I wanted to categorize this as Horror but decided to stick with Religion.
This is a pretty intense story. If you are sensitive to stories involving sexual assault, particularly when children are involved, I would suggest to pass over it. There is a happy ending though since most of these fuckers received decades long prison sentences.
Rebecca Musser was born into the FDLS church. She was the daughter of a second (or “Celestial”) wife and her father’s first wife physically and emotionally abused the children born to her husband’s other wife. Several of Rebecca’s brothers, and numerous other young men, were kicked out of the cult (for various infractions) in order for church elders to weed out competition for wives.
Musser didn’t get a lot of education as a child and her primary reason for living was to eventually be someone’s wife and mother. When she was only nineteen her church’s prophet, the 85-year-old Rulon Jeffs, chose Rebecca to be his nineteenth wife. Despite protesting that she wanted a few more years before marrying, most brides were in their early twenties, she was married to the octogenarian Prophet. Her one solace was believing that, since Rulon could no longer father children, that she would be spared from having marital relations with her husband. She was wrong, he preached the importance of being a comfort wife and raped her frequently.
When Rulon suffered a stroke his son, Warren, began running the show. He pacified his father by giving him more young wives, almost fifty more after Rebecca, and began his play to be the next Prophet. After Rulon died Rebecca felt that, while she was only 26, she could be happy being the widow of the Prophet and never remarrying. Warren had other ideas and gave her one week to find another husband or he’d be marrying her. She ended up running away with a man she had been friendly with, who was also her celestial grandson, to her brother’s apartment in Oregon.
They both suffered a bit of culture shock but eventually began to settle into their new lives. Musser began to get concerned for her remaining family, still in FDLS, after she heard that wives were getting younger and younger. Her sister, Elissa, was a victim herself- being married to an abusive man before she turned 18. When Warren Jeffs was finally found, he’d been evading police, Rebecca and her sister were star witnesses in his trial.
Rebecca, to the detriment of her marriage, kept getting pulled back into the FDLS world by the law enforcement officials she had befriended. She became something of a translator between FDLS and investigators. She was on location when the Texas Rangers raided an FDLS compound that had hundreds of children born to child brides within its walls. Her husband, a victim of FDLS himself, was also a total ass; his upbringing of women being subservient to men was strongly ingrained in his mind and he did not agree with her spending so much time away from home. Mostly he just wanted her to put everything that happened to her “behind her” and accept that they got out and anyone else who wanted to get out would too. She implies they got divorced and I hope they did.
Rebecca’s story is horrifying and inspiring. She did a lot for these families even when she was shunned and despised for her efforts by the very people she was aiming to help. She stresses to the reader that most of the people in FDLS are brainwashed by church leaders and overall they a good, hardworking people who were taken advantage of by criminal church leaders. This is a tough one to read but if you can stomach the content it’s a good read.