April 25, 2008

President, Prophet, Seer, Revelator... And Crooner

Jeffs.jpgFather Yod, Charles Manson, David Koresh - all of them were cult leaders with musical aspirations who pursued them with varying degrees of success. Now a fourth name can be added to this list - Warren Jeffs, "President and Prophet, Seer and Revelator" of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (or FLDS). This breakaway Mormon sect was formed in part as a protest over the mainstream Church's renunciation of polygamy in the 1930's. For the FLDS, polygamy is not merely acceptable but a requirement if a man wants to achieve salvation. (Jeffs’ father and the previous sect leader, Rulon Jeffs, really took this doctrine to heart, acquiring at least 20 wives.) To ensure that the process unfolds in a smooth and expeditious manner, the spiritual leader can assign young woman of “marriageable” age to a husband – regardless of that young woman’s wishes.

Warren Jeffs attempted to do this in 2005 with a 14 year female cult member who had been promised to her 19 year old cousin. After being repeatedly raped by her assigned spouse, she went to the police and, on the basis of this and other charges, Jeffs was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in late 2007. After this, the authorities entered the FLDS compound in El Dorado, Texas, to look for more evidence of under-aged marriages - most of which would naturally have been arranged by Jeffs. (As part of these investigations, the FBI are now engaging in mass DNA testing of sect children to establish if any of them are the offspring of illegal unions.)

And what of Jeffs musical career?... Well, he initially found musical "fame" via samples of one of his racist/homophobic sermons that were incorporated in the song "Warren Jeffs Explain" by Chicago experimental rock band Kinkzoid. Recently though, it has come to light that Jeffs wrote and recorded songs of his own and the compound where the sect was based was even named after one of them - "Yearning For Zion". Kinkzoid's song can be heard on their MySpace page; Jeffs' own composition, which is a syrupy concoction of tremeloed synth, gentle piano and his drenched-in-saccahrin vocals, comes to us from the good folk at WFMU.

Warren Jeffs - Yearning For Zion

Posted by Warren at April 25, 2008 08:25 PM | Christian