Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey

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Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey

Post by Roy » 20 Jun 2022, 09:30

Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey is a documentary on Netflix directed by Rachel Dretzin.

It follows the FLDS church from the later years of prophet and leader Rulon Jeffs, the rise of his son Warren Jeffs, and ending shortly after Warren's conviction for child rape in Texas.

Rulon was a fairly stable and likeable leader that coined the phrase "Keep Sweet." It seems to have been applicable to all, though fell more strongly upon the females. Warren was born premature and was favored by his mother who in turn influenced her husband into favoring Warren (I see interesting parallels to OT stories where the younger brother get the birthright despite the tradition of it passing to the oldest son. If the FLDS existed in OT times then likely Warren's descendants would have written about how God foreordained Warren to rule over his brothers).

Rulon did favor Warren but did not explicitly designate him as his successor. It seems that Rulon was not supposed to die before the start of the millennium. Warren did act as Rulon's right hand man after Rulon had a stroke and basically ran the church in this time as he transmitted what was supposedly Rulon's wishes. When Rulon died, it took some time before Warren became the new prophet. It seems that Warren subtlety convinced at least some of Rulon's former wives to declare Warren as the next prophet. Once he was installed, he consolidated his power pretty quickly.

Warren was the downfall of the FLDS church. He started running things like North Korea.

The FLDS had this tradition where the prophet would assign wives. Apparently, he could also reassign wives and children and split up families. Warren did a good deal of this as a show of force and setting an example of what happens to those whose loyalty might not be 100%. This is difficult for outsiders to conceptualize. As I understand it, the men having their wives taken away were being excommunicated and made into Sons of Perdition. To follow your husband at that point would be condemning yourself and your posterity to outer darkness forever. Whatever hardship a person has to endure in this life seems like a small price to pay for exaltation in the celestial kingdom forever.

Warren later sets up Zion in Eldorado, Texas. People are hand picked to go there and are taken without warning. It is somewhat like the rapture in that people just disappear and nobody is supposed to ask question. This includes small children that are selected for Zion when their mothers are left behind. There does not appear to be any communication between those that are selected for Zion and those that stay behind. It is seen as a great honor to be selected. The FLDS built a temple there.

All of this could have continued almost indefinitely if it wasn't for the underage brides. Warren had performed marriages between FLDS men and underage girls. The prosecuted him in Utah for conspiracy to commit rape. He was convicted and sentenced to ten years (Later overturned by the Utah Supreme Court because they felt that the jury should have been instructed that Warren could only be guilty if he knew that the husband was going to have sex with his underage wife . I feel that demonstrates how incredibly difficult it is to successfully prosecute these cases).

Authorities in Texas receive a distress call from a young and pregnant woman (later learned to be a prank call) from the Zion compound. They do a welfare check and find a number of what seem to be pregnant underage girls. They remove the children to protective custody while they investigate. Eventually they enter the temple where they find a special room with a bed/altar. They also find a vault that they eventually breach and find loads of documents and records. This includes documentation of many marriages to underage girls. Even more, the vault contained audio recordings of Warren having ritualized sex with underage girls that he had married on the bed/altar. This was the "smoking gun" and "nail in the coffin" for Warren. He was prosecuted for child rape in Texas and given a life sentence plus more.

The FLDS church is now a shambles of where it once was. It seems that some government agency seized the church's assets (the church owned almost everything in town including the homes of the members) and began selling them off. There are now only a few hundred FLDS remaining in Short Creek/Hilldale.

Still, there are some that remain loyal to Warren despite everything. For those followers Warren continues to run the church from behind bars and receive revelations that they take as the word of God.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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