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From Polygamist Royalty To FLDS Lost Boy

Brent Jeffs is the author of <em>Lost Boy</em>, which chronicles Jeffs' life in the FLDS church — and his expulsion from it.
Brent Jeffs is the author of Lost Boy, which chronicles Jeffs' life in the FLDS church — and his expulsion from it.

Brent Jeffs grew up in the inner circles of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; his grandfather was a prophet of the FLDS, which teaches that polygamy is a religious practice that guarantees salvation. Jeffs' uncle Warren Jeffs became president of the sect in 2002.

FLDS followers believe that they are the only true practitioners of the Mormon faith, which officially abandoned polygamy in 1890.

Although Brent Jeffs' lineage gives him what he says FLDS followers think of as "royal blood," he was eventually expelled from the FLDS church during a series of excommunications of dozens of men and boys. In 2004, he filed a civil suit alleging that his uncle had sexually abused him.

Warren Jeffs was later convicted of being an accessory to rape in a separate criminal case, and is now serving a prison sentence; he awaits trial on similar charges in two other states.

Brent Jeffs joins Fresh Air host Terry Gross to talk about life in and after the FDLS, where he says girls are cherished for their value as future plural wives — and boys are seen as expendable, and sometimes as a liability.

Jeffs lost one brother to suicide, another to an overdose, but his book argues that the FLDS's "lost boys" needn't lose their way once they've parted ways with their church.

Copyright 2023 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.