Fugitive Fundamentalist Mormon Leader Has Perhaps Been Raptured Into Heaven, According to His Lawyer

Lyle Jeffs in January 2015. Photo via AP
Lyle Jeffs in January 2015. Photo via AP

All jobs have their difficulties, but representing Lyle Jeffs must pose a particular set of challenges. Jeffs, the acting head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is awaiting trial on federal fraud charges and slipped his ankle bracelet with the apparent help of some olive oil. In court filings, his public defender dryly noted that she still doesn’t know where he is. Heaven, maybe?

Jeffs and other FLDS leaders are accused of massive food stamp fraud; he was released on house arrest in June and disappeared almost instantly. The places he could be are endless: Mexico, Canada, South America, where the FLDS has compounds. Or, you know, in the loving and eternal embrace of the Lord, as his attorney Kathryn Nester wrote in a court filing that was spotted by the Washington Post. In a motion for a trial continuance, Nester wrote that her client is currently unable to let her know how he’d feel about that:

As this Court is well aware, Mr. Jeffs is currently not available to inform his counsel whether or not he agrees to the Continuance. Whether his absence is based on absconding, as oft alleged by the Government in their filings, or whether he was taken and secreted against his will, or whether he experienced the miracle of rapture is unknown to counsel.


The FBI says that Jeff is feuding with his brother Warren, who is the true head of the FLDS but is doing life plus twenty years in prison for raping teenage girls he took as “spiritual brides.” They also say they believe Lyle Jeffs was in Utah as recently as July, and may still be in the United States. They’re offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to Jeffs’ capture, which won’t be any good if he’s currently residing in his Father’s house, where there are many mansions.

Anna Merlan was a Senior Reporter at G/O Media until September 2019. She's the author of Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power.

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I wouldn’t mind if all the religious fundamentalists of the world got raptured right now, so the rest of us could enjoy the planet in peace.