Season 4, Episode 13: Leaving the FLDS, Part 3: Judgment Day
Cult Leader Warren Jeffs was on the run. Stories of abuse from former members of the FLDS were coming to light, including some which could bring criminal charges. In 2006, Warren made the FBI’s Most Wanted List. Even in hiding, Warren was continuing to collect young wives. One of his latest was only 12 years old.
We are wrapping up our deep dive into The Witness Wore Red by Rebecca Musser. She’s an author, activist, mom, and was the 19th wife of Rulon Jeffs, Warren Jeffs’ father. We found some great takeaways from Rebecca’s story over the last two weeks, so if you haven’t listened to those you can follow the links in the show notes to get caught up.
Our Bible passage for this week is 2 Peter 2:1-3:
But [in those days] false prophets arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will subtly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways, and because of them the way of truth will be maligned. And in their greed they will exploit you with false arguments and twisted doctrine. Their sentence [of condemnation which God has decreed] from a time long ago is not idle [but is still in force], and their destruction and deepening misery is not asleep [but is on its way].
I want us to focus in on one particular sentence from this passage. “And in their greed they will exploit you with false arguments and twisted doctrine.” We often associate the word greed with money, and that’s often the focus of people’s greed. But one definition of greed calls it an intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food. In this case, Warren and many other FLDS men showed an insatiable lust for sex with underage girls, but also for the power and sense of control their actions gave them.
Any of us can be the objects of someone’s desire for control. Even if we willingly join their group or sit under their teaching, they aren’t there to help people but to exploit them as the scripture we read says. Whenever you notice someone in a position of authority who is getting more out of it than the people they are in authority over, that’s a problem that can easily lead to abuse
I’ll bet you or someone you know is in a situation like that right now. And it may not be abusive now, or just not towards you, but we all need to keep our eyes open, and our hearts as well. It’s so easy to deny what we are seeing because we’ve trusted the person who is acting in questionable ways. One thing I’ve learned from working with and talking to people who have had their trust horribly abused is that they are almost never their abuser’s only victim. You aren’t alone, you’re not crazy, you’re not over-reacting. You have the right to share what’s happening with as many people as you need to until you find an ally who can help stop the abuse.
If you’ve dealt with a situation like this, I’d love to hear from you and learn from how you handled it. Shoot an email to [email protected] or message me on social media. I put all of the ways you can contact me in the show notes.
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If you want to listen to another episode about cults, check out this link:
Season 1, Episode 49: Without a Prayer
Listen to parts 1 & 2:
Season 4, Episode 11: Leaving the FLDS, Part 1: How Do You Spot False Teachings?
Season 4, Episode 12: Leaving the FLDS, Part 2: Control and Abuse
Buy The Witness Wore Red and check out Rebecca Musser’s website
Get Your Copy of my book here
Find other helpful information at:
Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE)