From time to time, I dip my figurative toe into the maelstrom of mainstream media to "take the temperature" of society. Often this proves to be too dispiriting or distasteful to take note of here. But today's news story about the life prison term--+ 20 years, for good measure--that was handed down to delusional paedophile and fake spiritual prophet Warren Jeffs bears a comment.
Well, perhaps two comments.
First, as one who likes to find a silver lining when I can, I applaud the fact that this manipulated and grossly manipulative man has received swift and, hopefully, lifelong justice. I'm sure his incarceration will be salutary for the many young females he preyed upon.
Second, although we can only expect lies from liars, and deception from the deceived, I must take special exception here. Not to exonerate, but to point out two particularly heinous and twisted falsehoods declaimed by Jeffs.
I will not detail the heartbreaking testimony reportedly heard in court over the past several days, some of which I would characterize as unspeakable. I choose to stand firmly on the words of Christ Himself, Who cautioned that those who lead little ones astray would be better off having millstones provided, [the definitive anti-flotation device] before being cast into the sea.
People who fail to appreciate the veracity of Scripture pass these pronouncements off as nonsensical metaphors, at best. This is not the case. Even Warren Jeffs will not want to be in his own shoes when he must take his turn before the Lord in judgment.
Words are powerful. This is self-evident. None of our words are spoken outside the knowledge of God. Of how much more import are the words of a leader, self-appointed or otherwise? Thus it is, to me, breathtaking that this man would instruct young girls that they would be 'rejected by God' should they fail to participate in 'heavenly sessions' of sexual intimacy with him, often before note-taking onlookers. I couldn't make this stuff up.
Since there is nothing new under the sun, I chalk this up as merely an updated version of the base sexual worship practices of pagan peoples, mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments, as well as being evidenced in various anthropological records and artifacts from around the world. Some records of early Canaanite practices, I've heard, are so base that special permission must be secured to even see them.
But to have the temerity to speak for God and threaten young women with His rejection? Apparently, Jeffs was too foolish, deluded, or seared to tremble when he spoke such things. But, he'll understand, ultimately.
However, in my view, his second reported comment is worse. According to today's London Daily Mail, "In a cruel irony, the girls were encouraged [to engage in sexual rites] by Jeffs by being told their compliance would help atone for the sins of their community." [Emphasis mine]
Evidently he explained by being sexually victimized, his young "wives", some younger than 16, would help ATONE for communal sins. Again, words matter. Very few words matter as much as the word "atone." This profoundly powerful word refers to the singular and eternity-changing work of Jesus on the cross; that His shed blood has been utterly efficacious to atone for [or make us "at one" with God] for the sin of mankind.
On this side of the Crucifixion and Resurrection, there is no other atoning.
In all seriousness, I would venture to guess that Jeffs was not as familiar with the book of Hebrews as he needs to be if he purports to be a leader in any organization that bears the name of Jesus Christ. This is not a footnote. This is the cornerstone of true Christian doctrine. Even allowing that true doctrine has nothing to do with the goings-on of the Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the word "atone" is not one to trifle with.
Perhaps God will be merciful to Warren Jeffs and allow him the opportunity in prison to comprehend and avail himself of the benefits of Christ's atoning sacrifice while his eternal spirit still inhabits his mortal body.
With a sentence of "life plus 20 years" he should have plenty of time to reflect and possibly even cross paths with an authentic prison chaplain who can show him the Truth of Christ and lead him to repentance before his earthly sojourn ends. Perhaps, like David Berkowitz, about whom I wrote in my last post, prison could be the best thing that ever happened to Warren Jeffs.
But first, he'll need to jettison the defiant pride he evidently displayed as recently as yesterday, as he insists he remains a prophet. Atonement is inseparable from truth, and the truth is that we all need atoning for, and the road is narrow. It requires agreeing with God about everything, owning our depravity, repenting and surrendering.
Afterall, that's the only hope any of us has.
[Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2024150/Warren-Jeffs-trial-50-brides-bred-worship-paedophile-prophet.html#ixzz1UYS7zQ00]