Roy and Becky Jeffs – both adult children of the FLDS leader Warren Jeffs – opened up about their lives as former members of the church during CNN’s This is Life season premiere on Wednesday night.
The siblings not only gave host Lisa Ling a behind-the-scenes view of the FLDS, but they also dove into accusations that Jeffs molested them as children.
“He realized he had so much power,” Becky said. “‘What should I do with all this power?’ I can do anything I want. And he did – and it went the wrong way.”
Jeffs children alleged that the molestation started before he became a prophet, but they both admitted to not wanting to blame him for his actions.
At one point, Becky told Ling she didn’t tell anyone her secret, “Because father knows best. I kept telling myself it was an accident. I just thought that was a mistake. I didn’t allow myself to dwell on it.”
Her brother Roy, who alleged that the sexual abuse started when he was about four or five, added, “I always felt like he was perfect. I never held him accountable at all.”
Roy and Becky continued to open up about life with their father, saying that his strict hand and abuse of power only got worse as time went on.
Jeffs began marrying his own father’s former wives, as well as young girls – some as young as 12 – and despite his new wives being close in age to his children, they were still expected to call them mother.
“It’s natural as a daughter to think why don’t you be a father to these young girls instead of trying to be a husband,” Becky said about her feelings towards her father’s marriages.
Roy, who was about 14 at the time Jeffs brought in the new wives, remembered being sent over 500 miles away after revealing to his father that he had a crush on some of the new “mothers.”
“I was so honest with my dad that he knew everything about me,” he said. “I would tell him about temptations that I had towards the mother.”
Despite their rough past in the FLDS, Roy and Becky have both found solace in the outside world.
Becky was able to reunite with her family which her father separated from her despite serving a life sentence in prison.
Although Roy still dwells on the fact that he may never be able to reunite with his own biological mother, he’s made a life for himself working in construction and connecting with advocates who help look after children who have left the FLDS.
But, he did still have a plea for his father.
“Please stop hurting families,” Roy said. “Ripping children from their parents. I love you. Tell the people the truth.”
This is Life airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST/PST on CNN.