Were told “God would destroy their families if they refused”
NewsWeek – A group of Mormon cult leaders is being charged with organizing sexual religious rituals with underage girls and threatening them with damnation if they did not participate, according to court documents filed in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Wednesday.
Defendants Warren Jeffs, Lyle Jeffs, Seth Jeffs and Wendell Leroy Nielsen are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), an offshoot of the Mormon Church that still practices polygamy over a hundred years after the mainstream Mormon Church abandoned it. The Southern Poverty Law Center has described the group as a white supremacist, anti-government, totalitarian cult.
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According to the court documents filed Wednesday, girls between the ages of eight and 14 were forced to participate in sex acts that were filmed by members of the church. The practice came to the attention of the authorities after one of the girls came forward.
The young girls allegedly had bags placed over their heads and were driven to an undisclosed location where the rituals took place. Once there, they were forced to respond only to a number they were given, and were forced to engage in explicit sexual acts with members of the church. The rituals took place between five and six times a week and were filmed for consumption by other church members.
The victims were allegedly told that God would destroy them and their families if they told anyone about the sex rituals. Warren Jeffs, the leader of the group, told the plaintiff in the case that God would punish her if she cried during the rituals and that any pain she felt meant that God was unhappy with her.
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