When Men Become Gods Mormon Polygamist Warren Jeffs, His Cult of Fear, and the Women Who Fought Back

Stephen Singular

St. Martin's Griffin



Trade Paperback

320 Pages



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As the leader and self-proclaimed prophet of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, a sect of Mormonism based in isolated southern Utah, Warren Jeffs held sway over thousands of followers for nearly a decade. His rule was utterly tyrannical. In addition to coercing young girls into polygamous marriages with older men, Jeffs reputedly took scores of wives, many of whom were his father's widows. Television, radio, and newspapers were shunned, creating a hidden community where the "sacred principle" of polygamy was prized above all else.

In 2007, after a two-year manhunt that landed him on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List, Jeffs's reign was forcefully ended. He was convicted of rape as an accomplice for his role in arranging a marriage between a fourteen-year-old girl and her nineteen-year-old first cousin.

In When Men Become Gods, Edgar Award-nominee Stephen Singular traces Jeffs's rise to power and the concerted effort that led to his downfall. It was a movement championed by law enforcement, private investigators, the federal government, and perhaps most vocal of all, a group of former polygamous wives seeking to liberate young women from the arranged marriages they had once endured. The book offers new revelations into a nearly impenetrable enclave of fundamentalists operating in the present-day United States—a place of nineteenth-century attire, inbreeding, and eerie seclusion—providing readers with a rare glimpse into a tradition that's almost a century old, but that has only now been exposed.


Praise for When Men Become Gods

"Shines much-needed light on the disturbing activities of these outlaw communities. I only wish it had been written years ago."—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)

"Veteran journalist Singular delves into the dark life and spectacular flameout of notorious Mormon preacher Warren Jeffs. The charismatic head of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, Jeffs was a polygamist of the highest order, taking countless wives and all but ordering his flock to do the same. For nearly a decade, he ruled over thousands of followers, coercing countless young girls into forced marriages with older men. Convicted of rape as an accomplice in 2007, he went on the lam soon thereafter. Here the book evolves from a behind-the-scenes expose of an influential cult into a gripping true-crime thriller, loaded with federal agents, car chases and courtroom dramas. Singular is a canny writer, and his prose is muscular and straightforward, never detracting from the power of the story. He also demonstrates an impressive ability to get inside his subjects' heads—dialogues or inner monologues never seem forced or false. Readers interested in learning how one man can bastardize spiritual doctrines for his personal gain—or those intrigued by the rise and fall of a patently evil person—will be fascinated by Singular's examination of religious corruption . . . A harrowing, well-written account of a frightening cult."—Kirkus Reviews

"[This] exposé uncovers the rise and fall of polygamist Warren Jeffs, former leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS). Based on interviews with ex-members, newspaper stories and trial records, it provides a raw and bracing account of Jeffs's sex crimes and fugitive years . . . [Singular] hews closely to the chronology of Jeffs's flight from the law and the individuals who helped to bring him to justice . . . Singular is a strong writer who uses pacing, dialogue and drama to good effect."—Publishers Weekly

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When Men Become Gods

THE BORDER CONNECTING UTAH AND ARIZONA, just below the canyons and mesas of Zion National Park and just above the northern rim of the Grand Canyon, is perfectly...

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  • Stephen Singular

  • Stephen Singular is a New York Times bestselling author and Edgar Award nominee. His book Talked to Death was made into the Oliver Stone film Talk Radio. Singular has appeared on Larry King Live, Good Morning America, Court TV, and Anderson Cooper 360.

  • Stephen Singular