Boy sent to Bountiful at age 14

Vancouver Sun/November 20, 2010

Don Fischer, 26, was born into a polygamous FLDS family in Hildale, Utah, where he lived with his father, three "mothers" and 33 siblings in a house with 15 bedrooms.

In his video affidavit, Fischer says he was sent Bountiful when he was 14 because "my Dad had to get rid of me. We argued all the time because I wouldn't let him beat my little brothers and sisters. ... Father went to the prophet and said his son was interfering with his right to run his family."

His father used scriptures to justify beating his children for things as minor as spilling milk.

Even though boys his age in Bountiful went to school, Fischer says the FLDS bishop at the time - Winston Blackmore - put him and other American boys to work in his forestry companies.

"[For] The boys shipped up there was kind of a work camp, reform camp. Keep them busy so they couldn't do bad. He actually did pay us kind of like an allowance. They supplied us with food and I think we got $120 every month, just a little spending money."

Still, Bountiful was different from Hildale. Nobody screamed at him and Blackmore let the boys play hockey. "I really liked Winston. I really looked up to him almost as a father figure."

In the early 2000s, Fischer's father was excommunicated by FLDS prophet Warren Jeffs, who reassigned his mother to Allan Steed.

"Mom called and said your dad isn't your dad any more. All the family, all the children had to be at the wedding ceremony because you [the children] are pretty much getting married as well."

Steed already had 15 wives.

When he was 16, Fischer was told to leave because he refused to turn the money he earned over to the church.

At 8 p.m. one day, he was told that Jeffs had ordered his 18-year-old brother and him to be out of town by midnight.

"Our stepdad gave US$100 and me and Walt took clothes in a garbage bag."

Steed allowed them to keep working for one of his companies as long as they said they were trying to repent. But finally, Fischer decided to cut all ties.

"I wasn't a person out there. I wasn't alive. ... It's night and day [the difference between being in the church and out]."

Outside, he says, you have choice and are free to be whatever you want - a doctor, a lawyer. Insider, "you don't have options, you're one of their slaves ... you're treated as an object. Out here, you can be a person."

His mother remains in the FLDS.

"There's no relationship. I can't talk to them, I can't see them. They don't talk to me. We don't communicate ... it's like we don't exist."

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