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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.