Airing April 29 At 10pm Et/9c
One-Hour Episode Features In-Depth Interviews with Former Members of FDLS
From the recent raid of the Eldorado, Texas compound to the trial and conviction of the FBI’s Most Wanted infamous Polygamist leader, Warren Jeffs, the hidden truths about Polygamy are just starting to be revealed.
On April 29 at 10pm et/9pm, WE tv’s critically-acclaimed series, “Secret Lives of Women” presents an original episode, “Polygamy Cult,” about female FLDS escapees who share inside knowledge of the inner-workings of this controversial cult, while telling their personal stories surrounding forced marriage, sexual abuse, and child abuse. This exclusive episode features never-before-seen footage and testimonials from women and children recounting their intense experiences as victims, survivors and ultimately heroes.
Personal stories revealed in footage include:
Carolyn Jessop, who escaped from the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) four years ago and wrote the bestselling book called Escape. The ex-wife Merrill Jessop, the head of the El Dorado compound Carolyn talks about the first time she heard about the Texas compound being built and shares secrets about its design. While in the FLDS which until recently was run by Warren Jeffs, who’s serving two consecutive sentences of five years to life for being an accomplice to the rape of a 14-year-old wed to her cousin in Utah, she was in a house with many other wives and was a virtual slave to her husband, Merrill Jessop (who is 32 years her senior and has 54 children), and his first wife who terrorized everyone in their home. With eight children, one of whom is severely disabled, Carolyn Jessop saw an opening to save her family one night and escaped from the community. After being on the run, Carolyn is trying to find her footing along with help from caring individuals who are helping her and her kids find a life for themselves in modern society. “It’s a nightmare experience and I didn’t want my kids to have the life that I had.”
Flora Jessop escaped from the FLDS Polygamist cult after enduring 16 years of abuse at the hand of her own father. She is now the Executive Director of the Child Protection Project that helps women and children living in Polygamy find a safe passage out of it when they decide to leave, or are kicked out by its leadership. Flora Jessop lives a life of danger, risking her personal safety everyday in order to investigate and break the dirty secrets about Polygamy and the abuse that exists in this community. Exclusive footage includes a tour of a hidden baby graveyard, where it is speculated that children who are victims of “blood atonement” (the FLDS term for paying for sins with blood) are brought to rest.
Michelle Benward runs a safe house for Polygamy’s forgotten young men, known as the ‘Lost Boys’. As Polygamy requires more girls than boys, they are literally tossed away from their community and left to fend for themselves at unbelievably young ages. Michelle helps them get back on their feet by attending school and holding jobs. In the footage, we see some of the boys she has taken in and hear them talk about the petty teenage reasons they were forced out of their homes and/or why they chose to flee the community in order to avoid arranged marriages and other injustices forced upon them.