FLDS Leader’s Son Said They Made Him Work Construction Unpaid As a Kid

  • A former FLDS cult member told Insider he was forced to work in construction as a child.
  • From the age of 14, he said he was operating heavy machinery at job sites around the country.
  • He said companies with ties to FLDS were contracted to work at the build sites of major hotel chains.

When Wendell Jeffson was 14 years old, he said his father — a now-imprisoned leader of a polygamous cult — accused him and other teenage boys of wanting to have sex with some of his more than 70 wives.

That was four years before Jeffson, now 21, left the Fundamentalist Church of Later-Day Saints — a radical group that splintered off of the mainstream Mormon church 93 years ago. The Mormon church abandoned the practice of polygamy over a century ago and is not affiliated with FLDS.

Jeffson explained that in the FLDS, which is widely considered a cult, there was no talk of the “birds and the bees.”

The adolescent didn’t understand what he was being accused of, nor was it true, but the punishment stood regardless, he said.

Jeffson said that he and other boys who came under the ire of his father and cult leader, Warren Jeffs, were “cast out” of the massive FLDS ranch in Texas — which Jeffson said his father continued to control from his cell — and made to work for construction companies owned by members of the cult. 

Construction has been a popular business venture for many FLDS families in the Hilldale region of Utah — a church enclave — and beyond. Members of the church own and operate many such companies.

Jeffson said working long days off-the-books, often unpaid, the children who were sent to work for these companies operated heavy machinery on construction sites, building hotels and housing communities around the country in the 2010s.

Multiple outlets have reported about accusations of the use of child labor by companies linked to FLDS. In 2021, FLDS was ordered by the Department of Labor to pay nearly $1 million for violating child labor laws,

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The proprietor of a South Dakota hotel reported she was banning Indigenous individuals. Tribal leaders rapidly issued the hotel a trespassing detect, citing an 1868 treaty.

Indigenous American protesters and supporters obtain at the Black Hills, now the web-site of Mount Rushmore, on July 3, 2020 in Keystone, South Dakota.Micah Garen/Getty Visuals

  • A lodge operator in the Black Hills, which is sacred to Native people today, said she was banning them.

  • A lawsuit submitted days afterwards claimed the lodge refused to hire rooms to Indigenous people right after her comments.

  • Sioux leaders issued the hotel a trespass observe and are pushing Fast Metropolis to pull its business license.

The Black Hills of South Dakota have been inhabited by Indigenous individuals for 1000’s of yrs, but past thirty day period the owner of a resort in Swift City, situated on the jap edge of the mountain assortment, mentioned Indigenous people were being no for a longer time welcome.

Soon after a Native American gentleman was arrested in link to a taking pictures that took position at the Grand Gateway Hotel on March 19, the owner, Connie Uhre, claimed on Fb that she’d be banning Natives altogether from the resort and the adjoining Cheers Sports activities Bar.

“We will no more time let any Indigenous American on assets,” Uhre wrote in a comment that was shared, and condemned, by the mayor of Quick City, Steve Allender. Uhre also wrote that ranchers and vacationers, presumably non-Indigenous kinds, would obtain a exclusive fee of $59 a night.

In an electronic mail chain obtained by South Dakota General public Broadcasting, Uhre wrote: “The problem is we do not know the good types from the poor Natives.”‘

Related online video: South Dakota tribe in lawsuit with federal federal government above COVID roadblocks

Community tribal leaders moved immediately, and on March 26 they hit the lodge with a trespassing observe, citing a 1868 US treaty with the Sioux.

“It was shocking, but not too substantially shocking, for the reason that we kind of live with this right here in South Dakota,” Harold Frazier, chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux and a signer of the notice, advised Insider. “But to definitely see it so blatantly, it was definitely concerning.”

Uhre and

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