Award-winning journalist Weyermann (The Gang They Couldn’t Catch: The Story of America’s Greatest Modern-Day Bank Robbers—And How They Got Away With It, 1993) throws open the curtains on the deplorable actions of Warren Jeffs and his polygamous sect.
The Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) has been portrayed as a persecuted religion with women and children forcefully handled by armed soldiers as the government ran roughshod over their rights to religious freedom. There is another side to the story, writes the author, who tells it through the brave voices of the lawyers, police and brutalized FLDS victims who have all fought to bring down this powerful offshoot of the Mormon church. FLDS established its own prophets and continued to practice polygamy—requiring men to take at least three wives if they wanted to achieve salvation—long after their Mormon brethren abolished it. Mathematically, however, this posed a problem of too many men and not enough women, leading to the systemic rape of young girls through forced marriage to significantly older men and the expulsion of possible rivals, teen-aged “lost boys.” All this was brought to a maniacal pitch by Jeffs, who, after declaring himself prophet, siphoned off taxpayer dollars from lobbyists who kowtowed to the powerful FLDS lobby. Weyermann’s powerful exposé on the FLDS’ origins, it’s subsequent rise to power and how it held court over the U.S. political system is essential reading as the struggle for justice continues today.
A masterful exploration of one of America’s most shameful secrets.