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Remote polygamist FLDS compound in South Dakota once run by Warren Jeffs has asked authorities to let them DOUBLE their water use

  • Seth Jeffs, brother of Warren Jeffs, originally asked authorities if the compound could triple its intake
  • A written objection from the Water Rights Branch of the National Park Service noted that increase would be enough to serve 4,372
  • Meanwhile, Jeffs claimed he wasn’t sure how many people live on the 140-acre compound near Pringle where he spends nearly all his time

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Published:
18:18 EST, 9 July 2015

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Updated:
18:48 EST, 9 July 2015

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New leader? Seth Jeffs, brother of Warren Jeffs, spends all his time at the South Dakota compound where he's asking for more water but claimed to local authorities he doesn't know how many people live there

New leader? Seth Jeffs, brother of Warren Jeffs, spends all his time at the South Dakota compound where he’s asking for more water but claimed to local authorities he doesn’t know how many people live there

Members of the secretive polygamist compound in South Dakota once presided over by jailed fundamentalist Mormon cult leader Warren Jeffs have asked local officials for permission to double their allowable water use. 

Surrounded by impenetrable walls on a dead end road and featuring an intimidating watchtower at its periphery, the facility outside Pringle is one of a handful that Jeffs’ thousands of followers call home.

Meanwhile, Seth Jeffs, the convicted sex offender leader’s brother, claims he doesn’t know how many people are living in the 140-acre compound. 

Seth Jeffs, the compound’s ‘water operator’, originally asked for permission to withdraw up to 300 gallons per minute from a nearby aquifer, which would have tripled their capacity.

Months later, in December, a written objection from the Water Rights Branch of the National Park Service noted that increase would be enough to serve 4,372.

In response, Seth Jeffs lowered his request to a maximum of 200 gallons per minute, reports the Rapid City Journal.

‘We hope this relieves your fears and concerns,’ Jeffs wrote in a letter to government officials at the time.

South Dakota regulators said Thursday they want more information from the secretive polygamist group before they decide on the request to draw water more quickly at the Black Hills compound.

The state Water Management Board voted Thursday that the group needs to come back with more details, including how many people are living on the compound, which has multiple buildings and sprawling gardens. 

Seth Jeffs appeared reluctant to answer questions.

The board refused to exclude evidence about the group’s faith and members’ personal details, but little information was forthcoming.

Still expanding? Warren Jeffs, leader of a secretive polygamist Mormon offshoot, has been jailed since 2006 but his following may still be growing

Still expanding? Warren Jeffs, leader of a secretive polygamist Mormon offshoot, has been jailed since 2006 but his following may still be growing

Still around: A gleaming $30 million Texas compound built by the FLDS church for Jeffs has been seized by federal authorities but FLDS communities remain in several states and Canada

Still around: A gleaming $30 million Texas compound built by the FLDS church for Jeffs has been seized by federal authorities but FLDS communities remain in several states and Canada

Jeffrey Connolly, an attorney for the group, argued in a filing with the South Dakota Water Management Board that information about the group’s faith isn’t relevant to the application the board would consider Thursday morning.

He asked that evidence and testimony regarding the group’s religion, details about the trust, allegations that the group ‘is a ‘secretive organization’ or is engaged in ‘abnormal activity” and personal details about its members be excluded. 

Jeffs told the board he’s unaware how many people live at the compound, though he spends almost all his time there.

Jeffs also said he doesn’t know much about the leadership of a trust there run by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Board members were incredulous, a reaction the Jeffs family must by now be accustomed to.

Warren Jeffs was convicted in 2011 of sexually assaulting two minors whom he described as his spiritual wives. At trial, prosecutors presented DNA evidence to show he fathered a child with one of those girls, aged 15.

Jeffs is serving a life prison term in Texas. He has continued to try to lead his roughly 10,000 followers from behind bars. The sect is a radical offshoot of mainstream Mormonism whose members believe polygamy brings exaltation in heaven. 

In addition to the South Dakota compound, FLDS communities remain in the sister cities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona (Source)

In addition to the South Dakota compound, FLDS communities remain in the sister cities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona (Source)

Ordered by Jeffs? Just this month, construction of a huge wall around the FLDS meeting house began in Colorado City 

Ordered by Jeffs? Just this month, construction of a huge wall around the FLDS meeting house began in Colorado City 

 

 

 

 

 

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