Woman who helped take down polygamist Warren Jeffs tells how she had to marry an 85-year-old man when she was 19 and share him with 63 other women - as the Utah town home to the cult rebuilds

Daily Mail, UK/May 8, 2020

By Marlene Lenthang

One of the women who helped bring cult leader Warren Jeffs down is opening up on life in the shadowy polygamist church where she was forced to share a husband with 60 other women, as the once-isolated Utah town controlled by the group slowly returns to normalcy. 

Rebecca Musser, 44, was one of the key witnesses to shed light on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints sect in Utah and take down its notorious leader Warren Jeffs, 64, in 2006.

He was charged with arranging marriages between adult men in the church with underage women, multiple counts of rape, sexual assault of a child, and incest and was sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years. 

Now, Musser opening up on the horror she faced while in the cult, where she was married to Jeff's predecessor prophet Rulon Jeffs when she was 19 and he was 85, and had to share him with 63 other women.

'He was 85 and I was 19. I just resigned myself to the fact that was my fate, to surrender to it. It was horrifying. This is a man of God and yet he is doing this to me,' she says in a Dateline special entitled Unbreakable set to air Friday.

She said after her husband passed away Warren, Rulon's son, came into power as the church's President and Prophet, Seer and Revelator, she realized she needed to escape.

'When [Rulon] did die that is when Warren made his move. Warren was appeasing the questions with you’ve been so faithful, here is a beautiful new bride for you,' Musser recounts.

After Rulon’s death Warren gave Musser an ultimatum – to marry him or choose another husband. He told her 'Whoever you marry, I will break you and train you to be an obedient wife,' he said according to People.

'Then it hit me, you can leave. And I just thought finally, it’s over,' Musser said to Dateline.

Days later Musser slipped past Warren’s guards and scrambled over the wall of the Mormon compound and fled.

She made her way to Oregon to the apartment of one of her brothers who had left the group, and started a new life.

In 2006 when Warren was placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted List she testified against him in courtrooms in Texas, Arizona and Utah, sharing intimate knowledge of the cult’s inner workings and secrets, and helped get him placed behind bars. 

The special sees Musser return back to the quiet Mormon compound in Short Creek, Utah.

Today the Short Creek area in Utah has seen a mass exodus of Jeff's followers following his arrest and public scandal.

'It’s tough to be back. It brings up a lot of things that are still really raw,' Musser says through tears. 

'The majority of the FLDS about 90 percent are not in Short Creek anymore,' local Andrew Chatwin said in an exclusive clip shared with DailyMail.com.

A series of court rulings led local officials to retake control of the town out of the hands of the church.

'They've been told not to cooperate with the courts, and they would rather walk away from their homes than to cooperate,' Chartwin said.

Today Short Creek is a far cry from the silent, farming town where men would be seen surrounded by their multiple wives in head to toe traditional dresses and all activities revolved around the church.

In 2017 Hildale, Utah elected their first non-FDLS mayor in the town's 100-year history Donia Jessop.

'It startin' to be a lot warmer. People wave to you. The fences are comin' down. What I've been tellin' people, we're livin' in the aftermath of the Jeffs'. And now we're here cleaning up and rebuilding,' Chatwin proudly said.

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