Benjamin Brown is a TikTok comedian who also happens to be Sister Wives star, Kody Brown’s nephew. He recently opened up about being raised in the Apostolic United Brethren (AUB) and on the Brown family ranch in Wyoming. In the interview, Benajmin revealed secrets about the ranch life. He then reveals how abuse on the compound has forever shaped by his difficult childhood.
All about the Brown’s polygamist compound on a ranch in Wyoming
On June 21, 2022, Kody’s nephew, Benjamin went on a podcast, Year of Polygamy Podcast, on the episode King Benjamin and a Tale of the AUB. He revealed what it was like to live on the “Mormon polygamist compound” aka the ranch in Wyoming. He said that the Browns moved onto the ranch after either Ebenezer Brown or one of his direct descendants to help start up a town called Lovell, Wyoming.
Sister Wives fans have heard the stars of the show talk about the ranch Kody grew up on. They mention it in the family’s memoir, Becoming Sister Wives: The Story of an Unconventional Marriage. Benjamin lived and worked on what he called a “polygamist compound” where everyone was part of the “United Order” or followers of the fundamentalist Mormon offshoot, the AUB.
Benjamin’s grandfather lived there with his three wives and his father with his two wives. According to Benjamin, at any given time, there could be 20 to 30 people on the ranch, most of them being children.The family rarely went to town, the kids were all homeschooled, everyone worked on the ranch, and the family went to church at a neighbor’s house.
The truth about abuse on the compound
When the Browns did leave the ranch, they had to be quiet, hidden, and go undetected. He felt that the outside world was “evil” and was constatly after them. Due to polygamy being illegal in Wyoming, Benjamin was concerned that his father would end up in jail and the would be taken away from his parents. He said, “Given what happened later, it’s probably what should have happened.”
Benjamin says child abuse and neglect happened all of the time on the ranch. He describes a culture within the compound that normalizes it.
He said, “As an adult, now, I can see it. That’s one of the tricky things. Now, I think the relationship that the world of Mormon fundamentalism has with the modern world, is that there is real harm happening. There is real child abuse. there is real neglect happening in these places. But it’s of a nature that makes it very difficult to us to know exactly how to alleviate it. It’s happening in a very different way.”
Labor trafficking on the Wyoming ranch
The TikTok star revealed that he was a victim of labor trafficking by his own parents on the ranch. Benjamin described AUB belief that the end is near and that they need land for the righteous to seek refuge and gather. He said, “So it was absolutely essential that they have as much land, as big of a ranch as possible. But the problem was they weren’t very good at making money on the ranch, and the ranch wasn’t really self-sufficient.”
Benjamin revealed that the Brown family then started a bakery, to pay the bills and to continue to acquire land. However, due to the fear of outisders or “gentiles” coming into the ranch, they hired their children. Benjamin was 8 years old when he started working and was running the place when he was 14 years old.
He said, “I’m being exploited. I’m being paid 25 cents an hour, to do hard labor in a bakery that I can’t leave if I want to. And that’s happening from the time I’m 8 to the time I’m 18.”
He describes the work as “brutal,” with cement floors, industrial mixers, and heavy equipment which often led to injuries. He reveals that he would work 6 days a week, sometimes for 15 hours at a time. The Browns were selling the bread to tourists visiting Yellowstone National Park. In the height of the summer, they would be making over 2000 loaves a day.
When Benjamin left the house for college, he ended up leaving the AUB and converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Years later, he ended up leaving the Mormon church entirely.
Now Benjamin is a TikTok star (@thefreshkingbenjamin) and stand up comedian who pulls inspiration from childhood trauma for his comedy. He continues to use his platform to educate outsiders on the inner workings of the AUB and polygamist Mormons.