The Polygamist's Daughter

Stories, Reflections and Conclusions of Life on the Inside


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Soul Family

Over the past few years I have made many friends on Facebook, or what I lovingly call my soul family.  Sometimes Spirit runs thicker than blood and I am closer friends all over the world than I am to my blood relatives. They know my heart and they follow the same purpose, to make this world a better place for everyone.

Rebecca Musser is one of those friends I call family. Rebecca is an author, speaker, advocate, musician & mother. She is a radiant woman who has dedicated to life to the freedom of other women. She was the pivotal witness in recent trials convicting 10 FLDS men in Texas for sexual assault of a child, and 11 men total regarding the subjugation of women. Rebecca is an advocate for victims of human trafficking, and author of The Witness Wore Red (Grand Central 2013). She is also the founder of ClaimRED, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing dignity, hope and healing to victims of human trafficking.

This morning she left a beautiful post on her wall, a happy birthday to herself, and a very well deserved congratulations for being who she is! Below are her words, a short snippet of where she once was and where she is now:

“Where were you 10 years ago, and where will you be in ten more?

September 8, 2002….. A day filled with shock and uncertainty.  What was never supposed to happen, happened……The Prophet of the FLDS, Rulon Jeffs, died unexpectedly.  Being born and raised in the FLDS, I believed what I had been taught–that the “Prophet” would never die.  Now, at age 26, I was a “widow”……along with over 60 other women who were living in the same house.

My understanding of the world I knew hinged on the “Prophet”…..and now he was dead.  I struggled not with his death, but with the blatant contradiction of him dying and the teachings I had been given my entire life.  My mind raced with thoughts…..if this isn’t true, then it would mean that  “that” isn’t true, and if “that” isn’t true, then……  Around and around the thoughts swirled in my head.  I felt like the world all around me was crumbling. I felt confused, scared, and numb.  I felt like I was being suffocated by utter shock and uncertainty.  The “programmed” part of me who was taught what to think and wanted the FLDS story to be true, shattered, and to my surprise, when the pieces fell, the only part left standing was the very part of me I had been taught to suppress.  I had no way of knowing that the chaos around me was not the end, but was in fact, the beginning of my liberation and freedom.

Today, ten years later, my life has been completely transformed by the choice I made to leave the FLDS.  Where I once felt stifled, oppressed, and owned, I now feel deliciously alive and free.  Growing up, I could usually find some reason to be happy, but it is only now that I can experience the power and authenticity of true joy.  The past 10 years have been the most challenging years of my entire life, but they have also been the most empowering, fulfilling, and miraculous.  The incredible freedom I now enjoy could never have been possible if the world I knew hadn’t crumbled.  Today, I am most grateful for that event, and I am delightfully excited for what the next 10 years will bring.”

I am fortunate to call Rebecca my friend, and my soul sister.

It is women like her who are driven to ensure that the trafficking of women and girls becomes more openly recognized, and hopefully someday, will become obsolete.

Happy Birthday Rebecca. May the next 10 years be even more miraculous and joyful than the past 10 years!


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Colorado City or Bust

Colorado City Sign

Victoria Reynolds visits Colorado City

I spent last week on location in Colorado City filming more footage for the movie “The Rise and Fall of Zion”, a world-class documentary about Warren Jeffs and his impact on the FLDS.  My co-producer, Amber Dawn Lee, has years of involvement with the film industry.  Her own experience of growing up in several Fundamentalist Mormon based cults brings passion and personal expertise to the project. We are both determined to bring this story into the light and share with the world the truth.

This was our second time filming in Hilldale and Colorado City. Our first visit was fairly uneventful and very educational as we met many locals that are referred to as apostates and witnessed the FLDS and Warren Jeffs stronghold beginning to crumble. We got to know the community and began to really feel what the people in and out of the religion feel about their station in life.

Since our last filming expedition in October the FLDS has been making news again with Warren Jeffs threats to the American president, more ranting revelations about the end of the world, and even more strict dictates to his people as he attempts to maintain control from his prison cell. His latest edict to his people came in November when he told them that each family must come up with $5,000, be determined worthy of maintaining FLDS membership and be re-baptized by December 31st or feel the wrath of God. He also dictated that all forms of enjoyment had to be removed from every home and from the community. Toys, bikes, computers, cell phones and any form of entertainment were taken away from women and children. Sex was disallowed for men and is only to be performed as a duty to God in procreation and witnessed by those assigned by Warren. Taking away everything that is a distraction from the religion is Warren’s way of attaining absolute hold of the minds of the people.

As we arrived in the community we discovered that the abuses of the people extend far beyond the slavery that polygamy has become known for in the FLDS. As Warrens lust for more and more women extended to younger and younger girls his control over the men and women increased. The parents of those girls willingly gave their daughters over to the slaughter, as a manner of speaking, believing that in giving their daughters to the prophet and his most loyal men they ensured their daughters exaltation and they insured their own place within the religion. The giving away of daughters has now extended to the giving away of women and children. We discovered that children as young as 1 year old are disappearing and no one seems overly concerned as to their whereabouts. Fathers have been exiled from the religion and are no longer able to communicate with their wives and children. Out of boredom and anxiety many of the boys are contributing to the atrocities by torturing and murdering animals. We heard these stories numerous times from numerous people. Businesses were closed and there were stories of reckless vandalism. While the outside world looks on with the belief that polygamy should be normalized inside Colorado City all hell has broken loose.

Every day in Colorado City we were followed, harassed and bullied by the God Squad as it is un-affectionately known and by local law enforcement. Being pulled over and questioned by the Hilldale and Colorado City police was a daily occurrence. There was no legal reason for stopping and questioning us but it is part of their job as members of the FLDS. In Colorado City there is no separation of church and state.

On our final day of filming we were physically attacked by the God Squad. While Amber was on foot filming outside of the FLDS Meeting House she was approached by two vehicles from opposite directions who attempted to run her down.  Five other cars blocked off the street and parking areas to keep Amber from getting out of harm’s way. As she filmed the oncoming cars I called 911 on my cell phone and connected with a State Emergency Operator, knowing full well that a call to Colorado City police would do no good. Eventually a Colorado City officer came and took a full report but in his report he failed to write down the license plate numbers of the vehicles or descriptions of the men who threatened Amber’s life. Although Amber was not knocked to the ground she did sustain injuries to her lower back when she tripped and stumbled as one of the cars bumped her.

Colorado City is a lawless town in every sense of the word. We had heard the stories of the God Squad and its brutality, and we had heard about the crooked cops, but we never expected to be victims of their activities personally. And we never expected to uncover the unfathomable level of atrocities being committed in what outwardly appears to be a quiet and peaceful community. All of these horrific practices justified in the name of God and religion.