Mormon polygamist cult leader Warren Jeffs:
Two days left to repent (or live it up)
At first, FLDS Church leader Warren Jeffs told followers the end of the world was scheduled for December 23, 2012.
Perhaps you noticed. We’re still here.
Not to worry. The polygamist cult leader has assured his flock that the end will still come sometime before 2013.
Doomsday cults dumb enough to commit to a date are nothing new. When the fateful day passes calamity-free, they usually resort to one or a combination of these “explanations”:
- This proves we were right. The end came. Just not in the way that was expected. (After umpteen failed predictions, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-Day Adventists and others finally settled on and still use this one.)
- This proves we were right. The end is coming. Soon. Honest it is. It’s just that our timing was a little off due to a miscalculation or calendar error (“Hey, God is perfect, but we’re not”).
- This proves we were right. The end of the world was on schedule, exactly as predicted. BUT: Enough people heard our message and repented to stay God’s hand (“Aren’t we great? We frickin’ saved the world!”); God decided to give the world one more chance and a little more time (“Is God merciful or what?”); or the faithful weren’t faithful enough to bring it about (“You wimpy, insufficiently faithful followers better repent and try harder next time”).
Most cult followers are students only of their own cult, so they don’t realize that throughout history charlatans and the deluded alike have used these same “explanations” over and over to survive failed predictions. Followers simply buy the rhetoric and emerge from the failure more convinced, more ardent. After all, no matter which one or ones they buy, it opens with “this proves we were right.”
Having shifted from December 23 to sometime before 2013, Jeffs appears to be going with Explanation 2 for now. If you’re into Pascal’s Wager, Gentle (Gentile?) Reader, it appears that you have two days to repent. Or, if you’re not, to live it up.
To see how rival polygamist cult leader James Harmston explained his failed end-of-world prediction for March 25, 2000, see “It’s Not About the Sex” My Ass, chapter 11, “Jesus Returns and Destroys the World (and How You Managed to Sleep Through It”).