Ex-FLDS man wins child custody case involving Warren Jeffs

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ST. GEORGE — Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs was called to testify in a child custody battle playing out in a courtroom here.

Appearing on monitors in the 5th District Courthouse, the leader of the Fundamentalist LDS Church gave a videotaped deposition in Lorin Holm’s lawsuit against his ex-wives. He has named Jeffs as a defendant.

Late Thursday, Judge James Shumate awarded Holm permanent legal and physical custody of his children.

Jeffs was deposed from a Texas prison cell where he is serving a life sentence for child sex assault related to underage marriages. Jeffs sat behind a mesh screen, sporting a white sweatshirt and glasses. His hair, shaved when he arrived at prison, had apparently grown back. Jeffs appeared gaunt.

As the testimony began, Holm’s ex-wife, Lynda Peine, got up and marched out of the courtroom. She did so every time evidence was presented about Warren Jeffs’ crimes. Holm’s lawyer, Roger Hoole, tried to have her brought back into the courtroom.

To almost every single question in the 3 1/2 hour deposition, Jeffs would not answer.

“I refuse to answer based upon my rights under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution,” Jeffs said.

Judge James Shumate cut off the testimony, asking what Jeffs’ refusal to answer has to do with a custody case.

“We have a pedophile controlling the lives of these children,” Hoole said. “They need to see this.”

Hoole insisted the absence of an answer was impactful. Shumate took the deposition into evidence, but ended the playback of testimony.

Lynda Peine’s attorney, Rod Parker, has repeatedly objected to much of the testimony and evidence being offered in the trial. He argued that FLDS members were being stereotyped as operating in lockstep with leaders and that Holm was seeking to put the religion on trial.

Holm is suing two of his ex-wives for permanent custody of his children. He has claimed his daughters are in danger of sexual abuse and his sons are in danger of being exploited.

On the witness stand, he described being ousted from the FLDS Church. He said leaders called him in and told him: “You have been found judged and you don’t hold the priesthood.”

His wives, Lynda Peine and Patricia Peine, left him and took their children. Holm testified they had declared him an “apostate.”

Holm said he later came to learn Jeffs had renounced himself as a prophet and had been sent to prison for child sex assault. That’s when he decided to sue for custody of his children.

Testifying in his trial, Holm said he is allowing his children to dress in the traditional FLDS manner “out of respect for their mothers’ wishes.” He said he put the children in public school. Asked about religion, Holm said he wants his children to “follow the teachings of the Savior.”

Patricia Peine was unable to testify in the trial, but in an earlier deposition she indicated she believed Warren Jeffs is still a prophet.

“Is he still directing the church?” Hoole said, reading a question from the deposition.

“Yes, he is,” Patricia replied.

14 comments

  • Common sence

    Your F***ING kidding me right?! WOW! Even the surreal trippy LSD junky Jo Smith would be turning in his grave. I’m pretty sure child molestation was not in Jesus teachings or in any “vision in a hat” LDS principles. Nice work St. George for not throwing this shizznit out of court and not putting all these child molesters in jail.

    • MQB3

      You are dumber than a bag of hammers, especially for a guy whose online moniker is “Common Sense.”

      If you HAD any common sense you’d READ THE STORY before launching into a dimwitted Mormon-hating rant. The guy was suing to get his kids OUT of the hands of the child molester cult.

      And LSD was invented in the 1950s, more than 110 years after Smith died. Try to keep up.

      • Emmanuel Goldstein

        It was perfectly normal in the 1800’s for girls of 15/16 to marry older men. You can hate on LDS all you want, but bashing Joseph Smith for doing something that everyone in that time period did just makes you look ignorant.

    • JF

      FLDS IS NOT A MORMON RELIGION.

      Read the story before you go on ranting about the Mormons who don’t practice polygamy anymore. The FLDS to the LDS is like the Lutheran church to the Catholics. They broke off a long time ago and do not believe the same anymore.

  • Cara Curfew-Kociela

    YAY!!! A UT Judge FINALLY did something right!!! BUT, I wonder what this will do the Sister Wives attorney and the whole thing about “lost boys” and men being “kicked out” is a “myth” ??? They are using this in their case against the State of UT… hope that the AG sees that the case is a waist of $$ and just gets rid of it… polygamy is nothing but a terror on womens rights, a terror on the pocket books of UT TAX PAYING people and a terror on the children that are forced to live it… AND it is NOT a “choice” … if you were raised to believe that if you do not live the plural life than you will never go to “Zion” & for the men FLDS & AUB if they do not have at least 3 “wives” they will not make it to the “top” level of Zion… SO… Now, with this ruling I am in hopes that the UT and AZ AG pay attention and actually DO something rather than just talk about it.

  • kristin schwiermann

    The browns do not practice this kind of polygamy. Their children have the free agency to practice plural marriage or not. Warren Jeffs is an extremest….A false prophet!….And LDS do not believe in polygamy anymore…. This man deserves his children and to be out and away from that life!

  • Jamin Jackson

    Something tells me Joseph Smith would have trouble talking bad about Warren Jeffs.

    Daughter of Heber C. Kimball. At aged 14, Helen Mar Kimball wrote,[33]

    “[My father] asked me if I would be sealed to Joseph … [Smith] said to me, ‘If you will take this step, it will ensure your eternal salvation & exaltation and that of your father’s household & all of your kindred.[‘] This promise was so great that I willingly gave myself to purchase so glorious a reward.”
    William Clayton listed her as one of Smith’s wives married during the early May 1843 period

    Lucy Walker Wrote about her plural marriage to Smith at age 16,[33][42]

    “In the year 1842 President Joseph Smith sought an interview with me, and said, ‘I have a message for you, I have been commanded of God to take another wife, and you are the woman.’ … He asked me if I believed him to be a Prophet of God. … He fully Explained to me the principle of plural or celestial marriage … that it would prove an everlasting blessing to my father’s house. … [Joseph encouraged her to pray] ‘that the grave would kindly receive me that I might find rest on the bosom of my dear [recently deceased] mother … Why Should I be chosen from among thy daughters, Father I am only a child in years and experience.’ And thus I prayed in the agony of my soul. … [The marriage] was not a love matter—at least on my part it was not, but simply the giving up of myself as a sacrifice to establish that grand and glorious principle that God had revealed to the world.”

    On another note I’m glad this guy fought for custody, a lot of the lost boys I know have fathers who have been banished from the community for a time of “repentance” and they are still controlled by the system even though they are out of the community. Hopefully he is looking for answers outside of the FLDS and LDS of how to raise his children. I feel bad for their mother and other comunity members who still think Warren is the voice of God. Or anyone in the FLDS for that matter. If you want to help there is an organization i voulenteer for called Holding Out Help, you can google it, they are working hard to come along side people in the FLDS, knowing that all FLDS are not bad people, or bad parents, and that they have a huge mental battle to overcome to win their freedom and their family back. How does this happen in the Uninted States. It all started with Joseph Smith.

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