In 2006, Warren Jeffs was placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. I was working in Arizona as a sex crimes and homicide detective a few hours away from the FLDS (Fundamental Latter-Day Saints) compound in Arizona City and Hildale, Utah.
Through the years, I had come into contact with several women who had escaped Warren Jeffs and the strict rules of the FLDS. Though they remained in plural marriages, their families tried to stay under the radar and live quietly.
I worked with Mormon officers and found it strange that when I asked about the FLDS, I was assured they were not and had never been Mormon. Through my research, I’ve learned that this was not true. The FLDS and many other Mormon sects that practice polygamy believe they are the true Mormons as described by their founder and prophet Joseph Smith and continued by Brigham Young, the prophet assigned after Smith.
As per the Latter-day Saints current website:
“In biblical times, the Lord commanded some to practice plural marriage—the marriage of one man and more than one woman. By revelation, the Lord commanded Joseph Smith to institute the practice of plural marriage among Church members in the early 1840s. For more than half a century, plural marriage was practiced by some Latter-day Saints under the direction of the Church President.”
One of the shakeups within the church happened in 1978 when the largest denomination of Mormons allowed Black men to become priests (known as taking the priesthood). Many felt this went against the teachings found in The Book of Mormon and they left the main branch and went to one of many fundamental sects that continued their racist beliefs and lived a plural marriage lifestyle. There are over 100 active polygamist cults in the U.S. I had no idea the rabbit hole I would fall into when I began my research.
"The attitude of the Church with reference to Negroes remains as it
has always stood. It is not a matter of the declaration of a policy but of
direct commandment from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the
Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become
members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the priesthood at the
—First Presidency statement, August 17, 1949
In 2006, fugitive Warren Jeffs was arrested in Nevada during a traffic stop. In 2007, in Utah, he was sentenced to ten years to life for being an accomplice to rape of underage girls, as young as twelve. In 2010, Jeff’s conviction was overturned by a Utah court for flawed jury instructions and he was extradited to Texas and sentenced to life plus 20 years for the rape of two girls ages 13 and 15.
It was around 2010 that I became aware of the corruption in law enforcement surrounding the Hildale, Utah compound that allowed the lifestyle of child rape to flourish. To stop the corruption, a federal judge placed oversight on all law enforcement within the Hildale community. My mind took me to what if and Eve Bennet was born.
Eleven years later, I signed the 3 book contract for the Eve Bennet series with Bookouture Hachette. These books are the product of hours of blood, sweat, and research. If you are fascinated like I am, I encourage you to delve further into the following list of movies and articles I used to write the books:
Banking on Heaven - 2006
The Man with 80 Wives – 2006
Damned to Heaven – 2008
Sons of Perdition – 2010
I Escaped a Cult – 2012
Outlaw Prophet: Warren Jeffs – 2014
Prophets Pray – 2016
Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey – 2022
I want to thank the Reddit Community, specifically r/exmormon and r/FLDS. Through you, I have learned people can escape sex cults and live good, happy lives. Your strength is awe-inspiring.