Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey review – the true story of a dangerous cult leader

By Romey Norton
Published: June 6, 2022 (Last updated: January 16, 2023)
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Netflix docuseries Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey


A docuseries unraveling the true story of a dangerous cult leader who led an abusive, polygamist life in the name of the Mormon Church. 

Netflix docuseries Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey will be released on the streaming service on June 8, 2022

Netflix has released Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey, its latest chilling new true-crime docuseries, which explores a secret polygamous cult in the USA. Directed by the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Rachel Dretzin, this four-part documentary gives viewers an in-depth look into the radical cult led by one of the most dangerous cult leaders of modern times, Warren Jeffs. In 2008, in the state of Texas, federal law enforcement agents raided the Yearning for Zion Ranch discovering disgusting, shocking, and eye-opening accounts which resulted in over 400 children being rescued from the ranch — making this the largest child custody case in the US history.

With the use of never-before-seen footage and audio, we’re taken on the journey of the rise and eventual fall of Warren Jeffs. We get to hear detailed and true accounts from victims, both the good and the bad from the cult. We hear the stories of women who were forced to marry their cousins at 14, and at 19 being married to an 85-year-old. There is a wedding photo of the twenty-year-old with braces, marrying the 86-year-old with an oxygen tank. It is ridiculous and almost unbelievable to watch. We hear the accounts of underage girls being forced to marry older men in the state of Nevada. We see how Warren, after the death of his father, became more controlling and manipulative over everyone, especially women, in the cult, banning them from wearing denim, and only allowing them to have braided hair. This power clearly went to his head and everyone was so manipulated that he even had power from prison.

One of the things I found most horrifying is that these women, even at the age of 20, were not taught what sex was, and not taught what it takes to procreate, and are then married to men who are essentially raping them. This cult was conducting and condoning child abuse in the name of religion. This documentary is another long list that demonstrates how men do everything they can to use and abuse people, and the majority of women. You can dress it up in religion and ideologies, but this is about men controlling women and their sexuality, as well as their education from a young age. 

Delving into religion is fascinating in this documentary. Fundamentalist Mormons still believe in having multiple wives, and in this series, it is implied there are many, many of them around the world, but none were as staunch as the FLDS. Jeffs used his Mormon beliefs to have multiple relationships with multiple women, which resulted in him having a large number of children. Through control and manipulation, Jeffs had 78 wives, 24 of which were under the age of consent. From beginning to end, I couldn’t stop thinking what a creepy, disgusting, egotistical monster that man is, and what a warped, weird way of life he was forcing people to take part in. It’s almost unbelievable. 

Whilst polygamy is illegal, the US government sees it more as an embarrassment rather than a crime. They don’t want to tear apart families. In this series, it is not the polygamy which is being held accountable, but the underage sexual assault/underage marriages. It was down to reporters and journalists to bring this story to light and make people aware, forcing the police to get involved. You’ll be happy to know that they managed to find records and recordings of Warren raping 12-year-old girls, and is now serving life in prison for sexually assaulting two minors he had taken as polygamous brides. It is at least something knowing he’ll live out the rest of his life in prison, after all the pain and trauma he has caused. It’s scary to think there are people who still believe in Warren and follow him, from prison.

Overall this is an excellent watch. Gripping, intense, and deeply saddening what these women have been through. The final episode holds a lot of intense, sickening, and insane content. Not to be missed. Documentaries like this are important as they educate and inform the masses and, more importantly, they give victims a voice. Each person in this documentary, I hope, is able to get some closure from telling their stories. You’ll like this series if you’ve liked similar documentary series, like the recent Our Father, and if you’re into true crime documentaries.

What did you think of the Netflix docuseries Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey? Comment below. 

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