Real Life Stories From Courageous People
Who Have Left Polygamy 

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Come learn more about the client’s we serve from polygamy, tour our facility & see how YOU can get involved!  Drinks & Hors d’oeuvres provided.

June 26th, 6:30 – 8:30 PM

748 E Pioneer Rd, Draper, UT 84020-9300, United States

To RSVP, please go to: https://www.facebook.com/events/150475539007222/

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RACHEL

Rachel was married off at the age of 14 to a polygamist man three times her senior. Her sister, who was 15, was married to the same man. Both girls learned to serve and love their husband within the roles he created for them. Rachel’s role was purely sexual and as long as she operated within the set of parameters given, she had his attention, but straying meant dire consequences. As she began having children she thought about what their lives may look like. The thought of her girls having to endure what she had was what eventually led Rachel to make the biggest decision of her life. Three years ago she left with her three children to pursue a life on her own. After about a year of trying to make ends meet, Rachel reached out to Holding Out HELP. She received a mentor, a car, and a private education for her children. She is living in a Holding Out HELP transitional home that allows her to live virtually rent free while she finishes her education. She recently graduated with her degree and recently passed the NCLEX and started her first job as a registered nurse!  In addition, Rachel is now married to an awesome man.  All her hopes and dreams are coming to fruition.

WADE

Locked in a shed with a thin blanket in below freezing temperatures, Wade sat by the fire that he had built from scraps, fully convinced he would be dead by morning. Two years earlier, at the age of 14, Wade had been sent to a “house of hiding” in Wyoming with other troubled and “unworthy” FLDS boys.  Wade was hit by 2×4″s, withheld food and medical treatment. Fed up, Wade fled to Salt Lake City seeking refuge. He was gathered up by a brother who brought him to Holding Out HELP for assistance.  Because of the support from Holding Out HELP, he has been able to graduate high school and is now living independently on his own. The best part of Wade is his incessant humor that keeps us all laughing.

 

CYNTHIA
Cynthia was married in the Jordan Temple into the mainstream Mormon Church. Fifteen years later, when she became pregnant with her seventh child, her husband started making jokes about polygamy. Soon after, the joking became serious discussions. While pregnant with her eighth child and an enormous amount of pressure to live plural marriage, she eventually went to the ordinance building of a local polygamist group. She was re-baptized into the Allred group also known as the Apostolic United Brethren (AUB). Four years later her husband took wife number two, and then eleven months after that came wife number three with his ultimate goal of having seven wives.  One of the wives started to withhold food from her and her children while the husband’s behavior became more and more controlling.

Confused and struggling, Cynthia began to pray for guidance. She felt she had a clear answer from God that it was time to leave. When her husband found out, he lined the children up and asked who they would pick – him or their mother – but told them if they picked their mother they would be choosing Satan’s path and blow the family to hell. The children chose her! She took her kids and ran. Cynthia bounced around between friends before landing on the doorstep of Holding Out HELP. Today, she describes her life as freedom and receiving the love that she has always dreamed of. She also feels a new sense of identity and empowerment to be herself. She is strong, brave, a phenomenal mom & one of the most grateful clients we have had the privilege of serving.

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Hear Ally’s Story (right)
Hear Lacie’s Story (middle)

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Allyson and Lacie, former FLDS members with Nicole Nystrom, Assistant Director of Holding Out HELP.

 

Additional Personal Stories

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I felt so alone and crippled coming from the FLDS lifestyle with nowhere to go and no one to rely on apart from friends who had already done all they could do for me. I found myself at the Draper Police Station with the victims advocate discussing my options of where my twin boys and myself would go. The advocate then began telling me of this amazing organization, Holding Out Help, who helped women in my exact dangerous and desperate situation. I was very hesitant about letting anyone of the world help us, because of what the word, aka the “gentiles,” thought about the FLDS community. With the hope in my heart that there really were people in “the world” that loved unconditionally and wanted to help, I went to this home with nothing but an overnight bag and the three broken scared hearts.

Before we knew it, we found ourselves surrounded by love and support no matter where we came from or what I had done in my life. They provided us with a safe home and very necessary essential items such as love, hope, clothing, food, therapy and legal assistance. Most important to me was they cared for us and had our best interest at heart, which was the most amazing feeling ever.

Shortly after that, I was able to get onto my own two feet in my own place, working and all three of us receiving education, which I had never had in my life because of the lifestyle I was raised in. We are all three very healthy emotionally and physically and living an extremely happy, fulfilling and flourishing life I had never imagined living before leaving my situation. We could have never done this without HELP.

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I left my marriage and the polygamist group that I was raised in. I first received help from Holding Out Help a year ago when I first started thinking seriously about doing something to improve my children’s lives. I called their hotline a few times, which was a huge relief since I had spent so many years bottling everything up. When I did leave, they provided a place for us to stay, and they made my kids feel like they were on vacation. They talked to me everyday that first week to make sure I was doing okay with my rollercoaster of emotions. They provided me with gift cards so that we could buy the things we needed after leaving most of our things behind. One of them escorted me to Workforce Services to help me apply for financial assistance and they were able to find me a really good lawyer who was willing to take my case pro bono. When we moved into a house, they were able to find all of the furniture we needed from people who just wanted to help out. And still, after all of these months, they still call me just to see how I’m doing and to ask what they can do for me. They just informed me they have people who want to help us get Christmas gifts for my kids, which was such a relief since I was just comparing my budget with my kids’ Christmas lists. I am so grateful for what Holding Out Help has done for us, and I hope to someday pay it forward.

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I left my polygamist community suddenly in response to an abusive situation. I did not have a clear plan in place as to how I would be able to take care of my four young children and myself. In much dismay, I found myself on the doorstep of a wonderful family of strangers willing to help us. We had not much more than a few garbage bags full of clothes and belongings. Due to the teachings that I had been exposed to over the years, I had a profound distrust of “gentiles.” In contradiction to this, we were instead surrounded by love, and all our needs were met too. We were provided with food, shelter, guidance, counseling and new found friends. Without this support, it would have been near impossible to transition into a world of normalcy and acceptance. I will be forever grateful for this help, and hope that many more to follow will find this same kind of encouragement and tangible support.

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It’s very hard for many in polygamous communities to leave either because they don’t know where to look for help or because they don’t have enough trust to reach out, particularly when help might come with the price tag of joining some other religious group or being involved in promoting hatred. Many in polygamous groups have no friends or relatives outside of their group. It may seem to them that they are completely alone with no one to turn to. The problems of leaving, often without resources, are complex.

I believe Holding Out Help is the first organization to cover all possible bases in making a new life possible. One of the greatest and possibly most urgent needs is legal aid. When a woman may be in a legal marriage and there are children involved, legal services are vital. There will be very few women, leaving polygamist communities with their children, able to come up with the fees asked for by lawyers.

As to other assistance, HELP hasn’t needed to “reinvent the wheel.” Where there are state agencies in existence, which may be able to help, then those resources are being used. From my own personal experience what is really useful is to have this information freely available to individuals or families, saving hours if not weeks of research to find the appropriate agencies.

For me, HELP’s effectiveness lies in the way in which it offers unconditional love and aid to those who may contact them, whether women, teenagers or men. Having complete strangers tell me they didn’t care whether I was Mormon, Jewish, Muslim or atheist – they just wanted to love me, brought warmth and hope into a very bleak period of my life. HELP made the difficult changes that I wanted to make, a reality. Thank you for being willing to reach out.


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