February 26, 2024

politics of law

Politics and Law

A primer on the abusive FLDS church, from its self-proclaimed prophet to forced underage polygamy

5 min read

In latest months, Netflix has launched a selection of harrowing real-criminal offense written content, from the “Conversations with a Killer” collection encompassing the John Wayne Gacy tapes to the “Our Father” documentary on disgraced fertility doc Donald Cline.

The streaming giant’s hottest installation is the docuseries “Maintain Sweet: Pray and Obey,” which revisits the unthinkable horrors of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Working day Saints (FLDS), a radical denomination of Mormonism.  

Regarded as the “one particular legitimate prophet,” Warren put in a long time brainwashing the shut-knit local community into non secular submission, selling little one sexual assault, bigamy and illegal relationship.

More than the program of four episodes, the collection attributes a number of survivor tales from former associates of the polygamous and abusive sect led by Warren Jeffs. Regarded as the “just one real prophet,” Warren put in several years brainwashing the shut-knit local community into non secular submission, advertising kid sexual assault, bigamy and unlawful relationship all in the name of faith.

Associated: Within the diaries of polygamous wives: Lifetime as an early Mormon lady

The documentary notes that Warren himself had 78 full wives, 24 of whom have been underage. In 2011, he was convicted of two felony counts of little one sexual assault, for which he is serving existence in jail and an more 20 yrs.   Watch a trailer for it under, by way of YouTube:


Nowadays, the FLDS is regarded as both a selected hate group and “a white supremacist, homophobic, antigovernment, totalitarian cult” by the Southern Poverty Legislation Middle. Here’s a closer appear at the church’s history, from its inception in 1890 to its methods and preachings.

The church’s founding

The FLDS was set up in 1890 just after a team of nonconforming adherents broke absent from the Mormon church in purchase to keep on practising polygamy. Because polygamy was considered unlawful in the point out of Utah (and nationwide), the team determined to settle in the towns of Hildale and Colorado City located on the Utah-Arizona border. The remote locations permitted them to comply with their customs and broaden their pursuing with tiny to no backlash from condition law enforcement agencies in possibly jurisdiction.  

In the course of the 20th century, the FLDS endured several crackdowns from the area govt that inadvertently designed the denomination stronger relatively than weaker. On July 26, 1953, all the FLDS users residing in Quick Creek, Arizona — which include 36 males, 86 ladies, and 263 small children — were arrested for the duration of a pre-dawn raid purchased by the state’s governor, John Howard Pyle. The raid’s consequence, nonetheless, did not go as planned as it garnered negative media coverage and botched the governor’s own political occupation. In its place, it bolstered public aid and sympathy for the rising sect of polygamists.

Rulon T. Jeffs’ reign

The 1st leader of the FLDS was John Y. Barlow, adopted by Joseph White Musser and then Charles Zitting, adhering to a quick scuffle in the group. Zitting was later on succeeded by Leroy S. Johnson, who led the sect until finally his death in 1986. That similar yr, Rulon T. Jeffs took over as prophet. Prior to his FLDS management role, Rulon served as a Superior Priest Apostle in Salt Lake Town right after moving back to city in the spring of 1945.

Between his followers, Rulon was usually recognised as “Uncle Rulon” and he “quite often designed selections based mostly on visions he claimed he obtained from a greater ability,” per Distractify.

In “Maintain Sweet: Pray and Obey,” just one of Rulon’s numerous wives, Alicia Rohbock, recounted the prophet’s dining space wall, which arranged each photo of Rulon’s companions in the get he married them. At the time of his death in September 2002, it was documented that Rulon had a lot more than 75 wives and fathered roughly 60 children. Quite a few of Rulon’s wives ended up also thought to have been underage at the time of their relationship — Rohbock, in unique, was just 20 decades of age when she married Rulon, who was 86.

“Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey” (Netflix)

Warren Jeffs normally takes over  

Rulon’s son, Warren rapidly assumed his place as prophet shortly just after his father’s death. What was at the time Rulon’s now belonged to Warren, including Rulon’s 70+ wives. Warren married all but two of his father’s associates and furthermore, took on his father’s previous responsibility of assigning wives to their designated husbands.  

Warren stripped females and ladies of their autonomy, ordering them to don a new variety of prairie dress that covered them from head to toe and style their hair in a specific manner.  

Many former customers of the FLDS recalled that Warren’s management marked a darkish period of time in the church’s longstanding historical past. Under his reign, principles for the sect’s customers became stricter with Warren dictating what they wore, who they married and what they ate. Warren also compelled users to flip above their personal house to the church’s leadership, demanded that small children be homeschooled and even prohibited associates from voting by telling them that he was the President of the United States . . .

Warren also banned the use of merchandise that were being the coloration pink (even however he owned a crimson Cadillac Escalade) banned diverse varieties of entertainment – like “dogs, toys, television, newspapers, the Net, birthday and Christmas celebrations, festivals, parades, tenting and fishing” – and inspired customers to tone down their emotions. 

A handful of his principles served to management the girls and females in the group. Warren facilitated various underage and incestuous marriages, forcing women as young as 14 decades previous to tie the knot with their distant family. The so-referred to as prophet also adhered to his personal policies and had 78 wives, 24 of whom had been underage.

Also, Warren stripped ladies and girls of their autonomy, ordering them to don a new sort of prairie dress that coated them from head to toe and fashion their hair in a certain style.   

Warren’s arrest

Warren turned a sought-out felon in 2005, when he was 1st indicted in Arizona on felony rates of arranging a marriage in between a 16-12 months-outdated girl and a 28-yr-old man, who was now married. The following yr he was arrested as an accomplice to rape for accomplishing an additional illegal relationship involving a 14-year-old female.

In 2007, Warren was observed guilty of two counts of rape and in 2008, he alongside with other FLDS members had been indicted on fees of bigamy and sexual assault.  

A few a long time later, on August 4, 2011, Warren was convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a kid underneath the age of 14 and sexual assault of a boy or girl beneath the age of 17. He is at the moment serving a existence sentence for the former and an extra 20 several years for the latter.

“Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey” is currently streaming on Netflix. 

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