ANDERSON COUNTY, Texas -- It has become a well-established holiday tradition -- polygamous prophet and convicted child-rapist Warren Jeffs issuing bizarre edicts and doomsday proclamations from behind the walls of a Texas prison.
Jeffs, who was sentenced to life behind bar last year for raping two underage girls on his sprawling West Texas compound known as the YFZ Ranch, has managed to maintain an ironclad control over his thousands of followers. Despite the fact that he has been incarcerated since 2006, he has been able to communicate his wishes to FLDS faithful, seemingly at will.
According to multiple sources, this year Jeffs has ordered his flock to stop eating all dairy products and processed foods. Also on the prophet's forbidden foods list are oatmeal, corn and turnips.
Jeffs also is once again predicting the apocalypse and "a scourge of death" upon those who don't confess their sins.
To that end, he reportedly told his all his followers to "build a backpack" and be ready to leave at a moment's notice.
But certainly the most dramatic development along the Utah/Arizona border was Friday's sudden closure of the one and only grocery store in Colorado City, the CMC Food Town. Also suddenly shuttered last weekend were the town's hardware store and the local Radio Shack.
"That kind of stuff doesn't happen without Warren's blessing" said one-time Jeffs follower and now vocal critic Isaac Wyler.