The Polygamist's Daughter

Stories, Reflections and Conclusions of Life on the Inside


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Big Willie and Oprah Winfrey Part One

Several days ago on Oprah’s show “Where Are They Now?”  Oprah sat down in a lengthy on-camera conversation with Willie Jessop.  Big Willie, as he is un-affectionately known by those who knew and feared him as Warren Jeff’s henchman, was given an opportunity to redeem himself in Oprah’s eyes, and in the eyes of her millions of viewers.

In 2009, following the government raid on the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saint (F.L.D.S.) Yearning for Zion (Y.F.Z.) Ranch in Texas, Oprah and her film crew were given carte blanche access to the ranch, with Big Willie as Oprah’s personal tour guide.

Oprah and Big Willie

During Oprah’s visit, Warren Jeffs, the self-proclaimed prophet of the F.L.D.S. sat in a Utah prison, serving a sentence for sex crimes against children after being on the F.B.I.’s 10 Most Wanted list. The government raid on the F.L.D.S., Y.F.Z. Ranch was in response to a call from an anonymous caller who claimed she had been the victim of a sex crime at Y.F.Z Ranch.

During the raid on Y.F.Z. the government seized boxes of records containing mounting evidence of Warren having what most many of us would consider orgy rapes of underage girls.

To his own demise, he kept audio recordings of those orgies as what he called, “Heavenly Sessions.”  Photographs were taken of the bed and private chamber in the temple that he used for his group sessions, and the audio recordings were seized as evidence that would eventually put Warren Jeffs in a Texas prison for the remainder of his life, and then some. The results of the investigation were still underway when Oprah paid her visit to the Y.F.Z. Ranch.

Back to Big Willie, aka Willie Jessop and his visits with Oprah. Okay, I admit I am a little jealous, not of Willie, heavens no. I am a little envious of the quality time he was able to spend with a woman I deeply admire as one of the great change makers and voices for global transformation.

From the moment Oprah stepped into the back seat of the automobile with Big Willie at her side, I knew she was in for the ride of her life and a deception like she had never or probably has ever experienced.

Oprah and Willie Jessops

Willie wasn’t only Warren Jeff’s henchman, he was Warren’s personal body guard, protector of Warren’s assets and secrets and the F.L.D.S. spokesperson. He was the man who delivered girls, ousted young boys, kicked out old men and ensured the reassignments of women and children. He was Warren’s right hand-man, and for good reason, Willie was large, bold, wickedly smart, an excellent business man and a smooth talker. That in itself would come back to haunt Warren later.

One of the first questions Oprah asked in her 2009 interview with Willie was how the F.L.D.S. people would feel about her. His reply was an outright lie when he told her the people would have no issue with her. Oprah represents everything the people are taught to despise, or more precisely, taught to fear. As a strong, successful, unmarried, childless, black woman of the world, she would be considered an abomination in every possible way. But, I’m sure the children were taught to keep their mouths shut, play along, and pretend they weren’t afraid. Then immediately wash everything down with bleach, have everything re-consecrated and Jesus called upon by a man with the Melchizedek to clear away the evil spirits after she left.

When Oprah asked various individuals about the underage marriages, everyone just smiled as they lied through their sickeningly sweet smiles, insisting they knew of no such thing.

This of course is completely ridiculous. Underage marriages have been a mainstay in that belief system for the past 100+ years. The people see nothing wrong with these young marriages because the legal marriage age, which not so long ago was only 14, and is still only 16 with parental consent. Even younger marriages are legal with a court consent. And, since a court of God holds more weight than a court of law, underage marriage can easily be justified by religion in their eyes. And, because God’s laws are superior to men’s, even though, “thou shalt not lie” is one of the ten commandments, when you lie for God and religion that makes lying perfectly okay.

Polygamy was blatantly obvious so Oprah didn’t even bother asking about it.

The kicker of the entire visit with Oprah was her wanting to understand about the bed in the temple. Rumor had it that there was a bed in the temple that Warren used for his sexual rituals. When Oprah asked Willie about the bed, Willie replied that any bed in the temple belonged to the groundskeeper. Right. A small, bed with side rails in a hidden chamber of the Holy of Holys on the third floor of the temple – that belonged to a groundskeeper?

Inside the Polygamist Retreat

I’m not 100% positive, because there is no way I would ever be allowed inside, (and if anyone told me the full truth about what happens in a temple they would have their tongue cut out – at least that’s what my parents told me) but I’m pretty sure that there is no regular Mormon temple with a bed like the one in Warren Jeff’s temple. Not even for the groundskeeper.

Aside from being completely snowed by barrage of lies that Oprah endured at the F.L.D.S., what she did see was an example of how communal living can look in the appearance of perfect harmony. Albeit, that perfect harmony came at the expense of no personal time for anyone and continual sacrifice to “the order”.  

Without having a personal conversation with Oprah, I can’t say how she felt by the time she left. In my personal perception she was impressed by the people, unimpressed by Willie, and not fully convinced that everything was as it appeared. Although rumor has it that Willie conned Oprah out of a nice sum of money; supposedly on behalf of the children, which the children never saw. But since I can’t substantiate that, I will chalk it up to hearsay.

Fast forward to the present day. Warren Jeffs still calls the shots for the F.L.D.S. from behind prison walls as the undisputed prophet for thousands of people. His followers believe that he is in prison for religious persecution and that Hollywood magic was used to manipulate any incriminating audio and video footage. They aren’t allowed to watch television or have internet access, so any evidence to the contrary is inaccessible.

They are, in every sense of the word, blinded by their beliefs.

Because I am obviously long-winded and highly passionate about this particular subject. I am writing a second post about Oprah’s recent interview with Big Willie, as he spills the beans about what really happened, why he lied, and where he is heading with his life.  Stay tuned for part two.

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Awarding Motherhood

Mother’s Day was among the most highly celebrated occasions in the commune. As a woman’s sole purpose for existence was to procreate, each woman was judged by the number of children she produced in service to our religion and to God. Creating mortal bodies for God’s other spirit children was her way of showing gratitude for her own mortality and evidence of her relentless service to meeting His desires.

Each year on Mother’s Day we all came together in the church/community center for a morning of remembering our mothers. The children all gathered together at the front of the room and sang Sunday School songs commemorating motherhood. The singing was interjected by a sermon provided by a male member of the audience in his perspective of what it meant to be a wife and a mother. The morning was completed with an award presented to the woman with the most children.

As much as my mother tried she never won that award. One other woman had her beat each year. The spread widened as my mother had several miscarriages and Sister Jessop had twins. My mother ended her child birthing years with only twelve children. There were those in the community who scorned her for quitting too early but she had come to determine that a dozen would suffice.


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Christmas in the Commune

When our commune was first established the founding elders agreed that there would be no recognition or celebration of holidays based in Pagan tradition. That included Christmas.

My father referred to Christmas as a “filthy Pagan ritual” and refused to expose his children to its customs. As a child I was far too young to understand the true meaning of either the holiday or my father’s opinion of its formation. Growing up I knew the birth of Jesus was in April and we celebrated his birth each year with great enthusiasm. Aside from a small gift provided by my grandparents, Christmas went by each year with no fan fare or acknowledgement.

As I became an adult and enjoyed the fruits of the real world I fell in love with Christmas. I fell in love with the lights, the music, the food and the energy. But I still had no connection with it in regards to Jesus. It was a Pagan celebration of joy and giving and I was perfectly accepting of that. I was anti-religion and wanted nothing to do with any religious aspect of the holidays. Then I matured and discovered the truth of Spirituality. I rediscovered Christ and his teachings of light. I am not a Christian and have no attachments to the birth of Christ. Although I do celebrate his life and his messages along with the other celebrations during this time of year. I have finally come to understand the true meaning of Christmas and the joyous celebration this season represents.

My father was right about the Pagan foundation of Christmas, although I completely disagree about it being based in evil practices. Religious scholars all agree that Jesus was not born in December, so why did the Catholic Church choose December 25th? It is really quite simple. December 21st is the winter solstice, the day that the promise of light returns each year to our planet. The weeks surrounding the winter solstice have been celebrated for thousands of years, long before the birth of Christ, by cultures all over the world. Regardless of religious, pagan or traditional beliefs this time of year has always been filled with gratitude, joy and celebration. It is a time that celebrates abundance and promises hope for the future. It is a celebration of light.

The Christmas season is not just for Christians but for people of all races, creeds and beliefs to celebrate the harvest, celebrate life’s bounty, celebrate love and yes, celebrate the return of light and hope that accompanies it. The return of light is recognized with many names and rituals, all of which are beautiful and inspiring. Regardless of the tradition they all deserve recognition and celebration. Happy Holidays!

For more information about the true history of Christmas visit the History Channel at http://www.history.com/topics/christmas