Mom Escapes Polygamy

An inside look at life in an abusive cult.

MomLogic/April 28, 2008

The polygamous sect story has captivated the country, leaving us with questions like what will happen to the kids and whether or not the Moms are to blame. Kathy, a 37-year-old mother and polygamous sect escapee turned to momlogic to share her experience in the secret world behind closed doors.

Momlogic: What's up with women's clothes, hair, and lack of makeup?

Kathy: The women are required to wear long clothing that covers them from head to toe. It's a matter of modesty, plus it strips everybody of their individuality. When I was growing up, we were able to wear patterns, which are now banned. They purchase or weave huge bolts of fabric and make multiple dresses from the same cloth.

They consider hair to be a woman's crowning glory, and you're not allowed to cut it. That stemmed back from the story of Mary washing Jesus' feet with her hair. In my opinion, it's just taking away the personal uniqueness. They take away your individuality and they break down your spirit.

In terms of the makeup ban, Warren Jeffs told us our bodies were our temple and that wearing makeup -- or, as he put it, "painting our faces like the savages" -- desecrated the temple God had given us. We weren't even allowed to use razors to shave or tweezers to groom our eyebrows. They believe that how God made you is how you are supposed to appear.

Momlogic: When you were in the sect, did you secretly want to wear makeup or do your hair?

Kathy: Very much. We grew up in a neighborhood outside Salt Lake City. There was a junior high nearby, and my sister and I watched the girls who went there from the window. We peered through the drapes and watched the kids walking home from school with their feathered hair (this was back in the '80s) and their makeup, just chit-chatting. We would come up with these elaborate storybook fantasies that we would act out in the privacy of our room. We longed to be them.

Momlogic: How did the women in the sect obtain money?

Kathy: When I was growing up, most of the women collected welfare. It was called "bleeding the beast." The women who aren't legally married to their husbands and have children are technically single women with children, so they collect more benefits. But these days, a lot of the children and adults aren't registered with the state, so they're not entitled to state benefits.

Momlogic: Should the Moms get their kids back?

Kathy: I think they should be given one more chance. These women are terrorized. They're almost like Stepford Wives, but I don't believe intelligence is absent. I think that knowledge is absent. They don't have any knowledge, but some of the women are very intelligent. They don't have the knowledge to feed and grow their minds, or make the right decisions. But they must change. The children cannot go back into that compound and they can't be given back to these women until they seek help. My heart bleeds for the mothers, but my interest is for the children.

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