Thursday, June 16, 2022

DOCUMENTARY WEEKEND: KEEP SWEET

 Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Last weekend I watched an excellent four-part documentary series streaming on Netflix. Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey delves into the lives of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints––the polygamy-loving Mormons who force women into marriages in which they might be the second wife, the third, or the twentieth.


Their president from 1986 until his death in 2002 was Rulon Jeffs (left above), known as the prophet, who ended up with 60 - 65 wives and as many children. Many of his wives were underage. It was not their idea to marry Uncle Rulon, as he was known. Some of the wives describe their experiences in the series. They were shockingly ignorant of what would be expected of them in marriage, with no comprehension of sex.

Rulon often told young people to Keep sweet, which meant they should control their emotions. Protesting their lot in life, which could include domestic abuse and rape, would do them no good.

Before Rulon died, he singled out his son Warren as his replacement. Life for FLDS women became worse. All of the women had to dress the same and have the same hairdo. He moved his band of fools to the Utah-Arizona border, where the "church" owned all the property and a man who might be a threat in some way lost his home, wives, and children. Those wives were then married to other men, and their children became the children of the new husband.


 Dozens of young boys, who would one day want to marry, were cast out to live on the streets of Salt Lake City and other communities.

Warren, not satisfied with simply marrying most of his late father's wives, took on his own circle of young girls to "marry" and rape, including at least one 12 year old. When he moved the group to a new location in Texas, it proved to be his undoing. 

The series made my heart break for those girls, but after reading Under The Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer and watching the series of the same name on Hulu, I was relieved to know that some of the women have escaped from polygamy and now have the opportunity to provide a face and a voice to the stories of their suffering.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


26 comments:

  1. Aaaargh.
    I am glad for the ones who escaped, but my heart aches for the many who didn't and for the damage they are forced to endure.

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    1. During the group's move to Texas, many little girls were taken away from their mothers, who were forced to stay behind in Utah. Some of them have been reunited, but not all.

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  2. Don't have Netflix so I probably won't see this. But I've seen a number of other documentaries about similar things. When I was in college I investigated Mormonism. The idea of having more than one wife sounded kind of appealing. Now after having been married three different times I'm not sure 3 at one time would be such a good idea.

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    1. It's definitely not a good idea for the women.

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  3. Mormons of any ilk are a conniving cult.

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    1. The concept of having as many family members as possible in order to get into heaven and becomes gods themselves is a strange one.

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  4. At least Warren Jeffs is how serving a life sentence for rape in prison, even if his cult continues to proclaim his innocence.

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  5. Incredible what goes on under the guise of religion.

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    1. That includes the evangelical Christians who support trump.

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  6. One should never be amazed at what is done in the name of religion - repelled, yes, but amazed, never.

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    1. I'm certainly repelled, but I'm shocked and amazed by many things in the world.

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  7. I saw a documentary on Warren Jeffs a few years ago. Sick and sad.
    xoxo

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  8. Janie, my husband and I just finished watching this a few days ago. As a woman, and as a mother of two daughters, I can't tell you how upsetting all this was. My husband was also deeply disturbed. So many people use religion as an excuse for abusive and criminal behaviour. It's disgusting.

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    1. I was especially upset about the women whose daughters were taken away from them and the fact that women were present when Warren Jeffs married and raped young girls.

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    1. I am glad I can say I was not sexually abused as a child. Can you imagine being raped at 12 years old? At any age would be horrible, but the thought of such a thing being done to a child makes me sick.

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  10. It's beyond disturbing. Seeing those girls, it gives me a visceral reaction. Ugh.

    Love you.

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    1. It's absolutely disgusting to subject girls to such an existence.

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  11. Thank you for reminding me to check this one out. These days, in need of light fictional movies, I find myself watching fewer documentaries, . I need to get back to true stories, even the hardest ones.

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    1. I think the true stories are important, too, Mirka.

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  12. I saw this was newly available and have it in my watch list. I'll have to be in a prepared frame of mind to watch it, I think.

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    1. Although it's 4 parts, it goes by fast. I watched all of it in a single afternoon. Over and done with.

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  13. This is the type of documentary that can be hard to watch but needs to be seen

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    1. I agree, Jo-Anne. If we don't know about evil, then how can we fight it?

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