I am an ex-FLDS boy who was born in Warren Jeffs group. He ruined my health, my life, family, and education. AMA.
I'm doing a kickstarter campaign to write my book about life in the FLDS http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1778437491/book-family-of-enemies
A little bit of background for the strangest story you'll read today:
Okay, so the year is 2002. I live in the desert of Northern Arizona, called Colorado City Arizona. I'm 13 years old and a born member of the FLDS (Born in 1989). Warren Jeffs dad has just died. Warren has just become the leader of our people. He begins purging the "unfaithful".
The town is in a frenzy of attempted obedience. Warren is preaching the Apocalypse in church, scaring everyone who believes in god. "The time is getting short" and "the wicked people are about to be swept off the land" and "god's people will be lifted up to redeem Zion". He even used the September 11th attacks as an example of the end of times, so a lot of people are starting to take him literal. Including me because I was raised in it.
So most of the people are trying their hardest to obey everything Warren says. Including living the Celestial Law (3 or more wives) and another law called The Holy United Order (which is basically a man who has total control of his household and family, perfect obedience to the father or "Priesthood Head"). Men are kicked out, some men losing 8 wives and over 50 children. Some men actually died of heart attacks and committed suicide. Plus they lose respect of hundreds of family members because "God inspired the Prophet". The men also believe they have been measured before god and have been "found wanting". So they literally die believing they have failed god. So the people believe that these men have been sinful and stick with Warren, dumping their own fathers and grandfathers. Their wives get reassigned to other men in the community. My Uncle lost his family, and his wives got remarried to my other Uncle (true story).
But the catch is, my dad only has 1 wife. See, he isn't "faithful" enough to get another. So he's trying hard to get me to stop watching movies & reading novels. So my dad is desperately attempting to straighten out his family, mostly me since I'm the oldest and his only son. So he's super abusive, forcing religion onto me & mom, and my 3 sisters like there's no tomorrow.
I'm forced to get up at 5:00 in the morning, so my dad can obey one of Warren's rules of reading every morning and every night. I get up that early because my ride to work picks me up at 6:00, and my dad "Has to make sure" that he's obeying the Prophet.
Meanwhile I'm protesting, I'm literally working from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm from Monday Morning until Saturday afternoon. (not even the slightest exaggeration, 84 hours a week, plus 10 hours of travel in which we listened to more of Warren Jeffs sermons on tape in the truck). Framing houses for $5.00 an hour, wearing a full sized 30lb leather toolbelt when I'm only 14 years old. It's a 1 hour commute to work (on average) because our town is so far out in the middle of nowhere. So by the time I got done with work & sermons, and having a hard time sleeping because my family was always fighting, I usually slept from midnight to 5 am 6 days a week. Most of the time it took me over an hour to fall asleep because so much shit was going through my head.
Meanwhile in the school season I'm going to a private school where I'm required to listen to Warren Jeff's preach a sermon for 45 minutes, then I have to take rough draft notes while he's talking, then I'm required to take those notes home and rewrite them, every single day. It takes up most of my time. I'm not learning any math or english, and our private school isn't certified by the state nor does it have qualified teachers, just a bunch of religious cousins. The tape recordings are sermons Warren recorded many years ago when he was the principal of Alta Academy in Salt Lake City.
So I'm a brainwashed kid that knows more about Warren Jeff's doctrine than my dad. So I'm thinking I'm right about what "god" wants, and my dad is attempting to force me to obey him.
So this is the story:
I have a Harry Potter book, laying on my bed. I hear my dad sneaking down the stairs about 11:00 pm, trying to get near my door and find out what I'm doing. But my door is locked. So my dad gets close, pulls out his key, ( I can barely hear it rattle ) and OPENS the door as FAST as he can trying to catch me. But I heard him coming just 5 seconds earlier and ditch my book under my bed and pick up a sermon. "What you doing?" he asks aggressively. "Just reading" I say, pretending to not care that he just barged into my room without even knocking. "well, get to bed" he growls as though he owns me.
So he leaves my door open on purpose and walks out. I lay in bed for a minute annoyed and get up to close the door.
My dad comes running back when I try to shut it and says "Why are you closing the door?" "Because I want to go to sleep" I repeated. "Well, you don't need to shut it". "Yes I do". "why, are you hiding something?" "No, why would I be hiding anything?" "Because I don't trust ya" he says sarcastically. "just leave me alone" I sighed.
My dad gets pissed and grabs my face and shoves my head back. Then he comes at me.
"DON'T YOU DISRESPECT YOUR FATHER LIKE THAT!" he yells.
"Sorry!" I yelled, more pissed than anything.
"No you're not!" he argues.
So he comes at me again trying to grab my face and I block him. Then we start fist fighting. I've been fighting my dad like this since I was bout 7, so I'm really good at blocking his punches. I never attacked first, as a general rule I may have pissed him off on purpose but I ALWAYS made sure he threw the first punch. I wasn't the type to rage at my dad. I raged a lot, but I wouldn't be aggressive like him.
Needless to say, most of the time the fights ended up with my dad kneeling on top of me, punching my face while I'm yelling trying to block it. My only other option was to get around him and run out of the house.
I've slept outside over 50 times between about 9 and 18 years old when I ran away. Most of the time I had to work 14 hour days with no sleep, doing some of the most grueling construction imaginable.
It got to the point where I was literally having a fistfight with my dad every single weekend, and sometimes 3 times a week.
I couldn't tell anyone, my mom would round up my sisters when the fighting started and take them into their room and shut the door.
I had no friends, nobody to tell it to, nobody to talk to. And I couldn't sell out my dad because he was my "Priesthood Head". Telling someone that I was fighting my dad was basically me saying "I'm not obedient to my father" and I would have been kicked out if word got around that this was happening.
I got so worn out from lack of sleep that I went insane. I started laughing hysterically on the job. Nothing mattered, and on top of that I was going through a stress level because I was failing my religion which I believed from birth to be the only option of salvation, on a scale of 1 to 100, I was at a 100. So I became so mentally exhausted that I finally packed up my stuff and ran away. My mom cried like a motherfucker when I left, and I refused to hug her because I'd just spent nearly 2 years not speaking to my family, or anyone else. I wanted to lessen the pain because I knew I had to get out of their way eventually.
I ran away from Colorado City on December 17th 2007. A few months after that, the economy failed. I've not been able to tell my story until now, and I'm looking for the right ghostwriter to not just write my story, but the entire story of Colorado City, the evolution of my childhood, the cult, and how Warren Jeffs created a city full of enemies.
I had an 8th grade reading level in 1st grade, I went to public school until 4th grade. I was pulled out of public school 2 weeks after it started and I haven't progressed in my education since. I got a GED via an Army program, and I was able to pass it because I was smart as a kid and read a lot of books. I even watched Bill Nye the Science guy and a lot of other TV as a kid. I used to be normal, and now I'm screwed up.
Qualify or be Damned.
I became an Atheist after watching Richard Dawkins and Bill Maher on Youtube. Religion makes me sick. And I am of the opinion that I was extorted severely.
I am so stressed out because I left my mom and 3 younger sisters helpless at the hands of a madman and I literally couldn't get them out. It was their first amendment right to practice their religion. And any allegations against my dad to try to help my mom wouldn't work. Because my mom was "assigned" to my dad via the "Priesthood" and she wouldn't give up her religion. Thereby it was impossible to help my mom, she was brainwashed.
Fast forward a few years later and my dad eventually is kicked out just like a lot of men. He stays in his house. What happens to my mom? She isn't remarried, instead she is moved into a large house with her sisters and their families across town. Now there's over 10 women with an average of 5 kids each, living in the same big house, right under the nose & protection of Warren Jeffs henchmen. And Warren Jeffs is still controlling her and the rest of the remaining people in that town through blackmail and religion.
I cannot help my mom, and even though my dad is kicked out, he's still brainwashed. It's like talking to a 17th century pioneer. I expect my dad will be unable to recover from the brainwashing for the rest of his life, because he spent over 40 years believing in "The Priesthood".
I'm dying of stress. I have so much more than this going through my head. In fact this is only 1 of 20 different types of negative memories dragging me down.
There's my severe health issues (23 and nearly disabled). Extreme poverty in this economy, (I walk 5 miles to work every day). I've attempted suicide 4 times with pills over the last 3 years. I failed college (GPA of .5) I failed the Army after 3/4 through basic training due to prior medical problems that got worse, my knees and back were severely damaged when I joined and they didn't heal. In fact I joined because I was homeless and starving on the street. I just wanted to die for a good reason. I ended up getting severe shin splints and limped my way out with a general medical discharge and ignored benefits because I was too proud.
The truth is, my life is isn't worth much. I no longer have the desire to live. I wake up and force myself to go to work because if I don't I'll end up in the homeless shelter again.
I have been homeless 19 times since I ran away. I've starved severely, and I'm a chronic video game addict because I played them as a kid and it was restricted my entire life. I have worked for over 20 different people since age 7. I have no goals. No money. No family. And no purpose. All I have left is my story. And I'm currently looking for the right person to write the single most comprehensive book about the FLDS ever written, using my life as the backbone, while describing the evolution in real time with great detail. I have a very powerful Episodic long term memory.
My name is Carlos Smith Holm Jr.
I tried to find my mom, but even if I did, she wouldn't talk to me because I'm an "Evil Apostate" who "went against god" by leaving the religion, thereby throwing away my birthright into heaven.
Proof that I'm me http://imgur.com/cxnLR4l
Ask me any question as bluntly as possible. This is a largely classified group and most of the ex members don't want to talk about it.
Edit #1 Thanks for all the positive feedback. I literally feel better than I have in years.
Edit #2 Kickstarter campaign to fund book is found at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1778437491/book-family-of-enemies Thanks for reading my story.