Court hears tape of Warren Jeffs instructing young wives on group sex, being nude and grooming body hair
  • Instructions to young wives include showering before going near him and maintaining armpit and pubic hair
  • Pictures show head of Mormon sect with young redhead he is accused of raping
  • Court hears him explain how he likes to be pleased sexually
  • He told his young wives they were 'honourable vessels' and journalised about how they were 'willing to obey'
Warren Jeffs

Drama: Warren Jeffs, leaves the court

A jaw-dropping audio tape played in Warren Jeffs' sexual assault trial Tuesday shows the church leader instructing his sister wives that they must 'work together' to please him sexually.

Mr Jeffs, the head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is accused of sexually assaulting two girls, ages 12 and 15, he took as brides in 'spiritual marriages.'

He objected as the tape was prepared, and his frustrations continued as it was played, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The 90-minute segment details how the young brides should become 'so natural as clothed as unclothed' and always shower before getting near him.

Mr Jeffs is also heard instructing the woman on how to maintain their pubic hair, and a woman is heard showing the other wives how to properly shave their armpits.

He says on the tape: 'No one sits around, everyone assists each other.'

This came after a doctor and forensic analyst testified the 55-year-old Jeffs was the father of a 15-year-old's child.

An excerpt from hundreds of pages of Mr Jeffs' personal journals said the child was 'pure and innocent and willing to obey' and he summoned her parents and 'informed them of their girl belonging to me.'

Prosecutors played the tape of Warren Jeffs talking to the girl when she was 14 after Texas Ranger Nick Hannah testified about documents and electronic files seized during a 2008 police raid at the church's remote compound in West Texas.

Among the documents seized was a record of Jeffs' spiritual marriage 'for time and all eternity' with the 14-year-old in January 2004.

The FLDS church believes polygamy brings exaltation in heaven.

Followers see Jeffs as a prophet who is God's spokesman on earth.

Hannah read from Mr Jeffs' journals, which said he took the 14-year-old the night after their wedding with him and another of his new wives on a car ride outside the church's headquarters along the Utah-Arizona border for 'training.'

There, he instructed them on their responsibilities as his wives and had the session taped. The recording was transcribed and placed in church records later seized by police.

Lead prosecutor Eric Nichols played the tape for jurors, who followed along using transcripts.

The recording was difficult to understand due to traffic noise, and the transcript wasn't made public.

'A good wife is trained for her husband and follows the spirit of peace,' Jeffs is heard saying.

He also makes reference to 'drawing close' or 'being close,' which is how church members refer to sex. Two female voices are heard saying 'OK.'

In writing about the session in his journal later, Jeffs said he told his wives they were 'honorable vessels, property of your husband's kingdom and the Kingdom of God on Earth.'

Mr Jeffs has represented himself since firing his high-powered attorneys last week.

He objected half a dozen times to the tape being played, arguing that the training session was protected by religious privacy rights.

State District Judge Barbara Walther overruled him.

Hannah read excerpts of Mr Jeffs' journal where he described the Lord ordering him to visit Eldorado, Texas, about 45 miles south of San Angelo, and the church purchasing 1,700 acres of land outside the town for $1.2 million in 2003. He called the area 'Place of Refuge 17,' or R-17.

'This will only be a place of refuge if it is kept sacred and secret,' Mr Jeffs wrote, adding that his followers should populate the area and let 'a community grow here more in hiding before the neighbors find out.'

He told followers to plant cotton and raise animals and said they could build whatever they wanted thanks to Texas' lax zoning laws. Construction teams working around-the-clock erected dozens of buildings, including a sprawling, white-limestone temple.

Texas authorities raided the compound in April 2008 after receiving a call to an abuse hotline that turned out to be a hoax.

More than 400 FLDS children who were placed in protective custody were eventually returned to their families.

But police saw underage girls who were clearly pregnant and found Jeffs' journals and the other documents in a vault at the end of a secret passageway in the temple.

Another vault in an annex building provided still more records and files.

Jeffs and 11 other FLDS men were charged with crimes including sexual assault and bigamy. So far, all seven who have been prosecuted have been convicted receiving prison sentences of between six and 75 years.

The development comes after gasps were released from juors yesterday when pictures were revealed showing him kissing and cuddling a 12-year-old girl.

The photographs show Jeffs with a young redhead, who he is alleged to have raped, grinning and kissing the girl.

The images were said to have been taken July 27, 2006 days after the girl's 12th birthday.

Jeffs also made a third attempt to remove the trial judge Barbara Walther yesterday, claiming God himself had demanded she 'step away from this abuse of power against a religious and pure faith in the Lord'.

He addressed the judge directly, saying: 'I, your lord, say to you, I shall bring to light your evil intent now, before all people, to destroy my Church on earth.'

Jeffs has repeatedly called the raid an illegal search and wants a separate hearing on whether authorities violated his First Amendment rights to freedom of religion.

Mrs Walther, who walks with a limp after suffering polio in childhood, has refused - prompting three different calls to recuse her by the defendant, whose followers believe is God's spokesman.

Jeffs also attached what he called 'Exhibit A', consisting of 29 orders from the Lord, including one in which God sent 'a crippling disease upon (Walther) which shall take her life soon.'

He regularly objects when prosecutors enter new evidence arguing that his religious freedoms are being trampled.

Yesterday Jeffs told the court: 'We are a people of historical abuse. This is not new to us because of prejudice in the populace and government.'

Lawyers usually ignore his objections and let Mrs Walther overrule them.

But yesterday lead prosecutor Eric Nichols finally hit out by responded that 'this is not a proceeding against a people. This is a proceeding against an individual.'

Mrs Walther yesterday ruled that a hearing would eventually take place on Mr Jeffs's motion, but that the trial would continue.

She said new Texas Supreme Court rules meant that an immediate hearing was no longer required to recuse a judge after a case has beguns.

No date has been set for a hearing on Jeffs' motion.

The trial continued with forensic analyst Amy Smuts, of the Human Identification Center at the University of North Texas in Fort Worth, testifying that a DNA sample collected from Jeffs had 15 major markers that matched a sample taken from a girl born to a 15-year-old mother.

Miss Smuts said that made her 'more than 99.99 per cent certain' that Jeffs fathered the child, who was born in October 2005.

In other testimony, former sect member Rebecca Musser explained that FLDS women are taught that they must rely on their husbands or fathers to find grace in heaven.

She also said the church governs all aspects of members' lives, from dictating when they wake up every day to what clothes they wear, what work they do, how they comb their hair, and what they eat.

Miss Musser was born into the sect but left in 2002. She was married in 1995, at age 19, to 85-year-old Rulon Jeffs, Warren Jeffs' father and predecessor as ecclesiastical leader.

She said Warren personally gave detailed lectures to young girls on what was expected of them sexually once they were ordered into spiritual marriages with older members.

'They are taught what the duties are as a wife to that husband, not just spiritually but physically,' she said.

'You give yourself to him and that means body, mind and spirit.'

Mr Nichols asked: 'Are young girls taught that giving themselves to that man and pleasing him is, in effect, pleasing God?'

'Yes,' Miss Musser replied.

Authorities raided the Yearning For Zion compound, 45 miles south of San Angeleno, after receiving an anonymous call to an abuse shelter, alleging that girls at the compound were being forced into polygamist marriages.

The call turned out to be a hoax, and more than 400 children who had been placed in state custody were returned to their families.

But police seized marriage records and thousands of pages of documents and eventually charged Jeffs and 11 other FLDS men.

All seven sect members who have been prosecuted so far were convicted of crimes including sexual assault and bigamy and received prison sentences of between six and 75 years.

Jeffs went through seven attorneys in the six months leading up to the trial, firing his last defence team just as opening statements were to begin.
Originally published 3rd August 2011