Warren Jeffs’ daughter speaks out for the first time about what she endured in his polygamist cult

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rachel jeffs megyn kelly today
NBC/”Megyn
Kelly Today”

The daughter of the polygamist cult leader Warren Jeffs spoke out
on “Megyn Kelly Today”
about her upbringing as a member of the FLDS Church and the
sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her father when she was
a child.

Rachel Jeffs, who also details the abuse in an upcoming book
titled
“Breaking Free,” told Kelly in an interview that aired Friday
that her father abused her “way more times than I can count,”
starting with an incident that occurred when she was eight years
old.

“Very shockingly, father started abusing me sexually, first
presenting what a man looked like to me as a child, and then he
started sexually abusing me as a young child,” Jeffs said. “It
was so against his teachings, so against what he had taught us
that I didn’t even know what to think, and I just felt terrible.
I didn’t know why he was doing it.”

Jeffs said she eventually told her mother about the abuse when
she was 10 years old, and though her mother confronted Warren
Jeffs, the abuse continued. He would even bring her to bookstores
and force her to look at pornographic images, Jeffs said.

“I just remember thinking if my father’s doing this and the world
is wickeder, are the world’s fathers even worse than this?” Jeffs
said. “I remember thinking, ‘Well, maybe I should be grateful
that it’s only this bad.'”

Eventually, when she grew older, Jeffs’ father arranged for her
to marry a 25-year-old man who already had two wives, and whom
she had only met one day before their wedding. Jeffs said her
father brought her into his office on the morning of the wedding
and told her to ask her husband to give her a baby later that
night, which she said she didn’t do because she didn’t feel
ready.

“He said, ‘I want you to ask for a baby tonight. I want you to
ask your husband for a baby tonight. I want you to get close
fast.’ I had a hard time, and I was like, ‘Do I have to?’ and he
said, ‘Yes, I want you to do this. Promise me,'” Jeffs said.

Jeffs said although her husband was kind, their polygamist
marriage was “difficult.” There was intense rivalry between the
“sister wives,” which only heightened over the years as more
women joined the marriage, she said.

“A lot of jealousy and bad feelings. You want your husband to be
your best friend, but you feel as if he’s always turning against
you,” Jeffs said. “At the same time, my sister wives did not
enjoy me coming into the family. They felt like my husband loved
me more than them, and so they treated me badly.”

When Kelly asked Jeffs about the nature of her sexual
relationship with her husband, Jeffs replied that sex with
polygamist men was “very much” a one-sided affair.

“I think that’s how polygamist men are, because they’re just so
used to pleasing themselves. They’re like the king in the house
and the wives are just their servants,” she said.


warren jeffs flds church
In
this July 28, 2011 photo, Polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs
arrives at the Tom Green County Courthouse in San Angelo,
Texas.

Associated Press/Tony
Gutierrez


Warren Jeffs was convicted in 2011
on one count of aggravated sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl,
and sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl, both of whom Jeffs
claimed were his “spiritual wives.” He was sentenced to life in
prison plus 20 years.

Yet Warren Jeffs has maintained his grip over the FLDS Church to
this day, sending the members increasingly strict and
bizarre rules they had to follow, according to Rachel
Jeffs. While many of the rules concerned the members’
clothing and food, Jeffs said her father would also dole out
punishments to members he believed had committed sins.

The punishment that pushed Jeffs over the edge — and eventually
prompted her to abandon the church — was when her father sent her
to live apart from her children for seven months because he
believed that she had had sex with her husband while she was
pregnant.

“The more I said I didn’t, the more he accused us,” Jeffs said.
“And I felt that he was punishing me for what he did to me. Like
he was trying to break me and make me feel like I was worse than
him. And I wouldn’t let myself go there. I knew he had done
wrong, and I didn’t want to let him break me.”

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