Rebecca Musser

Rebecca Musser was born into the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church), an extreme, isolated, polygamist sect that had splintered off from the Mormon faith. At age 19, she was forced into a polygamous marriage to the church'sprophet, a man more than four times her age. After her husband died and Warren Jeffs, the new prophet, tried to force her to remarry, Rebecca escaped.

Beginning a brand-new life in a strange world of ‘gentiles,’ freedom, debit cards and French fries – Rebecca yearned to save her little sisters from becoming child brides. She forged a trusting relationship with law enforcement, and when Texas authorities raided the FLDS Yearning for Zion Ranch in April of 2008, they were overwhelmed by cultural differences and language barriers. Those authorities asked Rebecca to assist them, and she became instrumental in deciphering mountains of evidence of child molestation and bigamy found on the ranch, as well as becoming a vital witness for the state of Texas in over 20 criminal convictions.

Today, Rebecca is a national speaker, advocate for victims of human trafficking, and the author of the soon to be released book, The Witness Wore Red – a gripping and powerful memoir of a prophet’s 19th wife, damned apostate, and witness for the prosecution of Warren Jeffs and FLDS leaders.

 

Rebecca is also the founder of ClaimRED, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing dignity, hope and healing to victims of human trafficking. She continues to speak out for the oppressed, to educate communities on the plight of millions in bondage, and to inspire individuals and organizations as to the power of one person to change the world. “Believe in the possible,” says Rebecca. “You may not have all the answers to your predicament, but you DO have the ability to rise above it. Regardless of the situation you are in, you can find a productive way out. I know this, because I not only survived tyranny — I overcame it. It is possible to be victorious over challenges.”

Another challenge recently in Rebecca's life has been her daughter Natalia's journey with the medical world.  Natalia was born with a congenital nevis on her face. After a long and emotional search, we finally found a "Pediatric Reconstructive Specialist" who was able to treat her. With this type of birthmark, laser therapy would lighten the color, but would not reduce the risk of it turning cancerous. After careful consideration, it was decided that the skin needed to be removed all together. The surgeon would insert special expansion balloons around the exterior of the birth mark as well as behind her ear. The balloons would be expanded each week until there would be enough extra skin to remove the entire birthmark and graft in the new skin. 

When Natalia was 7 months old, she had a biopsy done to insure that there was no abnormal or cancerous growth. Her specialist continued to check her consistently to monitor the skin, until her body was big enough to begin the surgery process. Natalia has been in and out of surgery every few months from November 2009 through April 2012.  Just over a month ago, she had her last, and final skin graft done.  All of the nevis has now been removed.

Rebecca grew up in a society that taught so much fear of the outside world, clearly making it understood that it wasn't IF, but WHEN the outside world would hurt her.  Ten years ago she hoped that there was any goodness in the world outside the FLDS.  Witnessing the miracle that has been given to her daughter through the hands of those she once thought would hurt her, has been one of the most tender, inspiring, and precious experiences of her life.  

She is thankful to all those who have worked behind the scenes to make the miracle for her daughter possible, to the doctors and staff who so lovingly care for so many, her daughter included. Rarely do those who give so much see the faces of the families whose lives are forever changed by their kindness and contribution. With all her heart, she thanks you.....


At the past Maya Angelou celebration, we also celebrated the Re-Birthday of Rebecca Musser, one of our SHEROES of the month.  We even sang Happy Re-Birthday to her and had a cake available.

"Rebecca Musser became one of Rulon Jeff's 65 wives when she was only 19 years old.  She was given to Jeffs by her father.  She is now speaking out to ensure that convicted felon and Prophet of the FLDS Church stays behind bars according to  NY Daily News.   
“My father sold my innocence,” Musser told a group of women at an event in Salt Lake City called Overcoming Obstacles, the Deseret News reported. “My life there was a constant state of fear, unknown ... silence.”

She had always been told to obey her husband, never deny his sexual advances, and to "Keep Sweet".  In 2002, seven years after they were married, Rulon Jeffs died and Musser made a decision to run away.“

After seven years of continual sexual violations, I’d had enough,” she said.  Though she had been taught to be obedient for her entire life, she said: “Give me hell, because I don’t want this heaven.”
Once she escaped, she found that life was difficult on the outside, yet she found a certain amount of freedom by cutting her hair for the first time.

She had a hard time leaving her little sister and the other women in the sect behind and by 2007 became one of the main witnesses for prosecutors and police who were working to end the underage marriage and sexual abuse in the sect.

She served as a witness against Warren Jeffs, who became the sect’s new leader after his father died, and helped get him convicted on rape charges."