I started watching a new show on TLC called Breaking The Faith. It's about some teens who are trying to escape the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS.) They live in a fenced compound as part of a polygamist colony. Warren Jeffs, their prophet, is currently serving time for seriously sexually assaulting 2 of his under-aged wives (12 and 15.) Despite being in jail, he still runs the show. I love cults, so I thought I would like this, but unfortunately, it's too much like the show Breaking Amish, or more appropriately titled Faking Amish in some circles.
It's a reality-style show where everything is scripted, but made to look like real life. There are 2 parts to the show; the scripted monologues made to look like interviews, and then the scripted reenactments made to look like it was shot live. It's annoying how TLC tries to pull over viewer eyes with their crafty editing and choice of words, but nobody's fooled. One Google search and I can see that these teens have all been out in the real world for some time now. But, a past tense show just isn't as captivating I suppose.
The FLDS way of life is fascinating though. Almost everything is forbidden: Most foods, socializing with the opposite sex, many games, sports, and leisure activities, most books, newspapers, and magazines, even expressing love to your children or having sex with your wife is forbidden. There are very strict rules pertaining to dress codes, hair styles, getting married, getting pregnant, and how to deal with deserters and sinners. (They're shunned of course.)
Three wives is the perfect amount needed to get into heaven, but more is better. Families are broken up and wives are given to other men seemingly on a whim. Men lose their children and often women lose their children too. Young girls are married off to much older men or even cousins without any choice in the matter. Young men are excommunicated all the time too, supposedly to free up fresh, young girls to be married to the older men. It's very twisted.
Many young boys are forced to work a full day while girls are in charge of the domestic duties. There's a lot of physical and emotional abuse. Parents abusing their children, husband's abusing their wives... with so many rules to follow and dark clouds hanging over head all the time, the stress is often too much to handle. There's no one to tell and no where to go for help. It's no wonder so many try to escape.
But to try, fail, and get caught is another story. There's surveillance cameras all about the compound, a "God Squad" on patrol, and even people taking photographs and following you around to make sure you "keep sweet." Sounds intimidating. But not as intimidating as being told on a constant basis that if you don't obey you'll go to hell and burn for eternity. You need to be perfect at all times.
I hope the show gets better and I can learn more about their lives. I really do find it fascinating!