Interview With Former FLDS Members


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, most wanted polygamist Warren Jeffs captured Monday, in court today under extraordinary security. Now, we’ll take you where few outsiders have ever been, a rare look inside his secretive, heavily-guarded community. We’ll see his gated compound, the remote city where his followers live, and how they ran and hid from our cameras.

Plus, women who risked everything to escape his sect and what they call a world of forced marriages to abusive husbands with multiple wives. One of them will testify against the prophet-turned- prisoner. She’s crucial to the case against him.

It’s all next on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: Good evening.

In our first segment tonight some extraordinary footage for you. Ted Rowlands joins us, the CNN correspondent. He was in the Las Vegas courtroom this morning for Warren Jeffs’ first appearance.

He spent time on assignment for LARRY KING LIVE in Warren Jeffs’ communities in Arizona and Hilldale, Utah. You’ll be seeing the video Ted and his crew shot for the first time tonight.

In Las Vegas as well is Sara Hammon, grew up in the FLDS community before Warren Jeffs took over. Her late father was a high- ranking FLDS member who taught purity and propriety but was secretly a child molester.

And, here in Los Angeles, Ruth Stubbs, a previous guest back with us. Ruth’s statements are responsible for starting Warren Jeffs’ legal troubles. She says he forced her into a marriage when she was 16 years old to a 32-year-old police officer. She’ll be a witness in at least one of the trials.

Before we talk to our ladies, let’s get with Ted Rowlands. And let’s first show you something that Ted did, then ask about it. In this first thing we’re going to see, Ted takes a look at some of the homes in Colorado City. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Homes here in Colorado City range in size. This is one of the larger homes. Look closely at the top level where it says UEP. That means United Effort Plan and that’s basically a trust, meaning the people that are living here don’t own this house. If Warren Jeffs decides he can take this home, even the wives and the children living in this home, and give it to somebody else.


KING: And, Ted, what about Mr. Jeffs’ compound?

ROWLANDS: It’s the largest, as you might imagine. It’s massive. He has a number of wives. It’s been reported he has up to 40 wives and many children, so he’s got basically a whole block to himself. It’s completely surrounded by fence and there’s a large sign “Stay Out. Keep out.”

It’s difficult to look in. They’ve erected this fence which goes around the entire block and that is Warren Jeffs’ compound when he is in Colorado City and Hilldale. Of course, since he was on the run he didn’t spend too much time there.


The FLDS is also considered to be a cult of Christianity. Sociologically,the group is a high-control cult.

But he did come at night a lot. A couple of the people we talked to there said that, in fact, he had been there a week or two before we were there shooting and he came through and then left a message for the flock that he thought the place looked a little dirty and encouraged people to clean up a little.

KING: Ted, Colorado City is not in Colorado, right?

ROWLANDS: No, no. Colorado City and Hilldale are right on the border of Utah and Arizona. It literally goes right through this town. And this is — once you’re there you understand a little bit about how people can be born into this and stick into it and not leave.

Because, you know, from a layman’s standpoint you read about it and you think what the heck are these people thinking? Why don’t they just leave? Well, when you go there you really see how secluded they are. They’re up against mountains on one side and the Grand Canyon on another. It is secluded, and Jeffs or whoever happens to be the prophet at that time, for 100-plus years has insulated these people.

They know nothing different and that is why their allegiance is so pure and no matter what you think from the outside, to them the prophet is the prophet and they’ll do anything that he says.

KING: In a moment we’ll ask you about what happened in court today.

Sara Hammon, you grew up in a community. Where did you grow up what city?

SARA HAMMON, RAISED IN AND LEFT FLDS COMMUNITY: I was born in Hilldale, Utah and raised in Colorado City, Arizona. KING: What was it like?

HAMMON: It was very secluded as the other gentleman was saying. We rarely left the community except to go shopping at the grocery store in St. George, Utah or Hurricane. And we were forced to dress a certain way. And people in the community outside St. George would stare at us like zoo animals. We really stood out and so it was almost safer to stay in Colorado City.

KING: Your late father was a devout member of the church?

HAMMON: Yes, he was one of the leaders.

KING: And he was also while talking about purity and propriety secretly a child molester?

HAMMON: Yes, he was.

KING: How did you know?

HAMMON: He molested me. He molested me.

KING: He molested his daughter?


KING: How old were you?

HAMMON: The first time I was very small, under five. We had a bathroom that joined our bedrooms, my mother’s bedroom and his bedroom. And I know we moved out of that bedroom when I was five, so it was prior to that. And then he also molested me on his death bed when I was 13, tried to — he tried to put his hand up my skirt. He couldn’t talk. He could barely move but he was trying to open my skirt.

KING: Did he have many wives?

HAMMON: He had 19 wives and 75 children.

KING: How did you get out of that?

HAMMON: My sister and her husband were living in St. George, Utah and when I was not in school on the weekends or in the summer I would go stay with her. And I began babysitting for a family that she knew. And one day I asked them if I could live with them. And they had to go meet with my mothers and arrange for that. My father had passed away. He died when I was 13.

KING: Ruth, where did you grow up?

RUTH STUFFS, WED AT 16 BY JEFFS TO 32-YEAR-OLD MAN: I grew up in Colorado City.

KING: As well, the same, in this whole environment area.


KING: And he — Warren Jeffs forced you to marry someone?

STUBBS: He — he told me to marry him and…

KING: To marry the police officer.

STUBBS: Rodney Holm, yes.

KING: Right.

STUBBS: And the rest of the town put pressure on me to marry him.

KING: And you were how old?

STUBBS: I was 16.

KING: And why him? Why did they want you to marry him?

STUBBS: I have no idea. He gave me some tickets before I went in and asked to marry another man and they said, “Well, you can take care of her now.”

KING: He gave you tickets?

STUBBS: Rod gave me some tickets before I married him.

KING: You mean traffic tickets?

STUBBS: No, more like minor consumption tickets.

KING: Oh. What did you think of Warren Jeffs?

STUBBS: I didn’t know what to think. After I got into the religion after I married Rod then I believed he was a prophet.

KING: You did?

STUBBS: For a small time there I did believe he was a prophet.

KING: You may be — you have to testify against him. If he asked you to marry this person and you married him what was — what was criminal about that?

STUBBS: He told me that I belong to this man and if I wanted to do God’s will then I needed to marry him. And so, I figured it’s a test, OK. I’ll, you know, if you want to be exalted to God then you need to marry this man. So, I told him, “OK, I’ll do it.” I tried to get a hold of the other man I was trying to marry.

KING: Who you loved?

STUBBS: Who I loved and I couldn’t get a hold of him and so I told him “No, I can’t do it.”

KING: How long were you married to the police officer?

STUBBS: Three years.

KING: And how many children?

STUBBS: Three.

KING: All are his?


KING: Does he see them?

STUBBS: Right now he doesn’t see them very often at all. He sees them probably once every two months. Lately he’s been…

KING: Is he still a police officer?

STUBBS: No, he’s not.

KING: What does he do now?

STUBBS: He works for the Arizona Department. He cleans up the sides of the roads, drives a truck.

KING: Is he still with FLDS?

STUBBS: Yes, he is.

KING: You are not?


KING: Once you — was it hard to break away?

STUBBS: It was very hard for me. I didn’t know if I was going to hell. I didn’t know if my kids were going to die. His sister actually told me my kids were going to be dead a short time after I left him because I left him and that wasn’t Uncle Warren’s will.

KING: We’ll be back with more. Fascinating hour ahead, don’t go away.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This Colorado City woman is a member of Warren Jeffs’ FLDS Church.

(on camera): Have you heard about Warren Jeffs being captured?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I heard about it.

TUCHMAN: Tell me how you feel about it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I’m not sure. TUCHMAN: In this remote part of the southwest where about 10,000 Jeff supporters live, it’s very hard to get church members to talk to us. That’s why we were surprised when 23-year-old Elsie opened up her home and her heart by talking about the church she loves but the prophet she no longer trusts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don’t believe prophets are dishonest and do what he has done.



KING: We’re back.

Ted Rowlands in Las Vegas, what happened in court today?

ROWLANDS: Well, it surprised a lot of people. There was so much security that some of the law enforcement officers actually had automatic rifles in there. There was real concern that some of the followers might show up and disrupt the hearing. That did not happen.

There was concern that Jeffs himself would not respect the authority of the court. That didn’t happen. He came in. He seemed meek. He was in chains, you know, and the handcuffs but he’s very soft spoken, answered all of the questions to the judge and was very accommodating.

None of the hurdles happened. He waived his right to extradition and so he’s on his way to Utah. They’re not telling us when he’ll go to Utah but it’s expected that that will happen in the next few days.

KING: Was he given a choice of Arizona or Utah?

ROWLANDS: No, he wasn’t. The folks in Arizona and Utah talked yesterday and determined that he would go to Utah first, mainly because the Utah charges were more significant. They could get a no bail warrant on him, meaning they could keep him under control. He’d no rights to bail until he gets there.

And then when they do get the bail hearing because the charges are more significant and he was a fugitive on the FBI’s Top Ten list, they’ve got a legitimate argument to hold him without bail.

KING: Now back to Ted’s extraordinary coverage of various aspects of this.

In our next segment, Ted didn’t have much luck finding something to eat. Watch.


ROWLANDS: While Isaac has chosen to stay in this community he obviously is being treated differently than other people. He just tried to go into this place for some lunch, this Chester Fried Chicken, and he came in and was told to leave. Since we’ve been here the manager or somebody came out and actually locked the door and turned the open sign off.

ISAAC WYLER, EXCOMMUNICATED FROM FLDS BY WARREN JEFFS: This only started happening about the last eight months and I’ve been kicked out for two years. So, it’s been about the last eight months that they’ve been really cracking down.

ROWLANDS: We are going to go in and try to talk to the manager to see why they refused service to Isaac. But, as we saw earlier, they’ve locked the door and they’re apparently refusing service to us as well. And, although there are customers in here, they’re not — they’re not letting us in. It’s locked. That’s locked like locks — OK, I understand. I guess they don’t want to talk to us.


KING: I spell locks, L-O-X. Ted, why didn’t they want to — why didn’t they want to serve you?

ROWLANDS: Well, they had a big sign “We can refuse service to anybody.” It’s very bizarre. The restaurant was fairly full and they were making fun of us really, you know, and then waving at us, very bizarre. The community is very tight. When a stranger comes in they know right away. We were followed the whole time.

And you really do get the feeling when you’re in there of why people that are sucked into this at an early age or born into it don’t know any differently because clearly the people we ran into either wouldn’t talk to us or in that case refused service and locked us out.

KING: Carolyn Jessop joins us in West Jordan, Utah. She’s been with us before. She escaped with her eight children, is close friends to the wife who was with Warren Jeffs when he was caught in Las Vegas. How did you react to the way he was in court today?

CAROLYN JESSOP, FLED POLYGAMOUS COMMUNITY: It was very typical. His mannerisms were very — very much the way he acts. I wasn’t surprised at all.

KING: But he appeared meek.

JESSOP: Well, he has that appearance but it’s like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He’s not meek at all. He’s ruthless and he’s ruled over this community with an iron fist and tyranny.

KING: Boy, he sure doesn’t look the type.

JESSOP: I guarantee he is. He’s hurt thousands of people and very badly.

KING: Would you agree Ruth Stubbs?

STUBBS: I agree.

KING: But the person you’re seeing now is not — that’s him?

STUBBS: Yes that’s him. He has a very nice, soft, calm voice but he’s destroyed thousands and thousands of people’s lives.

KING: Sara, when you see him what do you think?

HAMMON: I agree with Carolyn and Ruth. He has that meek appearance but he is — he’s a bad, bad guy.

KING: And appears to — how did he — how does someone who looks like that or acts like that get so many, Sara, people supporting him?

HAMMON: Well, it’s the charisma.

KING: What charisma?

HAMMON: Good point but I think a lot of it too is that he inherited this from his father. When his father was in power people worshipped him and considered him to be the prophet and so Warren just naturally took over and they didn’t question it. They’re taught to not question anything.

KING: Sara, what was it like to grow up with all those mothers?

HAMMON: It was organized chaos. Each mother had her duty in the home. One was in charge of caring for the garden. One was in charge of the housework, meals. One was in charge of child care. But there was a lot of tension going on in the home. It was…

KING: I’ll bet.

HAMMON: It makes me — it makes me very sad when I think what my mother went through. It was horrible.

KING: We’ll take a break and be back with more; more of Ted Rowlands’ incredible journeys into Colorado City as well. Don’t go away.


ROWLANDS: This is a community garden here in Colorado City. Most people that live here, there are about 8,500 to 10,000, have gardens at their own homes. But what’s grown here in the community garden helps to supplement the individuals that live here. Also some of the crops grown here are actually shipped out to other FLDS communities around the country.



KING: Joining our panel now in St. George, Utah is Andrew Chatwin, who left the FLDS Church when he was 28 years old. He’s 38 now. He still lives in Colorado City alongside FLDS members. What’s that like for you, Andrew?


KING: What’s it like even though you’re not in the FLDS to live among them?

CHATWIN: It’s been really strange and it doesn’t feel like America to us. It feels like a theocracy and it’s just really strange for me because it’s not what I grew up in (INAUDIBLE).

KING: Why do you stay there?

CHATWIN: We have a lot of family and friends that are in — that Warren has kicked out and so we got a little support group now going and so we’re able to — to function, at least a little bit.

KING: Do you — are they nice to you the people who believe in that sect?

CHATWIN: I’m having a hard time hearing you, say that again.

KING: Are they nice to you?

CHATWIN: The FLDS people are not nice. They’ve all turned a cold shoulder and they’re actually rude in a lot of cases. They’ll spin rocks in front of you, do (INAUDIBLE), harass your children a little bit, so it’s kind of a cold situation going on down there.

KING: Do you know Warren Jeffs?

CHATWIN: Do I know who?

KING: Warren Jeffs.

CHATWIN: Wayne Jeffs?

KING: Warren Jeffs.

CHATWIN: I’m having a very hard time.

KING: OK, I’m sorry. We’ll have to check Andrew out. We’ll check that out, Andrew, and try to get it better.

Let’s go back to Ted Rowlands and his incredible coverage here in Colorado City. Ted didn’t exactly get a warm reception involving some truck. Watch this.


ROWLANDS: One of the things that’s been happening is that since we’ve been here this sort of this has happened. You see this truck spewing exhaust at us comes on scene. Once they know we’re here, they’ll send someone over and then obviously they’re trying to distract us with this exhaust and the smoke evidently trying to get us to leave but nobody will actually talk to us.


KING: What was that like for you?

ROWLANDS: It was bizarre, you know. They tailed us around the entire time we were there. We were there about eight hours and they would come by with these trucks and they’d spew the diesel fuel, rev it up, and you get the black smoke on you. But they won’t talk to you. And when you do approach them they take off right away.

It is really strange. It’s like they’re watching you to make sure you don’t do anything but they don’t outwardly threaten you. I didn’t feel threatened while we were there at all.

We went to the police station. It was our first stop there to say we were there, to say we were with CNN and LARRY KING LIVE and we’d be there throughout the day. And it’s just a weird passive aggressive mentality that they have with outsiders.

But the one thing that we definitely did not have success with that is talking with any of the members. They do not and they are instructed not to talk to outsiders, especially the media.

KING: Carolyn Jessop, why are they so secretive?

JESSOP: It’s just the nature of the lifestyle. After the 1953 raid then the community became extremely isolated and secretive and especially towards media and it was mandatory when I lived there that you absolutely could not talk to media. There was a few people in the community at that time that were assigned to talk to media and they were the only ones allowed to speak.

KING: What was it like, Ruth, to live there.

STUBBS: Well, you saw it all right there. When I would walk to school with my sisters they did the same thing. They’d floor their diesel trucks and put fumes all over us. We went in there smelling like exhaust every day, every day at the same time.

KING: How, Sara, did you not go crazy?

HAMMON: I’m not sure I didn’t. It’s taken a long time to heal from this. I’ve been gone for 17 years now and I think just in the last three to four years I’ve started to pull it together. I went through a really, really difficult time for a long time.

KING: Ted Rowlands, what’s puzzling is if they believe in what they believe in why are they afraid to share it?

ROWLANDS: Well that’s a good point, you know. If they are so strong — well, you know, here’s the thing is they believe everything and one of the things that they’re told to do is not to talk about it. So, it’s well orchestrated from the top down and those that believe truly do believe and they do believe that the prophet is a conduit to the afterlife.

And, if you mess up down here, you’re not going to be enjoying the fruits of the afterlife. And, if you don’t listen to the prophet, bad things will happen to you. And they truly believe that, so you’re told not to talk. You don’t talk. You’re told not to watch TV, listen to the radio, read newspapers, you don’t do it.

KING: Did you try to attend a service, Ted?

ROWLANDS: Well, it’s funny you mention that because since Warren Jeffs has been on the run over the past year, according to the people we did talk to, ex-members who are still living there, Oscar and then the gentleman that you had on earlier where you were having the audio problems, he was with him, what has happened is there hasn’t been any services or any gatherings at all.

Warren Jeffs is still collecting the money every month but they’re not — they don’t have services. That’s what I thought. I was just blown away. You know I thought it would every Sunday everybody gathers but that’s not the case. They don’t all gather. They just get messages delivered from the prophet.

KING: We’ll take a break; more of Ted’s travails when we come back.

And, Michael Watkiss comes back, the famed investigative reporter who did that incredible documentary on all of this. Don’t go away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But a curious little fact about Colorado City, almost all of the land in town is held in a trust called the United Effort Plan, a trust that is completely controlled by Warren Jeffs, meaning Lenore (ph) says if you get out of line, even if you built your own home, Warren Jeffs has been known to throw you off the land.



KING: We’re back. Joining us in Phoenix, Arizona is Michael Watkiss, investigative reporter for KTVK in Phoenix, producer of “Colorado City and the Underground Railroad.” You’ll see clips from it throughout the show. We’ll talk to Michael in a minute. Ruth said something interesting. Even though he’s in jail, he’ll still be a prophet?


KING: Even if convicted he’ll still be a prophet?

STUBBS: Yes, God don’t change prophets overnight.

KING: So all of these people will continue to regard him as their leader no matter what circumstance he’s in?

STUBBS: The people that believe in Warren will believe in Warren until he’s dead.

KING: Michael Watkiss, we have an e-mail from Wes in Highland, Illinois. Is Warren Jeffs and his fundamentalist Mormon sect a snapshot of what the mainstream Mormon church was like 150 years ago? MICHAEL WATKISS, KTVK INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: No. I think the answer to that is probably no, Larry. Of course, I wasn’t back around in those days covering the stories, but what Warren Jeffs has done in that community is taken it in a direction that’s perverted everything. A lot of folks will tell you that it was a great town several decades ago. I think there has always been problems and there is clearly, clear inequity between the status of men and the status of women.

That’s always been part of polygamy and that’s what’s brought the problems. I mean, in the earliest days the first prophet of the Mormon church, Joseph Smith, was lynched by a mob because they hated polygamy. Polygamy has been the central tenant and the great albatross among its practicers ever since it started, but as you well know, Larry, the bottom line is, mainstream Mormon church doesn’t practice polygamy anymore. They are two different entities.

KING: Let’s see another scene from Ted’s wanderings. Ted got a unique look at the effort to collect taxes, watch.


ROWLANDS: One of the major problems that both the state of Utah and Arizona has had is collecting property taxes. Right now Isaac is going and hand delivering a notice to this home. Basically, the notice says that they have to pay their property taxes.

ISAAC WYLER, EXCOMMUNICATED FROM FLDS BY WARREN JEFFS: Even though people are home they have been told not to answer the door, but they can’t stop me from posting the house.


KING: Did that shock you, Ruth?

STUBBS: No. Rodney Holm, my ex, he, my brothers have gone up there to see my sister, who is still married to him, and nobody, even though there are people home, nobody will answer the door.

KING: Your sister’s married to your ex-?


KING: Your sister is married to your ex-?

STUBBS: She’s his first wife, I was his third.

KING: What do you make, Michael Watkiss, of the way he looked in court today?

WATKISS: Well, you know, I’ve waited a lot of years to see Warren Jeffs and to hear his voice, Larry. So that was a great revelation just to be able to sit in court and see this man and his very passive style. Looked pale, gaunt, even fragile, I would say, standing there, you know. The question is how does a guy like that generate a following? But again, I think the thing people need to understand, this is not some Jim Jones or David Koresh who came out of nowhere and got a group of followers. He inherited this, so he didn’t create it. He inherited it and he got the power because his father had it. He had bestowed it on him at the time of his death. And the bottom line is, Warren Jeffs has sort of insinuated himself into this position of power and then perverted just about everything in that community.

KING: Sarah, despite all of this, do you expect the church to grow?

HAMMON: No, I don’t think that it will grow from the outside. I think that they will continue to procreate at a great rate. The birth rate out there is astronomical. Women were ordered by Warren Jeffs to have a child every year, so it’s growing incredibly fast. But not from the outside. It’s growing because they are having babies every year, these women are.

KING: Ted Rowlands, this had to be among the many stories you covered among the weirder?

ROWLANDS: Yes. That’s a good way to describe it. Weirder, definitely strange, but once you go there, you really do get an appreciation, which I didn’t have, as to how these people would follow a guy like Warren Jeffs or any of his predecessors, how could anybody believe this.

Well, when you get there you realize it, because of its seclusion, you realize that if you’re born into this you just don’t know any better. And if you truly believe in the concept, you’re not going to stray. You just aren’t and also, once you’re into that, boy, it’s got to be tough to get out of it. These three women are three that did, but I’m sure a lot of folks, it’s even crossed their mind, they just had self-doubt and didn’t do it. It’s a tough thing to do to get out of there even if you wanted to.

KING: Michael, did you expect to see more supporters there today?

WATKISS: Yes. In the past when there have been trials we’ve occasionally seen some protesters, Larry, but I don’t think that’s going to happen here. I think the real test will be up in St. George, Utah, because he’s about 40 miles away from the stronghold, Hilldale, Utah, Colorado City. I’m sure there will be people supporting Warren Jeffs, protesters, pro polygamy people and there’s a lot of them and they have gotten mobilized in the face of this adversity. So I think the real test will be in St. George when his trial comes about.

KING: And that’s where the trial will be, Michael, in St. George?

ROWLANDS: In St. George, Utah. It is the center, the county seat of Washington County. That’s where the charges were filed, Larry.

KING: One of the fastest growing cities in the United States, by the way, St. George, Utah. A beautiful resort area as well. We’ll take a break and be back with more. More of the travails of Ted Rowland. More highlights from Michael Watkiss’ extraordinary documentary, don’t go away.


WATKISS: Shortly after the funeral it was announced to no one’s surprise that Ruland Jeffs (ph) favorite son Warren Steed Jeffs, was to become the town’s new prophet. During his father’s final years, Warren Jeffs had already assumed much of his father’s power, a power that Warren Jeffs began asserting almost immediately, in ways that would bring the publicity-shy polygamists more controversy and turmoil than they had seen in generations.


KING: Sarah Hammon has an organization she’s involved with helping people and we wanted her to tell us about it. What is it Sarah?

HAMMON: Hi Larry, it’s the Hope Organization in St. George, Utah. We’re working to create a soft place to fall for these people transitioning out of polygamy. We help them find employment, transportation, housing, education, things like that. Just anything that they need to help them transition into mainstream society, therapy, whatever, whatever they need.

KING: How do they get more information on it?

HAMMON: You can visit

KING: Child what?


KING: OK, You can go right to that and check it out. Joining us is Fawn Broadbent. She’s in Salt Lake City, now 19 years old. She escaped from Warren Jeffs at the age of 16. She’s in Michael Watkiss’ documentary about all of this. Let’s watch the part about her.


WATKISS: Anti-polygamy activist Flora Jessop heading for a rendezvous with two teenage girls.

JESSOP: Let’s go get my kids.

WATKISS: A couple of 16-year-olds who have run away from their families in Colorado City and now say they don’t want to go back.

FAWN BROADBENT, ESCAPED COLORADO CITY: I don’t want to become some 50-year-old man’s wife or something like that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to get an education.

WATKISS: How much education have you had thus far? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To seventh grade.

WATKISS: You’re a runaway at this point?


WATKISS: You’re a run away?

BROADBENT: Yes. I don’t want what’s out there.

WATKISS: You’re 16. Do you think they are about to marry you, would they marry you if you stayed out there?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don’t know. I think so.

WATKISS: The two girls, best friends, who share the same first name, Fawn Holm and Fawn Broadbent on the run and hiding out at a safe house on the outskirts of LaVerkin, Utah.


KING: What’s your situation now, Fawn?

BROADBENT: Now I’m going to school. I have obtained a 4.0 throughout the two years that I’ve gone. I’m going to be going to college as soon as I get my high school diploma. I’ve got a job. I’m making my own decisions for myself now.

KING: How did you get out of the community?

BROADBENT: A friend of a friend, it was just a spur of the moment thing, I woke up the morning that I left and 21 men got their families taken away and my father wasn’t going to tell me about it, so it upset me. So, I left at St. George and was hanging out with some friends and I decided not to go home, and that’s how it all ended, with the clothes on my back, that’s how I left.

KING: How do you live like that? What was it like to be 12 years old, 13 years old, living in that?

BROADBENT: You were raising your younger brothers and sisters. You basically were a mother except for you didn’t give birth to them. You were alive physically but dead inside.

KING: Ted Rowlands, is there a health problem here, birth defects and the like?

ROWLANDS: Yes. Mike could probably address this more, but there have been some health issues that run within the sect more so than the general population from what I’ve read. I haven’t confirmed it with any medical people, I don’t know if there is any hard data on it but you can only imagine, when you’ve got this pool that keeps generating, they have to get rid of men, but they keep the women, that there are going to be some complications.

KING: Mike, what do you think?

WATKISS: I know for a fact, Larry, there are serious birth defects. I observed it going in there over the last 20 years. There seems to be a lot of sort of deformities that have I personally observed and there is now some good reportage on the fact that there is just, this is a diminishing gene pool.

As one of your guests noted earlier, they are not out recruiting people. They grow from within. They have these huge families, cousins marrying cousins and there are now terrible birth defects manifesting themselves inside that community. It’s just, and then of course governments are now paying those prices because these people can’t afford the medical attention for these very severe birth defects. Once again the taxpayer footing the bill.

KING: Ruth, since Warren Jeffs marries you, right. He marries the people?


KING: Who is going to marry people now if he’s in jail?

STUBBS: Well, when Ruland Jeffs was the prophet, his father, they had a little clan up in Salt Lake, they had a little clan in Canada, and then they had that little clan there in Colorado City, in Hilldale, and the bishop did.

KING: So there will be somebody marrying them, it doesn’t have to be Warren?

STUBBS: Yes, it doesn’t have to be Warren.

KING: Is the jail called, Sara, is the jail called purgatory in St. George?

HAMMON: Are you speaking to me?

KING: Yes.

HAMMON: Yes, it’s called purgatory.

KING: Is that a gag?

HAMMON: It’s very ironic, isn’t it.

KING: That’s the name of the jail?

HAMMON: That is the name of the prison. It’s just outside of Hurricane, Utah. And about, I would say approximately a 30-minute drive from Colorado City.

KING: You know someone at that jail, right, Ruth, or knew someone in the jail?

STUBBS: Yes, my ex-husband was in the jail. Spent time there.

KING: Appropriately named maybe. Before we take a break and come back with lots more, or as much as we can get in our remaining moments, let’s check with Anderson Cooper, the host of “AC 360,” joining us at the top of the hour. Might be covering some of the same? Right Anderson?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: A little bit. Yes, Larry. We’re going to have more on Warren Jeffs first day in court. We’ll take you inside the court room. We’ll also bring you my exclusive interview with Jeffs’ sister. It is a fascinating conversation about just how Warren Jeffs came to be known as the prophet and lead as many as 10,000 people.

We’ll bring you an exclusive report from CNN’s Michael Ware, embedded with Army and Marine units in Ramadi, Iraq, as they battle al Qaeda. They call it the tip of the spear and after seeing this report you will know why.

All that plus updates on subtropical storm Ernesto as it is about to come ashore. “360” at the top of the hour, Larry.

KING: Thanks, Anderson. That’s “AC 360” at 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific. We’ll be right back. Don’t go away.


WATKISS: It’s here in the middle of the night, the two teenagers place their fates in the hands of a woman they have never met, hoping for a few outside of Colorado City, and away from away from the practice of polygamy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can’t talk to boys. That’s seems like really wicked. You can’t do anything, can’t watch the movies or TV or anything. You can’t dress like you want to.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We’ve always been told that people out here are wicked and I don’t believe that everyone is wicked.



KING: Pennie Petersen returns. She’s been with us before in Phoenix, escaped at the age of 16 from marrying a 48-year-old man. She has 39 brothers and sisters. Good to see you again. Pennie, what did you think of the way he looked in court today?

PENNIE PETERSEN, FLED FLDS AT 14: I thought it was fitting. He’s a coward. Only a coward would take advantage of his young nephew at 5 or 7 years old. I think it was perfect for who he is and what he is. He can sit up there and reign but when it’s his turn he’s all meek and, oh, poor me. He’s scared to death and he should be. I hope he gets what he deserves.

KING: Do you think from looking at him that he is scared to death?

PETERSEN: Yes, he looks very frightened to me. You had a good question, you know, why they keep it secret. The reason this town is so secretive is because what they are doing is wrong, morally, and it is illegal. They practice polygamy. There is underaged marriages. They put their boys to work at very young ages. They don’t educate their children. And there’s welfare fraud all over, so as a criminal I would keep it secret too.

KING: Good point. Ted Rowlands, final clip we’ll show you, representing LARRY KING LIVE, did this tour through Colorado City. He went to a local park. Let’s see what happened.


ROWLANDS: This is a community park here in Colorado City. Notice the UEP on top of the park sign. It is like any other park you would find in any other community, except today, in the middle of the day, there are no children here. Most members of the church home school their children. That may explain why we’ve only seen a few of them out here today. Another reason we may not have seen very many children is that they know we’re here and they are staying away.


KING: Hey, Ted, thanks. I know you’ve got to leave us. Congratulations on great work, by the way, outstanding job.

ROWLANDS: Thanks, Larry. Thanks for having me.

KING: Ted Rowlands, as night falls in Las Vegas.

We have an e-mail from Doris in Central Valley, California. We’ll ask it I guess of Michael. “What role do the cops, the police force have in all of this? That there is no control. It gives the impression that this group is hand in glove with the cops, and that’s why they get away with it.”

WATKISS: That’s it, Larry, you just said it. That viewer hit it right on the head. The cops there have been the Gestapo, the enforcers for Warren Jeffs, bringing the little girls back when they run away, driving the young men out.

Larry, if I could make an observation. It is such a privilege to be with the women you have on this show, because in a historical context, Ruth Stubbs, her sister Pennie Petersen and Fawn Broadbent are three of maybe a half dozen women who really are the reason we’re here today. Ruth, when she came out, we broke that story. I was with the Fawns the night that they escaped, and I can tell you that those are the stories, those are the women that rocked the state of Arizona out of these decades of lethargy, finally forced people, politicians and police officers, who have really been complicit, turning a blind eye to this. Ruth — these women need to have statues erected to them, because they are really the reason that we’re standing here and talking about this today.

KING: I might add, Sara Hammon as well.

WATKISS: I don’t know Sarah, but I can tell you that those — Pennie, Ruth, and Fawn, the stories that we broke, we first put them on television. It’s great to see them getting a national platform because these are the women that have made it happen.

KING: And we’ll all be back right after these words. Don’t go away.


KING: Fawn Broadbent, the other Fawn who escaped with you, I understand went back, right? Why?

BROADBENT: It was too hard for her in school. We were doing 45 hours of homework every night, and she was struggling with it. She wanted to be able to go out and party and drink, and she was not of age, and it was not allowed in the house that we were living in. But, yes, she went back.

KING: Have you heard from her?

BROADBENT: Yes. She didn’t go back to Colorado City. She went down to St. George, Utah, and was living with a man that was living in polygamy and wanted her as his wife, but she’s no longer living with him.

KING: There is polygamists in St. George?

BROADBENT: There is one man that I know of.

KING: We have an e-mail question from Julie of Ketchum, Idaho. “Why weren’t the two people in the car with Jeffs charged with harboring a fugitive?” Michael?

WATKISS: Well, that’s a great question, Larry. A lot of people are asking that, especially in light of the fact that another Jeffs’ brother, Seth Jeffs, was arrested in the state of Colorado at the end of last year riding around in a big SUV packed with cash, very much like the one pulled over here in Nevada. He was transporting nearly $142,000 to Warren Jeffs at the time.

He was prosecuted in Colorado, got a slap on the wrist. Got probation. But he was tried.

The bottom line is when they pull these people in here in Nevada, they caucused with prosecutors in Utah and Arizona where the charges were filed, and they said don’t worry about it. They got the big fish, they got Warren Jeffs, so they let these two people go.

KING: Sara, what, to both parties, men and women, what’s the appeal of polygamy?

HAMMON: I don’t think that there is much of an appeal. I think it’s more just something they are raised in and they don’t know anything different, Larry. There are very, very few people who join this from the outside. It originated in the Mormon Church, and I think it pretty much stayed there. The Mormon Church does not live polygamy today, but most of the people who live polygamy have some sort of Mormon roots.

KING: Pennie, why do you think? Do you think with that, that it’s just sort of rooted?

PETERSEN: I do. Well, and people are looking for salvation. I mean, they are looking to become a god themselves, that they teach out there you will become a god and rule a world, so that’s pretty appetizing for, you know, a man, and to have seven wives and be the king of the castle. So, you know, I can see how it would be very appealing.

KING: Fawn, what do you think?

BROADBENT: I think that’s all they know, because the people in the community, they don’t know much about the outside world, so it’s just something they are accustomed to, and they are afraid of change.

KING: Ruth?

STUBBS: I agree. That’s what they are accustomed to, that’s what they grew up in. That’s what they live.

KING: Michael, is he going to get a fair trial?

WATKISS: You know, sure. I mean, if anybody can get a fair trial in this country. They will impanel a jury. They kept thinking that folks would never prosecute, and they would never find these guys guilty. There have been several cases where they have gone in, where Warren Jeffs followers, Ruth’s husband, Rod Holm, has gone in. I think he got a completely fair trial and he got sent to jail because he had been breaking the law.

You ask what’s in it? I think there is a lot in it for men. Domination of women, having this harem of young ladies. It’s a great facade for pedophiles. Pennie has another sister who is married to a guy, Ruth and Pennie have a guy — a guy named Orson William Black, who is on the run from charges, he’s on the run in Mexico. Complete pedophile. So, you know, this is a great setup for a handful of men. They got all the power, they got all the women. Warren Jeffs is sitting on top of the world when he’s the prophet. There is a lot in it for men. Not a heck of a lot in it for women.

KING: We only have 30 seconds, Michael. There was a lot of security today. Is there going to be a lot throughout this whole travail?

WATKISS: Fort Knox, Larry. This is a big trial. These guys were wearing military garb. They had all kinds of weaponry in that courtroom. The folks up in St. George know what a hot potato this is, and they are a lot closer to Warren Jeffs’ stronghold. I would be very surprised if the security is not ratcheted up to the highest level.

KING: Do you think it will affect tourism?

WATKISS: No. You know, you mentioned it, St. George is a great town, great golf courses.

KING: It is.

WATKISS: And it’s a wonderful place. And you know what, Utah and Arizona are wonderful places. People shouldn’t think that this represents those two states. They are great places.

KING: Thank you, Michael, and thanks to all of our guests.

If you joined us late, this program will be repeated on Sunday evening. Saturday night, we’ll repeat Bill Maher.

Tomorrow night, Jack Hanna and the animals. We’re going to have a riot. Lighten things up a bit. Jack Hanna, a lot of fun tomorrow night. Tune in. Tell the kids to tune in.

Right now to New York. Anderson Cooper and “AC 360.” Anderson.


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CNN, Larry King Live, USA
Aug. 31, 2006 Transcript

Religion News Blog posted this on Friday September 1, 2006.
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