Interview: Rebecca Musser, Author Of ‘The Witness Wore Red’

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In 2007, a breakaway extremist offshoot of the Mormon Church called the Fundamentalist Church of the Latter Day Saints made national news. Police raided an FLDS compound in Texas where they found hundreds of women and girls. The church's leader, Warren Jeffs, was sentenced to life plus 20 years behind bars for sexually assaulting children.


The star witness in Jeffs' trial was a young woman named Rebecca Musser. Musser grew up in the FLDS church, under the control of Warren Jeffs and his father, Rulon. When she was just 19 years old, she was forced to marry the 85-year-old Rulon. Following his death, Musser made the terrifying decision to escape from the church into an outside world she had been taught to fear.

Musser tells the harrowing story of her childhood, her marriage, and her eventual escape in her book, The Witness Wore Red: The 19th Wife Who Brought Polygamous Cult Leaders to Justice. Musser told her story to NPR's Jacki Lyden.

Interview Highlights

On how her father came to be part of the FLDS church

My father was a businessman. He was not born and raised in the fundamentalist church, and he was converted to it. He had a wife and five children at the time of his conversion. A couple years later he married my mother for his second wife, and I am the fifth child of my mother. So I grew up in the middle of a very large family. Because of the situation with my father being in business, he was not open about the fact that he was a polygamist, and his second wife and her children lived in the basement of the house and his first wife lived in the upstairs of the house.

Written By: Rebecca Musser and M. Bridget Cook
continue to source article at npr.org

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  1. Religious beliefs are one of the most dangerous threats to human health. Thanks to people like Richard Dawkins, atheists and agnostics, as well as all other reasonable, rational people have a chance to overcome religious superstition evil.

  2. When she was just 19 years old, she was forced to marry the 85-year-old Rulon.

    When I read that sentence, I grimaced so hard I almost locked my jaw. I really hope Rebecca Musser has become an atheist, instead of being one of those people who leave an abusive cult but still continue believing in a god, while excluding the stuff that made them leave in the first place.

    • In reply to #2 by Aztek:

      When she was just 19 years old, she was forced to marry the 85-year-old Rulon.

      When I read that sentence, I grimaced so hard I almost locked my jaw.

      It’s all the confirmation that I need to know that this sick little cult is all about the sex.

      • In reply to #5 by alaskansee:

        It’s all the confirmation that I need to know that this sick little cult is all about the sex.

        It’s mainly about power. These cult leaders really get off on power, that’s their drug. To them, coercing women into non-consensual sex is more than an act of gratuitous indulgence. It’s a demonstration of power to the other members of the tribe and a way to establish and reinforce their dominion.

  3. I can’t even begin to imagine the terror and anguish she must have experienced. Also the guts it must have taken for her to make the decision to leave. I’m glad that she succeeded in putting that sorry excuse for a man behind bars, where he belongs. Respect.

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