Control, Isolation Kept Polygamist Wives Silent

Women in Texas compound have a fierce loyalty to leader Warren Jeffs
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2008 6:35 PM CDT
Law enforcement officials escort members of The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints onto a school bus in Eldorado, Texas, Sunday, April 6, 2008.   (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
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(Newser) – They can't cut their hair, wear red, watch TV, look at the Internet, or even laugh. They must be utterly subservient to their husbands. So why did the women now emerging reluctantly from a polygamous compound in Texas stay? They are under the almost godlike sway of jailed leader Warren Jeffs, ABC News reports. "He's told these people, 'I am Jesus Christ,'" said one former female member.

It helped that Jeffs kept his followers isolated. He did allow his flock to listen to his sermons on iPods, but banned "children's books with animals doing people things." So no Disney. Women who objected to Jeffs' mandates—which require hand-sewn ankle-length dresses—were instructed to "keep sweet" and not question the rules, says one former teenage bride. Almost all did.