To some, he is a religious leader who is helping prepare the world for the return of Jesus Christ. But to others, he is a criminal who used his position of power to sexually abuse young girls. And this man is now reaching out from behind prison walls....hoping to influence elected officials here in South Dakota.
His name is Warren Jeffs and he leads a radical off-shoot of the Mormon church called the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This off shoot believes men should have more than one wives and that those wives can be in their teens. For the last five years, Jeffs has been in and out of prisons in Utah and Texas, convicted of sex crimes involving children. Even behind prison walls, Jeffs and his followers continue to seek converts and spread their beliefs. And their work now has a South Dakota connection.
His followers believe Warren Jeffs receives direct communication....or divine revelation...from Jesus Christ. And that those revelations condone adult men marrying teen-aged girls; some of those girls as young as 14-years-old. Jeffs refers to himself as a prophet...and tells all who will listen that they must change their ways and follow his will if they are to survive. Jeffs latest target for conversion are the five members of the Brown County Commission in Aberdeen."He thinks he's Jesus I think....he thinks he speaks to Jesus."
For more than two decades, Tom Fischbach has served as a member of the Brown County Commission and readily admits he has been the target of some unusual mail and some wild claims. But nothing like what he's been receiving lately in a series of white envelopes...specifically addressed to him and the four other members of the commission. "Revelation of the lord Jesus Christ given to President Warren Jeffs..."
So far, Fischbach and the other commission members have received 20 of these letters....all containing prophecies from Jeffs. "It just seemed like it was just...he was just trying to scare us. Wanted to warn the people of bad things happening I guess. I'm not real sure what his end motive was."
In one writing, Jeffs says the U-S will soon be gripped by famine and then invaded by two foreign powers. Jeffs says God will punish the U-S for legalizing abortion with a series of earthquakes and windstorms. Jeffs says God will destroy the city of Cincinnati as a warning to turn from sin. And repeatedly, Jeffs says people in positions of power...such as Fischbach...reek in blood because they have turned away from God's will. "It's pretty insulting yes but I just take it with a grain of salt I guess. Kind of just throwing it away."
But not all of these letters from Jeffs are being thrown away. Some are being held by the Brown County States Attorney; so far, no crime has been committed but these letters are so inflammatory that the locals here want to hold onto them, just in case. "This is....this is crazy stuff."
Tom Fischabch has gone over all this in his mind and has not come up with an answer as to why he has ended up on Warren Jeffs' mailing list. There is no overt connection with Jeffs' Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the Aberdeen area. And while there is an argument that this could be all random in nature, whoever is mailing these letters knows Fischbach and the other commissioners by name. Fischbach isn't afraid to say what he thinks about Jeffs and his writings that are directed at him at his colleagues. "That's kind of scary."
So why are mailings from Warren Jeffs ending up at the Brown County Commission Office in Aberdeen? We're still working on that for you. The letters have a return address of a post office box in Colorado City, Arizona. Which is some 13-hundred miles away from Aberdeen. We are working on making contact with the people at this address and if we hear anything back from them....we will pass that info along to you.
2012 KSFY News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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