Inside the Disturbing World of Warren Jeffs Wives and his Cult of Polygamy
Warren Jeffs, a self-proclaimed prophet, occupies a central position in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS). Despite his life sentence plus 20 years in prison for child abuse, rape, and facilitating underage marriages, he continues to be regarded as the leader of the FLDS.
At the core of FLDS doctrine lies the practice of polygamy, where it is believed that a man must have at least three wives to gain the favor of God required to enter heaven. In this article, we delve into the lives and experiences of Warren Jeffs wives, shedding light on their roles within the FLDS community and exploring the controversies surrounding their marriages.
Warren Jeffs Wives: The Foundation of a Controversial Doctrine:
Polygamy forms a fundamental tenet of the FLDS Church, and Warren Jeffs upheld this belief with great fervor. According to his teachings, having multiple wives is necessary to secure one’s place in the celestial kingdom. The wives of Warren Jeffs hold a unique position within the FLDS community, symbolizing his spiritual and temporal authority. Their presence and adherence to his leadership solidify his position as a prophet in the eyes of his followers.
Naomi Jessop: From Rulon’s Wife to Warren’s Confidant:
One notable wife of Warren Jeffs is Naomi Jessop, who was initially married to his father, Rulon Jeffs. After Rulon’s passing, Naomi became one of the first of his wives to marry Warren Jeffs, eventually becoming his favorite and most trusted confidant. Her unwavering support and guidance contributed to Warren Jeffs’ consolidation of power within the FLDS community. Naomi Jessop’s journey from Rulon’s wife to Warren’s confidant offers a glimpse into the intricate dynamics of the FLDS hierarchy.
Merrianne Jessop: A Life Shaped by Early Marriage
Merrianne Jessop’s story highlights the troubling practice of underage marriages within the FLDS community. She was married to Warren Jeffs at the tender age of 12, a marriage that epitomized the controversial nature of the FLDS and its leader. Following Jeffs’ arrest, Merrianne was placed into foster care but later returned to the compound in Texas, her last known whereabouts. Her experiences underscore the complex legal and emotional implications of underage marriages and the long-lasting effects they can have on individuals.
Mildred “Millie” Blackmore & Sisters: Secrets and Challenges:
Mildred Blackmore, along with her sisters Alyshia Rae Blackmore and Nolita Collen Blackmore, entered into marriages with Warren Jeffs at a young age. While Mildred’s brother claims that a fourth sister was also married to Jeffs, the whereabouts of the three sisters remain uncertain. Allegations of evading the law and practicing polygamy in Canada surround Mildred’s life, while her parents face charges for taking the girls across the border to the United States for marriage. The story of the Blackmore sisters reveals the secrecy and challenges that often accompany polygamous relationships.
Warren Jeffs Wives: A Legacy of Children and Controversy
Warren Jeffs’ prolific fatherhood is a significant aspect of his life. With over 60 children, his impact extends beyond the marriages he arranged. While most of Jeffs’ children have preferred to stay out of the public eye, some have spoken out about the terrifying experiences they endured growing up within the FLDS community. Their stories shed light on the far-reaching consequences of Warren Jeffs’ lifestyle choices and the enduring influence he holds over his children’s lives.
Preaching Evil: A Wife on the Run with Warren Jeffs
His story is explored in the true crime docuseries “Preaching Evil:A Wife on the Run with Warren Jeffs” on Peacock. The series, featuring testimonies from Jeffs’ “favorite wife” Naomi Jessop and former wife Vicki Thompson, delves into the culture of sexual abuse within the FLDS, a polygamy-centric sect designated as a hate group. Jeffs ruled the FLDS with an iron fist, banning socializing with the outside world and enforcing strict dress codes for women. Many of his wives were forced into marriage as children, and he expected them to participate in group sex referred to as “heavenly sessions.” Jeffs’ actions came under scrutiny in 2005, leading to his arrest and eventual conviction for assaulting two girls. Despite the secrecy surrounding the FLDS, some wives, such as Naomi Jessop, have spoken out, shedding light on the dark reality of Jeffs’ reign.
Tragically, the aftermath of Jeffs’ arrest resulted in further turmoil for some of his wives. Sisters Josephine Jessop, Naomi Johnson Jessop, and Della Black, facing eviction in 2015, were caught in a devastating flash flood while fleeing their homes. Along with nine of their children, they lost their lives in the tragic incident.
Briell Decker, wife number 65, has also shared her harrowing experiences with Warren Jeffs. In a TED Talk and on the Year of Polygamy podcast, Decker revealed the traumatic circumstances surrounding her marriage to Jeffs. She was “turned in” by her father and given to Jeffs without her consent, with her own family members comparing the experience to attending her own funeral. After eight years, Decker managed to escape the compound, changing her identity and providing refuge for other women escaping the FLDS, as well as those struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues.
Barbara Jeffs, Jeffs’ second wife, never spoke out about her experiences, but her daughter Rachel later shared her account. Barbara passed away in 2004 from cancer, and Warren Jeffs orchestrated a funeral that denied outside family members the opportunity to pay their respects. Barbara was buried at the Yearning For Zion ranch in Texas, but when the property was sold, her body was exhumed and reburied next to her father in Arizona.
Exploring the lives of Warren Jeffs’ wives offers a glimpse into the complex world of polygamy and the controversies surrounding it. These women, whether steadfast in their beliefs or disillusioned by the cult, play a crucial role in the FLDS community and the enduring influence of Warren Jeffs. By unraveling their stories of faith, allegiance, and survival, we gain a deeper understanding of the intricate dynamics within the FLDS and the impact it has on those involved.
May 29, 2023