Prophet's Prey: My Seven-Year Investigation into Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints

Prophet's Prey: My Seven-Year Investigation into Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints

by Sam Brower

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From the private investigator who cracked open the case that led to the conviction of Warren Jeffs, the maniacal prophet of the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), comes the page-turning, horrifying story of how a rogue sect used sex, money, and power disguised under a façade of religion to further criminal activities and a madman's vision.

In Prophet's Prey, Brower implicates Jeffs in his own words, bringing to light the contents of Jeffs's personal priesthood journal, discovered in a hidden underground vault, and revealing to readers the shocking inside world of FLDS members whose trust he earned and who showed him the staggering truth of their lives.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781608193257
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 08/01/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 251,723
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Private detective Sam Brower is the investigator who pushed forward the long and hard legal battles against Warren Jeffs and the radical Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints. Prophet's Prey, his gripping, behind-the-scenes account of bringing Warren Jeffs to justice, was adapted into a Showtime documentary directed by Amy J. Berg. Raised in the Mormon Church (mainstream LDS), he lives in Cedar City, Utah. Visit his website at
Private detective Sam Brower is the investigator who pushed forward the long and hard legal battles against the radical FLDS and Warren Jeffs. Raised in the Mormon Church (mainstream LDS), he lives in Cedar City, Utah. Visit his Web site at

Table of Contents

Preface Jon Krakauer vii

Chapter 1 Prey 1

Chapter 2 Ross 13

Chapter 3 "Uncle Warren?" 21

Chapter 4 UEP v. Holm 28

Chapter 5 Big Willie 34

Chapter 6 P.I. 40

Chapter 7 The Father 45

Chapter 8 Lost Boys 55

Chapter 9 Headmaster 61

Chapter 10 Coup 68

Chapter 11 Diversity 75

Chapter 12 Blood Atonement 80

Chapter 13 Death in the Family 87

Chapter 14 Stepmothers and Wives 95

Chapter 15 Predator 102

Chapter 16 The Record 110

Chapter 17 Whirlwind 118

Chapter 18 Twenty-one Men 128

Chapter 19 There to Stay 137

Chapter 20 On the Run 144

Chapter 21 Mancos 152

Chapter 22 Janetta 159

Chapter 23 Wicked 168

Chapter 24 Candi 176

Chapter 25 Twelve Years Old 185

Chapter 26 Grand Jury 190

Chapter 27 On the Road 197

Chapter 28 The Turf War 208

Chapter 29 Arrest 218

Chapter 30 Guilty 227

Chapter 31 Elissa 236

Chapter 32 Sarah 243

Chapter 33 Standoff 249

Chapter 34 Search 255

Chapter 35 Seizure 262

Chapter 36 Backfire 269

Chapter 37 Sinking Ship 276

Chapter 38 Stalker 285

Chapter 39 Town without Pity 294

Chapter 40 The Telephone 299

Afterword 312

Acknowledgments 318

Index 320

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Prophet's Prey 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 66 reviews.
Mike0301 More than 1 year ago
I'd advise anyone considering this book to also consider and read first Jon Krakauer's "Under the Banner of Heaven". By all means if you read Krakauer then "Prophet's Prey" is an absolute must-read. Sam Brower gives the reader a guided tour into the insanity of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints' (FLDS) way of life. If you've read some of the other books about polygamy, sexual abuse and the FLDS: Carolyn Jessop's "Escape", Spencer's "Cult of Insanity", Wall's "Stolen Innocence" , (the list goes on) then Sam Brower does a masterful job of bringing all of these disparate but similar characters and themes together. Be assured, this is NOT a rehash of old material you've read elsewhere, this is the story of the investigator who essentially ran Warren Jeffs to ground and got people to pay attention to the crimes Jeffs was committing in the name of religion. This is not Brower's self-serving account of investigation, he simply puts you in the car, taking you with him to shine the light on the madness that was the Warren Jeffs FLDS community.
lanabl More than 1 year ago
Living in St. George, UT, I have seen, heard and read much about polygamy and Colorado City/Hilldale. However, Sam Brower's 'Prophet's Prey' is the most comprehensive, straight-forward revelation of the true evil perpetrated against the "willing" followers. His account answers many questions, such as WHY, even today, so many continue to follow Warren Jeffs' madness. While the abuse has always been obvious concerning young girls, women, children and young men, the control and abuse of grown men was shocking. I have read several other books on this subject, but 'Prophet's Prey' digs deepest into the realities of "Living the Principle." Thank you, Sam Brower, for this exceptional read concerning present-day polygamy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well done timeline of the building crisis and the events leading to downfall of Jeffs. A good exmination of the investigative process that secured convictions from one of the investigators. Friendly casual retelling gives a good feeling of the cult culture.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sam has done the legwork here. Sit back and prepare to be captivated by the details of the SICK Warren Jeffs and his clan of predators! You won't want to stop reading! Thank you, Sam, for bsing so instrumental in the takedown of this monster!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is packed with great facts. Nice to get an insiders point if view.
BookAddictFL More than 1 year ago
Prophet's Prey is not about bigamy. Yes, bigamy is a part of the story but, bigamy in itself is far from the main issue. This is about a cult hiding under the sanctions of religion. This is about one man's journey to ultimate power, the corruption of an entire town, horrendous child abuse, the total absence of women's rights, ingrained fear, warped beliefs, and helplessness. This is also the story of a handful of people who stood up and, no matter the obstacles, did the right thing. Before reading this, I was aware of the headline stuff relating to Warren Jeffs and his FDLS religious group. After reading this, I realize the little I knew was twisted or ignored by the media. This book is an incredible read. I had to keep reminding myself that this is real, not fiction. Sam Brower takes us on an unbelievable journey into the heart of the FDLS, a warped offshoot of the Mormon religion. This is a powerful book written by a man I have immense respect for.
stormyknitter More than 1 year ago
How anyone could willingly be a part of a community such as Brower describes is beyond me. His dogged and patient investigation, chronicled in this book, would have given me bouts of PTSD! I know, it's probably not the whole story, but it is a real clear look at the FLDS community through the eyes of an investigator who has definitely seen it all.
betina sabbagh More than 1 year ago
So disturbing!! So upsetting!! Thank you Sam Brower for writting this book. This is something everybody should now about.
JBD1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A truly frightening look at the FLDS cult and its deranged (and now thankfully incarcerated) leader, Warren Jeffs. Brower, a private investigator who's been working on FLDS cases for almost a decade, offers as in-depth a look at the inner workings of this group as we're likely to get for the forseeable future. Tough to read, but well worth it.
knightlight777 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A well written account of Sam Browers' relentless effort to expose and hunt down the child predators who you the guise of religion for their devious purposes. Another example of religious zealotry run a muck not far from the mainstream. Two frightening things amongst many that struck me was how people are continuously brain washed my religious dogma and nothing will change that, also how our court system can blindly support such horrendous conduct in protecting the rights of religious freedom over child abuse. Though some of these culprits have been brought to justice there will be a never ending cadre to replace them and conduct the same crimes in secrecy to no end. Evil incarnate under the guise of religion.
silenceiseverything on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've read a few books about polygamy and I've always felt that it's reprehensible the way these cults treat their women and children, demeaning them, abusing them, by taking the word of the Bible and skewing those ideas to excuse their perverseness. It's just one subject that pisses me off to no end. So, I liked that Sam Brower didn't shy away from the cruelty that the FLDS inflicts on its members and didn't sugarcoat it. It is what it is. That being said, I found the Prophet's Prey, while an okay insight to the FLDS, just isn't as well-written and informative as Jon Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven. I found that the writing in Prophet's Prey was a bit clunky. It tended to shift around around a lot and while this is common in most non-fiction books, other authors tend to alternate it between chapters. However, Brower shifted around a lot within the actual chapters. When he wasn't shifting around within the chapters, he was repeating what was said in the previous chapters. It was particularly annoying when he kept plugging in other authors' works. One, maybe two times, I can deal with it. But he mentioned that Jon Krakauer was the author of Under the Banner of Heaven and that Carolyn Jessop wrote Escape about her time in the FLDS, 3 or 4 times. It was grating. I also found that Prophet's Prey dragged a fair bit. It was much more noticeable since the book is relatively short. Again, it could have been because a fair lot of the book was repeated, but I thought that for a book that short, it should have been a breeze to get through, yet it wasn't. In fact, while I sort of liked Prophet's Prey while I was reading it, I would still put it down for days at a time and just not bother to pick it up for a while. So, in the end, I found Prophet's Prey to be merely okay. Sam Brower's accomplishments with trying to bring Warren Jeffs to justice are awe-inspiring. However, the way that Prophet's Prey was written left a bit to be desired for me. I don't think it can hold a candle to Jon Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven and I found that book to be more comprehensive when it came to talking about the history of the FLDS.
ashiepoo84 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Such a great look into the FLDS church and the horrible crimes Jeff's committed. I found it very hard to put down but also didnt think I could continue reading it at parts. I thought I had known most of what he had done to the members of the church but was so wrong! This bookm truly opened my eyes to the horror of what he put them through. Such an eye opening read and will def be referring it to friends!
arelenriel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was simultaneously interesting and disgusting and terrifying at the same time. While I do support the idea of freedom of religion, religion no matter what it's form should not be taken as an excuse to harm children, violate and abuse the laws of the United States of America, (or whatever nation you live in) or to lie scam cheat and steal. There are to many ways to list how Browers depiction of FLDS (at least the denomination led by Jeffs) is terrifying. Their treatment of women is abominable and violates all major women's rights legislation that has been put into place in the last 150 years. This is sickening since the states of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico were amongst the first states (well really still territories at the time but still part of the U.S) to allow women the vote. The abuses of children illustrated by Brower makes me physically ill especially since in many cases state employees affiliated with this religious cult (cult-definition any group which splits off from the practices of the main religion due to outre or unusual practices or dogma) ignored complaints of abuse or tried to sweep abuses under the carpet.Despite the fact that it was disturbing this book was well written, well thought out and interesting. Brower's understanding of the thinking behind FLDS and the people involved in the case is excellent. I can't say this book was enjoyable since the topic is such as serious and controversial issue but it was good
PaperbackPirate on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When someone says "organized crime" I picture fedora hats, Italian food, and Tommy Guns. What I don't picture is pedophilia, rape, polygamy, and religious cults. Sam Brower opened my eyes to the story of Warren Jeffs, cult leader and organized crime boss.This book holds so many repulsive tales of what Jeffs did to the members of his Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints cult, centered in the Utah/Arizona border town, Colorado City. One thing he did to test their faith was tell them he had a vision that dogs were evil, and everyone had to get rid of their dogs by a certain date. After that date he had church members begin by killing all the strays in town. Then they proceeded to go door to door, demanding anyone who still had a dog to hand it over. After that they took the dogs out of town and started shooting them. Deciding that shooting them was too loud, they electrocuted the rest to death with a car battery.The horrifying thing is that Warren Jeffs treated the dogs better than the members of his cult. At least the dogs had a chance to get away.
lfoster82 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I don't quite know why, but I am fascinated with the whole FLDS/ Polygamy world. I think it's because it's so far from reality to me that it boggles my mind and I can't resist but to learn about it! I was a little apprehensive about this book being too laden with facts and figures to be interesting but I couldn't be more wrong. The book read more like a story than an account of an investigation. It shed light into the secretive and devious world of Warren Jeffs and his followers. It was a real page turner. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in this secluded sub-culture of our world!
Beamis12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found this book very disturbing, not just because of the subject matter, but because this happened here in America. How one man and a church could be so perverted and have so much power over people is astonishing. The fact that our government and authorities let it go on so long, when so many laws were broken. My heart goes out to all those young girls and boys that were caught up in this perversion. Thank good ness for Sam Brower and the other who took on this supposed church, definitely glad Warren Jeffs is in jail, but I seriously believe that every one of those parents should also be jailed.
amhamilt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Prophet's Prey is Sam Brower's account and insight into the life and crimes of Warren Jeffs, the leader of the polygamous FLDS cult. I've long been interested in the FLDS and have read several other accounts of life in the Colorado City, AZ area, known to residents simply as 'Short Creek.' Brower's account matches other material that I've read and seems to be well-researched. The book is engaging, interesting, and quick to read; he gives a snapshot into what life must be like for members of this notorious cult, and it is both fascinating and disturbing. One facet that Brower reports on that I have yet to read in other accounts is the detailed account of the circumstances surrounding Jeff's arrest and incarceration. I found this part of the book to be darkly interesting, Brower really gives the reader an understanding of just how depraved and unstable Warren Jeffs can be. My only criticism is that the author sometimes writes in cliches and is fond of overusing dramatic statements. The events portrayed in this book are exciting enough, no need to use short, dramatic statements to add excitement. Overall, I think the book was excellent and would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in the FLDS.
susiesharp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I always knew Warren Jeffs was a bad guy, I¿ve seen the news reports and read Carolyn Jessop¿s book but I didn¿t realize he ranked right up there with Jim Jones & David Koresh in getting people to believe everything he says and to do things no matter how bad. I think it¿s a good thing he was investigated and put in the spotlight because with his personality it could have ended the way Jonestown and Waco did. I also knew that he was a pedophile marrying young girls but what I didn¿t know was that he was also a pedophile abusing young boys. This was a very eye opening book, I learned much more about the FLDS than I knew before. It did bog down a bit in the middle but I just reminded myself that this was a 7 year investigation and that Sam Brower was extremely thorough. It is sad to see how CPS dropped the ball on the majority of these children and sent them back to their abusers, which is what they are no matter how brainwashed willing these girls may have been. This FLDS sect is not a religion that should be left alone for their beliefs this one is a full out Cult with the maniacal mad man at the helm, sexual abuse, kidnapping and quite possibly murder and attempted murder.Sam Brower¿s account of his investigation is one everyone should read as it doesn¿t gloss over anything , in this straight-forward account Sam reveals not only what the FLDS did to its own but how they threatened and stalked him. He also reveals who helped and who hurt the cases against this cult, which was also very interesting.The investigation into this FLDS cult did put some awful men in jail and brought national attention to what was going on inside the ¿walls¿ of this cult but, I think the worst part is, through it all not much has changed in their little world, the men who went to jail are seen as martyrs and are still in power from their jail cells. I just hope as Sam does that one day the hierarchy will admit it was wrong and the abuse will stop but for now who knows what is still going on there.4 Stars
sparemethecensor on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I grew up in a Mormon-majority area in Arizona, and I have always been fascinated by many elements of that religion. Perhaps more fascinating to me, though, has been their estranged cousin, FLDS, a cult borne out of a change in mainstream Mormon doctrine to disallow polygamy more than one hundred years ago.I have read Jon Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven and Irene Spencer's Shattered Dreams, so I came into Prophet's Prey knowing quite a bit about FLDS already. This book differs from those, however, in that it is written in a decidedly modern tone, all facts rather than narrative or flowery language. Sam Brower, the author, has worked as a PI investigating FLDS for many years, and his book is full of stories and information that were new to me. In particular, he focuses on Warren Jeffs, the "prophet" who is now in jail. I can't say that I "enjoyed" the book ¿ every story was more horrific than the last ¿ but this is a well-written book that brings to light all the horrifying things that have taken place in the cult, and perhaps even worse, all the law enforcement and social service agencies that have repeatedly turned blind eyes to the suffering of women and young adults in this community. My only complaint about the book might be that we don't see much of Sam Brower in it. Occasionally, he will comment on how instances of child abuse and sexual slavery hit him hard, as he is a father, but rarely do his personal feelings show. This makes sense given his no-nonsense attitude as a PI. However, since Brower is a Mormon himself, I was curious to know how his faith informed his views of the cult. For instance, much of the language and prophecy used by Jeffs and the FLDS comes from the Book of Mormon. The idea, mentioned in the book, that people should grow their gardens and store food in case of the apocalypse, is a belief held by mainstream LDS members. How did it affect him to see his own beliefs twisted this way? It could have added something very interesting to the book. Overall, I give this 4.5/5.0 stars. Definitely a read for those interested in the FLDS or modern cults in general.
ellasmeme on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Having read Jon Krakauer's "Under the Banner of Heaven" and Carolyn Jessop's "Escape," I was familiar with some of the disturbingly egregious behavior of Warren Jeffs and his minions, but Sam Brower's account goes deeper than either of these into the background of the FLDS as a religious and even financial and political organization. It is well worth the read just to know that such evil exists right here in the United States and will make you wonder why the states involved and even the federal government seem to resist putting an end to the debauchery of these men. A lot of questions are left unanswered, not by the author but just by the chain of events to date. Mr. Brower deserves more than a thank you for exposing the abuse suffered by everyone in Jeffs' path, not the least of which are women and children who are routinely sexually and psychologically abused and used, and for his courage in putting the truth on paper. Mr. Brower further proves the scripture "the love of money is the root of all evil."
JanaRose1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sam Brower is a private investigator, one who has dealt extensively with the FLDS, a polygamous cult. He clearly distinguishes the FLDS from the LDS, a distinction that not many understand or make. Throughout the book he outlines his investigations while providing a history of the FLDS, Jeffs rise to power and his myriad of abuses. Overall, I found this book to be a powerful, yet startling account of this little known sect and the impact it has had on many individuals.
mymia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Even if you have kept reasonably informed of the activities of Warren Jeffs and the FLDS, you will find new information in this book. After reading this, I realized how much the FLDS is manipulating the popular press to rehabilitate their reputation. This author does not condemn their religion or polygamy, but he is clear about the abuse and repression of women and children in this cult. It is fascinating to wonder why the adults in this group will willingly submit to the dictatorship of their leaders.The other thing that I realized while reading this book is how much of the fictional story Big Love was based in reality. I had always thought most of the Juniper Creek story line was the imagination of the writers. Time after time, I recognized characters and situations that paralleled the TV show. Fans of Big Love will enjoy connecting the dots.Whether or not you have read information on this group in the past, this is a worthwhile read. Becoming informed may help to stop the abusive ways of this group.
Darcia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Prophet's Prey is not about bigamy. Yes, bigamy is a part of the story but, bigamy in itself is far from the main issue. This is about a cult hiding under the sanctions of religion. This is about one man's journey to ultimate power, the corruption of an entire town, horrendous child abuse, the total absence of women's rights, ingrained fear, warped beliefs, and helplessness. This is also the story of a handful of people who stood up and, no matter the obstacles, did the right thing.Before reading this, I was aware of the headline stuff relating to Warren Jeffs and his FDLS religious group. After reading this, I realize the little I knew was twisted or ignored by the media. This book is an incredible read. I had to keep reminding myself that this is real, not fiction. Sam Brower takes us on an unbelievable journey into the heart of the FDLS, a warped offshoot of the Mormon religion. This is a powerful book written by a man I have immense respect for.
mkboylan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Prophet's Prey is the story of Sam Brower's seven year investigation into the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints and its leader, Warren Jeffs.  Brower, a private detective, was raised in the mainstreamMormon church.As an author, Brower is skilled at presenting the detailed factual information he discovered in his investigation, while illustrating these facts with the human stories. This skill keeps the reader deeply involved, and demonstrates the human cost, indeed the waste of human life, caused by this organization.  I was aware of the child abuse, sexual abuse and rape, perpetrated on females, which has been highly covered by other media.  Brower additionally addresses the ongoing, repeated rape of young males.  I had not been aware of the extent of corruption in government officials, as is well covered by Brower.  The most disheartening fact to me is that despite the convictions of several members, this group continues its  abuse of children and women.  Jeffs was in the news again this month, January 2012, for having his telephone privileges suspended. Yes, that's right, he was using telephone and other methods of communication to continue his role as head of this organization.  I believe that calls for a "WTF?!"This is a very readable and interesting book, not easy to put down. However, I recommend that you have something uplifting to read after you DO put this one down.
Rob.Larson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was published at just the right time, from my point of view. Warren Jeffs' trial in Texas ended in the late summer of 2011 with a very, very long prison term for "the prophet." [State prosecutor] Eric Nichols ended [his closing remarks] by reminding the jury of Jeffs¿ layout for a ¿Big House¿ at the YFZ Ranch. ¿Mr. Jeffs¿ he said, ¿the state of Texas also has a big house and this is where you belong for the rest of your days.¿ Having followed this case for some time, I was among a lot of other people who were happy to know that this individual will no longer be hurting young girls or others weaker than himself. His absolute power within this group is astonishing, at least to those of us outside the FLDS.I really had no idea of the background history about this sect, the FLDS (considered apostate by mainstream Mormanism). Sam Brower writes an interesting, albeit chilling account of this pseudo-religious leader and those who follow his every command. I found myself shaking my head in disbelief many times as I read this book; parts of it sickened me, especially the photos of Jeffs with his 12-year-old bride (having turned 12 only 24 days before this "spiritual" marriage).How is something like this possible in our country at this point in history? It's possible because lots of people looked the other way, or were afraid, or maybe some just didn't want to get involved, or wanted to have numerous under age wives, or did not want their family split up and their wives and/or children re-assigned to a different family, or any number of things, that I will never understand. But then, I was not subjected to the kind of upbringing that the people involved with Warren Jeffs' brand of religion were exposed to; if they displeased Jeffs in any way, or if he felt challenged, or just because he felt like it, they could and would be shunned by the entire community, kicked out of their homes, driven out of town, treated like pariahs, as well as many young men getting kicked out of their own community for no apparent reason other than getting old enough to rival the old goats for wives, into a world that was foreign to them, and on and on. Where does it stop?The sad answer is, it most likely never stops completely. Once in awhile someone like Warren Jeffs gets caught in his scheming manipulation, once in awhile someone like Sam Brower comes along who cares enough to doggedly pursue it, however a lot of these crimes are still being commited, in a twisted attempt to make the world believe they are practicing a ligitimate religious cause.This is an excellent book, the author worked very hard to publish it, and hopefully it will help shed some light into the darkest corners of a misbegotten "faith."