
It also showed up in the A sections of TheNew York Times and the Washington Post. It did not run Friday in the Deseret News, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints-owned newspaper in Salt Lake City.
A single-run quarter-page weekday ad in The Salt Lake Tribune costs about $1,900, according to published ad rates. A Washington Post ad sales representative told the Associated Press a quarter-page ad in the newspaper costs about $10,000.
Salt Lake Tribune Editor Nancy Conway said the newspaper has a right to refuse ads that contain "hateful, racist or sexist" material, but this ad didn't fit that description. If there's a question about whether an ad is fit to print, Conway said, she reviews it before it runs, but she wasn't asked to do so in this case.
"We believe in the freedom of speech, and we don't censor ads," she said, adding it would be "hypocritical" to do so.
In contrast with previous Jeffs "revelations," which have foretold earthquakes, fire and tidal waves, the ad is fairly short and does not predict any specific biblical consequences or threats. It does contain an order form to purchase copies of those other revelations.
Vaughan Taylor, a Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints elder, was listed as a contact for inquiries but did not return a call for comment. Taylor and other Jeffs followers have been sending out similar "revelations" since early November in more than a dozen packets posted to libraries and government officials around the country.
Jeffs, 56, is serving a life sentence in a Texas prison after he was convicted in August of assaulting two girls, ages 12 and 15, whom he took as celestial wives. The charges came after a massive 2008 raid on the sect's remote Yearning for Zion Ranch in Eldorado, Texas.
Jeffs has nevertheless maintained control of the FLDS from prison, excommunicating dozens of men and declaring more than 1,000 to be "unworthy" of attending the church at the beginning of the year. Over the past 15 months, he's also imposed a restrictive set of rules on his followers, barring them from having sex with their spouses and requiring them to get rid of children's toys and turn over all possessions to church leaders. They are also required give tithing of $5,000 for each man, former members say.
Based along the Utah-Arizona border with outposts in Canada and South Dakota as well as Texas, the sect has about 10,000 members, who believe polygamy brings exultation in heaven. Jeffs, who has been behind bars in one of three states since 2006, has at least 78 wives, according to evidence presented at his Texas trial.
The mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints renounced polygamy more than 100 years ago.
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