SALT LAKE CITY (UT)
March 5, 2021
By Chrissy Bobic
[Photo above: Rachel Jeffs. Source: Instagram]
In 2011, Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) leader and chosen “prophet” Warren Jeffs was convicted on two counts of sexual assault of a child and sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years. Shortly after, one of his oldest daughters, Rachel Jeffs, gathered the courage to leave the religion that many consider to be a cult. And, now, she is still speaking out against the FLDS and her father.
Rachel is one of Warren Jeffs’ dozens of kids he fathered over the years with his dozens of wives and, as such, she was expected to “keep sweet” and fall in line as the other women had for years. Eventually, however, after sexual abuse at the hands of her father and after witnessing atrocities within the FLDS, she left with her five children in tow.
Rachel left the FLDS in 2015, after having been married off as a teenager to a man who already had two wives. Shortly before leaving for good, she had been separated from her five children and sent to live alone for several months as a punishment for having sex with her husband while she was pregnant. It was one of many things deemed punishable in the eyes of Warren Jeffs, who still controlled the religious sect from prison.
After that, it was too much for Rachel to handle any longer. She was able to get her children and seek refuge in the home of an older couple who had left the FLDS themselves. Their son, Brandon Blackmore, was also an ex-FLDS member and he and Rachel got married not long after. Now, Rachel, her children, and Brandon are happily removed from the church.
It doesn’t mean she hasn’t spoken out about the FLDS for years, however. In 2017, Rachel wrote the book Breaking Free: How I Escaped Polygamy, the FLDS Cult, and My Father, Warren Jeffs, in which she describes the years of sexual and mental abuse she endured at the hands of her father. She also explains how Warren Jeffs abused other underage girls within FLDS.
Through interviews, Rachel has continued to speak out against her father and the church overall. She even appeared on the A&E reality series Escaping Polygamy. In it, she sought the help of the women on the show in contacting one of her sisters and possibly helping her get out of the FLDS.
The show was dedicated to helping people escape from different compounds in and around Salt Lake City, Utah, and on it, Rachel opened up about her own experiences within the FLDS.
Rachel’s book helped shed light on so many of the inner workings of the FLDS during and after her father’s conviction and incarceration., Because he is still believed to be the prophet, his word is still bond over the many who follow him within the FLDS. On the outside, however, Rachel continues to share her experiences with those who are interested.
She even has a blog, in which she talks about her life now and urges others to seek help if they need it.
“Don’t let someone else choose your life,” she wrote on her blog in September 2020. “Don’t let anyone control you through fear because, when you finally wake up from that bad dream, life will be in fast-forward and you’ll be running to catch up. For those in abusive or controlling situations, find freedom. The strength to do so is inside of you. Be free to be happy and life will take you on your fast-forward journey.”
If you need support, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or visit RAINN.org to chat online one-on-one with a support specialist at any time.