Warren Jeffs' sect casts out 1,500 members

Jan. 4, 2012 at 3:29 PM
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COLORADO CITY, Ariz., Jan. 4 (UPI) -- The polygamist sect led by the jailed Warren Jeffs cast out about a quarter of his followers, members of the Colorado City community said Wednesday.

The estimated 1,500 members cast out during the weekend were told they were "unworthy" by Jeffs' brother Lyle, who interviewed followers individually. Some families were divided by the judgments, with some wives being told they were worthy and others being told to repent.

Lyle Jeffs held each follower's hand to see if that person was lying as he questioned them, asking things like: "Are you saying your prayers in all that you do?" and "Do you think only pure thoughts?"

Ezra Draper, a former member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, told The Salt Lake Tribune people were asked to "renew their covenants."

Roughly 6,000 people are estimated to live within the community. Followers have not been asked to leave their families or homes, but rather barred from access to the community meeting house and told to worship elsewhere. No one has been formally excommunicated.

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