Editor's Note: Watch Gary Tuchman's exclusive interview with the family tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
It was the moment Carolyn Jessop had been waiting for. The mother of 8 and 4th wife of a powerful FLDS man wanted out of the only life she knew. It was a rare moment. All of Jessop’s 8 children were home and her husband was not. She only had a few hours to gather her kids and leave the polygamist life where she was born and raised. She says she was desperately seeking a new life on the outside. She wanted to escape.
Carolyn Jessop broke free from a life of arranged marriage, polygamy and a male dominated and controlled society. She says she wanted more for her and her children. Jessop began a new life with her children outside the FLDS. Her kids attended public school and no longer practiced the religion with which they were raised.
After 4 years, when Carolyn’s daughter Betty turned 18, she told her mother this new life was not for her. Betty wanted to return to her former life. She was the only of the 8 children who desired to go back. Carolyn Jessop was shocked, but her daughter was now an adult and could make her own decisions. She says she had no choice but to let her return.
Since Betty’s return the family has had little contact. Carolyn says she doesn’t know how to get in touch with her daughter. Earlier this week, we were invited on the FLDS compound. We came across Betty while interviewing other mothers and children. She agreed to give us a short interview and we showed the tape to Carolyn. It was the first time Carolyn would see and hear from her daughter in over a year.
With an FLDS leader close by, Betty says she has forgiven her mother for taking her from the life she knew. That she is at peace now that she is back in the place she loves. She adds that she doesn’t think she’ll ever be with her mother and family again. Carolyn says she is confident one day, Betty will return to her and life outside the FLDS. Gary Tuchman has their story tonight at 10pm on AC360.
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