Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey is the latest documentary to join the canon of best true crime on Netflix.
While viewers are accustomed to stories of scamming and homicide—thanks to the likes of The Tinder Swindler and Worst Roommate Ever—Netflix decided to switch the focus of its latest docu-series to cover one of the most notorious church cults in history.
The man at its center, Warren Jeffs, was ultimately sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years. Now, survivors have sat down in the four-part series to recount the horrible abuse of the polygamous sect.
"It happens to everybody, eventually," one victim states in the trailer. "You will come around and see the light, and go, 'What the f***?'"
Watch the 'Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey' trailer
It's hard to believe that such a secretive and oppressive group made such a mark on people—especially in the early 2000s, the crux of when the story takes place.
What is 'Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey' about?
From 1986 until his death, Rulon Jeffs, known as Uncle Rulon, was the president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, an extreme offshoot of Mormonism. When he passed, his son Warren, the self-proclaimed "one true prophet" of the FLDS, took over.
This frightening organization believed that "The more wives, the more children you had, the higher in heaven you'll be," according to a survivor. Rulon had 70+ wives, many of whom were underage, and over 60 children. Likewise, his son Warren sports similar stats and even married some of his father's wives when he died.
Survivors tell their story of life in the ultra-private community, and ultimately, what it took to escape the rulers who attempted to keep the community intact. From oppressive garments to hourly prayers, "bad trainings" (sexual acts) and kidnapped and trafficked children, the group shut its members off to the outside world and exposed them to a terrifying lifestyle.
"You don't fight the priesthood, you don't fight the prophet," one survivor said in the documentary trailer. "But it was so much bigger than just Warren and me."
What are the origins of FLDS?
Mormons rejected polygamy in 1890 so that they could earn a statehood for Utah, according to Esquire (opens in new tab). In the 1930s, a fundamentalist splinter sect strayed away from Utah and made its way to Colorado in order to continue the practice.
Does the FLDS still exist? What happened to Warren Jeffs?
After watching the docu-series, you can't help but wonder: "Does the FLDS still exist?" Can it actually exist in a modern society?
According to some sources, there are members of the community who are still practicing and who still believe in guidance from Warren as the "one true prophet." Sean Keveney, an attorney for the US Department of Justice, confirmed to the film's team the in fact, the FLDS is still practicing, though we gather that it is likely not as powerful as it once was.
Additionally, the film's subjects reference their family members who chose to stay in the community as they broke away.
"Three of us are out," Lola Barlow said in the Netflix show. "The rest of everybody’s still in. I could just drive to their house and talk to them but they won’t talk to me."
Unsurprisingly, Warren Jeffs is serving a life sentence plus 20 years in Texas, and his list of charges is as lengthy as his following is alarming.
When does 'Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey' hit Netflix?
The four-part documentary—directed by Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Rachel Dretzin—is available for streaming on Netflix as of Wednesday, June 8.
Though the subject matter is heavy and the never-before-seen footage isn't easy to digest, the docu-series is likely to become a highly-streamed project.
If Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey kept you engrossed—even with the heavy material—be sure to check out other chilling shows about cults from Netflix and Hulu.
Danielle is a writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life, covering all-things news, lifestyle and entertainment.
The heart of her time at Future has been devoted to My Imperfect Life, where she's been attuned to the cosmos and honed in on astrology coverage within the Life vertical. She's partial to writing pieces about the next big TV obsession—anyone else impatiently waiting for "Conversations with Friends"—and keeping you up to date on new trends like the latest must-have from Zara.
Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids and a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, amNewYork and Newsday, among other outlets.
When Danielle is not working, you can usually find her reading a new book, coffee at hand, or attempting a new recipe. (Recommendations always welcome!)
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