'Everything you were taught was a lie': Woman who grew up in Warren Jeffs' polygamist Mormon cult reveals how her life has changed since her family fled and found 'freedom' as she posts sweet message to her childhood self

Daily Mail, UK/September 27, 2022

By Lillian Gissen

A woman who grew up in Warren Jeffs' polygamist Mormon cult has opened up about how her life changed after she and her family fled and found 'freedom.'

Jeffs, now 66, began serving as the president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) in 2002 - and he had more than 70 wives, 24 of whom were underage girls, when he was arrested in 2008.

During his time as the leader of the church, it was said that he brainwashed, imprisoned, and sexually and physically abused multiple women and children, resulting in him being sentenced to life in prison.

Now, one of his former victims, Ruby Steed, 24, who spent her early years living under his rule, has opened up about how far she has come since she escaped from the religious cult.

She shared her story on TikTok in a powerful video - and it quickly went viral, gaining more than three million views and leaving many people on the web impressed with her strength and bravery.

During her time in FLDS, Ruby said she was told that she wouldn't have a choice in who she married or her career, and that she had no contact with the outside world.

Now, however, she has landed her dream job as a hairdresser and has traveled the globe.

'If these two could have a conversation...' she began in the clip, while showing a photo of herself as a child versus a photo of herself now.

'Do we still dress like this?' her younger self asked in the TikTok, to which she answered, 'Nope, we get a whole new wardrobe.

'Are we still close with mom? She's our best friend,' she continued, while snaps of her with her mother as a kid and recently flashed across the screen.

'Do we still go to church? No, everything you taught is a lie,' the next part of the video read, on top of a photo of Jeffs in handcuffs.

'So we left? Yes, and it was the best decision we ever made,' she added in the viral video.

'Do we get to go to any cool places? Oh my God, yes. We travel a lot and we even move to Australia for a year,' she gushed, while showcasing some pictures from her travels. 'And we walk 500 miles across an entire state.

'Do we get a career? Yes, we go to school and become a barber and it's amazing. We get to meet cool people and travel with our job.

'Are we still raising our little siblings? Kind of... But it's different now. It's better. They are more like best friends.

'Do we make friends? Yes, lots of them,' she concluded.

'Cried making this,' Ruby captioned the TikTok. 'She had no idea how much better life was about to get.'

FLDS was created in 1930 by a group of Mormons who got ostracized from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because they refused to give up polygamy - the act of marrying multiple women.  

Jeffs then took over as the prophet of the church in 2002, following the death of his father, Rulon Jeffs, who had 20 wives and approximately 60 children when he passed.

Six years later, police stormed one of FLDS' ranches and arrested Jeffs, after they found over 400 children and evidence of 'sexual, physical, and psychological abuse,' Rolling Stone reported at the time.

In 2011, he was sent away for life after he was convicted of two felony counts of child sexual assault for having sex with two girls aged 12 and 14.

He is currently serving a life sentence plus 20 years for the charges, however, it's been reported that Jeffs has continued to preach to FLDS' remaining members from his prison cell - and as of 2018, the Guardian reported that there were still around 10,000 active members of the church.

In another one of Ruby's TikToks, which was viewed nearly four million times, she showed some more comparison photos of her life in FLDS versus her life now.

'Growing up in a cult, not being able to choose who I married, have a career, or have any access to the outside world,' she captioned the throwback pics that saw her as a child.

'Versus getting out, finding my freedom, and having the whole world to explore,' she then wrote alongside some of her in recent years looking as happy as could be at the beach, on top of a mountain, hiking in the woods, and doing other adventurous activities.

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