Thursday, May 7, 2009

FLDS Beliefs 101 – “Keep Sweet”

"Keep Sweet" was a favorite phrase used by Rulon Jeffs, Warren Jeff's father, the prophet before him.

Here is how Rulon Jeffs described the meaning of keep sweet in a talk on Dec. 6, 1991, in Sandy, Utah: ''I want you all to understand the continual use of the two words ''keep sweet'' means keep the Holy Spirit of the Lord, until you are full of it. Only those who have it will survive the judgments of God which are about to be poured out.” In 1994, again in Sandy, Utah, Rulon Jeffs also said: ''Keeping sweet no matter what is a matter of life or death as we approach the day of the great judgments that are to go over the earth. . . Let us get it and keep it. You don't turn it off and on. It must be a permanent thing in our very nature, and a part of our character.”

In the late 1990s, the FLDS published a newsletter for the members and the masthead included, “With Every Breath, Keep Sweet, No Matter What.” At the Bountiful compound in Canada, “keep sweet” is spelled out in white stones at the entrance of the school. Wall plaques can be found in homes emblazoned with "Keep Sweet, No Matter What." In the YFZ Ranch in Texas were seen signs that stated, “"Keep Sweet Forevermore.” When Rulon Jeff’s compound in Sandy was sold in 1999, it was noticed that walls in his main house were decorated with wallpaper saying "Keep Sweet No Matter What."

Warren Jeffs has taken this phase a step further, making it into a commandment, a mantra to keep your feelings under control. “If you are keeping sweet no matter what, you are a person ready to give up your own will and just obey the priesthood over you. In order to Keep Sweet, it requires the sacrifice of our feelings.” (WSJ 11/2/95) "To be loyal to Heavenly Father, to truly love Him and obey Him, you must keep sweet no matter what. If your feelings can be disturbed and you simply need more of the spirit of God to have and earn more of that sweet spirit, you must pay the price. The price is sacrifice. Set aside any feeling or thought that disturbs the spirit of God." (WSJ 1/28/2003) “Keeping sweet means saying your prayers and obeying the priesthood over you.” (WSJ 3/6/96)

The command to keep sweet intensified as the FLDS leaders taught that the end of the world would come in 2000. “We only have four years left, young people. The time is so short. That's why you hear President Jeffs say in meeting, ‘Keep sweet no matter what, it's a matter of life or death.’” (WSJ 2/8/96)

FLDS members and former members have their own understanding of the phrase. Swallow pride, swallow emotions. Suffer silently regardless of what concerns you might have. Don’t show any emotion, don’t rock the boat, don’t make any trouble, don’t ask questions, don’t criticize, don’t find fault. Girls should accept the polygamist lifestyle and the men's wishes without complaint. Don't flinch when you're told to do something that doesn't quite feel right. Just be nice, don't complain because complaining disturbs the spirit of god.

And finally, be “immune to gloom.”

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