A former child bride who managed to escape from a fundamentalist Mormon cult shares her harrowing story of being told by the sect’s leader that she was “the property” of her husband after she begged him to help free her from the forced marriage.
Elisa Wall was forced to marry her cousin at the young age of 14 under the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She also reveals how she suffered from multiple miscarriages during the forced marriage.
The child bride and religious fundamentalism victim is now all of 31 years old but the pain and agony she went through remains as excruciatingly vivid and fresh. She sheds new light on life inside the isolated sect in a documentary about its domineering leader Warren Jeffs who was in full control of the lives of most of his 15,000 followers.
Wall said she was born into the church and lived a “very secret lifestyle.” She added: “We didn’t interact with the outside world. We didn’t go to public school. We were educated, cultivated and bred to be products of the church and the religion.”
Jeffs arranged for her to marry her 19-year-old cousin Allen Steed in 2001. She protested the decision but was still forced to go through the ceremony.
Even then Wall was already more outspoken than the average girl and she knew she was being subjected to cruel submission. She also remembers all the miscarriages she had as a child bride because she was forced into sex by Steed.
Wall recalls the sexual abuse. She says: “Then the sexual abuse came later as he started to take over. And I think the frustration of my cousin, his frustration of being judged for not being a good man because his wife wasn’t submissive and she wasn’t good- that all compounded the problem.”
Wall said she repeatedly sought the help of Jeffs , or “Uncle Warren” and told him she was being abused, but her cries for help were simply ignored. She was even reprimanded for “not being submissive.” Jeffs even reminded her of his “teachings” and that she was the “property of this man and he could do whatever he wanted to me.”
Wall courageously managed to run away from the church in 2005 when she was 18. She then alerted the authorities.
Jeffs was jailed in 2011 after being convicted of sexually assaulting two girls aged 12 and 15. He is to said to also have a shocking 78 wives and more than 50 children in the Utah church. He is believed to continue presiding over the church from his prison cell.
Wall reveals new details of her ordeal on A&E documentary Warren Jeffs: Prophet of Evil.
Last year, The Goldwater also ran a story on Jeffs as he stands accused in a U.S. court of sexually abusing multiple underage children and letting them participate in a religious ritual.
Jeffs and his church became infamous worldwide soon after Wall escaped. Jeffs went on the run after he was charged with sexual assault of a minor. One of the women he called his wives was just 12 years old.
Jeffs was arrested in 2006, with more than $50,000 in cash and multiple mobile phones, laptops, wigs and sunglasses in his car.
Steed was later charged with raping Wall but was just jailed for a month after reaching a plea deal in which he admitted a charge of solemnizing a prohibited marriage.