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Film documents lives of 3 'Lost Boys'

Published: Friday, Feb. 18 2011 2:02 p.m. MST

The Lost Boys have become Sons of Perdition.

Over the past decade many stories have been written about the more than 400 teenage boys wandering around southern Utah after they were forced from fundamentalist polygamist homes in Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah.

Co-directors Tyler Measom and Jennilyn Merten have produced Sons of Perdition, a documentary that looks at the lives of three exiled FLDS teenagers named Sam, Bruce and Joe.

(This film) is not about religion," Measom said. "Its about boys who are trying to make it in a world they know little about. Above and beyond everything else, these kids just miss their moms, dads, brothers and sisters, and they cant see them.

Sons of Perdition, which is rated R for language and drug use, has already gained notoriety at dozens of festivals and movie-related events. The film was also selected by the Oprah Winfrey Network for its new documentary club, and will be shown on television later this year. It opens Feb. 18 at the Tower Theater in Salt Lake City.

In the FLDS culture, young people only attend school through eighth grade. Most books and recreational activities are restricted. Young men work to make money for the church and young women become wives of prominent men in the community. For young men, leaving home means being condemned to hell and being disowned by family.

Some are kicked out, others are dropped off somewhere, handed $10 and told they are on their own," Meason said. "The majority leave on their own accord, knowing they have no future in the community. They know they are going to be a pawn to work and bring in money for Warren Jeffs. We knew there was a deeper story.

Sam fell out of favor with FLDS leadership for speaking with a girl. After watching Jeffs exile many male relatives and friends, he decided to leave at age 17.

Bruce left Colorado City at age 15 after Jeffs exiled Bruce's father and broke up his family.

Joe left after being fired from his job for watching a movie in the company of an apostate exiled brother. He also refused to turn his paychecks into his father. He dreams of going to high school and helping his mother and younger siblings escape.

Measom, who also directed Take, starring Minnie Driver and Jeremy Renner, says there is something beautiful in illustrating someone in the midst of a trauma and seeing them overcome. Thats what he hopes audiences will take away.

To watch someone morph and grow, thats beautiful," Meason said. "When audiences watch that, they say that person dealt with real issues and I can deal with my issues as well. People are moved by the story of the bravery of these kids. If they leave their family they go to hell, and facing a world they know nothing about. Yet they do it. That is bravery all of us should have.

E-mail: ttoone@desnews.com

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