SALT LAKE CITY – Just three months before Elizabeth Smart disappeared, the man suspected of kidnapping her declared himself a messenger of God and said it was God's will that true followers live with multiple wives.
In a rambling 27-page tract typed out on a computer a year ago, Brian David Mitchell had a special word for his wife: "Thou wilt take into thy heart and home seven sisters, and thou wilt recognize them through the spirit as thy dearest and choicest friends from all eternity."
He goes on to prophesy that his wife will take on "seven times seven sisters, to love and care for; forty-nine precious jewels in thy crown." But she will remain the "jubilee of them all, first and last."
Mitchell's wife, Wanda Barzee, is not referred to by name in the text but is called Hephizibah Eladah Isaiah, which translates to "God Adorneth," one of her nicknames on the street.
Authorities are expected to charge Mitchell, 49, and Barzee, 57, as early as Monday with kidnapping Elizabeth last June.
The manifesto is in the hands of authorities, who are trying to figure out whether "sisters" is a euphemism for "wives" and whether the declarations have anything to do with Smart's disappearance.
The document, written in February and March 2002 and obtained Friday by The Associated Press, was seized Thursday at the Montana home of one of Mitchell's relatives.
It offers a revealing look into Mitchell's mindset in the months before Smart's disappearance. Calling his tract "The Book of Immanuel David Isaiah," Mitchell writes as if he is a direct conduit from God.
In an entry dated March 2002, Mitchell explains his justification for polygamy: The people of the church have forgotten the "law of consecration," a Mormon teaching that calls on people to pool their belongings and live communally, and God has punished them by commanding them to have "one wife only" — a "lesser blessing."
But because God is just and merciful, those who truly follow him can reclaim the blessing of multiple wives — God's true intention, Mitchell writes.
Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of the Mormon faith, told followers "revelations" to him from God included the privilege of claiming multiple wives. The Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints renounced polygamy in 1890, but has struggled ever since with fundamentalist splinter groups that continue to embrace polygamy.
Mitchell and his wife were excommunicated from the church a few years ago for "activity promoting bizarre teachings and lifestyle far afield from the principles and doctrines of the Church," Mormon leaders said this week.
Mitchell's script is rooted in the revelations of Smith and the formal language of the King James version of the Bible. But he radically departs from mainline Mormonism, inserting himself as a prophet and citing the writings of an excommunicated Mormon scholar and several New Age figures as sacred.
Among them is Betty Eadie, who wrote a best-selling account of her near-death experience. Mitchell classifies her book, "Embraced by the Light," as part of a group of seven texts that should be considered holy.
At the document's end, Mitchell returns to explaining his own religious mantle. He predicts that people might not put him in his proper place, but that doesn't bother him — they didn't do that for Jesus either.