Utah has an unfortunate notoriety when it comes to cults because of the massive news coverage on Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints (FLDS). 

In recent years, documentaries detailing the cults activities have become popular and even I must admit that I have been sucked into a few of them. They show highly frowned upon activities including polygamy, child marriage and other things that are both horrifying and interesting to watch.  

Though these are in no way a reflection of current LDS believers, the stories are still captivating. Though they don’t all stay in Utah, many of them start here. 

Warren Jeffs 

A well-known cult story is that of Warren Jeffs that happened in the early 2000’s in a community called Short Creek near the border of Utah and Arizona. There are a few documentaries you can watch like Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey on Netflix and Truth and Lies: The Doomsday Prophet on Hulu.  

Jeffs had many wives all while sexually abusing his children in the name or religion. He restricted television, books, media and all things that were unbecoming in his mind. Dress, speech and behavior of women in the community were severely limited.  

Many that were part of the FLDS community were married in their teens to cousins and closer relatives.  

The Lafferty's 

A small LDS family in Northern Utah was part of a shocking murder in the 1980s. The murder of Brenda Wright Lafferty and her daughter in their Utah home shocked Utah. It all came to be connected to what was previously a well-known LDS family who had strayed into FLDS territory.  

Polygamist views and excommunication from the LDS church lead the Lafferty brothers, Dan and Ron to partake in some disgusting behavior. Ron claimed a divine message had ordered him to kill Brenda, his sister-in-law.  

A hit mini-series on Hulu called Under the Banner of Heaven engrossed watchers. It is a seven-episode series that delves into the true crime that happened right here in Utah. 

These two incidents have formed a fascination for LDS and non-LDS people all over the country. Several documentaries and books have been released detailing the stories of those who suffered under FLDS cult-like rules.  


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