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A new A&E documentary series is exposing the reality of life within several Mormon sects that still embrace polygamy – including one associated with the stars of TLC’s hit series Sister Wives

Through in-depth interviews with former members, plus exclusive photos and audio records, Secrets of Polygamy will shed light on three groups led by powerful men who hold sway over the lives of their followers. Among the groups featured is the Apostolic United Brethren, a church to which Kody Brown and his wives have deep ties. 

‘Secrets of Polygamy’ premieres in January 2024

FLDS leader Warren Jeffs in court
Warren Jeffs | Trent Nelson-Pool/Getty Images

Secrets of Polygamy is the latest entry in A&E’s Secrets Of franchise. Previous installments have explored the dark side of disgraced U.K. royal Prince Andrew, the Miss America pageant, and Playboy magazine. 

The new, 10-episode series premieres Monday, Jan. 8 at 10 p.m. ET on A&E. Episodes stream the next day on the A&E app and Each hour-long episode will delve into the secretive world of polygamist churches and families, including the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), the Kingston clan or The Order (also known as the Davis County Cooperative Society), and the Apostolic United Brethren (AUB).

‘Secrets of Polygamy’ will feature an interview with one of Warren Jeffs’ former wives 

In Secrets of Polygamy, investigator Matt Browning sits down with former members of polygamous groups and listens to them discuss the disturbing reality of life for women and children in these sects. The series will explore the power held by the infamous FLDS prophet Warren Jeffs, who is currently serving life in prison for various crimes he committed as a church leader, as well as Sam Bateman, another high-profile polygamist. 

Interviewees include Warren Jeffs’ daughter Rachel Jeffs Blackmore and Alyshia Blackmore, one of his former wives. Mary Ann Kingston, Lu Ann Cooper, and Faith Bistline, who all lived in plural families, are also featured, as are investigators Shelly Livingstone and Terry Jacklin. 

Secrets of Polygamy continues the tradition of A&E’s unflinching programming that strives to expose the truth, advocate, and shine a light on injustices,”  Elaine Frontain Bryant, EVP. and Head of Programming for A&E, said in a statement announcing the series. “We are honored to share the stories brought forward by this series to help expose the often-brutal realities of the complex world of extreme polygamist groups and the men in power at the helm of it.”

The ‘Sister Wives’ stars have deep ties to the Apostolic United Brethren 

Kody Brown poses with Janelle Brown, Christine Brown, Meri Brown and Robyn Brown at an event
[L-R] Janelle Brown, Christine Brown, Kody Brown, Meri Brown, and Robyn Brown | Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints denounced polygamy more than 100 years ago. However, some breakaway groups have continued the practice. The most notorious is the FLDS, led by Jeffs. He promoted marriages between adult men and underage girls and eventually went to prison for sexually assaulting multiple children. 

The stars of Sister Wives also practiced plural marriage. But they were members of a different group, the Apostolic United Brethren. Kody Brown’s ex-wife Christine Brown was even considered to be AUB “royalty” by some because she is the granddaughter of AUB founder Rulon Allred. Christine has since left the church. It’s not clear if Kody, his current wife Robyn, and his other former wives Christine Brown and Meri Brown are still part of AUB. 

The AUB has presented itself as a more mainstream polygamous group than the FLDS, notes the Salt Lake Tribune. They don’t cut themselves off from the rest of society, do not permit underage marriage, and don’t practice arranged marriages. 

 “The practices of the FLDS have no place in my universe,” Kody wrote in the book Becoming Sister Wives. “In our faith, incest and spousal abuse are serious crimes, which, when discovered, result in immediate legal action.”

However, there have also been allegations of sexual abuse within the AUB, including against former leader Lynn Thompson, who died in 2021. Christine’s uncle Vance Allred has also claimed that Rulon Jeffs had multiple underage brides. 

Source: Salt Lake Tribune

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