Scott D. Pierce: New docuseries delves into the ‘secrets’ of Utah polygamists

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Faith Bistline grew up a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and there’s something she wants everyone to know about it.

“I hope that they see that the FLDS is a criminal organization. Straight up,” Bistline told The Tribune. “Every facet of these extreme polygamous groups, there’s always children who are suffering. There’s always crimes against children.”

She makes that point quite forcefully in “Secrets of Polygamy,” which premieres Monday on A&E. In addition to the FLDS, there are episodes that feature the Kingstons (aka The Order) and the Apostolic United Brethren.

Bistline — who grew up with three mothers and 27 siblings — didn’t exactly jump at the chance to appear in “Secrets.” She’s done interviews before, but this is her first time on TV, and she struggled with the decision because she knew it would, inevitably, involve her bringing members of her family into it.

“I was very scared about re-victimizing my little sisters and the women in my family,” Bistline said. “And also exploiting them, and telling their story without their permission.”

She eventually said yes to the show’s producers because she “started to get frustrated with the fact that my little sisters wouldn’t come forward” as witnesses in the case against Samuel Bateman. Followers told The Tribune in 2022 that Bateman lied to members of the FLDS Church, telling them that imprisoned FLDS prophet Warren Jeffs is dead and that he is the new leader. Arrested in August 2022, Bateman is facing 51 felony charges — including for sexually assaulting underage girls he took as “brides.”

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