353-354: Sons of Perdition — The Lost Boys of the FLDS Church

June 6, 2012
By

Sons of Perdition (the movie, produced by Tyler Measom and Jennilyn Merten) follows three boys after they leave their FLDS families and community in Colorado City, Utah. With limited educations and rarely a stable address, the obstacles are enormous. All the boys have big dreams—starting with the hope of attending high school—but what they want most is contact with their families. For one teen in the film, this means numerous attempts to help his fourteen-year-old sister escape before an arranged marriage.  With unprecedented access, Sons of Perdition takes audiences on a three-year-journey into the lives of these remarkable teens, providing the inside analysis to make this intimate portrait a big story—a timely, critical look at faith, family and religious exile in mainstream America.

27 Responses to 353-354: Sons of Perdition — The Lost Boys of the FLDS Church

  1. B-Happy
    June 6, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    fascinating. heartbreaking.

  2. CanuckAussie
    June 7, 2012 at 3:42 am

    Polygamy,FLDS,and Warren Jeffs. The legacy of Joseph Smith. History shows that Joseph’s polygamy has led to nothing but misery. Polygamy made the lives of early LDS women a living hell. It was what cause all of the opposition by both society and government. It led to the death of Smith.It is what has led to Warren Jeffs raping children in his temple. It carried on and has led to polygamy in North America – something that would not have existed without Joseph. Polygamy is a destructive religous practice that is clearly not of God. When you read the history of the church, and the current abuse, this is the rotten poisonous fruit of Joseph Smith. For me, and many others, it is the smoking gun.

    • June 7, 2012 at 9:09 am

      CanuckAussie – I’m as troubled by problems within Mormonism as anyone. But to say that Mormonism has led to nothing but misery is a stretch for me. Mormonism has led to lots of joy for millions, and to some misery for far too many (in my view).

      • Tyler Walters
        June 7, 2012 at 9:56 am

        I agree with both of you…probably because you are say different things. CA is saying “that Joseph’s POLYGAMY has led to nothing but misery” (emphasis added). John disagrees with the assertion that “MORMONISM has led to nothing but misery is a stretch for me” (emphasis added)-which isn’t what CA said.

        I think both are right. There are certainly people that have found happiness in Mormonism, I really doubt there are any who have found happiness in polygamy.

        • Stan Shepp
          June 21, 2012 at 12:22 am

          Tyler,
          I am afraid you are very wrong in your doubts about any who have found happiness in polygamy. I happen to know quite a few.

          • Matt Bacon
            August 26, 2012 at 4:33 pm

            What I have always found absolutely impossible to understand is why anyone has a problem with polygamy.

            For the Christian right; Jacob was a polygamist, with God’s blessing.

            For the Jewish/Muslim: Abraham was a polygamist, with God’s blessing, as was Jacob. (actually, for the Muslim, Mohammed himself was a polygamist)

            For the atheist, liberal, libertarian: As long as the women/men involved are doing so of their own free will, why should we legislate their behavior? Furthermore, if you support free love, and you support gay marriage, why not support polygamy?

            For the philosopher, if all of the suffering and problems that stem from the FLDS church stem, more from the fact that it is run like the Mafia, than from the fact that it is polygamist, and if we can see the same oppressions and sufferings borne out in other cults that do not have polygamy, and if we can establish by looking at history that polygamy is not a system that inherently leads to the oppression of women( Look at the beginnings of the LDS church, where pretty much everything that came from polygamy was positive.), why should we brand it as immoral?

            Seriously, what gives people?

            I can find no objective reason to condemn polygamy, and every argument that I have heard against it thus far has seemed, to me, to stem from prejudice and bigotry.

            Note: I am not a polygamist, I just strive to be a rational thinker.

    • Robert Westhoff
      June 7, 2012 at 10:16 pm

      Canuck Aussie, you have no idea what you are talking about. History shows that many great men and women were born from those relationships. Many had great marriages and strongly opposed the abandonment of polygyny. Many women loved their husbands and had a great life. If I look at today’s monogamous relationships with it’s 55+ percent divorce rates and the cheating going on, I would settle for polygamy any time. I am not saying that everything was perfect but neither is monogamy. I doubt that you have reputable sources to back up your wild accusations. You statre that polygamy is here because of Joseph Smith and you are again wrong. Polygamy has existed all over the world and almost all cultures. Europe certainly had it’s share and even Martin Luther officiated in a polygamous marriage. Native Indians had polygamy as well. The old testament has many examples. Clearly not of God? Man, where have you been? start reading the bible. What about Moses, Abraham, Solomon, David to name but a few. The 12 tribes of Israel came from polygamous parents. Raping kids in the temple? I guess you were there and first hand observed all that stuff? Oh, you mean there was a bed type structure Hm… Maybe these sessions might be very long and old people might want to rest? Yes no? Now don’t get me wrong Canuck, raping or having any sexual activities with a minor is sick and there are laws on the book to deal with that. That has nothing to do with polygamy or monogamy or any type of relationship. Have you ever read the statistics in our monogamous society about child nd spouse abuse? I doubt you have the stats are far worse than that in polygamous relationships. Regarding the raid or round up of 425 children and a flagrant violation of civil rights, you can pick the city nd neighbourhood and I will round up 425 kids nd I guarantee you I have a lot of kids that were raped by their parent. It just is a sick society. Finally, don’t blame a relationship type, blame the perpetrators, deal with the perpetrators and deal with it in court. Lastly you are just a bitter anti Mormon and will find something wrong. Somewhere. What about the welfare system? What about ll the charity that they do all over the world. Maybe writing a little more balanced eh? Also, what happens in the FLDS is not necessarily practiced in other plural marriage organizations.

      • Ami
        June 8, 2012 at 7:07 pm

        To Robert,
        It appears from your comment that you are a faithful LDS priesthood holder who has justified in his mind the practice of polygamy in order to avoid questioning the validity of the church or the perfection of Joseph Smith. It’s funny you mention the Bible–in hindsight Abraham’s polygamy probably wasn’t the best idea considering that problems in the Middle East originate as a sibling rivalry of birthright as a direct result of Abraham’s actions, and the Bible and Jacob 2:24 outright condemns David and Solomon practicing it. And yes, there is and was polygamy practices around the world that have nothing to do with the church. But Canuck was referring to the fact that what happens in the FLDS is a DIRECT RESULT of the polygamy practiced in the early church. I too am LDS, and after much study and prayer on the subject there can be absolutely no argument that can convince me that polygamy is of God. Women and children in the eartly church living in abandonment, women being used for their bodies, giving up their happiness for the promise of celestial glory with a man who will still have many wives. Aren’t women special and worthy enough to be the ONLY special one for someone else? How can a loving God, who “delights in the chastity of women” offer this as his greatest gift in the highest of the kingdoms? Why can’t we just say that Joseph Smith screwed up and he wasn’t perfect?

        • Mitch
          June 21, 2012 at 8:50 am

          Ami, that was one of the best comments I’ve ever read. I agree with you about polygamy. It was one of the main reasons I stopped believing.

          • Fred Kratz
            June 23, 2012 at 1:59 pm

            Ted Turner said in a recent interview that the world would be a much better place if it were controlled by women. I tend to agree. Any religion that writes doctrine which allows for the subjugation of women or children is doomed to fail. We are no longer living in a time of ignorance. Everyone will eventually have a voice. Let us all proclaim freedom loudly.

    • bob from England
      June 8, 2012 at 3:21 pm

      Canuck Aussie is spot on – took the words right out of my mouth!
      Because the absolute majority of LDS are ignorant of the church’s deliberately hidden history, they do not make any significant connection between the misery of FLDS polygamy and Joseph Smith’s version. Wake up from the dream Mormons – you are decent people and you deserve more honest leaders!

  3. Penny
    June 7, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    Absolutely amazing interview!!! Polygamy in the 21st Century is such an enigma – thankfully, Tyler and Jennilyn listened to their dreams and brought the plight of these people, esp the young men & boys, to light! On top of the great interview conducted by John, the pair are so knowledgeable and articulate. The passion they have for this documentary just pours forth!! Thank EACH of you!!! Oddly enough Jennilyn, I was diagnosed this past January w/ Level 2 Parkinson’s. So when you mentioned research for a documentary which would include this disease I was doubly excited!!!!! CUDOS!!

  4. HuskySouth
    June 7, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Has anyone seen this CNN I report? It references the impact of podcast such as this. It has a hillarious cartoon of Monson and Romney also.

    http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-752119

  5. Joe Geisner
    June 7, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    John,

    Another amazing interview. Your skills continue to amaze me.

    As Tyler Measom and Jennilyn Merten described the environment of the FLDS, I was continually struck but the similarity of Brigham Young’s Utah. From land ownership, to people returning to the native element, to bartering women and children; this is all classic Brigham Young. Jeffs is doing nothing different than Young did as prophet, seer and revelator.

  6. Michael V
    June 8, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Dumb question: The unedited version seems to be shorter than the two parts of the regular (presumably edited) version. What’s the difference?

    • June 8, 2012 at 5:18 pm

      Michael V – That’s a tech glitch. Has been corrected. Unedited is longest. :)

  7. ozpoof
    June 9, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    All of this misery, family disruption, dysfunction, incest, inbreeding and birth defects can be traced back to Joseph Smith creating polygamy as a “revelation” to explain his sexual appetite to the gullible, and to expand the number of his sexual partners.

    This same man is worshiped by the mainstream church who claim they have nothing to do with polygamy any more.

  8. June 11, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    I just got the DVD in the mail today and watched it tonight! Loved it. Thanks for this great interview.

  9. Jeanmarie
    June 12, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Terrific interview. Heartbreaking for those caught in Warren Jeffs’ snare.

  10. Maria
    June 15, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Thanks for the great interview. I already loved the “I am an Ex-Mormon” video with Tyler.
    Thanks especially for pointing out that polygamy, whatever its religious background, is negative for the women b/c it’s a patriarchic and hierarchic system. I read a lot about polygamy in Arab countries (e.g. Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s biography) while still being a TBM and already then I was ready to voice my opinion about the practice if there had been an occasion in church (but there wasn’t). When finding out about about J.Smith’s actual polygamous practices I was shocked but not too astonished b/c that’s what happens in modern polygamy in Arab countries all the time.

    Btw: Carolyn Jessop wasn’t married to Warren Jeffs but to Merrill Jessop (one of the community’s leaders). You should do a documentary about her :-) she must be amazing, I read “Escape” in one night.

  11. Steve Parkin
    June 19, 2012 at 1:29 am

    Polygamy is a social tool that works for some; its success (or its lack) depends on the deeply-held goals of the people involved and can only work when everyone involved agrees, has voice, and is allowed to leave if desired. In my opinion, (and contrary to Tyler, part 2, 0:28:30), the Kody Brown family of “Sister Wives” is a reasonably-honest and realistic example of a healthy polygamist family, (at the least, less disfunctional than many traditional families.) I’m disappointed when Warren Jeff’s brand of polygamy is shown as a banner for all polygamy.

  12. shandy
    July 7, 2012 at 8:58 am

    thanks – absolutely heartbreaking, another ‘lost boy’ has a channel on youtube.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/SmitHolm

    Incredibly brave young man, who faces a lot of challenges. Would make a fascinating interviewee for MoSto, but he probably wouldn’t want to do it.

  13. Oli
    July 25, 2012 at 7:03 am

    It’s horrible to listen to the edited version. It sound so very unnatural with all the cuts, drives me crazy.

  14. Esther
    August 28, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    I loved this interview and the movie and am so supportive of the mission of the creators of the documentary. I am fascinated with the community as well. In my line of work, I talk to a lot of the residents of this community. I repossess cars and it is very common for me to be dealing with having to try to repossess cars from such a closed off community and it is even dangerous for my drivers sometimes. I wonder what other financial implications there are on the ‘outside world’ from these communities.

  15. Dave Ichikawa
    September 3, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    I hear alot of truthfull bias, hard to be objective isn’t it? I wish Wilford Woodruff would have stood up to the USA and the entire union army, then we would have found out if the church was true. If poligamy is devine and of God why did the saints back down? If Gods curse of “black skin and a flat nose”(Brigham Young) and Satans representationon,”John Taylor was lifted by revelation in 1978, why is their skin still black? True followers of Christ should be lovers of truth, rightous and holiness. Stop marginalizing each other and stick to the truth. The free fow of information what a concept. I Plan to remain a member to restore true free agency, to use D&C 102 to address these issus. I know how difficult it is to attend church on sundays and not be able to share the truth with fellow members.Dont just leave out of the frustration. Work within the system so maybe some day we will a least be able to have a free flowing conversation in the glorious light of truth. The truth fears no question.

  16. Charles
    September 8, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    We would like to help these boys, please advise. Thank you.

  17. Jessica
    November 9, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    When someone is indoctrinated for their entire lives that a man is the mouth piece of God, and they should do everything he commands, including being given to a man as though they are a piece of property, or they may lose their salvation and not be allowed to be with God, is absolutely disgusting, and can in no way be justified!!! Now, if a woman decides she want to join in a polygamist relationship because it seem like a good idea and she doesn’t feel like it has anything to do with how God feels about her, then go for it. We need to differentiate between the two.

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