This is the text of an FLDS primary song.

WE LOVE YOU, UNCLE WARREN

Uncle Warren is a tall man; he is nearly six-feet-four,
He sometimes has to duck a bit when coming through a door;
But never is he known to flee or duck responsibility.
Uncle Warren is a slender man; but he’s so kind to all,
It’s a wonder such a great big heart could fit a frame that small.
And every time I shake his hand, I feel my own little heart expand.

(Chorus)

Uncle Warren is a perfect Priesthood man;
To the Prophet he is loyal through and through.
And he’s so full of love for our Father above,
You just can’t help but love him, too.

Uncle Warren is a young man; he is only forty-five.
But you’d think he’s lived a thousand years because he is so wise.
He keeps a prayer in all his thoughts and edifies each time he talks.
Uncle Warren is a peaceful man; he never will contend,
Or criticize or hold a grudge with either foe or friend.
And yet he’s not afraid to fight to put down wrong and build up right.

(Chorus)

Uncle Warren is a busy man; he works from dawn to dark
To carry out the Prophet’s will with all his mind and heart.
But he will take the time with joy to greet each little girl and boy.
Uncle Warren is a plain man; he doesn’t care for show.
He shuns the fame and riches that most men covet so.
Yet in his humble dignity, he’s greater than a king to me.

(Chorus)

Uncle Warren is a sober man; he’s always in control.
He’s careful not to laugh too loud even when a joke is told.
And yet he’s cheerful all the while, encouraging others with his smile.
Uncle Warren is a mortal man; he, too, was sent through birth
To work out his salvation and prove himself on earth.
And yet with every step he takes, he’s helping others make the grade.

Uncle Warren is a perfect Priesthood man;
To the Prophet he is loyal through and through.
And he’s so full of love for our Father above,
You just can’t help but love him, too.
You just can’t help but love a Priesthood man.

What strikes me as fascinating here is not that they’ve got a hymn celebrating the multifarious virtues of their prophet (we’ve jettisoned a few of those over the years, but still have “Follow the Prophet,” (interestingly, these lyrics almost match that tune) “Praise to the Man,” and that one I sung in Primary that named all the presidents of the church and ended – when I sung it – with ‘Ezra Taft Benson, we honor him’). It’s not the somewhat awkward rhyme pattern (that ‘grade’ is alarmingly jarring), or the new title “Priesthood man” (with its evocations of ‘Mormon Boy’). Rather, it’s the nature of those virtues.

What we see here is Warren Jeffs as Joseph Smith – Uncle Warren to Brother Joseph. He’s tall, like Joseph. Young, like Joseph. He’s plain folk, like Joseph the farmboy. His primary fault is that he takes time out from his important work to play with children. He doesn’t like to fight, but he will if he has to.

And all these virtues, of course, are those of Christ, who ate with publicans, chastised his apostles for barring children from his presence, and – at least according to Del Parson, says Robert Rees – looks strikingly like Joseph.

Does this bundle of prophetic characteristics have more to do with these men, or with us? Do the FLDS carry in their genes this rhetorical longing for Joseph – the handsome, fiery, active prophet? And do we still have it? We celebrate President Hinckley’s kindness and humor, his vigor, in a way. But do we still hunger for Joseph’s charisma?