GARY ENGELS, MOHAVE COUNTY INVESTIGATOR: These chosen people believe that they will be lifted up while God sweeps the Earth clean of the wicked people, and then they will be sent back down to rebuild the Earth.
COOPER: Those who left the FLDS describe chilling accounts of Warren Jeffs.
The leader of a renegade polygamist sect is on the run right now tonight hiding from the FBI. He says he speaks for God, and tonight he is on the run, facing felony charges involving underage girls and arranged marriages, serious enough to make him one of America’s most wanted.
In fact, that’s what some locals say members of the FLDS seem to be planning for. RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It’s fascinating to see what’s going on here, Anderson. It’s literally a town that’s suddenly springing up out of the brush here in west Texas. Doyle (ph) showed us the massive temple, the three-story housing units where Jeffs’ chosen followers now live, the water tower, the school and community center, the dairy and cheese factory, even a massive concrete mill. I have been talking to law enforcement throughout the day. Tonight, we’re “Keeping Them Honest,” following the money trail. That is a beautiful shot of the Mormon Temple here in downtown Salt Lake. The fugitive polygamist, Warren Jeffs, does not worship there. But the reality is that people there are living right here in America, and that means they should be paying taxes. That’s because they’re not paying, and that means that you get the bill.The sect that really began in Utah, then moved down to the Arizona border now seems to be setting up shop here in this side of west Texas. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Warren tells them that the end of the world is near, and it will be so many days after the last corner is — is set on the temple. The local sheriff says, look, I only have four deputies. And a man who’s made it his mission to stop the spread of polygamy. He used to have three wives himself, and then he lost his faith — why he thinks Warren Jeffs’ sect is really a cult — coming up on this special edition of 360, live from Salt Lake City. We are live, as I said, in the city which is the capital of Utah and world headquarters of the Mormon Church. The mainstream Mormon Church, as we said, banned polygamy more than 100 years ago, so that Utah could become a free state. “Keeping Them Honest” tonight, from Salt Lake City, here’s CNN’s Randi Kaye.KRAKAUER: The problem is how to arrest him, and without provoking some calamity that would dwarf the calamity of Waco or even Jonestown. That’s what the FBI and many state authorities would like to know. It’s sad to see all these, you know — like these lost boys, their dads kicking them out because of all these old men wanting to take these new young brides. But they think in their heads, if they don’t do exactly what he says, they will burn in hell. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love my husband dearly, but the other ladies in the house probably have a closer — I might have a closer relationship with them. But most of them tell us they will go to jail before they give up this lifestyle. Ultimately, he may have more wives, he says, but he was born Catholic, converted. TUCHMAN: We had nine women with us last night, Anderson. (END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: And food stamps are not the only problem.He has communities here in Utah, also in Arizona, also most notably and perhaps most significantly right now in Texas. JEFFS: You know, a lot of things come to mind, but I would say to him, you know what you did, and you know what you did to my family and all these other families. COOPER: I think it’s hard for people to understand that — the power that one man can have in a community like that. COOPER: Well, Brent, it’s — I know it’s been a tough road for you. (END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Well, that’s not the only surprising thing you will hear from these women and others who are still practicing polygamy. Plus, if you think Warren Jeffs has no bearing on your life, think again. (LAUGHTER) TUCHMAN (voice-over): They say they have all watched the new HBO show about polygamy called “Big Love.” (on camera): Do you like it? One thing we want to tell you, you did see one gentleman sitting with the group. And, so, right now, he only has one wife, and it was the woman sitting next to him. We asked, if you wanted to leave here and go somewhere else and start a new life, could you? We will tell you what else the polygamists are doing. Plus, we will take you inside a Canadian community, where polygamy is thriving, and meet one of its leaders, who says look at yourself before you judge him — when this special edition of 360 continues. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) JEFFS: You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, or rude and filthy, uncomely, disagreeable, and low in their habits, wild and seemingly deprived of nearly all of the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind. In the mountains around me, in neighboring states, possibly Canada, even Mexico, authorities are looking for this man, the leader of a fundamentalist offshoot of the Mormon Church, a radical sect that still practices polygamy.
(END VIDEOTAPE) ANNOUNCER: Across the country and around the world, this is a special edition of ANDERSON COOPER 360: “Hiding in Plain Sight: Polygamy.” Live from Salt Lake City, here’s Anderson Cooper. We are here in the beautiful city of Salt Lake in — in beautiful Utah, the center of a nationwide manhunt.That’s how you will give your children the success. (LAUGHTER) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No offense to the men.You will want your children to be obedient and submissive to righteous living. (LAUGHTER) (CROSSTALK) TUCHMAN (voice-over): Which brings up this question: How is it decided which wife the husband sleeps with on a given night? (LAUGHTER) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love our husbands very much. (CROSSTALK) TUCHMAN: These women say their husbands do have significant stamina.JON KRAKAUER, AUTHOR, “UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN”: Has the kind of pathology that would put him on a par with Joseph Stalin or Saddam Hussein.He’s raped and sodomized many, many children, girls, women, and he’s created this culture that is damaging in its own right.And look at this, a rare glimpse into this new world of Mormon fundamentalists, one of the only photos of women and children working the fields of this 1,700- acre compound under construction by Jeffs’ chosen followers. They have the financial resources, and they’re in an isolated area. SANCHEZ: Surrounded by nothing but cactus and brush, followers are completely isolated. COOPER: Are — are any of the residents in the town, I mean, happy to see them there? There are plenty of people here, merchants, who are saying, you know, they’re great customers. COOPER: You — you were looking at those pictures of that compound in Texas. But now, then he changed his mind, and all of a sudden they build this temple. And, I mean, did you believe it for — for much of your life? JEFFS: Yes, I did, actually, because, when we were little, ever since we were old enough to walk and talk, we went to church with our parents and was taught that religion over and over and over and over. Tonight, right now, to Arizona, some 260 miles southwest of here, where polygamy isn’t just the theme of a new HBO series. MARK SHURTLEFF, UTAH ATTORNEY GENERAL: Their religious belief is that they are to — what they call bleed the beast, the beast being the government. They will take everything they can from it through welfare, through tax evasion and fraud. The men have multiple wives, but only one marriage is recognized as legal by the state of Utah.