Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey shocked audiences when it was launched by Netflix on June 8, 2022. The documentary miniseries, directed by Rachel Dretzin, discusses the cult faith that’s the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), a fundamentalist Mormon denomination whose members observe polygamy, and the rise of its current leader Warren Jeffs.
While the semi-fictional Under the Banner of Heaven on Hulu particulars comparable points, Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey paperwork these occasions with unflinching authenticity, as Dretzin interviews survivors who inform the horrific tales of compelled polygamy, organized marriages, little one brides, and their miraculous escapes.
Rulon Jeffs and the FLDS in Keep Sweet
Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey begins by providing you with an understanding of life within the FLDS underneath Rulon Jeffs. Rulon Jeffs, often known as Uncle Rulon to his followers, was president of the FLDS from 1986 till his loss of life in 2002. Under his reign, the FLDS practiced polygamy and have become a patriarchal system that trendy Mormons discover an “embarrassment” to Mormonism. As president, Rulon was thought of the “Prophet,” who was believed to be a direct connection to God and the one one who may dictate God’s will.
A former member, Wallace Jeffs describes how underneath the rule of his father it was believed that the one means for a person to get to the “highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom” was to have three wives whereas he lived on earth. Rulon’s followers believed he would by no means die and that he knew every thing. The Prophet was the one one who may prepare a wedding, and households have been imagined to current their daughters to Rulon once they have been of marrying age.
In the documentary, Rebecca Musser, a survivor of the FLDS and former spouse of Rulon, stated they have been taught to consider that they have been the “one and only true people of God.” As Musser talks about her marriage to Rulon and the horrors she confronted as one in every of his many wives, Dretzin well overlays photographs of Musser’s wedding ceremony day to the Prophet. Musser was solely 19 years outdated when she married the 85-year-old chief and describes how naive she was to every thing.
The ladies have been saved remoted and raised to undergo their priesthood (the patriarchal figurehead of the household) with the phrase coined by Rulon, “Keep Sweet, Pray, and Obey.” This was used to indicate how ladies are supposed to behave of their marriage and to all the time be in command of their feelings. The mantra was continuously sung aloud and verses like, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husband, as unto the Lord,” (Ephesians 5:22) have been repeated.
The Subjugation of Women in Keep Sweet
Warren Jeffs was the son of Rulon and the older half-brother to Wallace. Wallace claimed Warren had a “holier than thou” angle and was placed on a pedestal by his father. Musser stated of Warren, “I don’t think he was liked much. He was the awkward son of a man with power.” She continued with, “Compared to his brothers, he was not anything to write home about.” When Dretzin requested if Musser knew what he would grow to be when she met him, Musser merely states Warren understood what folks wished and knew the best way to manipulate them.
Warren exercised his authority vigorously because the principal of the FLDS faculty, Alta Academy, and created teachings particularly for ladies. Under Rulon after which later Warren’s rule, Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey exhibits how the FLDS was decided to maintain their ladies obedient. Survivor Elissa Wall, Musser’s sister, says within the documentary:
“Warren had a saying, “Perfect obedience is led by a hair,” which means a hair is so skinny, and true obedience meant that you would be led by a hair, and you wouldn’t break it. So there may very well be completely no resistance to that obedience as a result of any resistance would pop that hair.”
Through a number of interviews with survivors, the movie explains how ladies have been taught to don’t have anything of their brains however the Prophet’s will. They have been explicitly instructed not to consider boys or have a crush as a result of that may “clog the channel” to the Prophet. At this level, Warren was already starting his excessive measures of grooming and the documentary stresses how blinded by religion the FLDS followers have been.
After Rulon had an enormous stroke, Warren noticed his alternative and stepped into his father’s footwear. At this time, Warren’s teachings started to develop darkish as he began to speak of a judgment day coming. During Wall’s interview, she stated they have been taught, “If you didn’t subscribe to FLDS belief system would be wiped off the face of the earth, so that it would be clean and pure for the righteous.” Warren was in a position to persuade the complete neighborhood to promote their properties, surrender their enterprise, and transfer to Short Creek, Utah. When the rapture didn’t come, Warren stated it was a present from God to be extra excellent. “We were never good enough,” Wall stated whereas speaking in regards to the expertise.
The Fall of Warren Jeffs
It was underneath Warren’s reign, which started in 2002 after Rulon’s loss of life, that the FLDS actually became a cult. Warren started kicking out younger boys and eradicating males of energy who questioned him. He would strip these males of their wives and kids and pressure them out with nothing. He enforced sure hairstyles and clothes for ladies that included lengthy underwear and no colour crimson.
It was throughout this time that underaged marriages turned the norm. Wall discusses the horrors of touring throughout state strains and being compelled to marry her first cousin. Dretzin intercuts Wall’s interview with Musser’s, as Musser describes how onerous it was even to contemplate leaving the FLDS, which only a few folks ever do. They knew leaving would trigger their household to shun them, they usually have been taught that leaving would “seal you to damnation.”
It wasn’t till Warren started constructing his compound in Texas that his world fell aside. Reporters started investigating Warren and his actions, whereas Warren moved from underaged marriages, which he carried out, to outright little one abdications. Wall, who had escaped the church by that time, determined to work with prosecutors to convey expenses towards Warren, and in 2006 he was added to the FBI’s Most Wanted List.
Most folks bear in mind Warren’s arrest in 2006 and the traumatic trial that adopted, however like all good crime documentary, Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey doesn’t shrink back from the uncooked and sincere reality. The survivors’ emotional testimonies give audiences an actual perception into how the FLDS brainwashed a whole neighborhood. Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey exhibits audiences how harmful abject fundamentalism can grow to be, how tough it was for these survivors to escape from their prison, and the energy it took to defy the percentages to place away a monster. Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey is streaming on Netflix.