Briell Decker: The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Briell’s departure from the FLDS was an escape in every sense of the word. Founded in the 1910s, the FLDS began as an off-shoot of the Mormon church that wanted to continue the practice of polygamy with a heavy emphasis on a patriachal structure. When Briell, who was raised in the secluded church community, married current “prophet” Warren Jeffs, she became his 65th wife. By the time Jeffs went on the run from law enforcement that number was nearly 80, one third of those were underage, and Briell became a literal prisoner.
She was hidden across various states in safe houses with her brother acting as her jailer, until finally, trapped in a trailer, she was able to escape out a window and flee to safety. This was after 8 years of marriage. With the systematic practices of control and sexual abuse, along with stripping many members of their individuality, Briell recognizes the FLDS as a cult, although people who have left more recently are still struggling to accept that.
Like many other former cult members, she speaks about her experiences as a method of helping others cope with their own and is very vocal within the very same community that kept her captive for so long.