A new season of Escaping Polygamy is coming in about two weeks. With it, we’ll get more heartbreaking stories of people victimized by controlling religious cults.
Hopefully, as the title suggests, we’ll also get the stories of people escaping and starting news lives.
The trailer for the new season is below, and it gives us a glimpse at the horror stories that this season will confront. Brace yourselves.
First of all, if you haven’t watched Escaping Polygamy before, it’s an A&E docuseries about helping people who want to be free of their fundamentalist lives to break away.
Ten years ago, Andrea, Jessica, and Shanell escaped their fundamentalist cult, The Order, based in Salt Lake City with the help of their aunt.
In a nationally publicized court case, the girls managed to make their escape permanent.
Now, these three sisters have devoted their lives to helping others — not only other women and children, but also men — escape from these harrowing cult situations that feel inescapable.
It’s important to remember that these groups are very controlling, so help is certainly needed for someone to be brave enough to break away.
It’s even more important to remember that, while many members do sign up for these lives, many more are born into these isolationist communities and never know the outside world.
Many don’t know what they’d do if they got out into the world.
So there’s more that these girls and others who do this sort of work can do to help people to step away than just offering them a ride back to civilization.
Admittedly, calling it Escaping Polygamy is a somewhat misleading title.
(Though it’s a super eye-catching one)
The problem with "polygamist cults" like the Order or the FLDS isn’t that people have multiple partners or even spouses.
Polyamory can and does lead to wonderful and fulfilling relationships that last just as long as monogamous ones.
And some polyamorous relationships are purely polygamous — where there’s one man in a relationship with two or more women.
But that’s not what these groups are at all.
The problem with them is that their particular fundamentalist beliefs involve carefully controlling its members lives, oppressing women, and sexually preying upon underage girls under the guise of a religious mandate.
"Escaping Fundamentalism" would be a more controversial and less salacious title for some Americans, however.
This season, the girls are helping members of the FLDS, a fundamentalist offshoot of Mormonism that was until very recently ruled (yes, ruled) by the infamous Warren Jeffs.
One of the people featured in this season, as you’ll see in the trailer below, is Warren Jeffs’ own son, who very appropriately has zero kind things to say about his father.
And he does not mince words:
"My father molested girls."
Yes, Warren Jeffs is absolutely in prison where he belongs, which is the very least that he deserves.
(Current leadership of the FLDS following his incarceration isn’t publicly known, but there are four possibilities — one of which being that Jeffs, as the cult of estimated 10,000 members’ Prophet, is still the church’s leader from behind bars)
The trailer also shows us a very emotional man admitting that he wants to leave, but that he cannot leave without his family.
The season will feature more, however.
According to a press release for the series, we can expect to see:
"A mother hoping to find her daughters who have been hidden within an elite group in the FLDS community."
As unthinkable as it is for us, some people can’t take their children with them when they escape — or are forced out.
(We don’t know if she fled or was excommunicated)
Sometimes, the best way to help someone whom you love is to seek out help, even though our justice system is woefully unequipped to protect the welfare of children.
And there’s more from that press release:
"And a young girl who desperately wants to rescue the love of her life in a dangerous mission that further exposes the dark and treacherous realities of polygamy."
Well, we’ll be having nightmares just from this trailer.
But this is a docuseries where the drama and suspense doesn’t have to be fabricated by producers.
If you’re tired of the manufactured tension on reality television but still want to see real people in their unscripted, human stories, Escaping Polygamy might be the series for you.
At the very least, you might want to check out this trailer.
You should hear these people’s stories in their own voices.