October 4, 2022
Polygamy, underage 'wives', and women treated as 'chattel': Inside Warren Jeffs's Fundamentalist Mormon sect

‘Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey’, a new Netflix documentary, delves into the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as a structure of coercive control and systemized abuse. Clémence Michallon reports

The man known as the prophet was arrested in a red Cadillac outside of Las Vegas. Warren Jeffs, the head of a polygamist sect, had been “living the high life”, a private investigator would later recall. He had been to Disney World. He had celebrated Mardi Gras in New Orleans. He had gone to strip clubs. He had worn “gentile clothing” instead of the clothes he expected his followers to wear. He had kept the company of his “favorite wives”.

At the time, Warren Jeffs was a high-profile fugitive, recently bumped to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list. He had been charged in Arizona with two counts of sexual conduct with a minor, one count of conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor, and unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. In Utah, he faced a charge of rape as an accomplice.

On 28 August 2006, a routine traffic stop led to Warren Jeffs’s arrest. The license plates on his vehicle were obscured. He and other passengers were pulled over. Warren’s brother Isaac Jeffs was driving; Warren’s “favorite wife” was in the front seat. Warren himself was “in the back seat, eating a salad”.

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