10 Years

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.


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