Ep 83 – CC Polygamy Pt6 Roy Jeffs Pt1
On this episode, we invite on one of Warren Jeffs’ sons, Roy, to tell us his walk through growing up as a millennial in the FLDS under Rulon and Warren Jeffs. Roy’s story is very compelling and he has a lot to tell the world. Check out his other interviews and appearances in media in the following links.
Year of Polygamy Roy Jeffs
Music by Jason Comeau http://aloststateofmind.com/
Show Artwork http://weirdmormonshit.com/
Legal Counsel http://patorrez.com/
The interview you’re going to listen to today was conducted a few months ago as I was starting my deeper studies into polygamy. Roy Jeffs had given a presentation at Sunstone Symposium in July of 2017 and I was incredibly fascinated and wanted to offer him the platform of this podcast to tell his story. Roy offers us an interesting window into the day-to-day life inside Warren Jeffs’ FLDS commune in Short Creek Utah and Arizona. I wasn’t as aware of much of modern-day polygamy when I conducted the interview as I am now and you’ll hear that crop up from time to time during the interview. Needless to say, Roy tells us so much information that really needs to be out there. The interview is two hours in total so I decided to break it up into two parts to make it a bit more digestible for listening. Tune in next week for part 2 of Roy’s interview where we dive into his transition out of the FLDS religion. Without further ado, here’s Roy Jeffs…
That concludes part 1 of our interview with Roy. I want to thank him so much for coming onto the show to share so much with us, and thank you to Lindsay Park for coordinating the logistics of the interview.
One thing which I can’t escape is the mind-games and controlling mechanisms employed by Warren as the prophet of the cult.
Constant separation from anybody he cared about.
I just want to share a few thoughts after listening back to the interview in the editing room. I think Roy gave us a brief window into what life was like inside the Short Creek area as Warren Jeffs rose to power and began running the area and the whole religion as the prophet-in-chief. I couldn’t help but notice the various mechanisms employed by Warren that effectively isolated and kept Roy inside his indoctrination, mechanisms he probably used to isolate and galvanize many of the FLDS.
To begin with, Warren never represented a father figure in the home. Roy had very few memories with Warren and most of those involved strongly worded guidance delivered from on high, chastising Roy for sins, whether or not he actually committed them. As an effect of an absentee father figure, sister-wives become incredibly independent and powerful women, and the children, like Roy, bond with their mothers. Just as Roy was coming into maturity, Warren held some kind of inquisition of his family and removed all Roy’s brothers and sisters under the age of 8, leaving their family utterly broken and Roy’s mother in shambles. After that, Roy was torn from his mother and taken hundreds of miles away, only causing further psychological damage and trauma.
Accompanying all of these traumatic events were the teachings of the prophet and complete isolation from any outside information. Add that into Roy’s weekly letters he sent to the prophet confessing every sinful thought which crossed his mind, and the self-policing nature these insular religious communities create with every person tattling on their neighbor; it’s not hard to see how the prophet was able to assert and maintain absolute totalitarian control.
But when we look at this as a pyramid with Warren sitting comfortably atop, it ignores the fact that Warren Jeffs also grew up in a very similar society under absolute totalitarian control under Leroy Johnson and his father, Rulon Jeffs. The same controlling mechanisms which Warren asserted over Roy were asserted over him from a very young age, and we see the cycle of profound psychological damage perpetuate.
The truth of the matter is, there is no simple fix to this. We can say the religious aspect of the FLDS is the problem, or the polygamy aspect, or the child abuse aspect, or the government fraud aspect are the problem, and they are all definite problems, but they’re merely symptomatic of the cult mentality which puts people in a state of mind where all of these heinous actions are acceptable, or even considered normal.
This mindset relies on an otherizing system of us vs. them and protecting the “us” with an incessant persecution complex, which is only made worse when any government action is taken to mitigate the flagrant abuses committed by the FLDS elite. When the bystander effect keeps people from taking any action to reform or change things from the inside, thousands of people can find themselves locked in a religious society where questioning or raising any concerns about immoral actions can earn swift exile from that person’s community and family. There are no simple solutions. We can only educate ourselves and try to build bridges with these communities. We need to spend time learning from people like Roy who’ve gone through these upbringings, and if we understand them, maybe we can find more effective ways of educating them to help them understand a different perspective of their own religion.
Education is the key, and that’s never simple.
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