How many wives did Warren Jeffs have? The FLDS 'prophet's' family tree is hard to pinpoint

If you're watching 'Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey' you've likely wondered just how many spouses 'the prophet' has

warren jeffs at trial
(Image credit: Pizac-Pool/Getty Images)

How many wives did Warren Jeffs have? It's quite challenging to tally them.  

The subject of Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey, Jeffs is the self-proclaimed prophet and leader of the polygamous FLDS. In Netflix's new docu-series, survivors of the sect recount the atrocities they experienced under Jeffs' rule, which are heartbreaking and astonishing, to say the least.  

An offshoot of Mormonism, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is a secretive, oppressive cult that shut its members off to the outside world. Their main belief is that the more wives a man has will ultimately lead him to the highest salvation. The clothes are modest, the rules are vigorous—no TV, no swimming, no newspapers—and the members of the church marry very young; some are even underage.  

"It happens to everybody, eventually," one victim states in the film's trailer. "You will come around and see the light, and go, 'What the f***?'"

How many wives did Warren Jeffs have?

Truthfully, it's difficult to pinpoint an approximate number, and all sources end up with a different total. However, it is believed that the leader of the cult had somewhere between 70 and 80 wives. Allegedlly, at the time of his arrest in 2011, Jeffs had 70+ plus wives, and 20 or so were under the age of 17.

Jeffs' father, Rulon—known to the community as Uncle Rulon—was the original head of the FLDS from 1986 to 2002. Upon his father's passing, Warren married two of his father's wives.

How many kids does Warren Jeffs have?

Unsurprisingly, the number of children Jeffs has is exorbitant: it's estimated that the "prophet" has more than 60 children. 

As of 2016, four those children left the church, and two of them—Roy and Becky—spoke candidly to CNN about the terrors of the FLDS. 

Roy, then 23, told CNN's Lisa Ling: "I can see with how crazy my dad’s getting, with all his revelations (and) weird rules … they’re so brainwashed by how my dad is, and I worry sometimes that it could end up in a mass suicide because of how much control he has."

keep sweet pray and obey docuseries on netflix, FLDS rulon and warren jeffs

(Image credit: Netflix)

Where is Warren Jeffs now?

Those unfamiliar with the story might wonder: "Where is Warren Jeffs now?" The 66-year-old is imprisoned at the Louise C. Powledge Unit in Palestine, Texas, where he is serving a life sentence plus 20 years for sexually assaulting two girls.

Keeping track of his charges is as tedious as keeping track of the family tree. In 2006, Jeffs landed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List after fleeing Utah on felony charges of accomplice rape for arranging a marriage between then 14-year-old Elissa Wall and her 19-year-old cousin, according to Newsweek.  

Fast forward one year, and Jeffs was charged with another eight counts, two of which included incest and sexual conduct with minors. Ultimately, the Utah Supreme Court overturned his conviction in 2010 because of flawed jury instructions. 

2011 was when he received his life sentence. 

Though he is behind bars—and believed to have suffered a mental breakdown in 2019—Jeffs still has control over the community he abused. Does FLDS still exist? According to sources, there are members of the community who are still practicing and do indeed believe that he is the "one true prophet."

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.