Sons of Perdition


Sons of Perdition, premiering tonight at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, is a film about the Lost Boys that has been in the works for several years and it promises to be the best of the best on this subject.  The producers / directors are Tyler Measom and Jennilyn Merten. They were moved by the plight of the Lost Boys and have been working with them for four years now. This film is very accurate, no fluff, no over-dramatization, just a real honest raw look at this tragedy. Tyler and Jennilyn are remarkable people with hearts of gold and an amazing commitment to their work.

From the Tribeca website:

Cast & Credits

Primary Cast: Bruce Barlow, Joe Broadbent, Sam Zitting, Jon Krakauer, Kevin Black, Sam Brower

Director: Tyler Measom, Jennilyn Merten

Program Notes

“There are no monogamists in heaven,” proclaims Warren Jeffs, the notorious (and now incarcerated) leader and “prophet” of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. For decades, the church’s followers have practiced polygamy, believing dozens of young wives and scores of children bring them closer to God, but as Jeffs’ cultish influence over the community grows, they soon find themselves sacrificing their freedom of thought. 

But what was life like in the sheltered world the Jeffs created? What does it mean if you leave? For a group of teenage boys, the desire for autonomy means banishment from their homes and families. Directors Tyler Measom and Jennilyn Merten spent more than two years documenting their struggles—from enrolling in school, getting jobs, and meeting girls to helping other family members break free. Measom and Merten fascinatingly follow the lives of these three exiles and the challenges of being on their own in mainstream America. But at the same time, they seamlessly interweave the former lives that they are running away from, creating a picture that is both inspiring and heartbreaking. Measom and Merten have a made a gripping story of new beginnings and hope that most of us could never imagine.   –David Kwok

Director Statement

Both of us were raised in the mainstream Mormon Church (LDS). For Mormons, the church is part of every aspect of your life, and growing up, it felt like an extended family. But for so many reasons—some superficial, some profound—each of us made the decision to leave in our early twenties. It was a life-altering experience. When you leave your religion you gave up your faith, your community, and often your family, for the frightening privilege of searching for a new belief system, and you hope, in the process, that you’ll find yourself. But for a while after leaving, Hell still had the bright color and heat of childhood. 

More than a decade later, this act of leaving remained an important personal, intellectual, and even political issue for us. We birthed many friends, and even some of our siblings through the process of “losing your religion.” So in 2006 when we heard about Utah’s “lost boys”—the hundreds of teens exiled from their polygamist community of Mormon Fundamentalists—we saw something poignantly familiar and incredibly extraordinary in their story. Although we too were curious about the inner-workings of polygamy and Warren Jeffs, the group’s dictatorial prophet, we hoped to tell that more private and elusive story of searching for a place to belong after you’ve left everything behind. 

Many boys were kicked-out by Jeffs, and many more were deliberately marginalized by the religion and left on their own. It was tempting to simply applaud their escape, but the consequences were and continue to be enormous. The teens that leave are denied access to their parents and siblings, and are quite literally condemned to hell. In the eyes of their community, and even their families, they’ve become “Sons of Perdition.” 

When we first met some of these teens they were semi-homeless, without identification, basic education, or adult guidance. They were resourceful enough to find drugs, alcohol, and a few nights in jail. But they all wanted something better for themselves—a chance to go to school, to do their own thinking, to talk to a girl or go on a date, or as one of the boys said, “just to find out who you are.” From the beginning it was clear that the story was a much about material survival, as it was about spiritual redemption. 

It was also clear we would need to earn the kids’ trust. Although the teens’ fundamentalist sect broke with the Mormon Church over a century ago, we still shared enough religious texts and history to speak the same language and have a few sacrilegious laughs. Likewise, our own stories of leaving (though certainly less traumatizing) helped us bond with the kids, and to think about how the film might spur a dialogue about faith and family, and the search for selfhood that sometimes leads us away from both. 

Religion and faith can be sensitive issues to cover, but the boys’ attitude toward their community helped inform our approach. While the kids dislike what their community has become under the control of Warren Jeffs, they miss their families intensely and refuse to blame them. In the film there are similar moments of tension between their longing for home and the joy of their abrupt freedom. It is in these moments that we hope the film asks how we can protect faith while protecting its young practitioners? And perhaps more difficult, how can “losing one’s religion” remain a freedom and a value not purchased at such a cost? 

Although we no longer believe in the same heaven our parents do, we still remember the worlds of our childhood faith: “families are forever.” Ultimately we hope our film title becomes obsolete because our teens are no longer a “son of perdition” but somebody’s son.

Tribeca is a very big, very important film festival, founded by Robert DeNiro and it gets more attention than any other festival in the country. Out of about 10,000 entries, Sons of Perdition was accepted to premier at the festival, a huge honor. Not only that, but they were also one of twelve films out of thousands selected to take part in the World Documentary Competition that is being held at Tribeca this year and also the SilverDocs competition (one of ten accepted out of thousands). Many of the Lost Boys will be in attendance, and the media will follow them during their stay in New York for production of a short piece in the future. After each screening there will be a panel discussion with experts and noted philanthropists and activists. If any of you are in New York and want to attend, I believe they opened an additional screening, but I’m not sure if there are tickets still available. The panel discussion I believe is open to all.

Sons of Perdition sold out within an hour of the box office opening.


~ by FLDS TEXAS on April 23, 2010.

161 Responses to “Sons of Perdition”

  1. FLDS Texas,
    I will go see it and submit a review by next week.

  2. FLDS Texas,
    The Sons of Perdition is not sold out yet.
    There are seats available for Sunday at 11 am.
    I just obtained tickets for that showing.

  3. Can the parents of these ‘Lost Boys,’ especially the boys under sixteen, be charged with abandonment, child endangerment, or anything and be ordered to pay child support?

  4. The Sunday show was added after the Premier and Saturday matinee were sold out. Glad to hear there are still tickets.

    I can’t wait to hear your review!

  5. I think the boys’ parents could be charged.

  6. I shall try to see the film if & when it comes where I am.

  7. Same with me, GrannyToad.

  8. If nothing else, an investigation into charges would allow the authorities to explain the parents’ rights and responsibilities before the law, as well as resources availible. It’s possible the mothers, at least, truly are ignorant of the law. From what I’ve read, their maternal instincts have been subjugated. A visit from a compassionate social worker may help bring that instinct back into play and provide these boys with some hope for family reconciliation. After all, it was Maternal Instinct which empowered Carolyn Jessop to escape, as well as many others.

  9. I just saw the trailer,, its heart wrenching! There are so many young children, who just run away and end up dead or on the streets. How can society allow this to happen. If nothing else, give these kids a place to live, some compassion, a way to vent the unworthiness they feel, and education

  10. Hope it makes its way to my area. Very touching trailer.

  11. My best wishes to those young men, I hope they find their way without too much baggage.

    Guess this is the legacy for polygamy in Utah. Boy they must be soooooo proud up on capitol hill!

  12. Stamp good to see you.

    I think it is great that the kid’s voices will finally be heard.

    I know that as far as pressing charges against their parents I’ve read that some of the kids didn’t want to get their parents in trouble despite the fact that they were left out on the street.

  13. Hi Walton, you’ve been missed!

    I think for the mental health of the young men, its not good to prosecute unless there is a serious violation.

    I recognze there are both situations, with young men 18 and older simply leaving, it is my concern that they dont get into a battle with their family, they can cut the cord of the religion without losing family – the skill is in avoiding conversation on that topic.

    IRT boys booted out underage, I would like to see the state impose fines and fees and prosecution against not only the parents but the President of the FLDS since he is the one instigating the damage.

    (Guess right now thats Wendell.)

    If they want to foist children on society because “they dont fit” there should be a big price to pay. But hey, they’re pliggers, they seem to get a pass in Utah.

    And so a lot of this nonsense still continues – even as I type this.

  14. For anyone that uses Facebook here is Sons of Perdition’s page:

  15. I first met some sad young folk from “down south” there on the creek in the mid-80s, in SLC. This ain’t new stuff. Oddly I could glean about mistreated, abused, girls, but wasn’t getting the lost boys thing exactly. Maybe I didn’t know how to listen.

    The only girl was a sister to one of the young men.

  16. The trailer is…haunting…

    GrannyToad, I read that Warren Jeffs started to throw (rather than push) boys at increasingly younger ages. (What is it with Warren Jeffs and children?) Today’s lost boys have even less education, fewer skills, and less connections with people outside the FLDS community than the boys who left a few years earlier. So of course, the problem is now more obvious. I guess that since the FLDS leadership sees these boys as being condemned, they don’t care that they are not ready to leave home. Sick!! And in my opinion too much of a waste for society to simply ignore. Hope this movie makes a big impact.

  17. When the YFZ rescue occurred there were very few boys 12 or over at that breeding ranch. For certain it means those poor kids’ education had ceased as much as the girls that age range had or worse. This said, as a reminder, boys are born in slightly greater numbers than girls. Where were all the boys? Tossed aside already? Working? We never learned their fates.

  18. The film is receiving excellent reviews : see here :

  19. GrannyToad, I’ve been wondering about that. I Googled around to try to find the boy-girl ration among the YFZ children, but found nothing. The chilling thing that set off my search was when a news program followed an FLDS woman on a tour of one of the YFZ homes and she showed a room, said who lived there and mentioned she had three girls living with her in that room. Not her own three daughters. Three girls. Then there was another program about a family who escaped the YFZ and the teen girl said she’d begged her mom to escape because she feared being sent to the YFZ ranch. This all made me think girls were sent there to live without their families. This means more girls than boys lived there, I believe. So, how many? And how can anyone ignore such a disparity in population averages? Why were the little girls sent there without their families, if not to be bred to old men?

    As for the Lost Boys, when I look into their faces it saddens me to think of the potential sweethearts they left behind, the fun teenage romances that will never be. Those girls who were raped by old farts ought to have been these boys’ girlfriends.

    Both the boys and the girls have been misused and abused and deprived of their rightful childhoods.

  20. Anon

    “As for the Lost Boys, when I look into their faces it saddens me to think of the potential sweethearts they left behind, the fun teenage romances that will never be. ”


    Sorry, the only chance for a teenage sweetheart romance is to leave. They are verboten, verboten I tell you!

  21. Walton said this on April 24, 2010 at 9:41 AM
    “I know that as far as pressing charges against their parents I’ve read that some of the kids didn’t want to get their parents in trouble despite the fact that they were left out on the street.”

    Utah Attorney General, Mark Shurtleff has had over 400 signed and sworn affidavits on his desk, for years, from Lost Boys saying they were “forced out”. Many of them did not want to leave.

    Shurtleff uses the excuse that the boys, since they did not want to leave, and wanted continued contact with their families, did not want him to prosecute any of them for their crimes against the boys.

    This is of course all at the root of the philosophy that “family is everything” and the core plan of Utah is to keep all “families” in tact.

    They in essence recognize and protect the practice of polygamy by their complicit inaction in regards to justice for the crime, and promote it using the social service system, which is well oiled and well trained to ignore both the cost and the abuses to “keep families together”, at almost any cost.

    Where is Ruby Jessop?

  22. I wonder if this Army Spec. Benjamin Y. Barlow was a lost boy? And they mention his step-brother (brother by another mother) Samuel Fischer, Jr. doing the same thing via the Navy.

    What BRAVE guys!

    Explosive learning

  23. A 13 year old boy is still legally a child. Doesn’t the state have an obligation to press charages on his behalf, even if he doesn’t want it? Don’t his parents have an obligation to pay child support? Isn’t pressing charges and requiring child support in the best interests of the family? As long as there are no consequences, these families will continue to be torn apart. How in the name of all that is sacred is that keeping families intact and ‘everything?’

  24. Anon 10:27, I dunno. Maybe you should ask Mark Shurtleff or the Safety Net Committee.

    Or maybe you could ask some people at the top of Texas CPS why they trusted folks from the Safety Net Committee, or why they sought help from Mohave County “experts” concerning polygamy’s children, rather than concentrating on the fact that these were TEXAS children.

    Today, knowing what you know, would you ask for the help of Utah or Arizona?

    It’s not like people in Texas didn’t already know.

  25. It is amazing to me how many of the boys that I went to school with at the Uzona school have left and gone to live in the world among the wicked. It is also interesting how easy it is to fall into a state of persistent depression. The trick I guess is to not let it get the best of you.
    It is not really easy to be forbidden to speak with friends and family and many of the people that you have known and loved your whole life. It is understandable though because God cannot use people that are not perfect and if your not perfectly obedient it tends to spread if it is not rooted out. Besides what would you say. I mean, I myself have refused to speak or even look at someone that had left because they where now wicked.
    I am not here to rant or anything but just thought I would share some of the feeling that I have had after being told to leave after committing wickedness.
    I am doing fine. Better than ever before. At first leaving was the worse thing in the world and now its turning into the best.

  26. Anon,

    Thanks for the note, and I am thankful things are better for you.

    You quoted this though:

    “It is understandable though because God cannot use people that are not perfect and if your not perfectly obedient it tends to spread if it is not rooted out.”

    I am pretty sure you now understand that its a cult mentality and the FLDS dont have a lock on it.

    Join some other cult, you will get the same story but worded differently.

    Cults cant stand discussion, reality or facts. Thats why members need to be perfectly obedient no matter how crazy or how whacked things appear to be.

    I do hope you can keep at least a casual relationship with family, I often voice out against practices out there but I realize there are many good people and children too, just dont make religion your topic of discussion.

    I also think in time they will come around, as the lies are becoming exposed.

  27. Good Evening, FLDS Texas,

    I have returned from the Tribeca Film Festival, and I had the great pleasure of seeing “Sons of Perdition.”

    Additionally, I had the opportunity to meet with the cast, Bruce Barlow, Joe Broadbent, Sam Zitting, Hillary, and Jorjina.
    I had the opportunity to speak with Sam Brower at length. He is an extremely pleasant, gentle, and intelligent man who is devoted to helping these children.

    The film is very moving – at several points in the film, the audience gasped. I recall this happening when Kevin Black, an ex – FLDS member reported that when a man was no longer favored by the Prophet, his wives and their children were reassigned – when Kevin mentioned that the new “father” often married the daughters of his new “wives,” the audience gasped.
    A loud gasp was heard when the film displayed pictures of Warren Jeffs kissing his 13 yr old bride.
    The audience also gasped when it heard Joe Broadbent speak about how he was compelled to work in construction beginning at age 8 – and how he never saw a dime of that money because it all was given to his father or for the tithe.

    The young people who appeared in the film were not “exed” – they left of their own volition.
    No effort was made by parents to attempt to get the young men to return, however, the families went out of their way to retrieve the young women when they attempted to leave, by driving to confront them, or by legal means.

    One of the young women in the film named Hillary claimed that she left because her father attempted to marry her off at age 14 just two years ago.
    When she resisted, her father told her that he had no intention of supporting her for the rest of her life.
    When she attempted to leave, both parents insisted that she return.
    This happened twice in the film.
    She finally did successfully exit on the third attempt, with the assistance of Jeremy & Sharla Johnson, and she appeared to be content with her decision this afternoon.
    All of the cast members reported that underage marriages continue to take place in Colorado City.
    Apparently underage marriages continue to occur in Colorado City, despite claims made by the sect to the contrary.

    It was clear to the audience that those exiting the cult had psychological difficulties with the adjustment, resulting in frequent use of alcohol and illicit drugs. Mental health professionals in the audience suggested that counseling services for those choosing to leave were inadequate.

    The film closed on a positive note, depicting those who exited a decade or more later as happy, well adjusted, and glad they chose to leave.
    I am hoping that this film will have wider distribution in short order.

  28. Sam Brower tells me he regularly reads this blog –
    Hi Sam !

  29. Wow. What an awesome experience.

    Hi Sam 🙂

  30. Wow, catwhisperer, I am so envious! I saw that some of the Tribeca films are available per pay on On Demand through most cable companies, I was so disappointed that Sons of Perdition was not one of the choices “:(” !

  31. Catwhisperer, thanks for the review.

  32. Yes, yes, thank you Catwhisperer!

  33. I just saw the trailer,, its heart wrenching! There are so many young children, who just run away and end up dead or on the streets. How can society allow this to happen. If nothing else, give these kids a place to live, some compassion, a way to vent the unworthiness they feel, and education

    Dan Fischer’s (former FLDS) Diversity Foundation helps Lost Boys. He is reviled by the FLDS and their supporters.

  34. Stamp:


    Thanks for the note, and I am thankful things are better for you.

    You quoted this though:

    “It is understandable though because God cannot use people that are not perfect and if your not perfectly obedient it tends to spread if it is not rooted out.”

    I am pretty sure you now understand that its a cult mentality and the FLDS dont have a lock on it.


    Also, this is not Christianity in any form, in fact it is just the opposite. Why the FLDS claim to follow Jesus when they ignore his life and his teachings is beyond me. I guess Joseph Smith and/or Warren Jeffs is more important.

  35. wow!! catwhisperer did you have someone scan the audience while you were watching? Did you take tissues? You talked to Sam Brower? Is he really 10 ft. tall? I think he is.

    Did you listen to the audience members as they were leaving? Body language? Did they have THAT look?

    wow. You got to see the film. See the kids. See the audience. See Sam Brower. And you shared.

    See how lucky I am? 🙂 Thanks bunches for sharing.

  36. Anon E Mouse said this: “Dan Fischer’s (former FLDS) Diversity Foundation helps Lost Boys. He is reviled by the FLDS and their supporters.”

    Did you see/hear Mr. Fischer during the Senate hearings in Texas.

    His testimony also touched my heart. Many years after the fact Mr. Fischer still feels the pain.

  37. Thanks Cat, good job.

  38. Thanks for the report CW!

    Glad you got to meet Sam! And glad the story is getting out!

    Why has Brooke been hiding these details all this time hmmmmmmmmmmm!??

  39. I would say that Sam stands over 6 feet in height, but 10 feet tall in intellectual and moral stature.
    At the conclusion of the film, the children were seen 2 years post exit from the cult, all were enrolled in school and happy.
    There was a clip of an older man named Delroy Bateman, who reported that he was glad he had left the cult, and what made him the happiest was not having to attend their church where he was subjected to hearing their nonsensical doctrine.
    The audience roared with laughter.
    During the closing credits, a recording of Warren Jeffs was played, wherein Jeffs stated that those people responsible for producing secular movies and music were wicked, and anyone who listened to their music or movies was both wicked and damned.
    The audience once again roared with laughter.
    During the Q&A session which followed, one young man reported that he had the opportunity to have dinner with his father off the compound and was attempting to re-establish relations with his dad, but he doubted that his father would ever speak to him again if he became aware that his son had participated in the documentary. He then burst into tears.
    A number of members of the audience approached the boy to offer sympathy and support.
    It was a very moving experience to have viewed this film.

  40. As a retired childcare professional, I define a cult as a system of beliefs which subjugates a parent’s natural, God-given instinct to protect and provide for his or her child. Sadly, the FLDS qualifies for this definition.

    I hope these boys, and girls, grow to realize one day that they really did deserve their parents’ love and care, that it was God’s desire and design for them to be loved and cared for above all others, and also to forgive their parents so they can emotionally go on with their lives.

    I was never in a cult, but my parents were less than ideal. I found creating my own future and becoming the kind of parent I needed to be very healing. May these young people find their happily ever after too.

  41. Brooke – who I don’t think saw the movie commented “in review” on the movie and the only comment she made is that the movie makers mistook Sam Brower to be one of the lost boys……

  42. The filmmakers definitely did not mistake Sam for one of the lost boys.
    Where did she get this information ?

  43. Actually Brooke twitted about a review of the Sons of Perdition in which Sam Brower was mistakenly identified as one of the “Lost Boys”.

    Here is the link to the review:

    And here is the link to Brooke Adams twitter page:

    Where she states “Ouch. Review of “Sons of Perdition,” which mistakes investigator Sam Brower for a “Lost Boy.”

    Wow she runs a blog about polygamy and “The Plural Life”, has never seen the film and instead of actually revealing what the review actually says about the documentary (such as “What the docu does reveal about the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS) is appalling: Under Jeffs, the number of wives one had reflected one’s material success; wives were taken from the less prosperous and reassigned to the wealthy. Mormon families were broken down and reassembled according to Jeffs’ whims, as he married off children to old men and was eventually convicted of abetting rape. It’s all quite horrible, and the idea that some might choose to flee isn’t all that surprising.”) she picks on one little mistake the reviewer made.

  44. Gee LadySadie, you sound surprised that the “Nation’s only polygamy beat reporter” would do such a thing.

  45. I read the Variety review.
    I don’t think the reviewer had enough background information about the cult to understand what was going on in the film.
    One of the children in the film clearly stated that Warren Jeffs was still running the cult from prison.
    If the reviewer had questions, a Q&A session with the actors followed the film.
    The reviewer should have asked these questions of the actors themselves.
    They certainly were available.

  46. The film most certainly DOES NOT identify Sam Brower as a lost boy.
    That is clear.
    During the Q&A session which followed, Sam identified himself as a private investigator.
    This Variety reviewer did not stay for the Q&A, that is clear.

  47. So, seriously, I just got banned from posting on the SLTrib for posting a comment about this documentary! “Someone” must really not want the true story of the abuses of polygamy getting out!

  48. Dymphna,
    Please post a link to your post which got you banned ?
    I would like to see what was said.

  49. Another inaccuracy of the Variety review of the film – the Variety states that the film producers were driving the getaway vehicle during the rescue attempts.
    The driver of the vehicle was not shown in all but one rescue attempt, the producers of the film were panning the back seat of the vehicle to interview the children, so I doubt they were driving.
    Only in one rescue attempt was the driver of the vehicle shown, and it was one of the boys who had a driver’s permit.
    I suspect Jeremy or Sharla Johnson was driving the vehicle, and Mr. Johnson’s wealth was obtained thru enterpreneurial endeavors as he states in the film.

  50. Dymphna: So, seriously, I just got banned from posting on the SLTrib for posting a comment about this documentary! “Someone” must really not want the true story of the abuses of polygamy getting out!


    Did you post a link, or just a comment?

  51. hey people this is sam from the film if there is any questoins feel free to ask and just to clear stuff up i am not sam brower i am one of the teenage boys from the film named sam.

  52. CW thanks for your review, very informative and touching. I am very happy to know a lawman like Sam Brower chooses to visit this site. I only wish he could share his knowledge, truth, and honesty in knowing the true FLDS facts and stoires. Sam Brower has always been willing to uphold the law and shows what happens when goodmen are willing to act.

    Wonder why we have no comments from deci/duane1/liewalker who just loves to proclaim the ‘Lost Boys’ as a myth of the Kindred Spirits.

    FldsTexas thanks for this commentary and info.

  53. Nice to meet you, Sam. Thanks for joining us! 🙂

    My question would be, what do you think would be most helpful for those leaving groups like the FLDS?

    Changes in laws so that more safe houses can be created? A better foster system for them? Access to appropriate counseling? Or something totally different?

  54. Sam,
    Glad to see you here. I attended the film yesterday, and I spoke to Sam Brower afterward. I have the greatest respect for you and the choices you made. It was an excellent film, and I rated you 5/5 – hope you guys get the Guiness award for best documentary !

  55. Hi Sam.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    When you guys first started working on this documentary wasn’t there other kids involved?

    What do you think WE can do to help?

  56. Hi, Sam, I just want to let you know how very proud you should be of yourself and all you have accomplished! Can’t wait for the documentary comes out on DVD so I can buy it.

  57. Thanks catwhisperer for the review.

    Just finished rereading Elissa Wall’s book and got angry all over again at the way so many boys are ousted (she talks about her brothers, etc.) and cut off from their families.

    Also, is anyone investigating the allegations of underage marriages continuing in CC? Is William Jessop still considered to be the bishop there?

  58. It’s me again.

    Do you guys have plans on hitting the “radio talk” shows? How about television?

  59. All the ‘Lost Boys’ need to understand that their proximity and continued efforts to contact their parents and siblings means the FLDS leadership is forced to move and fence their new enclaves, in order to defeat the EVIL apostates from offering their family members any help or assistance to leace the ‘Chosen Ones’.

    Watch Towers, locked entries, fenced compounds and on-site security patrols at the ‘Lands of Refuge’ reveal thee Real Truth.
    No it’s not about too many ‘busybody’ Gentiles but rather a smothering fanatical sect’s grip upon their congregation. If you recall the Berlin wall was erected to keep free Germans form entering Communist East Germany, yeah right!


    Too funny, we’re penetrating the pop culture now I see….

  61. Thanks Boots, I love it. It sure ain’t 1953 anymore.

  62. Sam,
    If you are still there, is wider release of your film planned ?
    What spiritual orientation or affiliation do you now have (if any)?

  63. Well I see lots of questions for sam, but he hasn’t answered any of them??

  64. Well he is still in NYC, the film festival runs until May 5, so he could be a little busy today.

  65. Oh Okay, thanks

  66. Oops, meant May 2.

  67. Awesome review in today’s Huffington post:

  68. I can’t bear to think about these boys too much, it makes me so angry and sad. I have a son myself. He wasn’t a perfect teenager, he got into a couple of scrapes. But he graduated from high school, then college, now has a good job and is planning on going to graduate school. He has grown up to be a responsible and caring young man. Imagine if I had kicked him out and never spoken to him again because once he got caught with a beer. Actually, it’s unimaginable that any loving responsible parent do that to a son, just as it is unimaginable that loving parents take their teenage daughters out of school and give them to a middle aged men.

    I am disgusted that the FLDS, men and women, treat their sons like so much trash, just so they can make “the math” come out right for their polygynous cult.

  69. The NY Times liked the film.

  70. I listened to the audio on the link Cat made above –

    funny story from one segment – everyone said what a great voice and what a talented singer Warren Jeffs was. Turns out he’d give people recordings of folks like Bob Dylan and say that he was the one singing the song.


    I am the singer/songwriter who did this song about Warren Jeffs. Have a listen, and comments appreciated. Pat Bacon, MN

  72. New review today by the Huffington Post:

  73. Oops, see that Boots already posted that link.

  74. Pat,
    saw your video, great work

  75. Another glowing review plus a call to action:

  76. Wow that was an excellent review Boots!

  77. You know what Pat, the song’s plenty amusing as well as historic … but ya know that last part, the bubba part, is just a kinda bad move.

  78. Hi everyone –
    This is Tyler Measom and Jennilyn Merten, the directors and producers of Sons of Perdition. We have been following this blog and we are very happy with the interest and support that everyone has been giving to the film.
    It has been an amazing experience here at the Tribeca Film Festival and people are truly responding to the film. We’ve had sold out shows and standing ovations. For the opening weekend the main characters were in attendance and the audience would often come up to them afterwards in tears. These kids are incredibly brave people and we love and respect them for telling their important story.
    We can’t wait for everyone to see this very important film. We are hoping for a wide release.
    Please follow the film on our facebook page and also on our website.

    Again, thanks for your support.

  79. Tyler,
    It was a pleasure to attend this film this past Sunday, and to have the opportunity to speak with members of the cast.
    I rated your film 5/5 and I hope you folks get the Guinness Award!

  80. Tyler and Jennifer, thank you for bring us this wonderful film!

  81. Tyler and Jennifer, BRAVO!

    Your subject is the one I have always found most disturbing and personally difficult to understand, the plight of the Lost Boys.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart, I simply cannot wait to see your film.

    Peace and blessings,


  82. Tyler, if you are still there…
    A question for the cast members, some of whom are still in contact with those still in the Short Creek community….
    One of the cast said that underage marriages are still taking place in Short Creek, despite the recent trials in Texas.
    Any idea how many underage marriages are taking place ? Is it still very common to have “child brides?”

  83. CW, you are pointing out the Achilles heal of this FLDS sect in congregational data will unmask them, so information has become more secreted to preserve the illicit fertility practices and bigamy. Dragnet operations at these renegade ‘Lands of Refuge’ and YFZ Raunch would produce a quicker and more accurate picture of how well the message of Law & Order is being conveyed to the ‘Chosen Ones’.

    Merten and Meason deserve the accolades for their efforts with, “Sons of Perdition”, I look forward to seeing which award they are garnered.

  84. All I can say is that I was shocked when I saw live video of a 14 yr old FLDS girl trying to escape when her father announced he was arranging her marriage.
    She tried to run away from her mother while shopping – she attempted to enter a get away vehicle with her brother while her mother was screaming, and pulling the girl’s jacket in an attempt to stop the 14 yr old from escaping.
    The girl stripped off the jacket with the mother still holding it and ran for the vehicle.
    I’ve never seen anything like it.
    This was filmed within the last two years before the recent release of the film.
    Despite promises to the contrary, underage marriages are still being arranged.

  85. If these people are truly prisoners in guarded compounds, then many would have escaped YFZ when they had the oppt’y? If they were prisoners, they would be leaving Short Creek en masse instead of tenaciously fighting against Wisan and the UEP takeover. When the US army liberated camps in Germany, the prisoners didn’t refuse to leave their “compounds”.

    About this 14 year old girl, should be easy to find out who her father is and detain him for questioning, who was she “assigned” to marry, were the rest of the family aware, did the father initiate it, if not who? Did the girl say no?
    If the “assigned marriage” story is a lie, was it still appropriate for her to run away from her mom. Does anyone blame the mother? What if your 14 year old daugher suddenly took off.
    If the mother willingly let the girl run away, wouldn’t that be child abandonment?

    If the boys are kicked out to make way for the “older” men, why the condemnation and anger by FLDS for leaving. “Cement” says the FLDS leaders were very upset when he left. It seems the FLDS would be praising the males who leave the community, even give them money and assistance so as to encourage other males to leave, thus freeing up even more women to be brides.

  86. Labor economy?

  87. Tyler

    Most of the people on this board already know of the horrors that your film documents. We’re just thankful that people like you are helping to bring awareness to this issue.

    Thank you for bringing light to this issue.

  88. “…About this 14 year old girl, should be easy to find out who her father is and detain him for questioning, who was she “assigned” to marry, were the rest of the family aware, did the father initiate it, if not who? Did the girl say no?…”

    The family was aware, her mother was aware, her brother was aware.
    The live video showed a 14 yr old girl named Hillary struggling to get away from mother, with her father on the cell phone with her while she yelled that she did NOT want to have an assigned marriage.
    Her father told her that he did not intend to continue to support her, and that it was time to get married.
    The police were called in the film.
    The girl (now 16) was present for Q & A after each screening of the film this past weekend at the Tribeca Film Festival.

  89. If these people are truly prisoners in guarded compounds, then many would have escaped YFZ when they had the oppt’y? If they were prisoners, they would be leaving Short Creek en masse instead of tenaciously fighting against Wisan and the UEP takeover. When the US army liberated camps in Germany, the prisoners didn’t refuse to leave their “compounds”.
    I think you’re comparing apples and oranges here by mentioning the victims of the Nazi concentration camps. And, on that topic, why is it the Holocaust is so often the first and/or only reference point, on nearly any issue? Did everyone snooze so much in History class that they can’t remember of any other historical events?

    As for your question about why people who choose not to simply leave situations that are detrimental to the wellbeing of themselves and their loved ones, I suggest reading up on the paradoxical psychological phenomenon known as Stockholm Syndrome. The wikipedia page is a good jumping-off point

  90. catwhisperer: So if the girl hadn’t had the luck to get out, the attempted child marriage would have taken place in 2008, the same year as the YFZ rescue attempt. Did the movie make any mention of who was in charge of the marriage? Is Warren Jeffs dictating them from prison? And who would have conducted the ceremony?

  91. This just in from Canada :

  92. Ellie,
    There was no mention of who was in charge of the marriage.
    In the last 5 minutes of the film, one of the boys asserted that Warren Jeffs was still “calling the shots” from prison.

  93. The escalation of FLDS Church leadership control is evident by their building newer enclaves that are fenced and secured from public access. Pringle, SD, Mancos, CO, Eldorado TX and Pioche NV prove that the ‘Lands of Refuge’ are a desperate attempt to physically seperate and control the FLDS congregation according to prophet Warren S Jeffs own dictations. Further, acts of defiance and covert activities points up the need for a Federal Task Force to redress this crime organizations methods.

  94. As much as I don’t like Warren Jeffs he was only one man from one cult.

    There are many others that have used their authority to abuse others. Many cults that are originating in the Utah and Arizona areas. jmo

    And then there comes a time when a person can’t blame Warren for everything and need to be accountable for their own role.

  95. You’re so right, Walton. Texas is bring some of them anyway to their own personal cometojesus in Texas courts.

    We haven’t heard one yet voice any regrets or remorse for their crimes.

  96. So the Salt Lake Tribune has an article on “Sons of Perditon” written by Sean P. Means.

    I wonder why their “polygamy beat reporter” didn’t write it?

    ‘Sons of Perdition’ profiles FLDS exiles

  97. catwhisperer,

    I have been saying since my arrival in Mohave County in 2005 that there are gross civil and human rights abuses taking place against women and children who are trapped within polygamy in the states of Utah and Arizona.

    After seeing this film, do you have any opinion as to whether my assessment is correct?

  98. Another film about abuse in polygamy premiers tonight in Houston at the Angelika Film Center at 7:15. Oh boy, more exposure!!!!!

    Forget Big Love’s fiction: Follow the Prophet reveals polygamy truths

  99. Boots,

    Who will view the film at the Angelika tonight ?
    I wonder if Ron will head over to see it ?

    I can’t get over the shock of seeing live video of a 14 yr old trying to escape her parents because of a planned arranged marriage.

    Second most frightening thing of the movie :
    one of the young men talking about how his father beat him repeatedly till he urinated on himself, and no one did anything.

    Most Strange Thing about the Movie : one of the kids did not know the capitol of the US, another thought Bill Clinton was Hitler….

  100. We already knew they aren’t taught about USA but doesn’t anyone there know it is wrong to beat a child until the child’s kidneys are damaged?

  101. Someday perhaps I will tell you an amusing story about John Krakauer, Flora Jessop and me.

  102. Boots,
    You asked cat about human rights violations in Mohave County.
    Here is a blog entry where a non FLDS resident of that county
    notes that there are pregnant teenagers and women with black eyes
    walking around in Colorado City, and nothing is done about it….

  103. ooops, here is the link :

  104. So does anyone know when this documentary will be available to the general public?

  105. not known yet.
    the Tribeca Film Festival is not over yet.
    The screenings of the film however are completed.

  106. I don’t know Granny, it was posted days ago that she posted a link to the trailor of this film and got banned from the tribune for that. I don’t see how that could be abusive, but who knows how the tribune thinks.

  107. O over there? I don’t know either. Said she mouthed off at the writer but I do that all the time. Trib’s a bit weird. Supposedly altering their format soon.

  108. I’ve been banned too. No one has gotten back to me as to why yet. Ah well, life goes on. 😉

  109. I’m really proud to be affiliated with y’all after hearing that. You have experienced landing thump, like Gulliver, in the middle of something many would not believe. And now you see how many are willing to keep covering it up, too…

    Beating until a child urinates is very common. Flora has described multiple incidences growing up of her father beating her brothers just that way.

    Actually, many of those who regularly beat children are rather fond of beating until the child has lost control of bodily functions.

    One of the chief complaints of foster families were were in contact with last summer, who had cared for YFZ children, was incontinence…an unusually high amount of incontinence among the children.

    Sue me for using common sense but as an experienced redheaded step child, I’m just sayin’…

  110. “I can’t get over the shock of seeing live video of a 14 yr old trying to escape her parents because of a planned arranged marriage.”

    Catwhisperer, have you ever seen the footage of Flora leaving with the two Fawns?

  111. No, where can I find it ?

  112. I think we should consider the monitor’s advice to use the tribtalk forum rather than news comments.

  113. Anon, I don’t understand how to use Tribtalks — do you start a thread, is there a polygamy section? Would you be willing to email me with pointers?

    I looked at it and ended up kind of lost. 🙂

  114. I don’t know either!

  115. It would seem we could begin one Polygamy Issues then see where it leads if we only knew how.

  116. Log into TribTalk, click on News and Current Events, on the left side after the 3 main topics you will see a New Thread button

  117. Catwhisperer,

  118. Rebeckah you naughty girl. You in trouble again?

    Most incontinence in children has nothing whatsoever to do with being beaten.

  119. Why would there have been an exceptional proportion of incontinent children among the YFZ herd?

  120. I’ll trust you on that CW, because I had a child who was incontinent for a very long time and we were certainly not abusive to her, lol. It ran in our family, mostly in the boys, though.

    It was simply something we noticed as a running theme among the concerns of foster parents.

  121. You guys are going to post on Trib Talk? lol If I chime in my nic is Cooper. This is going to be interesting. Really interesting.

  122. I do have another question, though. One of the foster parent couples we spoke to said three of the boys they had could also not control their bowels overnight.

    What do you think would cause that?

  123. My daughter wet the bed until she was well over the age of 6. She’s ADHD and her accidents were generally triggered by either stress, being too warm in bed or being too cold in bed. I was very low key about it — taught her to let me know first thing in the morning so I could make sure she had a bath before school and so I could get the sheets and blankets in the wash and the mattress cleaned and airing. It didn’t happen constantly but it did take her a few years longer to gain full mastery in her sleep. I’ll have to ask her but I don’t think she ever felt bad about it. It was just one of those things — like knocking over the milk at dinner — that had to be cleaned up. 😀

    There are some physical (ie child is born with a problem) causes of bowl incontinence but I believe they are fairly rare. I think sexual abuse is often a culprit, though. Of course there’s probably more options too.

  124. One cause of fecal incontinence is harsh potty training. The child tries to hold it in and in their sleep it comes out. Other causes may be birth defects, since close relatives marry in the FLDS that may have been the cause. Medical Report says: Coercive toilet training can result in children acquiring an aversion to defecation which sometimes can result in withholding behaviour with severe fecal impaction in the rectum. The large, hard stools are often only evacuated once a week on the toilet in a difficult and painful process. A vicious circle is established. In 60-90% of children, constipation is accompanied by fecal incontinence.

    Sexual or physical abuse may also cause it. I tend to think that it is either a birth defect or the children trying to hold it in. You would have to determine if it had been a problem prior to foster care. It could be that they were intimidated by going to the bathroom in a strange place. I remember one of my kids would refuse to use the bathrooms at school and head straight for the bathroom when they got home.

    I wouldn’t jump to conclusions that it was due to sexual abuse. By the way, I have a graduate degree in counseling.

  125. I read that the film was going to be available on BBC. I wrote a friend in England. He has been quite interested after reading Under the Banner of Heaven.

  126. I’m still not sure exactly WHAT I did, CW. Granted, I was unkind to Deb Lee, but I don’t apologize for getting snarky with scum who blame women for what men do to them. If that’s what got me banned, I’ll probably get banned again. I’ll survive, though.

  127. Katchalater,

    I’m willing to not jump to conclusions. I am unwilling, however, to ignore the direct statements from survivors who have left this particular cult. Sexual abuse, according to many of the survivors who have left, is systematic and rampant.

    Now that’s what “they say”. I could be wrong. I’m always willing to be wrong but after going at this for 5 years now, I just haven’t seen anything to show that I am.

    The problem here is that only a few survivors ever tell their stories to the media. Most survivors simply want to get on with their lives. They do not want to air their wounds for the world to see, and who could blame them?

    That’s why we consider the few who have hung in there and consistently been willing to share their stories with us all..heroes.

    You’ll notice the heroes in this story have been called everything from liars to whores by those still operating within the FLDS.

    It seems to be a pattern.

  128. LW said several were banned maybe 40 and Deb Lee as I have not seen any of their usual posts.

  129. I’m not saying that abuse might not be the problem. Everyone who has spoken out has stories of abuse. John Daniel Kingston’s son said that babies had their faces slapped hard if they cried, he said his little sister never cried after five months of age. Ruth Stubbs said pillow were held over the faces of crying babies to stop them from crying and toddlers were locked in closets for hours. That was one reason, I tended to believe that it was due to harsh potty training. Children beaten for soiling themselves try to hold it in and end up being incontitent.

  130. Yes, the abuse excusers try desperately to discredit everyone who tells what is going on behind the Zion Curtain, but the truth is slowly coming out. Blackbird gave Daphne in Canada all his letters to authorities including U.S. Department of Justice, FBI, U.S. Marshals, Canadian Authorities and their responses, it was discouraging to say the least. People reporting crimes were repeatedly told to investigate them themselves and get an attorney. The U.S. Marshals was most helpful but they only go to work after a warrant is issued.

  131. Katchalater,

    Thank you.

    Yes, at some point I went the same route and also got nowhere.

    I think early on in 2005 when I was speaking one day to the officer in charge of Arizona’s POST Board about the FLDS Baby Land Cemetery, he said it best, “This all feels like a creepy Dean Koontz novel if you ask me”.

  132. Thanks Katch! That’s very informative. I knew about the impacted/constipated bowels and the vicious circle because it happens to a lot of children with autism. Fortunately for us, Aidan is willing to eat enough high fiber foods (like salad and apples) that we haven’t had to deal with it.

  133. It would seem we could begin one Polygamy Issues then see where it leads if we only knew how.

    GrannyToad said this on May 1, 2010 at 10:31 AM

    Log into TribTalk, click on News and Current Events, on the left side after the 3 main topics you will see a New Thread button

    Anonymous said this on May 1, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    Do the trib talk topics appear in the public columns or ??

  134. The appear on-line but not in the newspaper.

  135. When the Tribune implements the plan to limit the time for comments on the articles, anyone could start a thread for it in TribTalk and post a link on the article comments to where the conversation has moved.

  136. What is TribTalk?

  137. Tribtalk Forum – I used to post there when WJ was on the run. A personal favorite fellow poster was someone named Capt Picard. Here’s the link:

  138. I also remember Walton aka Cooper 🙂 I guess a lot of us have been concerned about the FLDS for several years. My son tells me I am “obsessed with polygamy” but as we all know, polygamy is just the tip of the iceberg.

  139. There’s a real need to do something about these illegal laborers like AZ is trying to do. AZ has been having to put up with a criminal and economic mess. But cheap labor has been a competitive economic FLDS foothold for decades, generations. Like putting their girls up for breeding at younger and younger ages, they’ll be having to put these boys out to work as soon as their foot can reach the gas pedal, or they can handle a nail gun or saw.

    *not all that tongue in cheek.

  140. near, I’ve never been primarily concerned with polygamy, there are as they say bigger fish to fry. Polygamy to me is just the organizational pyramid stack. Gotta get the younglings a better shot at a better life.

  141. Nearthecreek- I agree we do have a lot of hours on the posting clock. Looking for answers that many have tried to hide.

    I also enjoyed posting with Captain Picard. Very nice.

  142. Another great review for Sons of Perdition

  143. Thanks for the link, Cat! It’s great to see this documentary is getting attention.

    I think it’s really important that the film gets international attention especially. Fundamentalist polygamist groups have already set up local chapters in Canada and Mexico. Maybe if there is enough international awareness of these groups and their crimes, the U.S. will finally be motivated enough to act.

  144. Supposedly the film will be shown on BBC later this week.
    If you have access to BBC, check their schedule.

  145. This is Tyler, the director of Sons of Perdition. Thanks again for all of your interest in the film. I know many of you would like to watch it, and believe me, we want you to. Right now, we do not have any set dates for screenings other than the film festivals approaching (Mountain Festival in Telluride during Memorial day weekend and others that we can’t announce yet). While the BBC has purchased the UK rights to the film, it is not yet scheduled to air.
    The film did very well at the Tribeca film festival and it touched many audience members. We do hope that this film sees a wide distribution and gives hope and change to the exiles who are so brave to seek for something better in their life.

  146. Another great article about exiled FLDS teens, from someone who saw Sons of Perdition at the Tribeca Film Festival:

  147. This is Tyler – the co-producer and director of the film Sons of Perdition. We are pleased to announce that we will be screening the film in Salt Lake City on May 27th. It will be held at the Broadway Theaters (111 E. 300 S.)

    There is a screening at 7:00 and 9:00. Admission is free but there is a suggested cash donation at the door that goes towards FLDS exiles.
    The filmmakers and special guests will be in attendance. Love to see you there.

  148. Congrats Tyler. Wish I could be there to see it.

  149. Congratulations Tyler, hope that it is the first of many, many more showings.

  150. You might want to post this good news. We are very, very happy!

  151. Sons of Perdition has been acquired by the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). It will be presented as part of Oprah’s Documentary Film Club.

  152. Whoohooo! Great News!

  153. That’s great news Tyler, can’t wait to watch it.

  154. When they say it has been acquired does that mean they bought the film? and they will show it?

    I honestly don’t know how all this stuff works.

  155. Hey everyone, the film Sons of Perdition is now ready to go into theaters. In fact it opens in Salt Lake City on Friday the 18th at the Tower Theatre and then on the 25th at theaters in West Valley, West Jordan and Provo. It will also open in Phoenix that same week. On the 4th, it shows in Dallas with many more screenings coming in the state of Texas.

    We would love to invite everyone to come to the film. For more information, please visit

  156. Thanks for the scoop Tyler, I can’t wait to see it. I saw the clips that were on YouTube for a while, but I want to see it all.

  157. Hey there,
    This is Tyler the director of the film Sons of Perdition. Just to let you know, for anyone who lives in Houston, the film will be screening on April 6th at the 14 Pews Theater. The co-director, Jennilyn Merten will be in attendance for a post screening Q&A. Please spread the word. Here is the info.

  158. Hey everyone, finally the film Sons of Perdition has been released on DVD. You can get a copy at

    A portion of the proceeds go towards those who have been exiled from polygamy.

  159. Thanks Tyler. I’ve got my copy ordered.

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