Sect life: I was an 18-year-old virgin when I became the 65th wife of sick cult leader who abused his own children, made his wives have lesbian romps and ran ‘elite’ sex training

The Sun, UK/October 4, 2019

By Alison Maloney

Briell Decker stood shaking with fear in front of 50-year-old cult leader Warren Jeffs as he commanded her to sit on his lap.

She was an 18-year-old virgin and had just become the 65th wife of the ‘prophet’ who led an extreme Mormon cult, abused children as young as four and ran "heavenly teachings" on how to satisfy him.

The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) teaches that all men should have three or more wives.

In many cases girls as young as 12 were forced to marry older men - and Jeffs would tie them up and rape them.

Now one of his 80 wives Briell Briell exclusively tells the Sun Online of her horrific ordeal.

Abused at eight by family member

Briell was born in the Mormon Short Creek Community in Utah as the 11th of 14 kids of her mother and father, who also had a second childless wife.

At eight, she was sexually assaulted by a family member who also abused two of her sisters.

“He would just touch us where he shouldn’t,” she reveals “He didn’t show himself to us at all, and never took his off his clothes at all. But he was in a curious phase and he would fondle us.

“But I was eight, which in the FLDS, is the age you are judged as an adult. So even though I hadn’t done anything, I was tainted.”

Sister married 80-year-old leader at 18

At 13, Briell watched as 18-year-old Colleen was forced to wed Warren Jeffs’ dad Rulon, then the cult’s leader who was in his eighties.

When Rulon died, in 2002, Jeffs married all but two of Rulon's 20 wives – including Colleen – and took his father’s 60 children as his own.

Three years later Briell was taken away by her dad,  without the knowledge of her mothers or siblings, and forced to become Jeffs' latest bride.

By this time, Jeffs was wanted by the police after being accused of raping his six-year-old nephew Brent and arranging the marriage and rape of 14-year-old Elissa Wall.

'Tainted' by abuse and unable to satisfy Jeffs

Briell, then 18, was asked by her father to “come for a ride” and was driven to Jeffs' Short Creek mansion where she was told she would be married in secret, because Jeffs was on the run.

After the ceremony, he demanded Briell sat on his lap - but Jeffs didn’t try to consummate their marriage because she was ‘tainted’ by the earlier child abuse.

“I was a virgin, but I had been touched so I knew I probably wouldn't be ‘blessed’,” she says.

“In Jeffs’ family, there's a structure and only the honoured few have kids or look after kids. I felt I'd always be at the bottom of the pile so I was scared. Jeffs tried to get me to respond but I froze.”

Briell describes the sexual contact as “fondling, just like my abuser had done,” and  “a kind of rape that wasn't a rape.”

Getting no response, he sent her back home, banning her from telling the family of the wedding.

'I was too old for paedophile Jeffs'

Jeffs left the FLDS base and later called for Briell to follow him to the a new commune, known as the YFZ Ranch, or Yearning for Zion Ranch, in Texas.

There, 700 of the "elite", including many of Jeffs’ 65 wives, were crammed into trailers on a muddy patch of land with sleeping bags strewn across the floors.

Briell was forced to wear a long pastel-coloured prairie dress that all his wives wore and take “higher elite training” – learning how to gratify Jeffs sexually, but the still-traumatised Briell doesn't want to elaborate on what they were taught.

Terrified, she would often hide in the cupboard, which angered him and made him constantly criticise her.

Soon after she arrived, Jeffs became more interested in his two new wives – aged around 14 and 15.

Mothers cruelly torn from children

With the police after him, Jeffs became increasingly paranoid.

As she distanced herself from her husband, he no longer considered her 'elite’ and sent her off to another campus, known as the Dream Centre.

There she met 30 other wives who he had forcibly separated from their children, who were now with Jeffs in Texas.

“Jeffs said God had revealed none of the mothers were worthy of their children which was a shock to me," she says.

“It was deliberate cruelty. Now I know that paedophiles don't want children to feel safe or trust anyone enough to tell them of abuse, so he took them away from their mothers."

Some of Jeffs' children have since accused him of abusing them. Daughter Rachel said she was sexually assaulted from eight and forced to watch pornography.

Wives tied down a 12-year-old and watched him rape her

Eventually, Briell returned to the YFZ Ranch where she said Jeffs was marrying even younger brides.

“We were told they were wild, and needed to get married to stop them straying,” she says. “But these were from faithful families and he was actually raping them.”

Briell resumed her“training” in how to please him but says the teachings were getting more sexual.

Jeffs was finally arrested, in 2006, and in three subsequent trials Briell discovered that he had been raping a 12-year-old bride.

“There were ladies who were required to tie down that 12-year-old,” says Briell.

“And they watched as he had sex with her. I wasn't in that training but I was just beginning to be introduced to sh** like that.”

He also introduced the "Law of Sarah" which forced his wives to put on lesbian sex shows for his gratification.

If they refused, they were sent away to 'redeem themselves'.

Another daughter, Becky, said her earliest memory was being sexually abused by her father and her half-brother Roy Jeffs, who took his own life in June, also claimed he was abused.
“Jeffs was a paedophile,” she says. “So he wasn’t that attracted to me.”

Locked in a bedroom by brother

After Jeffs' arrest Briell returned to Short Creek to live with her father but was “pyschologically tortured” by the elders who were trying to wrestle power from Jeffs.

They would follow her, creep into her house in the night and, on one occasion, left a noose in her room.

She also claims she was drugged with high doses of Seroquel, an anti-psychotic drug, until she could hardly walk.

She ran away several times but was returned to the campus by other community members.

In 2013, she was sent to live with an older brother who locked her in a bedroom.

“There were screws in the window and I couldn't open it. The doorknob was turned around so the lock was in the hallway.”

After two weeks, Briell managed to hide some scissors in her room and unscrew the window to climb out before running through the Creek to escape.

She eventually reached the garden of a woman who offered to help her and rang an organisation that helps members of the community escape, who drove her to a safe house, hundreds of miles away.

Iron grip from prison

In 2011, Jeffs was sentenced to life after being convicted in a Utah court of sexually assaulting two girls aged 12 and 14.

But even after he was convicted in 2011 he still has a grip on the cult.

Just last week two brothers were jailed for tax fraud of $9.7m in payments to the church.

From prison he has decreed that special “seed bearers” should be the only fathers of the next generation of FLDS kids.

“He’s still running the sect from his jail cell and he set up the seedbearers from there,” she says.

He also wrote into the doctrine that paedophilia is acceptable "which is a really bad thing because after he dies, the next leader is required to keep everything the last leader did."

Incredible return to house where she wed Jeffs

Briell's experiences have left her with post-traumatic stress disorder and physical damage from years of being drugged.

But amazingly, in 2017, Brielle returned to the £1million, 44-room mansion where Warner had lived with his wives - seized by the authorities after his 2006 arrest - and turned it into a refuge for other women fleeing the church.

She has also found love with new husband Steven who she says “had been amazing for my life.”

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