Man reveals how he escaped a polygamous Mormon cult11/16/2023
Man who was raised in Warren Jeffs’ polygamous Mormon CULT with 28 SIBLINGS details his desperate escape from the sect – where women were treated like ‘slaves’ and members were forced into sex as minors
- Ben, from Utah, appeared on an episode of the Cults to Consciousness podcast
- He grew up in the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints Church with two moms
- Ben said former self-appointed leader Warren Jeffs had ‘control of everything’
A man has revealed how he escaped a polygamous Mormon cult before its former leader was sentenced to life behind bars for child sex offences.
Ben, based in Utah, appeared on a recent episode of the Cults to Consciousness podcast to share what it was like growing up in the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints Church (FLDS) with two moms, who were sisters, and 28 siblings.
FLDS was a break away group which branched off from the original Mormon church when the mainstream religion ceased practicing polygamy.
Ben laid bare the strict rules that were imposed by former self-appointed leader Warren Jeffs who had ‘control of everything’ that followers did including when they could ‘have sex’ and ‘make babies.’
Ben, based in Utah, revealed how he escaped a polygamous Mormon cult before its former leader was sentenced to life behind bars for child sex offences
He appeared a recent episode of the Cults to Consciousness podcast alongside host Shelise Ann Sola
Ben began by explaining to host Shelise Ann Sola what it was like to live in the isolated community.
‘Growing up there you didn’t think you were different than anybody else.
‘We thought we were of a higher power if you want to say it that way. We were the chosen ones – god’s chosen children…
‘People like me that left the religion were damned and the things of Satan were going to be upon us.
‘You had that fear if you left god would strike you down with the bolt of lightning type of deal.
‘You are in fear of god instead of having a loving god…
‘If you really got down to the nuts and bolts of it, if you didn’t do what they said then satan was going to be upon you and you were going to be damned to hell.’
Polygamy was the main driving force behind the group – with men needing to have at least three wives in order to get to the highest level of heaven.
In 2011, Warren Jeffs was sent away for life after he was convicted of two felony counts of child sexual assault for having sex with two girls aged 12 and 14
Warren, who is estimated to have had 85 wives (pictured), ‘would tell everybody how they could and couldn’t have sex, when they could or couldn’t make babies’
Modesty was also a huge factor as Ben explained everyone had to be fully clothed up to the neck, wrist and ankle – despite the overpowering heat that was part and parcel of living in the desert.
Ben was present when self-appointed leader Warren Jeffs – who is estimated to have had 85 wives – began seizing control of the sect from father Rulon as he battled health issues, adding: ‘His dad was dying and he put himself into power.’
The FLDS group had their own private school which separated the boys from girls with Warren acting as the principal.
Referencing the former leader’s convictions, Ben said: ‘Looking back on who he is, it is kind of creepy and sick how close he got to some of the girls and some of the boys too.
‘He would put out fliers on how to do things with your wife. He would put out an audio tape on how to do that stuff too. He’s a creepy dude.’
But Ben said that education was not a priority among the group, revealing that he got his first store job at age eight.
Warren is currently serving a life sentence plus 20 years for the charges
He was then hired to work on a construction site at just 10 years old, adding: ‘That’s how they raise all their kids. We didn’t get an education per se.’
Similarly, young girls were trained up for marriage and often forced to wed men they had never met before.
Ben claimed that Warren ‘assigned’ suitable partners from other FLDS sects elsewhere in the country, adding: ‘That’s how they kind of kept the population from being too incestuous.’
He dished: ‘When Warren took power, he would tell everybody how they could and couldn’t have sex, when they could or couldn’t make babies, he was in control of everything…
‘Women actually became huge slaves.’
Discussing how the FLDS maintained control, Ben said: ‘They would tell us that the outside world was trying to come steal us and take us away and turn us evil.’
Asked why he left, the former cult member said: ‘Because I worked and I got to know people outside in the real world.
‘It was nice to see that there were nice people out in this world.
‘They weren’t like we were taught. They weren’t evil and trying to steal us from our parents.’
He explained how he had actually exited the sect twice.
‘I left once with one of my buddies. We were doing bad things – things we shouldn’t be doing as kids.
‘We left and went and stayed at his brother’s house. It was a trailer house with a bunch of smokers and drinkers in it.’
He said his father eventually tracked him down and threatened the homeowner with jail because Ben was under the age of 18.
As a result, he went back but everything changed when he reached his milestone birthday.
Warren began seizing control of the sect from father Rulon (pictured together) as he battled health issues, adding: ‘His dad was dying and he put himself into power’
‘I got into an argument with my dad… I don’t know what we were arguing about but I pushed him down and I feel sh*tty about it now.
‘At the time you think you are a macho man but now I’m like, “Oh why is that my last moment that I’ve ever talked to my dad” and that is I think that’s the last time we actually talked.’
His father had called ahead to his brother’s house, where Ben was heading to, and told the sibling: ‘If you take Ben in, I won’t let you see any other family members.
‘I won’t let you see mom, I won’t let you see anybody. You’ll be shunned for life.’
Ben’s brother did not let him stay and he was left living in his truck for three to four months.
He began to bounce around and stay on his friends’ couches but still had no regrets.
‘I felt so free and so alive. It was insane. I felt freedom, I felt released, I felt awesome – like a million bucks.
‘When you get out it’s such a high I guess, that’s a better way to explain it.
‘Once you leave that place the rush that you get every day when you wake up and you’re not there you’re like “oh this is all me, I can do whatever I want.”‘
Ben decided to go to college where he met his now wife, with whom he shares four children, and has since been helping his siblings find their own feet out in the real world.
In 2011, Warren was sent away for life after he was convicted of two felony counts of child sexual assault for having sex with two girls aged 12 and 14.
He is currently serving a life sentence plus 20 years for the charges, however, it has previously been reported that he has continued to preach to FLDS’ remaining members from his prison cell.
As of 2018, the Guardian reported that there were still around 10,000 active members of the church.
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