One of many many sons of convicted youngster rapist and polygamist church chief Warren Jeffs is talking out about his time together with his “manipulative” father — and the way he’s “blazing” a brand new path for himself, which features a vital title change.
Wendell Jeffson, 21, was raised on a 1,700-acre ranch close to Eldorado, Texas, together with his almost 50 brothers and sisters.
His father, Warren Jeffs, was a self-proclaimed prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS). He rose to fame within the ’90s earlier than being positioned on the FBI’s Prime 10 Most Needed Checklist and convicted in 2011 of sexually assaulting two teen women he married, claiming they have been his “religious” wives.
In 2007, Jeffs tried to hold himself in his Utah jail cell and was force-fed at an Arizona jail in 2009. After his conviction, he was put right into a medically-induced coma after fasting in a Texas jail and stays behind bars within the Lone Star State to today.
A number of of Jeffs’ kids and followers have spoken out since his arrest in 2006, however a brand new wave of accusers — together with some who have been closest with him — are talking out in Peacock‘s new documentary, “Preaching Evil: A Wife on the Run with Warren Jeffs.”
In an interview with The Put up, Jeffson described his father’s abuse and threats of everlasting damnation as “emotional” and “manipulative.”
“Warren Jeffs managed every thing from the stuff you eat, to the stuff you put on and — if he might — even the stuff you suppose,” Jeffson advised The Put up.
His first reminiscence is from the heartbreaking and complicated second Jeffs separated the then-3-year-old and his siblings from their moms in Hildale, Utah, to maneuver them to his advanced in Texas.
“I questioned why I used to be being separated from my mother and why she was crying,” Jeffson not too long ago told Insider. “I used to be very younger. I didn’t perceive actually something that was occurring.”
Jeffson was ultimately reunited together with his mom — Vicki Thompson, now 42 — when she was moved to the “Craving for Zion Ranch” six months later.
From a really younger age, the kids have been woken up at 5 a.m. to assist with breakfast and cleansing earlier than being despatched out to work within the gardens all day.
“There was no music, no web, no TV, no films, nothing of that nature,” Jeffson advised Insider. “He simply created an surroundings the place we have been solely have been uncovered to issues that he wished us to be uncovered to.
“He had management over the way in which that we noticed the surface world in each facet.”
Jeffson was 7 years previous when his father was detained. He and almost 500 different kids have been taken from the compound, however most have been ultimately returned.
“I keep in mind these Texas rangers and the SWATs coming in with rifles and every thing,” he told Fox News in an interview. “I didn’t know if I used to be going to outlive. We had been taught that these individuals wished to eradicate us. It felt prefer it solely confirmed what Warren Jeffs had taught us.”
However Jeffson questioned his religion and his father’s teachings from a younger age, not understanding why he and his household have been advised black individuals have been “very evil,” he shared with Fox Information, in addition to why they have been prohibited from sporting quick sleeves, consuming sweet, taking part in with toys, attending faculty and selecting their very own age-appropriate partner.
“I grew up having mothers that have been 15 years previous,” Jeffson advised Insider. “It’s not proper, however he was marrying 12-year-olds and I used to be advised that they have been my mother, they usually weren’t even that a lot older than me.”
When he was 14, Jeffson and his household have been reduce off from FLDS, in keeping with Fox Information. They ultimately left the church and he wound up working development, he advised The Put up, incomes cash to hire a house for him, his mother and his sister.
After two years of residing on their very own and gaining their independence, Jeffson, Vicki and Sarah determined to go away the church altogether.
“At 18, I began to achieve my very own independence,” he advised The Put up of leaving FLDS — and of his father’s continued affect, even whereas he was imprisoned. “I might see how a lot he was controlling our life and that wasn’t what I wished for my future.”
Jeffson went on to earn his GED earlier than beginning a profession in insurance coverage. He met singer-songwriter Yolanda Nosakhare, 21, on Bumble and proposed to her in October 2021.
Vicki ultimately moved out of her son’s dwelling and fell in love with police officer Aaron Thompson, 50, who had earlier information of her harrowing circumstances after spending time as Jeffs’ private jail guard and as a lead investigator in a number of FLDS instances. The 2 married and not too long ago welcomed their first youngster, Jayden.
Jeffson’s sister Sarah, in the meantime, is graduating from highschool this yr.
“We’re very pleased and shifting ahead,” Jeffson advised The Put up. He stays very shut with the few siblings who’ve additionally left the church however mentioned he has been fully reduce off from most of his household who “sadly” remained and consider he has been “brainwashed” and “managed by the satan.”
To honor his new path, he even modified his final title from Jeffs to Jeffson.
“I’m shifting away from the Jeffs agenda,” he advised The Put up. “I’m blazing my very own path and making my very own life for myself whereas on the identical time preserving that Jeffs title in my final title as a result of I do need that final title to be made good once more.”