Three men of the "Duck Dynasty" empire — Phil Robertson, Jep Robertson, and Reed Robertson — opened up about their paths to Jesus for a 30-minute documentary on IamSecond.com. "Dynasty" matriarch Kay Robertson also contributes and gets teary-eyed more than a few times. She recalls telling A&E that her family was not going to fake any fights for the cameras. And they certainly didn't pull any punches in this moving, intimate documentary.
Life Before Jesus: Phil compares growing up poor in the 1950s to growing up in the 1850s. His family had a log cabin house, no indoor plumbing, no Coca Cola. He met Miss Kay when she was just 14 years old. They married when he was 17 and when Kay was 16 and started a family while Phil was at Louisiana Tech on a football scholarship.
Kay noticed a change in her young husband when he started spending more time with the football team. As their family expanded, Phil was happy but drinking more than ever, taking drugs and "running around" with other women. When a guy who came into his bar wanted to talk about Jesus Christ, Phil sent him on his way.
Things hit a new low when Phil got into a barroom brawl and told Kay that he had to run away for months. She describes that time as "the nightmare of my life" and recalls, "I told [my sons], 'That's not your daddy. That's the devil in your daddy.'"
Turning Point: Kay suggested Phil see that man who came in with the Bible. And Phil was promptly blown away by the gospel. "How in the world did I ever miss that?" he marvels. He was baptized soon after. Kay beams as she recalls their sons rejoicing, "My daddy is saved!"
Life With Faith: It wasn't easy for Phil to "be good to your enemies," according to the Bible's rule, but he tried. He was plagued by "river rats" who robbed fish from his nets. He approached the thieves with a gun and told them to take whatever fish they'd come for. And that was the end of thievery. He credits all of his financial success to "the Almighty."
Jep Robertson, Phil and Miss Kay's youngest son
Life Before Jesus: Jep grew up admiring his parents for their spirituality and generosity. Nonetheless, when he turned 18, he made some new friends and started experimenting with "anything that was put in front of me." He even smoked a joint dipped in formaldehyde known as a "wet daddy." After one particularly nasty bender, he woke up in his truck unsure of whether or not he had "run over somebody."
The Moment of Truth: His family staged an intervention. Phil gave an ultimatum: Either join the family and follow God or go on your own. Jep fell to his knees and asked his father, "What took so long?" This is one of three times in Jep's life that he saw his father cry.
The New Beginning: Phil put Jep on house arrest for three months and Jep had to duck hunt every day. The treatment worked; Jep is a convert, to this day.
Reed Robertson, son of Jase and Missy
Life Before Jesus: Reed used to be "cynical" and think he was better than people because of his family, because of 12 million fans watching every week. He grew socially isolated and felt like an outcast. He recalls going to church one day, hoping to be invited to a party, and going home alone and depressed. Things got so bad that he wrote a suicide note.
[Photos: 'Duck Dynasty' Cast Before the Beards]
Breakthrough Moment: He told his youth minister that he wanted to commit suicide. His parents were devastated to learn of his depression. And his dad told him that suicide is "the most selfish thing you can do." The words struck a chord in Reed, who vowed to turn things around.
Life With Jesus: Reed is grateful for "the men in my life" and happy to be "back on track with Jesus." He can't express that gratitude by growing a beard because his school has a strict policy against facial hair. All the more reason to buckle down on his studies and graduate, we imagine.
Watch a trailer of the doc below and check out IamSecond.com for the full film: