Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Waiting in South Dakota for the end of the world
Where in the world is Pringle, South Dakota? It's what we asked ourselves as we came out here to report on yet another polygamist compound.

Right here in Pringle, with Mt. Rushmore as a backdrop, we found another one of the "chosen places," a "Zion," where followers of Warren Jeffs are told they must be to attain salvation when the world ends. To his followers, Jeffs is a prophet. But to the FBI, he's a wanted polygamist and pedophile.

The town's residents tell us they're certain Jeffs has been in Pringle. That's why we're here. What we've seen is a polygamist village in the making.

As in Eldorado, Texas, another Jeffs stronghold we visited recently, his followers hide from us. But we were able to get within a stone's throw of his newest Zion, or at least the newest compound we know about. There could be as many as four others, and maybe more, scattered across the United States.

As we arrive, we see backhoes, heavy equipment, silos, a water pump, trailers. Nestled among them are three-story residences for men, women and children. Some residents of Pringle fear another Waco or Jonestown scenario. Local authorities seem confused by the presence of Jeffs' followers in their midst. Why here?

Tonight, we'll take you along for a ride to the polygamist compound and show you what makes these 100 remote acres amid the Black Hills of South Dakota the perfect setting for the fulfillment of Warren Jeffs' frightening prophecies about the end of the world.
Posted By Rick Sanchez and Michael Heard, CNN: 6:02 PM ET
  42 Comments
What in the world possesses people to follow men like Warren Jeffs?

The followers of Jeffs engage in "group think", giving up their free thought and ability to make their own decisions. In our society, this is true of almost all religions and cults.

It's a whole lot easier to blame our thoughts and behavior on religions and cults instead of taking personal responibility.

Until people learn to find faith within themselves, cults like Jeffs' cult will continue to exist.
Posted By Anonymous Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA : 6:38 PM ET
Hi Rick and Michael,
Sometimes no matter how much we want others to come to their senses, they simply refuse to do so..Hopefully the FBI will arrest Warren Jeffs and all who have committed crimes. But I'm afraid there will be a certain group of followers who will never give up and continue on with what they believe. The end of the world will always be coming for someone. We as a nation, will just have to handle each case as it comes and hope we can save innocent people from becoming victims of cults or a Waco..One person at a time..Take Care
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton,Calif. : 7:16 PM ET
Hi Rick,

This reminds me so much of the Heaven's Gate mass suicide back in 1997, when the entire sect, cult, whatever it was commited suicide so they could ride the Hale-Bopp comet to eternity.

These people are innocent lambs being led to the slaughter by a power hungry lunatic who probably will never be caught. It's very sad to see so many lives wasted and people, who, could have made a difference in the world if they had been in a different situation.

It's also sad that these people are treated as nonentities and if they choose to die they will be forgotten - it just isn't right.
Posted By Anonymous Marcia, Warren MI : 7:23 PM ET
Perhaps he is using Pringle as sort of a Sleepy Hollow setting. The real threat is nearby, but perhaps Warren knows this better than we? Maybe officials should check the surround area for possibilities?
Posted By Anonymous Brandon Janosco, Lake Havasu City, AZ : 7:31 PM ET
They'll catch that nut job eventually, and then he'll have plenty of "wives" in prison, har har.
Posted By Anonymous Courtney, Chagrin Falls, OH : 7:42 PM ET
From the outside it's difficult to imagine how people choose this lifestyle, yet it's frightening to see the lack of awareness in small church towns to spread knowledge of how polygamist cults work. It's not the first time, why should it happen again?
Posted By Anonymous Tony, Wheaton, Illinois : 7:49 PM ET
Enlist this "prophet", sent him to Afganistan, if he catches Osama Bin Laden, set him free....
It takes one fanatic to catch another fanatic.
Posted By Anonymous Erwin Rubach, Phoenix, AZ : 7:53 PM ET
Are these guys fundamentalist Mormons? They are freaks, and its too bad when kids are involved.
Posted By Anonymous Bruce, Northboro MA : 7:55 PM ET
Living in Utah, and having been through the towns of Hildale and Colorado City on the UT and Arizona borders - we've seen state and federal officials that have long tolerated the abusive conditions of these open compounds for years. Because in Utah and Arizona these were actual towns where the so called prophets owned everything and could take businesses from the owners if they felt that the person running the business was not living up to the literal word so to speak. And if a male was exiled from one these conjoined towns, the wives and their children became part of the prophets family whether they wanted to or not.

So seeing everyone go bananas over these remote polygamist compounds is kind of ironic when for years these two villages from the middle ages sat in relative obscurity for nearly 100 years have been pretty much ignored.
Posted By Anonymous Chuck Carter, Salt Lake City, Utah : 8:11 PM ET
What are they waiting for to round this guy up? Our lawas are too liberal when it comes to child molestation and rape against women. These crimes in my eyes are equal with murder. murders can be rehabiltated. sexual predatorss can not. where is the outrage??
Posted By Anonymous THE GRU Hampton NH : 9:00 PM ET
I hope they catch him soon, lock him up and throw away the key. It's one thing to lure adults into becoming willing participants in the practice of polygamy, and another very different to play with the lives of innocent girls who are thrust into an arranged marriage with men three times their age. These girls have been deprived of their youth, their dreams and their freedom. If that's not a hedious crime I don't know what is...
Posted By Anonymous Sonia, Miami, Florida : 9:27 PM ET
Isn't it funny how history keeps repeating - I feel like I'm watching Groundhog Day. This is proof of how easy people are sucked into a different reality- Or maybe how desperate humans are to Believe in something - anything and anyone. It's rather sad to watch. I guess we will never learn from our past mistakes.
Posted By Anonymous Cheryl, Raleigh NC : 9:30 PM ET
I think pogygamy as well as polyandry are just fine - as long as everyone is a consenting adult. And as long as children are protecxted. The world sure needs more loving relationships whatever their flavor.
Posted By Anonymous M. Frenchman, NY, NY : 9:53 PM ET
If we could only face the truth that religious fanaticism is as sick a disease of the mind as any pathology that describes any debilitating condition of the mind.

Yes there are good people who can claim their belief in a loving, caring supreme being of the spirit world is based on -- faith. So at what point in that realization; that in my experience produces a sublime peace of mind -- an assurance and reassurance and validation of the self as part of a greater and worthy whole -- and turned in to some caricature of a homicidal maniac capable of butchering his fellow human beings.

One thing's for sure it takes weak and powerless mental midgets following a powerful charismatic leaders. Who more than likely draw their power from the repetitious pagan religious practices of the primitive religions that make up our human history.

Religious fanaticism creates intolerance of the beliefs of people who are not immediate members of the fascist religious bureaucracy in power -- regardless of the age or time of man.
Posted By Anonymous Miles Mulloy Rapid City South Dakota : 10:00 PM ET
Look, Jeffs is no more dangerous the Delay, Lay, Cunningham, Robertson, etc., etc., etc. All have played a role in the continued demise of this nation. The media circus feeding this story is fueling the utter footlessness of the ignorant masses who are predatory in their own right!
Posted By Anonymous Peter, Custer S.D. : 10:13 PM ET
If these people are insanely stupid and ignorant to believe this mans ideas and teachings than they deserve to be cast away and lost in some secluded area in the part of the world that little cares to think about or could even point out on a map. All of these types of people cannot be saved and do not deserve the sympothy of others since they are the ones that chose this path. We should not feel pity for them, as they are and always have been in control of their destiny. I say let these people alone just for the fact that they brought themselves into it...and I pray that any child born into this kind of society and way of thinking will one day rise above this nonsense and show them the way out...it is the way it always has been and it will be done. What this man is doing is of course wrong...but the mans reputation does fall on the people who represent the man...as in all of history it only takes one person and one idea to rise above wrong and evil...and in this case it will be done as well; I guarentee it. Good night, and good luck.
Posted By Anonymous Jason, Salem MA : 10:22 PM ET
Well, at least now we're known for something other than Mt Rushmore and the abortion ban.
Posted By Anonymous Geoff, Rapid City SD : 10:24 PM ET
Truly, I don't see what's with all this recent coverage of Warren Jeffs. I understand that he was put on the FBI's Top Ten Most Wanted list, but why? We all know he is a polygamist, and supposedly has broken up families, but Jeffs must have ruffled the feathers of some high-ranking US officials to warrant his placement on the list. There are thousands of people in the United States that are a much greater threat to to our society than Jeffs, but the media continues to eat up this story. I am not in any way condoning the actions of Jeffs, but merely stating that this situation has been blown completely out of proportion. Let's focus on the REAL issues.

By the way, I have absolutely no problem with polygamy. Personally, I have no desire to ever become a polygamist, but if the marriage is between two consenting adults that are of legal age, I don't see how it is the government's role to step in and say, "No!" As long as no one is harmed, the relationship remains consensual, and all participating parties are old enough, let these people do as they please. Polygamists are not stepping on your toes and are not a danger to society by merely marrying multiple partners, so don't step on their toes.
Posted By Anonymous Justin Weleski, Hanover, PA : 10:27 PM ET
"residents of Pringle fear another Waco or Jonestown"

Both were slaugters. The former perpetuated by our government, the other by a homicidal maniac after being intimidated by our government.

Wow, it's almost amazing how much the two have in common.

For a few seconds there I thought the two were unrelated, but after a few seconds of thought: I get it now.

(suprised Ruby Ridge wasn't brought up)
Posted By Anonymous Rick, Berea, KY : 10:42 PM ET
Some day South Dakota will make the news and it won't be about controversial abortions or crazy cult leaders. :)

This kind of thing makes you wonder about all religions. I bet they all looked like insane cults during their infancy.
Posted By Anonymous Erik, Sioux Falls, SD : 10:57 PM ET
Since when did polygamy become such a threat to the United States? I can understand a 5, maybe 10-minute expose on Warren Jeffs, but to continue this coverage ad nauseum for nights on end? C'mon, CNN, get a grip! Stop trying to "Natalie Hollaway"-ize this subject (i.e., beat the subject to death and beyond). This is nothing but sheer lazy journalism. It's too easy, guys, a lot easier than covering the real issues of the day- issues that actually affect the American people. Anderson, you should be ashamed of yourself for continuing to sensationalize this.

Give it up, please.
Posted By Anonymous Tom, Reston, VA : 11:05 PM ET
Pringle is a town that is small and isolated. I can see where this area would appeal to Jeffs and other extremists. What he has overlooked is the fact that the residents, in and around Pringle are decent, conservitive people who will not embrace his behavior.
Posted By Anonymous Cindy Hickman orange city Iowa : 11:05 PM ET
Im from British Columbia, Canada. Warren Jeff's was also the leader of a polygamist sect in Bountiful, BC which is near Creston. In that community he was one of two "prophets" that split the society in two, with half of the people there following a man named Winston Blackmore and the other half following Jeff's. I am curious as to whether or not this will be discussed over the course of this expose or whether your only planning on only discussing the US aspect. Overall, my point is that Jeff's hold on people seems to have no boundaries.
Posted By Anonymous Bree, Vancouver, BC, Canada : 11:07 PM ET
Why doesn't Jeffs come forward. If he was a Christian, he would know he was not above the law. If he really believes he is doing nothing wrong, the coward would turn himself in. No religion is above the law. I don't feel bad for the women involved in this idolatrous behavior either. They are cheating the system and prostituting themselves and their children. They should be ashamed and arrested, too. It is time that these various religions stop interpreting the Bible in a way that is convenient for them instead of the true meaning of the word of God.
Posted By Anonymous Liz White, Newton, Massachusetts : 11:09 PM ET
I'm a Rapid City, SD resident, and we've been hearing murmurs of strange compounds and hideouts somewhere in the Black Hills for some months. From the motorcycle hogs of Sturgis to those who would ban abortion despite Supreme Court rulings, to those who would cut themselves off from the outside world and form potentially dangerous cults, this area really does take all kinds, and surprisingly so.
Posted By Anonymous Michelle P., Rapid City, SD : 11:19 PM ET
If he's a pedophile, arrest him and lock him up. But is he? The only clear details here are that he's building some living quarters, which is entirely legal as far as I know. Obviously, from his reputation, he's a strange bird and has weird ideas, but this is America! We have the right to be strange.
Posted By Anonymous Heather, Urbana, Ohio : 11:20 PM ET
There isn't anything wrong with a man having children with more than one woman....it happens all the time in our society, and we always consider there to be something inherently "wrong".....the important issue is....can a man who has children with multiple women support all those women, and all of his offspring, at once ?....are those women and children growing, and , in a peaceful, positive environment ?..../....if not, in my my opinion, the man has no right to sire offspring with wives and children he cannot support....traditional as it may seem, a pregnant woman is hardly phiysically able to fend for herself....one of the magor priorities/ problems our culture needs to amend is the lack of enforced responsability, of men towards their mates and offspring. Sex is not a right...it is a commitment and an obligation....financially to say the least....without even discussing the emotional and spritual commitments required. Let men have many wives, and many children...but enforce their responsibilities.
Posted By Anonymous jeff carter, kitchener, ontario : 11:31 PM ET
yea all i hear from you people is lock this guy up. what exactly did he do execept trick a bunch of morons with no direction in their lives into believing in some b.s. cult. I didnt hear anything in the article about raping children. If people want to follow this lunatic. let them. more room in heaven for me.
Posted By Anonymous Adam Gangl Seattle Washington : 11:32 PM ET
If what we hear of this guy is true, he is definitely missing more than a few cards in his deck. If what we hear is true! Over the past several years though, I've heard a lot of crap over and over again that defies even simple logic, (eg. bush, cheney, enron, kerry, rove, fema, exxon, 9/11, OKC, Waco, Ruby Ridge, etc. etc. etc.). I don't know about anyone else, but I'm burnt out and overrun to the max with propaganda style news reporting. Quit beating something that's relatively moot to the majority of us. Who cares about the blow by blow about this guy. Just let me know when he gets caught and tell me the pertinent points in his trial. Other than that, use the time more wisely. Report on things that affect us all. Ask the important questions on important issues. They're all around us begging to be asked. PLEASE!
Posted By Anonymous Lace, WPB, Fl. : 11:37 PM ET
The person who said this could turn out to be another Waco might be correct. If anyone knows the true history of what happened there, Koresh and his Branch Davidians were presumed to be preparing for the end of the world by stockpiling weapons. When the WTF came in with guns blazing, the Davidians fought back in self-defense. It was reported that the Davidians committed mass suicide by burning down the compound but the move "Waco: The Rules of Engagement" presents another side.

The people questioned about Jeffs on the show tonight were either former members or outside observers. These people either have a bone to pick with Jeffs or are ignorant of the FLDS's beliefs and practices.

Has anyone issued a warrant against this man? If so, he needs to be captured, brought to trial and found innocent or guilty of his alleged crimes. It needs to be determined if the women he married were forced to or did so voluntarily. I don't know enough about whether state laws opposing multiple wives overrule the constitutional right to practice one's religion. But what I'm hearing is a lot of intolerance for a belief system that's radically different from the majority's. What's next? Intolerance against Muslims? Hindus? Buddhists?
Posted By Anonymous Dave Cornell, Hendersonville, NC : 11:38 PM ET
interesting choice of locations. it will never last or fulfill any prophecy from the Black Hills. Mr. Warren will only stir up the native indian population since the Black Hills are still considered sacred. The locals will drive him out because he is bad for tourism and local beliefs. Mr. Warren needs to look at Utah and build his stronghold there.
Posted By Anonymous Bishop, Pacific NW : 12:13 AM ET
Pray for the souls of these people.
Posted By Anonymous sheryl clyde, fairmont mn : 12:14 AM ET
It is written in the Bible, that not even the Son of God knows when the end days will be. Therefore, any mere mortal who professes to know the time--is a liar, not of God, and damned to the eternal!
Posted By Anonymous Jim Becker, Davison, Mi : 12:17 AM ET
They definately need to catch this man. Then they need to let the rest of his so called followers get the help they need to release themselves from him. Apparently, these people have/had very low self esteem and people of this man's nature pay the least bit of attention them and they suck it up and then they have been had....But,then again, the Bible says that "in the end" there will be more and more false prophets...these people may not have that long to wait...no one knows of the day or the hour.....
Posted By Anonymous S. Rodgers...Henryetta, Ok : 12:30 AM ET
This group, while they may share some similar beliefs as the mainstream Mormon church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints aka LDS or MORMON), they are not sanctioned or supported by the LDS church. In fact, most of these followers beleive the LDS church to be false and that they are indeed the real LDS church--hence their name, FLDS or Fundalmental Latter Day Saint.

Not all people who practice Polygamy though follow Warren Jeffs and live this type of lifestyle. There are many splinter groups that live rather normal lives and they don't beleive in taking young girls to wife.
Posted By Anonymous Kate M., Lehi, Utah : 12:50 AM ET
Thats not right....thats not what Christianity is about....what this guy leads is a cult. Hopefully the FBI finds this guy and locks him up.
Posted By Anonymous Mattison, Chilliwack BC : 1:08 AM ET
Pringle is about 200 miles from the Black Hills. Warren Jeffs and his harem give South Dakotans the creeps.
Posted By Anonymous Dan, Rapid City, SD : 1:54 AM ET
If it is one thing people are it's gullible. I mean look at this guy. He's such a nerdy looking dweeb, that the only way he was gonna get any women was say that he had some special relationship with God.
You can always count on a few people who need people like this dweeby looking nerd and will do anything he says...I would say that most preachers fall into this category.
They didn't have the guts to gain respect through decades of hard work and good deeds. They do it by automatically saying they are in a special relationship with god..and the women and respect come just automatically.
Look at him, the only way he could have gotten any women any other way would have been to buy em....
Posted By Anonymous John..New York : 10:09 AM ET
Cults have been around for a long time, what feeds them is avarice. Money power and sex drive all cults. All of them prey on weak people, the low IQ people, people with low self-esteem. That is why you will never see a self-confident person join a Cult, unless that person is the one leading the group. Or has gone completely bunkers.
Posted By Anonymous Walter Pittsburgh : 1:42 PM ET
Dan, Have you ever been south of Rapid City? Pringle IS in the Black Hills, surrounded by BH Natl Forest land! By your directions, Custer & Hot Springs arent in the Black Hills. To put it 200 miles away would put it on the Missouri River or in WY.
Posted By Anonymous Maggie, Rapid City SD : 4:36 PM ET
Did any one else feel a sense of irony last night, hearing of the abused women in the FLDS, as the news scroll on the bottom of the screen informed us that 40% of women in the Seattle area claimed to have been abused by a husband or boyfriend, and quoted and expert as saying the abuse was "epidemic" nationwide? Pot--meet kettle. Looks like monogamy has nothing on the polygamists.
Posted By Anonymous Kris, Centennial Park, AZ : 4:54 PM ET
Is it possible that W.C. Fields is right?
Posted By Anonymous evbrown, balto, md : 5:09 PM ET
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