PROVO, Utah (News4Utah) – Saturday will mark four years since Roy Jeffs left the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
His father, convicted rapist Warren Jeffs, is the church’s self-proclaimed prophet — and is also behind bars for life.
“I took off running from a job site in Des Moines, Iowa,” said Roy Jeffs during a sit-down interview Wednesday night.
He shared his story of growing up in a polygamous community with News4Utah.
“My experience with polygamy was very bad,” said Roy Jeffs.
He says, growing up, that he had about 50 siblings.
“I grew up with so many kids in the house that my dad didn’t have time for me,” said Jeffs.
“There were times he went out of his way to shun me. Just seeing how my mom was treated – she was treated horribly by my dad. Just a lot of psychological abuse,” said Jeffs.
Warren Jeffs is behind bars for sexually assaulting two girls he claimed were his wives.
Roy says there are problems in the FLDS culture: “human trafficking and sexual abuse” among them.
He says he was a victim of labor trafficking as a child.
“I was sent from a house in hiding, to a land of refuge, which were the compounds, and that’s where it was just a lot of hard labor, and you were supposed to start as young as 12 years old,” said Jeffs.
Now, he wants to share his story.
“I want to use my experience in whatever way I can,” said Jeffs.
Jeffs says it’s important to remember that, in those communities, there are good people who believe what they’re doing is right.
And, he says, it’s important to look on those in the FLDS church as individuals — and view them with compassion.