Rulon Jeffs

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Rulon Jeffs
Bust photo of Rulon Jeffs
Jeffs, ca. 2002
Prophet and President of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
November 25, 1986 (1986-11-25) – September 8, 2002 (2002-09-08)
Predecessor Leroy S. Johnson
Successor Warren Steed Jeffs
Personal details
Born Rulon Timpson Jeffs
(1909-12-06)December 6, 1909
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Died September 8, 2002(2002-09-08) (aged 92)
St. George, Utah, United States[1]
Resting place Isaac W. Carling Memorial Park
36°59′26″N 112°58′02″W / 36.9905°N 112.9671°W / 36.9905; -112.9671 (Isaac W. Carling Memorial Park)
Spouse As many as 75[2]
Children As many as 65[2]
Parents David William Ward Jeffs
Nettie Lenora Timpson

Rulon Timpson Jeffs (December 6, 1909 – September 8, 2002), known to followers as Uncle Rulon, was the President of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church), a Mormon fundamentalist organization based in Colorado City, Arizona, from 1986 until his death in 2002. Jeffs was responsible for incorporating the organization, formerly known as the "Priesthood Work" on February 6, 1991.

Biography[edit]

Jeffs, born in Salt Lake City on December 6, 1909, was the son of first generation fundamentalist David William Ward Jeffs and his plural wife Nettie Lenora Timpson. The elder Jeffs lived his polygamous lifestyle in secret, and Rulon spent the first ten years of his life under the pseudonym Rulon Jennings.[3] Jeffs was raised a mainstream Latter-day Saint, his father not introducing him to the teachings of the fundamentalist movement until September 25, 1938, at the elder Jeffs' birthday dinner, where he presented his son with a copy of Joseph W. Musser's Truth magazine.[3] Rulon embraced the fundamentalist message after meeting Musser and John Y. Barlow. In 1940, he secretly took a plural wife, for which his first wife, Zola (daughter of LDS Apostle Hugh B. Brown, and great-granddaughter of Brigham Young), divorced him.[3]

In the spring of 1945, Jeffs, who had been working in northern Idaho since 1943, returned to Salt Lake City, where he was ordained a High Priest Apostle by John Y. Barlow on April 19. Jeffs was a protege of both Barlow and later Priesthood Council senior Leroy S. Johnson, who compared their relationship to that of Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball. Jeffs assumed the leadership of the group after Johnson's death in 1986.

It was reported that at the time of Jeffs' death at age 92 that he may have had as many as 75 wives and 65 children;[2] other sources indicate that Jeffs may have been survived by 19 or 20 wives and "about 60 children," including 33 sons.[4] According to author Jon Krakauer, who chronicles the FLDS and the Jeffs family in "Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith," several of Jeff's wives were underage (as young as 14 and 15) at the time they were married to him.[5] Shortly after his death, one of Rulon's sons, Warren Jeffs, asserted his own leadership of the FLDS Church and subsequently married all but two of his father's widows, figuratively making him the stepfather of many of his siblings and solidifying his political position in the community.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "FLDS leader Rulon Jeffs dies". Deseret News (Saint George, Utah). 9 August 2002. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Goodwyn, Wade; Berkes, Howard; Walters, Amy (3 May 2005). "Warren Jeffs and the FLDS Church". NPR. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c Brower, Sam (2011). Prophet's Prey: My Seven-Year Investigation into Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. p. 47. ISBN 160819325X. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Janofsky, Michael (15 September 2002). "Mormon Leader Is Survived by 33 Sons and a Void". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  5. ^ Krakauer, Jon (2004). Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith. New York: Random House LLC. p. 12. ISBN 1400078997. 

External links[edit]

Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints titles
Preceded by
Leroy S. Johnson
as Senior Member of the Priesthood Council 
(Short Creek Community)
Prophet and President
November 25, 1986 (1986-11-25)–September 8, 2002 (2002-09-08)
Succeeded by
Warren Steed Jeffs