The new Netflix docu-series about the Mormon polygamous sect that has attracted thousands of Americans to itself is a four-hour punch in the stomach. Not to be missed.
It looks like a nightmare. Sometimes almost the grotesque parody of a nightmare. Instead, it’s all true. The docu-series Keep Sweet – Pray and Obey is on Netflix from Wednesday 8 June and in its four parts, one hour each, it redefines the concept of horror with the explosive force of a story that really happened and that has marked the United States of America for decades, in practice until the day before yesterday . A timely chronicle, also thanks to the stories of former followers and unpublished period films, of the sect of Mormon ancestry called Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS) from its origins to today. The acolytes had allowed themselves to be convinced that the Apocalypse was about to put planet Earth on fire and that only they, following very strict rules of behavior imposed by the reference guru, would have been spared by divine will, escaping the flames of hell: “We thought every second that the world was going to end, it could happen at any moment. We therefore had to be always ready for God’s imminent judgment ”.
“Keep Sweet” (“Stay sweet”) is the slogan that Rulof Jeffs, the “first prophet” founder, at the beginning of the Eighties, of the cult, addressed specifically to his followers from an early age. And the cult in question was based on a couple of cardinal dogmas: polygamy (only male, of course) and the absolute infallibility of the father of this doctrine: “the more wives and children you have, the more you will sit high in the Kingdom of Heaven. “. Whether or not the woman was entitled to Paradise was not a question to ask nor did anyone ever find the time to ask: each female was raised with the idea that her only function would be to assist her spouse’s access to eternal glory. How? Churning out as many offspring as possible. Amen.
Thus were born, families made up of a single patriarch and about twenty “mothers” who had at least nine children each. There are still people who have about sixty brothers and who today reveal how, at a certain point, they also had to marry some of them. Because? Because the Prophet decided it. And the Prophet is never wrong. Not even when he expropriates the acolytes of every property in their possession, from money to houses: “I would rather die than even think he was wrong. Because God also hears thoughts “tell the survivors of the socio-cultural apocalypse that this sect was for many individuals.
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A reign of terror intended at first as an Eden by men eager for adventure who went there spontaneously with the idea of circumventing the US law against polygamy and giving acceptable vent to their instincts. Then, brainwashing: “The end of the world is near, you have to give me your company”, “The end of the world is near, so as not to disfigure before God, you must give your 13-year-old daughter to this 85-year-old friend of mine. They will get married tonight. The salvation of your soul is at stake, remember? ”. The marriage rite was defined as “delivery” and entire litters of girls, always kept well away from books (which were not written by the “Prophet”) and any form of school education, grew up dreaming of the day they would be “Delivered”. Until the situation got worse.
With the death of Rulof Jeffs, for “immortal” doctrine but the will of God is not disputed, his son Warren succeeds him. He didn’t use to say “Keep Sweet”. As a motto, he preferred “Pray and Obey” had gigantic letters engraved on the facade of his house which stood out in the center of the community. With this new “prophet”, polygamy and pedophilia officially became synonymous, but no one dared to make a plissè fearing eternal damnation. A “I want, I can and I command” of biblical proportions, described by the live voice of those who have experienced those oppressions and abuses since the cradle. There is no testimony that is not chilling.
How the story of The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS) turned out, assuming it really ended, is revealed within four hours of play. Certainly, this story has marked America which, in the face of inexplicable horror, has chosen to pick up the camera: The Handmaid’s Tale draws from here as well as, surprisingly, the comedy series The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Returning to the catalog of the great N, after Sanpa, the new one was born with Keep Sweet Wild Wild Country. To be seen. To stop sleeping peacefully. The end of the world will draw near as well. But it will never be as terrifying as the wickedness of certain “decent” individuals who inhabit that same world.