For a long time, polygamy has been a hot topic on television. Several networks have looked into the practices of polygamy and the various religious sects that practice it. Sister Wives, a show about a polygamous family, has been airing on TLC since 2010. Seeking Sister Wives, a show about families looking for a new wife, is also broadcast on the network. The FLDS does not have any of the cast members. That could explain why TLC’s portrayal of polygamy differs so much from Netflix’s docuseries Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey. Documentaries explore the rise and fall of the FLDS, a fundamentalist sect led by Warren Jeffs, in this four-part docuseries. But what does it really mean to “keep sweet”?
What does ‘Keep Sweet’ mean?
In the 1990s, Rulon Jeffs coined the phrase “keep sweet” within the FLDS church. After Warren Jeffs took control of the community, the term was used to encourage people, particularly women, to control their emotions and avoid all negative emotions.
For women in the fundamentalist sect, keeping sweet wasn’t the only command. Under Warren Jeffs’ leadership, the FLDS women were required to follow a set of strict rules. Women were required to wear prairie dresses and were not allowed to cut their hair, according to ABC. They couldn’t go online, and women under the age of 18 couldn’t have cell phones. Regardless of their age, they were expected to accept their prophet’s choice of husband. Those orders had to be followed by women who were reassigned to new husbands.
‘Keep Sweet: Obey and Pray’ depicted the FLDS sect as avoiding all outside influences.
While the term “keep sweet” was used specifically to refer to women and how they were expected to control their emotions, the FLDS also worked to keep outside influences out of their community as a whole. According to the Netflix docuseries, Warren Jeffs used to be the principal of the Alta Academy, which only taught concepts that were in line with the church’s teachings. Warren Jeffs was regarded as President of the United States by many of the sect’s younger members.
“Perfect obedience produces perfect faith,” the school’s motto, exemplifies what the religious sect became under Warren Jeffs’ reign. The school, which first opened its doors in 1972, was housed in a former home with over 30 bedrooms. Rulon Jeffs, Jeff’s father, used to live in the building with a number of his wives. By 1999, the FLDS had sold the property, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Nonetheless, the property was inextricably linked to the FLDS, at least in the minds of the locals. Three years after Jeffs was found guilty of felony sexual assault and sentenced to life in prison, the former school was demolished in 2014.
Does the FLDS still exist?
There have been rumors that Jeff was still trying to control his community from behind bars after his arrest and conviction. It’s a little difficult to tell whether or not the community exists. To put it another way, the FLDS does not exist in the same way that it did when Rulon Jeffs and then Warren Jeffs were in charge.
According to a Reddit user who claims to have once belonged to the insular religious sect, the FLDS does not exist as they once knew it. They went on to say that some people are still trying to save the community. Many people remain loyal to Jeffs, according to the user, who did not give their name. Despite this, many people have left the church due to the insular nature of the compound and the strict daily leadership. Several former FLDS members have left the sect and assimilated into modern society.
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