A polygamist sect has launched an international media blitz, with ads claiming to be God's revelations running in papers across the United States and Canada.
The ads purport to be revelations from God through Warren Jeffs, the imprisoned leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Having been convicted of the sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl and a 15-year-old girl, Jeffs is serving a sentence of life plus 20 years in a prison in Palestine, Texas. The alleged revelations were written from Palestine, according to the ads.
"Now repent, so I may own and bless all who come unto me," several of the ads say.
The ads have appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times and the Salt Lake Tribune.
In Canada, the ads have run in the Vancouver Sun, according to staff in the advertising department, and the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, according to the paper's website records.
The ads may have cost thousands of dollars, between $10,000 and $12,000 for The Washington Post ad, said Marc Rosenberg, an advertising manager at the paper.
The ads include instructions on how to buy more revelations of God written through Warren Jeffs. The other revelations cost between $2 and $10.
The number for a representative for the FLDS church, Vaughan Taylor, is listed on the ads, but calls were not returned.
The revelations, which have also been sent to elected officials across the country, including county commissioners from San Angelo and all over Texas, detail how natural disasters will fall upon various nations, with whirlwinds through the Americas and tidal waves striking Australia.
Those revelations call for the release of Jeffs and other FLDS members from prison. Ten men, including Jeffs, have been convicted of bigamy, performing an illegal marriage ceremony and child sexual assault.
Other demands include care for widows, orphans and the elderly, a stop to abortions, an end to homosexual activity and the protection of Israel by Turkey.
Ken Driggs, a Georgia attorney who has written for academic journals and books on the FLDS, said the advertisements might be a way to show Jeffs' followers that he is still active and in command.
Willie Jessop, once an FLDS spokesman who turned against Jeffs, said his followers aren't allowed to see the ads in paper or on the Internet.
"It's pretty ironic that Mr. Jeffs would sell his ads all over the world but then not make them available to his own people," Jessop said.
Instead, Jeffs may be trying to make money, he said.
The FLDS owns construction businesses, and members loyal to Jeffs have been made to give up more money to the church and to relinquish any luxury items, Jessop said.
"He was expecting to make millions on his marketing," Jessop said.
Jessop said Jeffs hasn't allowed FLDS members to see the revelations because his unfulfilled prophecies would validate that he is not the true FLDS "prophet."
(Contact Matthew Waller of the Standard Times in San Angelo, Texas, at MWaller@gosanangelo.com.com.)