Texas is having extreme heat and we’ve been staying indoors as much as possible. Get everything done early before the temperature hits 100! It’s even uncomfortably warm at night in the summer in Texas. And summer starts way before the calendar says it does. It’s the same for other Gulf coast states. Hot!
https://open.spotify.com/episode/4nmiI6QxLA4lKnNk3Il2W2?si=_UsuO9kESR-QUFZjDfSVPg Spotify podcast Keep Sweet and Obey podcast episode
Since we are limiting our driving thanks to gas prices, staying indoors means staying home. To pass the time while cooped up last Saturday, after many chores, My husband and I binge-watched a disturbing Netflix documentary limited series called Keep Sweet and Obey. It’s a show about a cult called FLDS which is loosely based on Mormon teachings but is more like a sex and fertility cult. This is not the only Mormon-based cult, but it’s probably the most famous because of the fact that their leader is in prison for life and yet they still follow him. His name is Warren Jeffs and his Eldorado, Texas compound was raided in 2008. Somehow, the fact that this bizarre and evil situation happened in Texas made it that much more disturbing.
The leader of this cult, Warren Jeffs, is not just polygamous, he is a pedophile who raped his own brothers. He is a cult dictator regularly acted in cruel and what would be considered illegal ways in the ‘real world’, but went uncontested within the extremely isolated and controlled FLDS world. Thanks to the dogged determination of a few people, he is now locked up, but his brainwashed followers still believe he is God’s man on earth and even think of him as God.
I highly recommend watching the series. I came away with the unnerving realization that there is a very dark and evil force IN AMERICA that protected this man and his empire for a long time. I also found out about some other polygamous FLDS off-shoots that are considered organized crime rings.
I was discussing this series with a friend who loves reading about and watching cult documentaries. She told me that there are many of these extreme cults in America and our laws do nothing to protect the children and women, and even men, who are born into them and become work and sex slaves to the men who control them. In fact, these cults control the local law enforcement so that unless someone from outside gets involved, the victims have no where to go for help.
That thought was quite scary to me! Isn’t this country all about freedom and protecting the rights of individuals with laws? Evidently if you are born into a cult you have no rights and ‘freedom of religion’ gives these cult leaders a cover for all kinds of abuses. The only crimes that get attention are financial crimes, while forcing members from childhood to work for the cult, controlling members by threats of cosmic annihilation, dictating every move they make and using surveillance cameras and guards to detect disobedience, one man choosing everyone’s marriage partners even when they actively resist; all of these are overlooked. The fact that some of the members, mostly the men, are there by ‘choice’, mostly born into the cult, is the excuse that these are religious beliefs and not civil rights abuses. You have to watch the show to see just how egregious these abuses were. Families were ripped apart, women and children given to other men, and fathers sent away in order to preserve the power of the Warren Jeffs.
As for Jeffs, his arrest had to be a direct intervention from God. He was able to escape any consequences for his evil for quite a long time. Until a phone call to CPS that turned out to be fake brought the local authorities to his compound. It was not easy to find him because he was on the lam with friends, spending $300,000 a week of the members money while having fun traveling the country with a few of his devoted followers. I can only guess what would cost that much: most likely hookers and drugs and expensive hotels .
Not only were they into polygamy, they were into building an army of pure cult members to take over America. One of Jeffs’ former wives claimed in a court document that certain premium men were selected to be the impregnaters of all of the women and that the women were required to perform sex acts on each other as well . https://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=2451362&itype=CMSID
While observing the members who were interviewed for this series and seeing how they were under complete mind control, It was not difficult to see parallels with the cult-like followings of political leaders. QANON comes to mind, some Trump followers, Obama drones, anyone who blindly agrees with a charismatic, hypnotically-voiced man behind the podium. The sad truth is that the vast majority of the world is very, very easily led.
I’m headed out the door to volunteer again for Vacation Bible School where trusting parents drop off their children with strangers to let them be taught and entertained. Imagine if there was an evil person orchestrating the lessons. Children rarely tell their parents what ‘they learned today at school’ with any accuracy. These children could be taught anything and are pretty much at the mercy of all the adults who volunteered for the job. Although safety practices are supposedly in place, there is actually quite a risk involved anytime you leave your child with adults that you don’t know or even some that you do. But we do it, because most of us are good people and we trust others to be good people. We believe that churches are safe places.
But men like Warren Jeffs, and his father, and the other men who rule the women and children in that cult and others like it, they are not good people. There church is not a safe place. It’s a dungeon of abuse and mind control. The last episode of the series reveals the horrors. And more should be done to protect their victims.
God bless the people that put that man behind bars and please wake up his brainwashed followers and please strike the men that continue his legacy. Save the children and the women who are helpless to escape from this prison of lies and abuse. And heal the minds of the ones who were kicked out or managed to leave. Amen.
What do you think? Are cult members victims that need protection or are they freely engaging religion? What about their children? How do we balance freedom of religion with the need to end generational abuse? Why do you think the Mormon cult economic model that uses unpaid labor is allowed to continue? (Note: I am aware that not all Mormons are in abusive cults. However, their particular theology does easily lead to this type of patriarchal mind control.)