Polygamous Sect Survivor

This man escaped the polygamous sect he grew up in, and started life from scratch.

What is the FLDS?

There are between 40,000 and 50,000 extreme Mormon polygamous sects in the United States. The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or the FLDS Church, is one of the largest fundamentalist Mormon groups that practices polygamy. There are a few locations in Arizona, Utah, and South Dakota; however, the headquarters is in Hildale, Utah. First founded in 1929 by Lorin Woolley, the FLDS president is currently convicted child abuser Warren Jeffs. Those who have escaped the FLDS accuse the group of systematic child abuse, rape, and incest.

“I have 29 siblings. My mom is my world. But, Dad will not allow them to talk to me because I’m an apostate. When I left the FLDS I was 17 years old. I couldn’t completely agree with everything they were teaching. If you were caught talking to the neighborhood girl or if you were caught looking at her for too long, then you were in trouble. Say I get a call from — or my dad gets a call— from Warren Jeffs, he’s the only one that could ever do marriages there.. I didn’t want that lifestyle for myself and so I walked out the door at 17. I couldn’t really say goodbye to anyone or things like that because if I did, I knew I wouldn’t be able to walk out the door on my family, -Howard Holm, a former FLDS member, shares with Brut.

Helpful Haircuts

Luckily, Holm has received some help since escaping the cult. Holding Out HELP (helping, encouraging, and loving polygamists) is a program that provides haircuts and connects foster families to hundreds of children adjusting to the culture shock of the outside world. The salon that provides the haircuts, Kelly Cardenas Salon in Salt Lake City, prides themselves on the liberation a new hairstyle provides for these victims.